Common problems for tourists visiting Japan


My name is Satomi : Tokyo “Shitamachi” Local town Concierge of Susy’s Zoo Japanese & Nail.

What Problems do Foreign Visitors Have?

For example,

・you can’t communicate with the staff of the facility.

・ Currency exchange

・ Use of public transportation

・ Railway discount tickets

・ Free public wireless LAN environment

・Purchase of Sim card

and so on.

It seems that tourists are having a hard time communicating in Japan. (2019)

Today, I would like to introduce some places where communication is difficult.

When you have a problem at a restaurant

Japanese food is delicious, isn’t it?

 What do you want to eat when you come to Japan?

There may be various things you want to eat, such as sushi, tempura, soba, and sukiyaki.

However, it seems that there are many people who are in trouble at restaurants.

1. when you choose food and order.

2. when you find a restaurant

3. when a staff tell you how to eat

4. when you process your payment No.5 is when looking for a toilet in the restaurant

It may be especially common in private stores far from the city center. However, if you want to have an Omotenashi experience as well as delicious food, we recommend a private store in Shitamachi.

When you choose a dish or order

Especially in privately run Japanese restaurants, there may only be Japanese menu.

In such a case, the Google app is recommended.

If they have  Japanese menu with pictures, it’s a good idea to look at the photo and ask for what you want to eat with .

When you order, it’s okay if you can’t read the letters!

Point the menu which one you want to order.

When you are in trouble at a train station

1. When you specify the way to the destination

2. When you find a boarding platform inside the ticket gate

3. When you buy a ticket at the station

4. When you look for toilets in the station

When you want to know how to get to your destination

If you don’t understand Japanese and ask someone who doesn’t understand English how to get to your destination, I recommend you show them a subway map, JR map, or if you want to go to a sightseeing spot, show them a picture of the sightseeing spot with speaking easy words in English slowly.

If you can’t remember the line name, you can also remember it by color.

However, please note that there are similar colors like the Namboku Line and Chiyoda Line.

Trouble at retail stores

1. When checking the contents and usage of the product

2. When looking for a product

3. At the time of tax exemption procedure

4. At the time of accounting

5. When looking for a toilet etc. in the store

When you check the contents and when you know how to use the product

When you want to check the contents and know how to use the product, it will be easier to understand if you ask the shop staff to show them some pictures, or to actually you want the staff show you how to use it if they are ok.

Some products may have to be opened and some may not have a display.

In that case, you can also check the photos and videos on the Internet.


Tourists have a trouble about finding toilet in every place so I will teach you casual Japanese for asking where toilet is.

Otealai (お手洗い) is Euphemism. It means the place for washing your hands.

Most Japanese say it.

but if it is not easy for you to remember, Toile wa doko desuka (トイレはどこですか) is ok.

If you remember Toile(トイレ) & Doko (どこ), people would understand.



It seems that there are still many places where people don’t understood English.

If you don’t understand the language, it may be easier to convey the word slowly with showing some pictures, depending on how well the other person understands English words.

However, if you come to Japan, it may be fun to communicate in Japanese.

We also provide Japanese language courses for travelers.

Now that you can’t travel, why don’t you study Japanese online?

If you go to Shitamachi instead of tourist spots, you might have an experience like homestay.

It would be better place even if you are bored to tourist spots in Japan.

If you want to have experience of Omotenashi, we provide you experience of Omotenashi at sushi bar : SUSHIDO.

If you are interested in Shitamachi, we have a preparation tour in Tokyo.

Ref: 外国人が困ること