Japanese Phrases [Shopping in Japan] ~Beginner Level~

Just by knowing some simple Japanese phrases, your time shopping in Japan can become a lot more fun. So here are some beginner-level Japanese phrases that you can use when shopping in Japan!


Japanese Culture

Below is an explanation using text and images. There's also points that weren't touched upon in the video, so please use this article as further reference!

Excuse me, how much is this?

[ Sumimasen. Kore wa ikura desu ka? ]
Excuse me, how much is this?


“Sumimasen” is a word that is used when you want to apologize to, thank, or request something from someone. When asking a question to someone, if you stick “Sumimasen” at the beginning and “desu ka” at the end of a sentence, you’ll sound more polite.
“Kore” refers to the item that the speaker is holding, or alternatively, something next to the speaker.
“Ikura” is used when talking about amounts or prices. Just saying “Ikura?” while pointing at the item you want will get the message through, but following the phrase above is more polite.

Excuse me. Do you have tenugui?

[ Sumimasen. Tenugui wa arimasu ka? ]
Excuse me. Do you have tenugui?


A “tenugui” is a long piece of cloth that has been used in Japan since the olden days for things like wiping off sweat, hands, or bodies. It has a lot of other uses, such as acting as sunshade, wiping off dust, being a fashion or head accessory during special events like festivals, and being used to wrap bentos (lunch boxes).
When you want to check if the store sells what you’re looking for, all you have to do is replace “tenugui” with the name of the item you’re looking for in the phrase above.
If they stock the item, the staff will say “Arimasu”. If they don’t, then they should say “Arimasen” or “Shinagire desu”.

Excuse me. I'd like this, please.

[ Sumimasen. Kore wo kudasai. ]
Excuse me. I’d like this, please.


“Kudasai” is used to request something (action or item) from someone.
If you use this in a store, you’re expressing your wish to buy something. It’s frequently used in Japan, but depending on what situation you use it in, its meaning changes.

Do you accept credit cards?

[ Kado wa tsukaemasu ka? ]
Do you accept credit cards?

If you see the word “Kado” at a store in Japan, it refers to credit cards. In Japan, small businesses (such as sole proprietorships) often don’t accept credit cards, so it’s best to ask prior to making a purchase. You can also often find a sticker at the entrance or near the register showing what credit cards they do accept, so you should check that as well.

Please use these Japanese phrases to make your time shopping in Japan the best it can be!

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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