Easy Japanese To Help You Shop ‘Til You Drop

Get in loser, we're going shopping

Study hard so you can shop harder.

Whether you’re exploring through the iconic Ginza Six or roaming the back streets of Aoyama, shopping through Tokyo can be quite the experience. From gorgeous luxury items to cute and adorable picks, we guarantee you’ll discover treasures here that you won’t find anywhere else. On top of that is the impeccably polite staff, spotless amenities, and high-quality services like free gift wrapping put shopping in other countries around the world to shame.

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All that being said when visiting even the bigger department stores in Tokyo, you’re not always guaranteed to find English speaking staff to help you. Here are some common phrases you can use when out revamping your wardrobe.

Hunting for threads

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The easiest and most basic phrase is to ask if they have what you are looking for is:

  • Excuse me, do you have ____ ?
  • すみません、____ ありますか? (Sumimasen, ____ arimasu ka?)

Another very commonly used phrase is:

  • Excuse me, I’m looking for ____, do you have it/them?
  • すみません、____を探しているんですが、ありますか? (Sumimasen ____ o sagashiterun desu ga, arimasu ka?)

Time to try it on

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Once you’ve found what you are looking for, you might want to try it on. In that case, this phrase is extremely useful:

  • Can I try this on?
  • これ、試着してもいいですか?(Kore, shichaku shitemo ii desu ka?)

You can also just say:

  • Please show this to me.
  • これを見せてください。(Kore o misete kudasai.)

You might want a be shown the item in a different size. In that case you would ask:

  • Do you have a bigger size?
  • これよりも大きいサイズ、ありますか?(Koreyorimo ookii saizu arimasu ka?)
  • Do you have a smaller size?
  • これよりも小さいサイズありますか?(Koreyorimo chiisai saizu arimasu ka?)

Now that you’ve found what you’re looking for

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To ask the price of something, say:

  • How much is it?
  • いくらですか? (Ikura desu ka?)

Finally, if you like what you’ve found you can say:

  • This one, please.
  • これください。 (Kore kudasai.)
  • I’ll take this one.
  • これにします。 (Kore ni shimasu.)

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One last point to remember is that compared to other countries, Japan is more of a cash based society. Therefore, if you want to use a card, it’s best to mention it first. In that case, you’ll want to say: 

  • I’ll pay by card, please.
  • カードでお願いします。 (Kaado de onegai shimasu.)

Even if you feel a little overwhelmed, remember that most department store and shop staff are usually incredibly helpful and polite. So don’t be shy to test out your new Japanese skills on your next shopping spree!

For more useful Japanese learning materials, including PDF cheat sheets and podcasts, please visit Learn Japanese Pod

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