Your First Japanese Vocabulary Words


Your First Japanese Vocabulary Words
Foreign languages
  1. Common Japanese words
  2. Core Japanese Verbs: An Essential List
  3. Japanese Words and Phrases for Beginners

Japanese is an interesting language with a lot of nuances that can be difficult to master for a beginner. However, once you know the basics, it's a lot of fun to learn and speak. With over 125.6 million speakers worldwide, it is becoming even more popular among Japanese culture enthusiasts.


In this post, we'll review some essential vocabulary words you should learn as your first steps in Japanese. With these words under your belt, you'll be able to start communicating with other learners and natives quite easily. Are you ready to enhance your vocabulary in Japanese?

Common Japanese words

In this section, we will go through some of the most common and basic Japanese words that every speaker should know. This list is ideal for the average person who wants to learn the language and it’s full of useful everyday words. From telling the time to commuting to your school or work, you will find the words to describe it! 

Useful Japanese Nouns

In order to build a strong vocabulary, it’s important to start with Japanese nouns. We have compiled some nouns that you may use on your first day in Japan.

日本 (Nihon) - Japan

こと (Koto) - About (something or someone)

名前 (Namae) - Name

人 (Hito or Nin) - Person

物 (Mono) - Thing

他の (Hoka no) - Other

大学 (Daigaku) - College

学校 (Gakkou) - School

駅 (Eki) - Train Station

地下鉄 (Chikatetsu) - Subway

電車 (Densha) - Train

車 (Kuruma) - Car

所 / 場所 (Tokoro / Basho) - Place

水 (Mizu) - Water

家族 (Kazoku) - Family

町 (Machi) - Town

出身 (Shusshin) - Hometown

国 (Kuni or Koku) - Country

家 (Uchi or Ie) - Home, House

部屋 (Heya) - Room

店 (Mise or Ya) - Shop

Japanese Words and Phrases for Beginners

Time in Japanese

Do you want to express the concept of time in Japanese? Check out this list!

時間 (Jikan) - Time

分 (Fun or Bun) - Minute

時 (Ji or Toki) - Hour (or Time)

日 (Nichi or Hi) - Day

週 (Shuu) - Week

月 (Getsu or Tsuki) - Month 

年 (Toshi or Nen) - Year

今 (Ima) - Now

今日 (Kyou) - Today

明日 (Ashita) - Tomorrow

昨日 (Kinou) - Yesterday

前 (Mae) - Before

後 (Ato) - After


Japanese Numbers

In Japanese, the numbers can be written using either Arabic or Chinese numerals. In horizontal writing, Arabic numerals are more frequently used, while in vertical writing Chinese ones are. Following you will find the most used numbers in the Japanese (Kun) reading.

Numbers from 1 to 10

いち (ichi) - one

に (ni) - two

さん (san) - three

し / よん (shi / yon) - four

ご (go) - five

ろく (roku) - six

しち / なな (shichi / nana) - seven

はち (hachi) - eight

きゅう/く(kyu / ku) - nine

じゅう (juu) - ten


Numbers from 11 to 19

じゅういち ( juu-ichi) - eleven

じゅうに (juu-ni) - twelve

じゅうさん (juu-san) - thirteen

じゅうよん (juu-yon) - forteen

じゅうご (juu-go) - fifteen

じゅうろく(juu-roku) - sixteen

じゅうなな (juu-nana) - seventeen

じゅうはち (juu-hachi) - eighteen

じゅうきゅう (juu-kyu) - nineteen


Numbers from 20 to 100

にじゅう (ni-juu) - twenty

さんじゅう (san-juu) - thirty

よんじゅう (yon-juu) - forty

ごじゅう (go-juu) - fifty

ろくじゅう (roku-juu) - sixty

ななじゅう (nana-juu) - seventy

はちじゅう (hachi-juu) - eighty

きゅうじゅう (kyu-juu) - ninety

ひゃく(hyaku) - one hundred

Japanese Words and Phrases for Beginners

Read more: The Greatest Famous French Quotes for Inspiration

Core Japanese Verbs: An Essential List

Following, we have compiled a few essential verbs you must have in your japanese vocabulary.

食べる (Taberu) – To eat

見る(Miru) – To watch

寝る(Neru) – To sleep

勉強する(Benkyou suru) – To study

読む(Yomu) – To read

飲む(Nomu) – To drink

歩く(Aruku) – To walk

座る(Suwaru) – To sit

聞く(Kiku) – To hear/listen

Japanese Words and Phrases for Beginners

Japanese Words and Phrases for Beginners

You may not always know how to say words in japanese. Knowing some basic words of Japanese will go a long way. Locals appreciate the effort that travelers make to learn their language. Following, you’ll find some easy words in Japanese that will make communication easier.

Basic Phrases

Perhaps you want to greet, thank or communicate something simple to someone. In that case, you may want to use one of the below phrases:​​

はい。(Hai) - Yes

いいえ。(Iie) - No

おねがいします。(O-negai shimasu) - Please

ありがとう。(Arigatō) - Thank you

どういたしまして。(Dōitashimashite) - You're welcome

すみません。(Sumimasen) - Excuse me

ごめんなさい。(Gomennasai) - I am sorry


Now you have almost all the basics to communicate in Japanese. But what is missing? The greetings, of course! Here is how to start a regular conversation in your target language:

こんにちわ (Konnichiwa) - Hello, Good afternoon

おはようございます。(Ohayō gozaimasu) - Good morning

こんばんは。(Konbanwa) - Good evening

おやすみなさい。(O-yasumi nasai) - Good night

Are you interested in studying Japanese more in-depth? A great way to do that is with a language tutor! UpskillsTutor is an amazing platform that helps language learners like you find their ideal tutor. With a wide variety of tutors, you won’t have any excuses anymore!

Read more: The Most Common English Slang Words & Phrases

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Your First Japanese Vocabulary Words

What are the numbers 1 to 10 in Japanese?

いち (ichi) - one; に (ni) - two; さん (san) - three; し / よん (shi / yon) - four… Read more on UpskillsTutor

What is basic phrases in Japanese?

はい。(Hai) - Yes; いいえ。(Iie) - No; おねがいします。(O-negai shimasu) - Please… Read more on UpskillsTutor

What are the numbers 20 to 100 in Japanese?

にじゅう (ni-juu) - twenty, さんじゅう (san-juu) - thirty,よんじゅう (yon-juu) - forty, ごじゅう (go-juu) - fifty, ろくじゅう (roku-juu) - sixty… Read more on UpskillsTutor

What are Japanese nouns?

日本 (Nihon) - Japan; こと (Koto) - About (something or someone); 名前 (Namae) - Name; 人 (Hito or Nin) - Person…Read more on UpskillsTutor