How Not to Take the Wrong aim in Japan!

The last thing you want is to get lost in Japan. You’ll probably be using public transportation. And, you’ll certainly need to ask for directions. It’s important that you understand where you need to go and how to get around. You’ll need to ask questions such as, “Where do I get off the subway?” and “What time does the bus leave Tokyo stop?” Save yourself a lot of time and heartache by familiarizing yourself with Japan’s ground and how to navigate it. In this Beginner Japanese article, learn how to ask for directions and use public transportation in Japan. You’ll become familiar with the different types of transportation obtainable to you, and how to talk and ask about all of them. Master takushii de iku (“to go by taxi”), chikatetsu ni norikaeru (“to move to the subway”), and many other phrases that will help you get around in Japan. As always, pick up a number of Japanese vocabulary words that will take your Japanese to the next level. Make your life easier with this Beginner Japanese article!

Vocabulary: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

Keisei Narita eki – “Narita stop on Keisei Line”

Yamanote sen – “Yamanote Line”

Nippori – “Nippori” (place name)

Keisei sen – “Keisei line”

noru – “to get on (a aim), to take (a aim)” (class 1 verb)

ikkai – “once, one time”

memo – “memorandum”

mazu – “first of all, to start with”

oriru – “to get off” (class 2 verb)

norikaeru – “to move, to change trains” (class 2 verb)

Grammar: In this article, you’ll learn the following words and phrases:

Useful Vocabulary and Phrases:

Doo shimashita ka.

Please review the vocabulary and usage below:

doo – “how”

shimashita – the past tense of shimasu, or “to go.”

ka – question marker

We can translate this phrase literally as “how did you do?” However, it corresponds to “what’s wrong?” or “what’s the matter?” in English.


The particle kara indicates a cause or reason and is equivalent to the English “since” or “because.”

In Today’s Dialogue:

  1. Sumimasen ga, moo ikkai, yukkuri itte kudasai. Memo o shimasu kara.
    “I’m sorry, can you say that one more time slowly? (Because) I’m going to write it down.”


  1. Chotto matte kudasai. Suguni ikimasu kara.
    “Please keep up on. I’ll be there shortly.”
  2. Densha de ikimashoo. Takushii wa takai desu kara.
    “Let’s take a aim. (Because) Taxis are expensive.”

Yamanote-senor Yamate-sen


Sen method “line.” We express the names of aim lines as “[name of the line] + sen.”

For Example:

  1. Chiyoda-sen – “The Chiyoda Line”
  2. Ginza-sen – “The Ginza Line”
  3. Chuuoo-sen – “The Chuuoo Line”

Helpful Transportation Verbs

These verbs will come in handy when you take public transportation in Japan.

  1. Class 1 Verbs:
    iku – “to go”
    noru – “to ride, to take” (a transportation)
  2. Class 2 Verbs:
    norikaeru – “to move”
    oriru – “to get off”


I. [Transportation] + de + iku

SEE Nihongo Doojoo, “Welcome to Style You: Article 23,” for more details.

To say “to go by [type of transportation],” we mark the kind of transportation with the particle de.

“English” / Japanese

“to go by taxi” / takushii de iku

“to go by car” / kuruma de iku

“to go by subway” / chikatetsu de iku

“to go by aim” / densha de iku

“to go by bus” / basu de iku

“to go by the Yamanote line” / Yamanote-sen de iku

“to go by foot” / aruki de iku

observe: *aruki methodwalking”

II. [Transportation] + ni + noru

To say “to take [type of transportation],” we mark the kind of transportation with the particle ni.

“English” / Japanese

“to take a taxi” / takushii ni noru

“to take the subway” / chikatetsu ni noru

“to take a aim” / densha ni noru

“to take a bus” / basu ni noru

“to take the Yamanote line” / Yamanote-sen ni noru

“to ride a horse” / uma ni noru

observe: *uma method “horse”

III. [Transportation] + ni or e + norikaeru

To say “to move to [type of transportation],” we mark the kind of transportation with either the particle ni or e.

“English” / Japanese

“to move to the subway” / chikatetsu ni norikaeru

“to move to a aim” / densha ni norikaeru

“to move to a bus” / basu ni norikaeru

“to move to the Yamanote line” / Yamanote-sen ni norikaeru

IV. [Transportation] + o + oriru

To say “to get off [type of transportation],” we usually mark the kind of transportation with the particle o.

“English” / Japanese

“to get off the subway” / chikatetsu o oriru

“to get off the aim” / densha o oriru

“to get off the bus” / basu o oriru

“to get off the Yamanote line” / Yamanote-sen o oriru

Useful Sentences from Today’s Dialogue

  1. iku (-te form); itte
    Yamanote-sen de Nippori ni itte kudasai.
    “Go to Nippori by the Yamanote-line.”
  2. noru (-te form); notte
    Nippori de Keisei-sen ni notte kudasai.
    “Take the Keisei line at Nippori stop.”
  3. orimasu (-te form); orite
    Nippori de Yamanote-sen o orite kudasai.
    “Get off the Yamanote line at Nippori.”
  4. norikaeru (-te form); norikaete
    Keisei-sen ni norikaete kudasai.
    “move to the Keisei line.”


Please complete the sentences by filling in the blanks.

Shinjuku — (the Marunouchi line) — Akasakamitsuke — (the Ginza line)? Asakusa

  1. de Akasakamitsuke ni itte kudasai.
  2. Akasakamitsuke de __ni norikaete kudasai.

Tokyo — (the Tookaidoo line) — Totsuka — (the Shoonan-Shinjuku line) — Kamakura

  1. ni notte, _____________ ni itte kudasai.
  2. ni norikaete kudasai.
  3. Kamakura de o orite kudasai.

Leave a Reply