Asking for / Giving directions

DIRECTIONS

「すみません。日本はどこですか?」

= Sumimasen. Nihon wa doko desuka?

= Excuse me. Where is “Japan”?

Fella: 「まっすぐ行って、左に曲がって下さい。」

= Massugu itte, hidari ni magatte kudasai.

= Go straight and turn left.

Hi everyone!
Today’s guest teacher is Fella Sensei and Nemo Sensei.
They will teach you some practical Japanese.

*****

Hello!  We are Fella and Nemo. Today we will teach you how to ask for directions and how to give directions.
Hope this lesson will help you when you get lost in Japan.

 :w: Asking for direction

*Talking to people

Ex. すみません

= Sumimasen.

= Excuse me.

Ex. ちょっと道を聞いてもいいですか?

= Chotto michi wo kiite mo ii desuka?

= May I ask you for directions?

Ex. ちょっといいですか?

= Chotto ii desu ka?

= May I ask you a question? / Do you have time? / Excuse me.

*Telling someone you’re lost

Ex. 道に迷ってしまいました。

= Michi ni mayotte shimaimashita.

= I am lost.

*Where is ~?

:rrrr: 〜はどこですか?

= ~ wa doko desuka?

Ex. トイレはどこですか?

= Toire wa doko desuka?

= Where is the rest room?

Note: You can also say お手洗い(=otearai) bathroom, restroom

:rrrr:〜はどこにありますか?

= ~ wa doko ni arimasu ka?

Ex. バス停はどこにありますか?

= Basutei wa doko ni arimasu ka?

= Where is the bus stop?

*Is there  ~ around here?

:rrrr: *この辺に~はありますか?

= Kono hen ni ~ wa arimasu ka?

Ex. この辺にコンビニはありますか?

= Kono hen ni konbini wa arimasu ka?

= Is there a convenience store around here?

Ex. この辺に郵便局はありますか?

= Kono hen ni yuubinkyoku wa arimsu ka?

= Is there a post office around here?

*Is there ~ near here?

:rrrr: *この近くに~はありますか?

= Kono chikaku ni ~ wa arimasu ka?

Ex. この近くに郵便局はありますか?

= Kono chikaku ni yuubinkyoku wa arimsauka?

= Is there a post office near here?

Ex. この近くに美味しいラーメン屋はありますか?

= Kono chikaku ni oishii raamen ya wa arimasu ka?

= Is there any good ramen shop near here?

Instead of saying どこですか ( = dokodesu ka), you can also say

 :rrrr: *I’m looking for ~

:rrrr: 〜を探しているのですが…。

= ~ wo sagashite iru no desu ga…

Ex. コインロッカーを探しているのですが…。

= Koin rokka wo sagashite iru no desu ga…

= I am looking for a coin-operated locker.

Ex. オークマホテルを探しているのですが…。

= Ookuma hoteru wo sagashite iru no desu ga…

= I am looking for Okuma Hotel…

Note: It looks like an unfinished sentence but it sounds softer and more polite than どこですか ( = dokodesu ka) .

*How can I get to ~ from here?

:rrrr: *ここから~までどうやって行ったらいいですか?

= Koko kara ~ made douyatte ittara ii desu ka?

Ex. ここから京都駅までどうやって行ったらいいですか?

= Koko kara Kyoto eki made douyatte ittara ii desuka?

= How can I get to Kyoto Station from here?

variation:

:rrrr: *〜は (ここから)どうやって行ったらいいですか?

= ~ wa (koko kara) douyatte ittara ii desuka?

Ex. ワンワンホテルはここからどうやって行ったらいいですか?

= Wanwan hoteru wa koko kara douyatte ittara ii desu ka?

= How can I get to Wanwan hotel?

*I would like to go to ~.  Could you tell me how to get there?

Ex. 池袋まで行きたいのですが。どうやって行ったらいいですか?

= Ikebukuro made ikitaino desuga. Douyatte ittara ii desuka?

= I would like to go to Ikebukuro. How can I get there?

 :rrrr: Sometimes you just omit the rest

Ex. 東京駅まで行きたいのですが…

= Toukyoueki made ikitai no desu ga…

= I would like to go to Tokyo

(You can also say 行きたいんですが= ikitain desuga. It sounds slightly more casual. )

*Showing a map

(pointing the place)

Ex. ここに行きたいんですが…。

= Koko ni ikitain desuga.

= I’d like to go to this place.

*Showing the address

Ex. この住所に行きたいのですが…。

= Kono juusho ni ikitaino desu ga.

= I’d like to go to this address.

*Could you tell me how to get to ~

Ex. 銀座までの行き方を教えて下さい。

= Ginza made no ikikata wo oshiete kudasai.

= Please tell me how to get to Ginza.

(polite)

*教えていただけますか?

= Oshiete itadakemasu ka?

= Could you tell me…

Ex. 原宿への行き方を教えて下さい。

= Harajuku he no ikikata wo oshiete kudasai.

= Please tell me how to get t o Harajuku

*Where is the nearest ~  from here.

Ex. ここから一番、近い薬局はどこにありますか?

= Koko kara ichiban, chikai yakkyoku wa doko ni arimasu ka?

= Where is the closest pharmacy from here?

Ex.ここから一番、近い、JR駅はどこですか?

= Koko kara ichiban, chikai, JR eki  wa doko desu ka?

= Where is the closest JR station from here?

Ex.最寄りの地下鉄の駅を教えてください。

= Moyori no chikatetsu no eki wo oshiete kudasai.

= Please tell me what the nearest subway station is?

*Asking where you are.

Ex. ここはどこですか?

= Koko wa doko desuka?

= Where are we?

Ex. これは何という通りですか?

= Kore wa nanto iu toori desuka?

= What is this street? / What is the name of this street.

*To make sure where you are.

Ex. 明治神宮に行くにはこの道で合っていますか?

= Meiji jinguu ni iku niwa kono michi de atte imasu ka?

= Is this the right street to get to Meiji Shrine?

Ex. アメ横に行きたいのですが、こちらでいいですか?

= Ameyoko ni ikitai no desu ga, kochira de ii desuka?

= I’d like to go to Ameyoko. Is this the right way?

*Where can I do ~?

Ex. どこでチケットが買えますか?

= Doko de chiketto ga kaemasu ka?

= Where can I buy a ticket?

or

Ex. チケットはどこで買えますか?

= Chiketto wa doko de kaemasu ka?

*How long does it take to ~ from here?

:rrrr: こから~までどの位、時間がかかりますか?

= Koko kara ~ made donogurai, jikan ga kakarimasu ka?

Ex. ここから原宿までどの位、時間がかかりますか?

= Koko kara harajuku made dono gurai, jikan ga kakarimasu ka?

= How long does it take to Harajuku from here?

Ex. ここから歩いて、どの位かかりますか?

= Koko kara aruite, donogurai kakarimasu ka?

= How long does it take to get there from here on foot?

Note: 歩いて= aruite = on foot / 地下鉄で= chikatetsu de = by subway

********

direction2

Nemo: 「道に迷いました。”犬”生にも迷っています。」

= Michi ni mayoimashita. “Ken” sei ni mo mayotte imasu.

= I am lost. I am also lost my way in “dog” life.

Note: Usually you say 人生に迷う= jinsei ni mayou = to lose one’s way in life.

:mm: Giving directions:

Now in this second part, Nemo-Sensei will teach you how to give directions.
Hope this section helps you understand what people tell you.

First if they don’t know how to get to the place you were asking, they will say

Ex.  すみません。わかりません。

= Sumimasen. Wakarimasen.

= I am sorry. I don’t know.

Ex. この辺は詳しくないので..ごめんなさい。

= Kono hen wa kuwashiku nainode…gomennasai.

= I am sorry. I am not familiar with this area so….

If they can help you, they might say,

Ex. はい、どうぞ

= Hai, douzo.

= Sure,  how may I help you?

Ex. どこへ行かれるんですか?

= Doko ye ikarerun desu ka?

= Where would you like to go?

Ex. どちらへ行かれたいのですか?

= Dochira ye ikaretai no desuka?

= Where would you like to go?

OK, I will give you basic vocabulary and sentences.

*ここ (= koko) / (polite) こちら(=kochira) / (casual) こっち(=kocchi)  = here

*そこ(= soko) / (polite) そちら(=sochira)/ (casual) そっち(=socchi)  = there

*あそこ(= asoko)  / (polite) あちら=achira/ (casual) あっち=acchi= over there

*向こう(=mukou) = over there

Ex. ここは本町6丁目です。

= Koko wa Honmachi rokuchoume desu.

= It’s Honmachi 6-chome, here.

(丁目=choume = district of a town/city block)

Ex. あそこにあります。

= Asoko ni arimasu.

= It’s over there.

Ex. ここからちょっと遠いです。

= Koko kara chotto tooi desu.

= It’s a little far from here.

Ex. すぐそこです。

= Sugu soko desu.

= It’s right there.

Note: すぐ( = sugu) means “very near”

Ex. ここから歩いて10分ぐらいです。

= Koko kara aruite juppun gurai desu.

= It’s about  a 10 minute walk from here

Please check 公共交通機関 (= Koukyou koutsuukikan ) = Public Transport lesson for all the instructions to take public transportation.

If they are nice, they might offer you to go with you.

Ex. 同じ方向に行くので一緒に行きますよ。

= Onaji houkou ni iku node issho ni ikimasu yo.

= Shall I go with you? I am going to the same direction anyway.

* = michi = street

*細い道 = hosoi michi= narrow street

*広い道 =  hiroi michi= big street

*通り = toori = street, avenue

Ex. あの通りです。

= Ano toori desu.

= That’s street (is the one you are looking for.)

Ex. あそこに広い通りがありますよね。

= Asoko ni hiroi toori ga arimasu yone.

= You see the big street over there?

*信号 = shingou = traffic lights

*交差点 = kousaten = intersection

*行く= iku = to go

:rrrr: 行ってください。

= Itte kudasai.

= Please go

*まっすぐ = massugu = straight

Ex. まっすぐ行ってください。

= Massugu itte kudasai.

= Please  go straight.

Ex. この道をまっすぐ行ってください。

= Kono michi wo massugu itte kudasai.

= Please go straight along the street.

*渡る = wataru = to cross

Ex. 交差点を渡ってまっすぐ歩いてください。

= Kousaten wo watatte massugu aruite kudasai.

= Please cross the intersection and go straight.

*反対側 = hantaigawa = opposite side.

Ex. 反対側に渡ってください。

= Hantai gawa ni watatte kudasai.

= Please cross the street to the opposite side.

*通りすぎる = toori sugiru / 通り越す= toori kosu= to pass

Ex. 通り過ぎてしまいましたね。

= Toorisugite shimaimashitane.

= You went too far.

Ex. 郵便局を通りすぎると広い通りに出ます。

= Yuubinkyoku wo toori sugiru to hiroi toori ni demasu.

= Passing the post office, you will come to a big street.

*曲がる=magaru= to turn

:rrrr: 曲がってください。

= Magatte kudasai.

= Please turn.

* = migi = right

* = hidari = left

* = kado = corner

Ex. 右に曲がってください。

= Migi ni magatte kudasai.

= Please turn right.

Ex. あの角を左に曲がって下さい。

= Ano kado wo hidari ni magatte kudasai.

= Please turn left at that corner.

Ex.この道をまっすぐ行って、3本目の道を左に入って下さい。

= Kono michi wo massugu itte, sanbon me no michi wo hidari ni haitte kudasai.

= Go straight along this street and turn left at the third street.

Ex. 2本目の道を右に曲がってください。

= Nihonme no michi wo migi ni magatte kudasai.

= Please turn right at the second street.

*つきあたり = tsukiatari = end of the street

Ex. この道をまっすぐ行ってつきあたりを右に曲がって下さい。

= Kono michi wo massugu itte tsukiatari wo migi ni magatte kudasai.

= Please go straight along the street and turn right at the end of the street.

* = yoko = next to, by

* = tonari = right next to

Ex.花井ビルの隣にあります。

= Hanaibiru no tonari ni arimasu.

= It is right next to Hanai Building.

Ex. 右から3軒目の店です。

= Migi kara sangen me no mise desu.

= It is the third store (restaurant / bar) from the right.

Ex.駅の横にあります。

= Eki no yoko ni arimasu.

= It is next to the station.

Ex. コンビニだったら、郵便局の隣にありますよ。

= Konbini dattara, yuubinkyoku no tonari ni arimasuyo.

= If you are looking for a convenience store, it is right next to the post office.

***
If you are in the building.

* = kai = floor

*1階 = ikkai = the 1st  floor

*2階 = nikai = the 2nd  floor

*3階 = sangai = the 3rd floor

*4階 = yonkai = the 4th floor

*5階 = gokai = the 5th floor

*6階 = rokkai = the 6th floor

*7階 = nanakai = the 7th floor

*8階 = hachikai /hakkai= the 8th floor

*9階 = kyuukai = the 9th floor

*10階 = jukkai = the 10th floor

*地下 = chika = basement floor

*地下1階 = chika ikkai=1st basement floor

*屋上 = okujou = roof of the building

*階段 = kaidan = stairs

*エレベーター = erebeetaa = elevator

*エスカレーター = esukareetaa = escalator

Ex. あの階段で2階まで上がってください。

= Ano kaidan de nikai made agatte kudasai.

= Please go up to the second floor using those stairs.

Ex. この階段で下まで降りて下さい。

= Kono kaidan de shitamade orite kudasai.

= Please go downstairs using these stairs.

Ex. あちらのエスカレーターで10階までお上がり下さい。

= Achira no esukareetaa de jukkai made oagari kudasai.

= Please use the escalator over there and go up to the 10th floor.

****
*Giving suggestions.

Ex. ラーメン屋だったらメン天国がいいですよ。

= Raamen ya dattara mentengoku ga ii desuyo.

= If you are looking for a (nice) ramen shop,  “Men tengoku” is good.

Ex. この辺に薬局はありませんよ。

= Konohen ni yakkyoku wa arimasenyo.

= There isn’t a pharmacy around here.

Ex. 地下鉄で行った方がいいですよ。

= Chikatetsu de itta hou ga iidesu yo.

= You should take the subway to get there.

You may want to learn the following basic vocabulary to understand the directions.

*郵便局 = yuubinkyoku = post office

*学校 = gakkou = school

*幼稚園 = youchien = kindergarten

* = eki = station

*コンビニ = conbini= convenience store

*スーパー = suupaa= super market

*薬局 = yakkyoku = pharmacy

* = mise = store/ restaurant/ bar

*銀行 = ginkou = bank

*駐車場 = chuushajou = parking lot

*公園 = kouen = park

*(お)寺 = (o) tera = temple

*神社 = jinja = shrine

*病院 = byouin = hospital

*~屋 ~ya = ~ shop

*パン屋 = panya = bakery

*ケーキ屋 = keikiya = cake shop

*美容院 = biyouin = beauty salon

*床屋 = tokoya = barber

Ex.スーパーならあそこにありますよ。

= Suupaa nara asoko ni arimasu yo.

= If you are looking for a super market, there is one over there.

Ex. ここをまっすぐ行くと美容院があるからそこを右に曲がって下さい。

= Koko wo massugu iku to biyouin ga aru kara soko wo migi ni magatte kudasai.

= If you go straight along the street, you will find a beauty salon. Turn right at the beauty salon.

Ex. コンビニはパン屋の隣にあります。

= Konbini wa panya no tonari ni arimasu.

= The convenience store is right next to the bakery.

Ex. 郵便局の裏にあります。

= Yuubinkyoku no ura ni arimasu.

= It’s behind the post office.

Ex. 公園の横にあります。

= Kouen no yoko ni arimasu.

= It is by the park.

Ex. 神社の向かい側にあります。

= Jinja no mukai gawa ni arimasu.

= It is across from the shrine.

maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie Sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

Fella先生、Nemo先生、ありがとう!

= Fella Sensei, Nemo Sensei, arigatou!

= Thank you, Fella Sensei and Nemo Sensei!

みんな、日本はここにありますよ~!!

= Minna, nihon wa koko ni arimasu yo!!

= Japan is right over here, everyone!

そして人生に迷いはつきもの! !niconico!

= Soshite jinsei ni mayoi wa tsukimono.

= And it is very natural to lose your way in your life.

***

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25 Comments

  1. Hi Maggie Sensei,

    Thank you so much for this lesson. I usually study using the minna no nihongo textbooks but whenever I encounter something that isn’t clear your blog NEVER fails to help me.
    I want to learn how to give directions in relation to using the train for example: take the yamanote line/ change trains at~to the ~ line/ get off at~/~ station is the first stop. Is there already a lesson like this one? I already searched but maybe I missed it. If not I’d be supper thankful if you could cover this topic. Thank you Maggie Sensei!!

    1. @Rena

      私をリストに加えてほしいです。(= Watashi wo risuto ni kuwaete hoshii desu.)
      私をリストに加えてくれない? ( = Watashi wo risuto ni kuwaete kurenai?) (casual)
      →(more polite) 私をリストに加えて頂けないでしょうか? (= Watashi wo risuto ni kuwaete itadake nai de shouka?)

  2. Konbanwa Maggie-Sensei,
    Watashi wa, kono tatoede wakatte imasu kara, moshi “ikareru” no imi ga “crazy” desu, dou ga kore hatarakimasu ka?
    Ex. どこへ行かれるんですか?

    = Doko ye ikarerun desu ka?

    = Where would you like to go?

    1. @Shiani

      Haha, you know the word いかれる crazy?
      OK, this 行かれる in the example sentence is a polite form of 行く=いく= iku = to go
      どこへ行きますか?
      = Doko ye ikimasuka?
      →どこへ行くんですか?
      = Doko ye ikun desu ka?
      →(polite) どこへ行かれるんですか?
      = Doko ye ikarerun desu ka?

      1. Huh, I’ve never seen that form before- is it derived from irassharu, or from iku’s dekiru form? Otherwise, how does this conjugation work?

  3. hello! I just have a small question. It is about どれ, どっち and どちら. I can’t quite remember their specific uses. Is there a lesson about them already? Can you explain the differences?

    Thanks for all the great lessons!

    1. @reid

      Hello reid.
      The difference between どれ、どっち、どちら
      どっち(colloquial) / どれ (standard) / どちら(more polite)
      (どれ can be used to pick one among two or more things but どっち and どちら are usually used to pick one from two things/people.)
      So when you are talking about people and ask “Which one is your brother?” どちら is much more polite than どっち.

  4. Maggie!! I need help, please! Could you please translate this tiny thing for me? I would be very grateful!!

    自分の部屋で
    ツレと酒盛りして
    そのまま雑魚寝とか

      1. マギー先生、質問があります。9月に大阪に旅行をします。ホテルの店員に話しかける時、何タイトルを使いますか。”店員さん”はいいですか。ありがとうございます! :mrgreen:

        1. @Palidor

          ホテルで働く人はホテルの店員ではなくスタッフです。
          The one who works at the reception is called 受付(うけつけ)or レセプション。bellboy is ベルボーイ、doorman is ドアマン. But when you talk to them, you don’t use their job title.
          When you refer to them (to someone else) you add ~の方(=no kata) Ex.受付の方(Uketsuke no kata) , スタッフの方(=Sutaffu no kata), etc.
          If you stay at a traditional Japanese hotel, the main hostess is called 女将さん(=okamisan) and the maids care called 仲居さん(=Nakaisan)

          1. Okay, thank you for the information. I’ll be staying in a hotel, not a ryokan. I realize that my question was a bit ambiguous. What I meant by title was not their specific job title, but whether there are words equivalent to “sir” or “ma’am” that would serve as a polite way to address the staff. Thank you again!

          2. @Palidor

            We don’t have equivalent terms for “sir” or “ma’am” in Japanese. (Except Japanese ryokan. We address 女将さん=okamisan But since you are not staying in 旅館, just stick to the polite form.)
            FYI You might already check this lesson but I have this lesson. ホテルの日本語

          3. Okay, thank you! :grin: Yes, I did read that lesson, and I’ll be sure to read it again before my trip. I’m determined to speak Japanese as much as I can, though I must admit that I feel rather nervous about it. :oops:

  5. Ex. ここは本町6丁目です。

    = Koko wa Honmachi rokuchoume desu.

    = It’s Honmachi 6 :rrrr: -[chome, here.] (district of a town/city block)

    :-P :-D

  6. 神社 :rrrr: [の]向かい側にあります。

    = Jinja wo mukai gawa ni arimasu.

    Ex. この道をまっすぐ行ってください。

    = Kono michi wo massugu itte kudasai.

    = Please go straight :rrrr: [missing–>along the street].

  7. Thank you for another lesson, a lot of usefull variations and vocabulary. By the way, a friend of mine who doesn’t speak Japanese wanted to be a good tourist and learned some of these phrases. But everytime he proudly asked someone “toire wa doko desu ka”, the surprised Japanese people showered him in questions, compliments and remarks and anything but directions, of which he of course understood none. He always had to find the toilet on his own… :P

    Anyhow, I have some minor questions.
    1. In the sentence “Meiji jinguu ni iku niwa kono michi de atte imasu ka?”, could you explain the grammatical funktion of “niwa”? I never get used to particles after verbs.

    2. I often hear the 聞いてみて expression in this connection, like in 交番で聞いてみてください。 Its often translated as “go ask and see” which I find strange, as I would think its “try asking”. So which translation is correct? And I always wondered, why do I have to “try” and not just ask right away, as in 聞いてください. Is みて a necessary part of this expression?

    Also, I found some typos. Look for “arimsauka” ,”dokon”, “eki no eki”, “Dochira ye” and “Where would like to go?” that could use a subject. And “3階” could also be “sangai”, right?

    大変お世話になりありがとうございました

    1. @Zetsuboumanadeshi

      Hi there,
      Ohhh your friend should have said, “ところでトイレはどこですか?”(By the way, where is the restroom?) / すみません、トイレの場所を聞いていたのですが….(Sorry. I was asking where the bathroom is..) After hearing all the compliments.

      1) This niwa means “in order to”
      ”Meiji Jinguu ni iku niwa ” = In order to go to Meiji Jinguu

      2. The literal translation is “to try / give it a try” but ~てみて is a suggestion and it has a function to soften the command form.
      聞いてください = Go ask (sounds stronger) → (Sounds much softer) 聞いてみてください。

      Thank you for spotting the typo. I will fix it. ありがとう!

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