HOME Japanese 101: Helpful Phrases to Know Before Going Shopping for Clothes
Japanese 101: Helpful Phrases to Know Before Going Shopping for Clothes

Japanese 101: Helpful Phrases to Know Before Going Shopping for Clothes

Date published: 21 February 2019

Japan is famous for its unique fashion trends and styles, making it a big reason why many tourists make a great effort to go clothes shopping while in Japan. Understanding and trying out these phrases, or even just a few keywords, will help you to get the best items while you’re here!

いらっしゃいませ Irasshaimase / Welcome
どうぞご覧ください Douzo goran kudasai / Please take a look
These are greetings the staff will say, sometimes without even looking at a customer. If they notice someone enter the store, they will frequently say these somewhat offhandedly. Don’t feel like you need to reply to this, but if you make eye contact it might be best to bow your head a bit!

お探しのものはございますか? Osagashi no mono wa gozaimasu ka? / Are you looking for something specific?
Keyword: Osagashi, looking for
In some shops, the workers might not come up to you directly. However, at many places it’s common for the workers to approach you and try to help when you begin looking at clothes.
They often use this phrase, so if you remember the keyword “osagashi (looking for)” it will help you figure out what they are asking you!
You can reply to this in these ways:
For a simple yes, you can say “hai”. Continuing by showing them a picture of the item you are looking for and saying, “kore (this)” might be the best option in this situation!
If you don’t have anything that you are looking for, you can just say “Toku ni”, which means “not really” or “daijoubu desu” for “I’m fine”.

ご試着されますか?Go shichaku saremasu ka? / Would you like to try it on?
Keyword(s): Shichaku (try on) + ka at the end (ka is a question marker)
(よかったら) ご試着してみてください。(Yokattara) go shichaku shite mite kudasai. Please try it on (if you’d like).
Keywords(s): Shichaku (try on) + kudasai (please)|b@>
If you look at an item for a while or seem interested in it, the staff will usually take notice and come say one of these to you. If you would like to try the item on, you can say “Iin desu ka? Arigatou gozaimasu (May I? Thank you).”
In case the staff does not notice that you would like to try something on, you can approach them and ask, “Kore wo shichaku shite mo ii desu ka? (May I try this on?)” The staff will then lead you to a fitting room where you can try on the garment.

今お安くなってますよ。Ima oyasuku nattemasu yo. / It’s on sale (cheaper) right now.
Keyword: Yasuku/yasui, cheap
You can smile and nod to this or say a simple “arigatou gozaimasu”.

最後の一着です。Saigo no icchaku desu. / This is our last one (of this item).
Keyword: Saigo, last
If the item you want is the last of it in the store, workers will usually tell you and let you take a look at it to make sure there is no damage. If everything looks okay, replying with “Daijoubu desu (It’s fine)” will suffice. If there happens to be some damage and you decide you do not want it, saying “Sumimasen, yamete okimasu (Sorry, I’ll pass)” is enough.

Bonus:
To ask if they have something, this is a good and simple template sentence to remember:
___ arimasu ka? / Do you have ___?
A few examples of words you could add to complete this sentence would be:
−色違い iro chigai - A different color
−S/M/Lサイズ S/M/L saizu S/M/L size
−これkore - This (if you want to show them a picture of something you want)

Knowing these expressions can hopefully help you find the item best for you! Don’t be afraid to try speaking a little bit of Japanese to the workers—they will more than likely be very happy to help, and will welcome the extra effort!

Written by Lindsey Schultz

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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