Glossary of Japanese Words
While traveling through Japan for the first time you may feel overwhelmed by the number of new terms and words you encounter every day. To help you during the trip and make it smoother, here are some words that you will see often, including their Japanese writing.
Jinja (神社／じんじゃ）: Shinto Shrine.
Shinto（神道／しんとう）: Shinto is the native religion of Japan, literally translated as “the way of the Gods”.
Otera（お寺／おてら）: Buddhist temple.
Densha（電車／でんしゃ）: (Electric) train.
Shinkansen（新幹線／しんかんせん）: Bullet train (High speed train).
Kimono（着物／きもの）: Traditional Japanese clothes.
Yukata（浴衣／ゆかた）: Summer Kimono, simpler and sometimes more colorful than the general Kimono.
Nippon/Nihon（日本／にっぽん／にほん）: Japan. It can be pronounced both ways. Nippon is more official and strong, Nihon is a bit more casual and soft.
Edo（江戸／えど）: Former name of the city of Tokyo. Because the Tokugawa Shogunate ruled from Edo for 260 years, this period of history is called the “Edo Period.”
Hashi（箸／はし）: Long wooden sticks that narrow at a pointed end that are used for eating in Japan.
Denwa Bango（電話番号／でんわばんごう）: Telephone Number.
Tenno Heika（天皇陛下／てんのうへいか）: His Majesty the Emperor of Japan.
Samurai（侍／さむらい）: Warriors of great honor who protected the towns or territories of a feudal lord, until the Meiji era (1868).
Geisha（芸者／げいしゃ）: They are traditional performers of Japanese arts and music. They specialize in dance, singing, and the interpretation of a variety of instruments that include hand drums, shoulder drums, shamisen, and Japanese flutes.
Anime（アニメ／あにめ）: “Anime” comes from the word “Animation” and within Japan, it is used to refer to any type of animation, while in the West it refers only to the content produced in the land of the rising sun.