Japanese Vocabulary: Shopping and Prices

Know how to ask "how much does this cost" before you shop

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Abe, Namiko. "Japanese Vocabulary: Shopping and Prices." ThoughtCo, May. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/japanese-vocabulary-shopping-and-prices-4077046. Abe, Namiko. (2017, May 5). Japanese Vocabulary: Shopping and Prices. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-vocabulary-shopping-and-prices-4077046 Abe, Namiko. "Japanese Vocabulary: Shopping and Prices." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-vocabulary-shopping-and-prices-4077046 (accessed October 19, 2017).

Japanese department stores tend to be much bigger than their North American counterparts. Many of them have several floors, and shoppers can buy a wide variety of things there. Department stores used to be called "hyakkaten (百貨店)," but the term "depaato (デパート)" is more common today. 

Before you begin your shopping spree, be sure to familiarize yourself with the customs of Japanese shopping so you know what to expect.

For instance, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization, there are very few circumstances where bargaining or haggling over a price is expected or even encouraged. Get to know when off-season prices are in effect so you're not paying top dollar (or yen) for something that may be on sale next week. And when you want to try on an item of clothing, it's customary to seek help from a store clerk before entering the dressing room. 

In Japan, department store clerks use very polite expressions when dealing with customers. Here are some expressions you are likely to hear in a Japanese department store.

Irasshaimase.
いらっしゃいませ。
Welcome.
Nanika osagashi desu ka.
何かお探しですか。
May I help you?
(Literally means, 
"Are you looking for something?")
Ikaga desu ka.
いかがですか。
How do you like it?
Kashikomarimashita.
かしこまりました。
Certainly.
Omatase itashimashita.
お待たせいたしました。
Sorry to have kept you waiting.

 

"Irasshaimase(いらっしゃいませ)" is a greeting to customers in stores or restaurants.

It literally means "welcome." You, as the customer, are not expected to answer this greeting.

Kore(これ)" means "this." Sore(それ) means "that." English has only "this" and "that, but Japanese has three separate indicators. Are(あれ) means "that over there."
 

kore
これ
something near the speaker
sore 
それ
something near the person spoken to
are
あれ
something not near either person

 

To reply to a "what" question, simply substitute the answer for "nan(何)". Just remember to change "kore(これ)," "sore(それ)" or "are(あれ)" depending on where the object is in relation to you. Don't forget to take the "ka(か)" (question marker) off.

Q. Kore wa nan desu ka. (これは何ですか。) 
A. Sore wa obi desu. (それは帯です。)

"Ikura(いくら)" means "how much."

Useful Expressions for Shopping

 

Kore wa ikura desu ka.
これはいくらですか。
How much is this?
Mite mo ii desu ka.
見てもいいですか。
Can I look at it?
~ wa doko ni arimasu ka.
~はどこにありますか。
Where is ~?
~ (ga) arimasu ka.
~ (が) ありますか。
Do you have ~?
~ o misete kudasai.
~を見せてください。
Please show me ~.
Kore ni shimasu.
これにします。
I'll take it.
Miteiru dake desu.
見ているだけです。
I'm just looking.

 

 

Japanese Numbers 

It's also very useful to know Japanese numbers when shopping in a department store or anywhere else for that matter. Tourists in Japan should also take care to know what the current exchange rates are, in order to have a clear picture of how much things cost in dollars (or whatever your home currency is). 

 
 
100hyaku 
1000sen
200nihyaku 
二百
2000nisen
二千
300sanbyaku
三百
3000sanzen
三千
400yonhyaku  
四百
4000yonsen
四千
500gohyaku 
五百
5000gosen
五千
600roppyaku   
六百
6000rokusen
六千
700nanahyaku 
七百
7000nanasen
七千
800happyaku   
八百
8000hassen
八千
900kyuuhyaku 
九百
9000kyuusen
九千

 

"Kudasai(ください)" means "please give me". This follows the particle "o" (object marker). 

Conversation in the Store

Here's a sample conversation that might take place between a Japanese store clerk and a customer (in this case, named Paul).


店員:    いらっしゃいませ。Store Clerk: May I help you?
ポール:    これは何ですか。Paul: What is this?
店員:    それは帯です。Store Clerk: That is an obi
ポール:    いくらですか。Paul: How much is it? 
店員:    五千円です。Store Clerk: It is 5000 yen.
ポール:    それはいくらですか。Paul: How much is that one?
店員:    二千五百円です。Store Clerk: It is 2500 yen.
ポール:    じゃ、それをください。 Paul: Well then, please give me that one.

Format
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Your Citation
Abe, Namiko. "Japanese Vocabulary: Shopping and Prices." ThoughtCo, May. 5, 2017, thoughtco.com/japanese-vocabulary-shopping-and-prices-4077046. Abe, Namiko. (2017, May 5). Japanese Vocabulary: Shopping and Prices. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-vocabulary-shopping-and-prices-4077046 Abe, Namiko. "Japanese Vocabulary: Shopping and Prices." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/japanese-vocabulary-shopping-and-prices-4077046 (accessed October 19, 2017).