Learn Japanese Through Japanese Street Signs


When visiting Japan you will see a lot of signs everywhere. Almost all of these signs are written in Japanese, which can be sometimes difficult as foreigner to understand. As the number of foreigners visiting Japan increases and with the upcoming summer Olympics that will be held in 2020. The Japanese government might translate these signs to make it more foreign friendly. These signs are a fun way to study the language while on the go. Here is a list of some of the signs that I came across with in Japan.

1. Dinosaurs telling us not to litter

One sign that I found was very creative by using dinosaurs to tell a message. On the sign the following is written “ごみ捨て禁止”, which translates in English to “No Littering”.

Japanese Street Sign

2. You are being watched

Another sign that I found was hidden in the grass and was almost faded out. The sign says “どこかであなたを見ています”, which translates in English to “You are being watched right now from somewhere”. It sounds creepy and you find this kind of sign quite often to prevent people from entering someone else’s property.

Japanese Street Sign

3. Prohibited to enter

This sign you will see at least once a day and the red color gives away the meaning, which is “No Entry” or in Japanese “立入禁止”. This sign can be found a lot around shopping centers and construction sites.

Japanese Street Sign

4. Child being pushed by a giant hand

A giant hand is pushing a kid into a hole in the ground. On the sign the following is written “この中に入ってはいけません” in English it translates to “Prohibited to Enter”. Above the text there is more text which is almost faded out. There it is written “Danger” or in Japanese “あぶない” in Hiragana not Kanji. The reason why sometimes a sign does not have kanji is so that children also can read the signs.

Japanese Street Sign

5. The convenience of the convenience store

Almost all convenience stores (konbini) in Japan offer free to use toilets. As there are over 50.000 convenience stores in Japan, you will be able to find a toilet almost anywhere! The following is written in Japanese “ご自由にお使いください” in English this translates into “Feel free to use”. The toilet can usually be found at the backside of the convenience store with this sign on it.

Japanese Street Sign

This were some of the signs that you might see in daily life Japan and that are useful to know. If I find more signs I will make sure to upload them in my next article!

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