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Is Shopping in Japan That Different? Weirdly Useful Phrases That Show Japan's Shopping Culture

Is Shopping in Japan That Different? Weirdly Useful Phrases That Show Japan's Shopping Culture

Date published: 6 March 2020
Last updated: 1 May 2020

While shopping around in Japan, it’s likely that a shop worker will come up to you and try to help you out at least once while you are here.

However, it’s always a little bit stressful when someone comes up to you and tells you or asks you something in a language you don’t understand!

This article will review and discuss some common phrases used by Japanese shop staff.

ご自宅用ですか?Go jitaku you desu ka? / Is this for yourself?
This is a question meaning to ask “Is this for yourself?” (versus it being a gift). Its literal translation is around the lines of asking if it is to be used at home. It’s very common in Japan for shops to offer gift-wrapping services, which is why they often specifically ask. So, if it’s for yourself, a simple “はい (hai; yes)” will suffice. If it’s a present, you can say “プレゼント用です (purezento you desu; it’s a present).

If you reply to them saying that it is a present, it’s likely that they will follow up with one of the following questions:

―ラッピングされますか?Rappingu saremasu ka? / Would you like it wrapped?
If yes, then another “hai” is enough, or “onegaishimasu”, which means “please.” If no, just say “いいえ (iie)” or “大丈夫です daijobu desu.”

―お渡し用の袋はご利用になりますか?Owatashi you no fukuro wa goriyou desu ka? / Would you like an extra bag?
Keywords: Fukuro, bag
More often than not, if you buy a present for someone in Japan, they will ask you if you would like an extra bag to use when you give the present to someone. This will often just be placed inside the bag they give you and you will need to put the present in the new bag yourself, but your gift will look even nicer in a pristine bag!

―新しいものをお出ししますか?Atarashii mono wo odashi shimasu ka? / Would you like me to bring a new one out for you?
Keywords: Atarashii, new
Many shops will put items out for display and keep new ones in the back to bring out for customers when being bought, so this phrase will be good to know when the time comes!

~~円になります/~~円です。~en ni narimasu/~en desu. / The total is ~~ yen.
Keyword: En, yen
Perhaps what you will hear most in Japan are these phrases! While the wording is different, the meaning of them is the same—just telling you the total cost of your purchase.

If you are feeling ambitious and would like to ask the staff something at a shop, try these useful phrases. You may find it quite helpful with your shopping experience!

袋をもう一枚もらえますか? Fukuro wo mou ichi mai moraemasu ka? / May I have another bag?
Sometimes, the shop you are at won’t offer wrapping services or the workers won’t ask you if you would like another bag. Saying this will get you an extra bag for you to give your presents in.

新しいのありますか? Atarashii no arimasu ka? / Do you have a new one?
Sometimes, if you don’t ask, they won’t bring out a new item for you. So, if you want to make sure you will get the best item, try asking them this!

While the Japanese language is quite difficult to understand and the grammar is completely different from English, knowing these keywords and commonly used sentences could be a life saver while you’re here!

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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