What does imo mean in Japanese?

The 100 most important Japanese words for your vacation in Japan

No matter if you are planning a vacation in Japan or just want to learn the Japanese language. The following list of the 100 most important Japanese words is the foundation of your Japanese vocabulary.

These vocabulary will help you in a variety of situations and avoid a lot of problems. There are, of course, many other important Japanese words, but by the time you start learning the vocabulary on this list, you will be armed with a basic vocabulary that will serve you well forever.

If you really want to learn Japanese, or want to get the most out of your Japan vacation, I also recommend that you learn the basics of the Japanese alphabet with our free hiragana guide.

I've divided the list into 10 categories to make it a little clearer. In addition, you will find a short explanation for every Japanese word so that you know when you should use it and when not.

If you also want to learn more Japanese vocabulary, then you should get our flashcards.


The first thing I want you to do is learn some emergency vocabulary. After all, you don't want to be left helpless in a foreign country if something really bad should happen. The following vocabulary will enable you to find the right words in tricky situations.

ト イ レ (toire) = toilet

Everyone has to go to the bathroom sooner or later. And if you have to, you should be able to ask for directions.

手洗 い (tearai) = bathroom

Similar to the toilet, but a little better equipped. You can use both words if you're in a hurry.

助 け て (tasukete) = HELP

Call this word and someone will be found to help you.

わ か り ま せ ん (wakarimasen) = I don't understand

Someone speaks to you in Japanese and uses more than 100 words you learned here? Then let the other person know that you did not understand.

や め て! (yamete!) = Stop doing that!

Maybe someone is having fun with you and you want that person to stop. Then you should use this word.

英語 (eigo) = English

Sometimes you just need a person who speaks English. Many Japanese have difficulties with the English language, but it never hurts to try.

服 (fuku) = clothing

Can't find your clothes on the beach? Everything is possible!

死 に そ う (shini sou) = It looks like I'm dying.

When things get really serious, you have to pull out all the stops.

警察 (keisatsu) = police

If something bad happens, you should call the police.

危 な い (abunai) = Dangerous

You will often see this word on signs and when someone says “abunai” you should be very careful.

危 険 (kiken) = danger, poisonous

Similar to the word “abunai”.

Ask if you have any questions

You will have tons of questions during your stay in Japan or during your study process. Here are some so you can get an answer quickly.

ど う し た? (doushita?) = What happened?

If you want to know what's going on, you will get an answer to this question. Hopefully you understand this too.

ど う し て? (doushite?) = Why?

な に? (nani) = What?

時間 (jikan) = time

Emphasize the word like a question and the other person will understand what you want to know. You will also likely need to learn a few numbers to understand the answer.

質問 (shitsumon) = question

You have a question? Let the other person know.

だ れ (dare) = Who?

If you want to know who the other person is talking about.

い つ (itsu) = When?

Another important question word in Japanese. Especially when you want to make sure you're in the right place at the right time.


Other people are a huge part of your life and Japanese vocabulary. This is why personal descriptions like the following are so important if you want to learn Japanese.

先生 (sensei) = teacher

If you come to Japan as a student or at school, you will use this word regularly.

学生 (gakusei) = student

Matches the previous word.

会 社員 (kaishain) = employee

If you go to Japan to work, you will likely be an employee.

人 (hito) = person

Most used word for person.

私 (watashi) = I.

あ な た (anata) = you

Places and directions

The following vocabulary will help you find the right way. If you can master these words, you will not get lost in Japan.

ホ テ ル (hoteru) = hotel

You will definitely have to find your hotel when you travel to Japan.

ど こ (doko) = where

Do you want to know where something is? This Japanese vocabulary will serve you well.

空港 (kuukou) = airport

If you combine this word with the previous one, you have kuukou doko? I am sure that you know what that means!

駅 (eki) = station

Trains and travel simply belong together in Japan. Just put the name of the station in front of it eki and you already have the station name. For example Kyoto Eki.

日本 (nihon / nippon) = Japan

This is the official name of the country!

大学 (daigaku) ​​= university

If you are going to study in Japan, this Japanese word is extremely important.

本 屋 (honya) = bookstore

There are so many cool bookstores in Japan!

ま ん が 喫茶 (manga kissa) = Manga Cafe

Here you will mostly find computers, internet, manga and a place to rest. Cheaper than hotels when you need cheap accommodation.

タ ク シ ー (takushi) = taxi

Expensive! But sometimes you won't get around it.

家 (ie / uchi) = home

It's still best at home.


Japanese cuisine is some of the best in the world, and you will learn to love Japanese food if you don't already.

お な か す い た (onaka suita) / は ら へ っ た (hara hetta) = hungry

Both variants are possible. The latter is more colloquial.

食 べ ま す (tabemasu) = to eat

Do you eat that Yes, I eat that. Just put it together in a word like sushi andSushi tabemasu means "I eat sushi."

食 べ ま せ ん (tabemasen) = do not eat

Do you eat that No, I don't eat that. you eat this? No, I don’t. Sushi tabemases, in means “I don't eat sushi”.

飲 み ま す (nomimasu) = drink

飲 み ま せ ん (nomimasen) = do not drink

Beer nomimases. I do not drink beer. .

水 (mizu) = water

I drink water. Mizu nomimasu.

飲 み 物 (nomimono) = drink

食 べ 物 (tabemono) = food

There will be no shortage of good food in Japan.

美味 し い (oishii) = delicious.

Say this word when something tastes delicious.

不 味 い (mazui) = Not tasty

I advise you not to address this word directly to the cook.

レ ス ト ラ ン (resutoran) = restaurant

The selection of good restaurants in Japan is just amazing.

コ ン ビ ニ (konbini) = late purchase

ス ー パ ー (suupaa) = supermarket


Good behavior and polite words should be a matter of course during your trip to Japan.

あ り が と う ご ざ い ま す (arigatougozaimasu) = Thank you

Use this word as often as possible.

す み ま せ ん (sumimasen) = pardon

The roads in Japan can get very busy and there is nothing wrong with apologizing while fighting and jostling your way through the crowd.

ご め ん な さ い (gomennasai) = sorry

い た だ き ま す (itadakimasu) = Bon appetit!

ご ち そ う さ ま で し た (gochisousama deshita) = Thank you for the food


You will meet a lot of nice and interesting people during your trip to Japan. Here are a few suggestions on how to greet them.

お は よ う ご ざ い ま す (ohayougozaimasu) = Good morning

こ ん に ち は (konnichiwa) = Good afternoon

Use this word in the afternoons when you say hello to someone.

こ ん ば ん は (konbanwa) = Good evening

で は ま た (dewamata) = See you later

ま た 明日 (mata ashita) = See you tomorrow

When you are sure that you will see each other again tomorrow.

さ よ う な ら (sayounara) = Goodbye

お や す み な さ い (oyasuminasai) = Good night

Important Japanese verbs

Verbs will help you tremendously. In many situations, you just need to know a few verbs and you can express yourself. Even if you don't have a good command of grammar, verbs can get you pretty far.

行 き ま す (ikimasu) = go

帰 り ま す (kaerimasu) = to come back

食 べ ま す (tabemasu) = to eat

し ま す (shimasu) = to make

One of the best Japanese verbs and very often used. ”Basketball shimasu, ”I do basketball -> I play basketball. Everyone will understand you. This works with all nouns.

見 ま す (mimasu) = see

買 い ま す (kaimasu) = buy

待 ち ま す (machimasu) = wait

書 き ま す (kakimasu) = to write

止 ま り ま す (tomarimasu) = stop

教 え ま す (oshiemasu) = teach / teach

Speak 話 し ま す (hanashimasu)

Basic Japanese adjectives

Adjectives may not be as important as verbs, but since you use them to describe something, they will help you express yourself better.

新 し い (atarashii) = new

嬉 し い (ureshii) = happy

す ご い (sugoi) = wonderful

高 い (takai) = expensive

大 き い (ookii) = large

Do you want a large serving for lunch?

小 さ い (chiisai) = small

近 い (chikai) = near

遠 い (tooi) = far

悪 い (warui) = bad

い い (ii) = good

面 白 い (omoshiroi) = interesting

There are a lot of interesting things in Japan. Therefore, you will use this word a lot.

熱 い (atsui) = hot

寒 い (samui) = cold

赤 (aka) = red

青 (ao) = blue

黒 (kuro) = black

緑 (midori) = green

黄色 (kiiro) = yellow

白 (shiro) = white

馬鹿 (baka) = stupid

Japanese numbers

You will of course come across Japanese numbers every day when you are in Japan.

一 (ichi) = one

二 (ni) = two

三 (san) = three

四 (shi / yon) = four

五 (go) = five

六 (roku) = six

七 (nana / shichi) = seven

八 (hachi) = eight

九 (ku / kyuu) = nine

十 (juu) = ten

百 (hyaku) = 100

千 (sen) = 1,000

万 (man) = 10,000

If you memorize the complete list, you will have a good basic vocabulary to build on. Have fun and good luck with your learning. In the next lesson, we'll show you loads of typical Japanese beginner mistakes and how to avoid them.

Learn Japanese Japanese Vocabulary