There are tons of sites that teach you basic Japanese phrases for travel in Japan, but almost none of them teach you useful phrases to use when you are in Japanese “Konbini” or convenience stores. So here are some useful phrases to know when you stop by your favorite 7-11, Lawson, or Family Mart in Japan!
- いらっしゃいませ! / Irasshaimase!
This is an easy one, and a phrase that you will hear very often when you enter a konbini, restaurant, or store in Japan. It basically means “Welcome!” or “Come on in!”
You don’t have to reply, so just smile and go inside.
- _______ はどこですか? / _____ wa doko desu ka?
This phrase means—Where is ________?
This is another very easy, but very useful phrase. You can insert almost any word in the blank space, and you will usually have someone point you in the right direction.
Need to know where the chips are? Well, CHIPS はどこですか? Will give you the answer.
- _______ はいくらですか? / ______ wa ikura desu ka?
This phrase means—How much is _____?
Another phrase you are probably familiar with. Insert the item you want to buy in the blank and find out how much it cost.
For example, DONUTS はいくらですか? Will help you get the price of donuts.
- _____ はここでうっていますか? / _____ wa koko de utte imasu ka?
This phrase means—Do you sell ______ here?
If you want to know if the konbini sells a certain item, then just place the item in the blank and you will usually get a はい (hai—yes) or an いいえ (iie—no).
For example, use ONIGIRI はここでうっていますか? To find out if they sell onigiri—and they probably do!
- つぎのかたどうぞ! / Tsugi no Kata Douzo!
This phrase means—Next person please!
You will hear this phrase whenever there is a line of people waiting for the next cashier to be ready. So if you hear this phrase, head over to the cashier that is probably rasing their hand or waiving you to come.
- あたためましょうか? / Atatame mashouka?
This phrase means—Do you want it heated up?
This is a useful phrase if you will be buying some cold bento or other food that you want to get warmed up in the konbini microwave. Some hotels or AirBnBs might not have a microwave, so it is nice to get your food warmed-up before heading back to your room for the night.
You can either respond はい、おねがいします (hai, onegaishimasu—Yes, Please) or いいえ、けっこうです (iie, kekkoudesu—no thank you).
- ________はごりようされますか? / ______wa go riyou saremasuka?
This phrase means—Would you like _____?
You will usually hear this phrase when you are at the register counter, and it is the staff member asking you if you want whatever is in the blank.
For example, おはしはごりようされますか? (Ohashi wa go riyou saremasuka?) means do you want chopsticks.
- ____ をください / _____ o kudasai.
This phrase means—Can I have ____ please?
If you don’t want to wait for the konbini staff to ask if you want to use something, then just use this phrase to ask for what you want.
For example, STRAW をください will get you a straw for your drink.
- ふくろにおいれしましょうか? / Fukuro ni oireshimashouka?
This phrase means—Do you want me to put it in a bag?
You will hear this phrase when the konbini staff is getting ready to place your items in a plastic bag, so let them know if you don’t need one!
- カードでもいいですか? / Kado de mo ii desu ka?
This phrase means—Can I use a credit card?
Almost all konbini take credit cards, but this phrase may be useful if you are not sure. It can also be useful in almost every other location in Japan, if you want to know if you can pay with your credit card.
- ポイントカードはおもちですか? / Point Card wa omochi desu ka?
This phrase means—Do you have a Point Card?
You may hear this phrase when you are paying, because konbini usually have Point Cards that allow you to earn points each time you buy something in the store. You can take out your point card—if you have one, or just politely let the staff know you don’t have one.
- レシートはいりますか? / Receipt wa irimasuka?
This phrase means—Do you want the receipt in your bag?
Most konbini staff usually know that people want them to be as convenient as possible, so many times they will ask you if you just want the receipt in your bag. Again, you can tell them yes, or politely say no.
- あなたは２０歳以上ですか? / Anata wa 20 sai ijou desu ka?
This phrase means—Are you 20 years old?
You will see this phrase on konbini register computers if you are buying beer, liquor, or cigarettes in Japan—as the minimum drinking and smoking age is 20 years old in Japan.
When you see this phrase pop-up on the register screen, then click yes or no on the screen.
- トイレつかっていいですか? / Toire tsukatte ii desu ka?
This phrase means—Can I use the toilet?
This is always a useful phrase to know. Just ask the konbini staff if you can use the toilet, and most will be happy to point you in the right direction.
And just a few more tips about Japanese konbini:
- If there are long lines, then make sure to look for the little red marks in front of some cash registers—you should stand behind the red marks until it is your turn.
- Most small shopping baskets are located right next to the doors when you walk inside, so make sure you look there first!
- When you pay, you generally don’t have to hand your money or card to the konbini staff, as there are convenient plastic trays for you to place your money.
I really hope these phrases help you during your travel to Japan, because I am sure you will be visiting a Japanese konbini during your time there.
Come back soon, as we will be providing you more useful phrases!