Japanese Language Blog

Top 20 Most Used Japanese words for foreigners Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Culture

Recently, I came across an interesting article regarding the top 20 most used Japanese words on a web site called Deep Japan. (Original article from http://news.mynavi.jp/news/2014/01/15/231/)

Have you heard of a site called Deep Japan(http://www.deepjapan.org/)?  For those who would like to travel to Japan someday, this site might become helpful. This site is for everyone who wants to know about things in Japan. It is designed especially towards future tourist, introducing you to many aspects of Japan, including food, shopping, places to visit, parks ,and TV news etc from the aspects of foreigners who have been living in Japan already.

This is the description from the web site:


Experienced Senpais living in and enjoying Japan offer inside-knowledge on how to make your trip real, interesting and above all, unforgettable.We appreciate the effort it took to make it here and we hope our hints and tips can bolster the great information already out there with fresh advice on how to experience the real and deeper side of this amazing destination, Japan.

According to the recent statistics, top 20 words that were most used on this site were as follows:

1 : Soba

2: Sushi

3: Ramen

4: Kimono

5: Soy sauce

6: Onsen

7: Miso

8: Bento

9: Tera (Buddhist temple)

10: Tempura

11: Sake

12: Green Tea

13: Conveyor belt sushi

14: Anime

15: Izakaya (Japanese pub)

16: Geta (Old style Japanese sandals)

17: Shinkansen

18: Manga

19: Udon

20: Samurai

Do you recognize most of these words?  As you can see, the top 3 are related to food, and there are many more words on the list that are related to Japanese food.  It is interesting how Japanese food might be a big part of the cultural interest among foreigners.

This got me thinking.. I wonder Japanese food is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Japan? I am sure it is different for each one of you, but most of you might be interested in food aspect of the culture.  I would like to hear some of your opinions on this. So, if you would like, leave me your comments! 🙂

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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.


  1. np:

    You need to eat if you want to live.
    And if you are visiting Japan, you might as well eat Japanese food.
    Besides that, you might be visiting specific sites/areas like Sky Tree, Tokyo Tower, Ginza, Akihabara, but each of those depend on the person. So when mentioning what to eat, then ramen, soba, udon, sushi, kaiten-sushi, izakaya will come up.

    • keiko:

      @np Hi np, good point! I totally agree with you! 🙂