Survival Kanji and Katakana 101


It’s true that on the streets of Japan you will need some kind of survival Kanji and Katakana to navigate Japan’s maps, train network, bus services, restaurant menus and more can be daunting when you are not familiar with the local characters. In fact, Japanese uses 3 different writing systems namely Hiragana, Katakana (Foreign loan words) and Kanji (Chinese Characters) just to add to the confusion.

So, in these next few chapters, I will try to provide some useful guide on important words and phrases, both in Katakana and Kanji (Chinese Characters) that will help make your trip or life in Japan hopefully a little bit smoother.

In today’s post, I have provided some of the more common Katakana and Kanji words you will see around Japan. Good luck 🙂


トイレ (Toire) – Toilet/ Public Restroom

ビール (Bi-ru) – Beer

ワイン (Wain) – Wine

コンビニ (Konbini) – Convenience Store

メニュー (Menyu) – Menu


お手洗い (Otearai) – Toilet/Public Restroom

電車 (Densha) – Train

電話 (Denwa) – Telephone

危ない (Abunai) – Dangerous

危険 (Kiken) – Dangerous

非常 (Hijyou) – Emergency

出口 (Deguchi) – Exit

入口 (Iriguchi) – Entrance

銀行 (Ginkou) – Bank

禁止 (Kinshi) – Prohibition

禁煙 (Kin’en) – No-Smoking Area

喫煙 (Kitsu’en) – Smoking Area

男 (Otoko) – Male

男性 (Dansei) – Male

女 (On’na) – Female

女性 (Josei) – Female



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