Shopping in Japan is a true experience. From the products themselves to the exceptional service offered, it is no wonder that most tourists visiting will have a whole day dedicated to just shopping.
Today we are going to run you through just some of the most useful phrases for different shopping scenarios!
At the Supermarket
Although shopping at the supermarket in Japan is relatively straightforward as everything is usually displayed and labeled very clearly, there may be occasions where you have to speak to the staff and ask questions.
One situation which may come up is that you want to know if a certain item is in stock. Once you have gotten the attention of a store worker, you can just repeat this phrase:
。。。ざいこまだありますか。(no zaiko mada arimasu ka）
Do you have [product name] in stock?
Another instance is that if you are at fish or meat counter and looking to buy a certain amount, you will want to ask:
これを。。。ください (kore o kudasai)
I’d like [this much] of this
Example: これをふたつください (kore o futatsu kudsai)
Can I have two of these please?
Now let’s move on to when you are checking out. You will most likely be asked if you need a plastic bag but in the case the cashier forgets, you can ask:
れじぶくろいちまいおねがいします (rejibukuro ichimai onegaishimasu)
Can I have a plastic bag please?
Going Gift Shopping
Gift-giving is engrained in Japanese culture meaning that it is easy for you to find unique gifts which you can bring back to your friends and family. From beautifully packaged confectionery to one-of-a-kind pottery, there is an endless amount of choice.
When buying gifts at a department store or somewhere else, they will normally also offer a gift wrapping service for a small additional fee. Sometimes you may need to ask the store clerk for this so in this situation you can say:
プレゼントようにつつんでいただけますか。(Purezento-yō ni tsutsunde
Please can you gift wrap this?
In the situation you are shopping at a local store which is filled with handmade and fragile products, you will want to ask the shop staff before picking up anything to take a closer look. Here you will want to use:
さわてめいいですか。 (sawattemo iidesuka)
May I touch it?
In some of the smaller and more local shops, items may not be clearly priced. Therefore, you will want to use this essential phrase, which will also be useful in other shopping scenarios:
これはいくらですか (kore wa ikura desuka)
How much is this?
When Clothes Shopping
Japan is renowned for its amazing and affordable fashion brands. It is likely at some point that you will pop into a clothes store and want to try something on. Most of the time, you will need to get the attention of a store clerk and ask to use the fitting rooms. The phrase you will want to use here is:
しちゃくしてもいいですか。 (Shichaku shite mo īdesu ka)
Can I try this on please?
After you have tried on the item, you may have decided that you don’t want it. When handing the item back you can just simply say ‘sumimasen (すみません). Alternatively, you may want to try a different size or see if there are more colours. For this, you will want to say:
Do you have this?
Example: みどりはありますか。 (midori wa arimasuka)
Do you have a green [one]?
Example: Mサイズはありますか。 (M saizu wa arimasuka)
Do you have a M Size?
If you just want to know what other colours are available, you could also ask:
べつのいろはありますか。 (Betsu no iro wa arimasuka)
Do you have this in another colour?
You may be in the situation that after a few days, you decide you want to exchange or return your item. Many shops don’t accept returns so just make sure to be aware of this. However, if you are able to exchange you will want to ask:
こうかんできますか。(koukan dekimasu ka)
Can I exchange this?
And to return an item, you will want to say:
へんぴんすることができますか。(Henpin suru koto ga dekimasu ka)
Can I return this?
Other Useful Phrases
Here are some other phrases which may come in handy whilst you are out and about shopping.
If you are a tourist visiting Japan, you will want to make the most out of buying products tax-free. Although the majority of things are eligible, not everything is so it is best to double check. To do this, just repeat:
これはめんぜいでかえますか。(Kore wa menzei de kaemasu ka)
Can I get tax-free on this?
You may also want to think about whether to purchase an item or not and therefore come back to the store later. To find out what time the store is opened until, you can simply say:
なんじまであいてますか。(Nanji made aitemasuka)
What time are you open to?
Notably, in many instances when you are about to pay by card, the cashier will sometimes ask:
いかいいでよろしいですか (Ikkai barai de yoroshi desu ka）
Can I make a one time payment on your credit card?
To keep things simple, it is best to say yes to this but it is an useful phrase to listen out for as it gives you the option to split your payment.
Stay tuned for our next useful short-phrases article coming very soon!
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