Conversational Japanese

Conversational Japanese

Prepare for your next trip to Japan by learning the basics of conversational Japanese. This course will provide you with useful words and phrases for conversing as you master the essentials of the Japanese language.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements
  • Instructor
  • Reviews



Whether you want to learn conversational Japanese for travel or just for fun, you'll find this course makes it easy and enjoyable for beginners to master the essentials of the Japanese language.

Throughout this course, you'll gain cultural knowledge and learn useful conversational phrases and vocabulary words particular to a specific area of travel. You'll practice these in drills, interactive exercises, and dialogues. In each lesson, you'll find helpful audio aids and Japanese words written in the English alphabet. This technique will allow you to bypass one of the biggest obstacles for most beginners of Japanese: the letter system. By the end of this course, you'll have acquired basic conversational skills that enable you to travel around the country easily, and you'll have discovered the heart of Japan!


In this lesson, you'll get to know the graceful sounds of Japanese letters and syllables. Don't worry, though—you won't have to learn Japanese symbols to begin speaking this language! You'll explore Japanese through Roomaji, a handy system that uses the English alphabet. You'll also have lots of chances to listen to and practice pronouncing Japanese. By the end of this lesson, you'll be able to pronounce Japanese words correctly and be ready to head straight on to phrases!

In this lesson, you'll discover how to say hello and goodbye as well as what to say when meeting people for the first time. But in Japanese, there's more to greetings and introductions than just words. So you'll also get to know the Japanese customs for showing respect to others. Finally, you'll meet your travel companions, Dan and Jen, and journey with them while they're visiting interesting places in and around Tokyo. With their help, you'll put to use your new Japanese skills.

Interpersonal relationships in Japan maintain a delicate balance between offering respect and showing humility. To properly relate to people in Japan, you need to use language that reflects these important cultural characteristics. In this lesson, you'll learn all about Japanese respect and humility, as well as how to address others politely in conversation. You'll also discover how to ask and answer simple questions.

In this lesson, you'll explore Japanese sentence structure and get familiar with the personal pronouns I and you. You'll also learn how to speak about your nationality and occupation so you can talk a little about yourself as well as ask about others. You'll also discover the Japanese attitude toward talking, including a strong drive toward living in harmony with others.

Many people think that the Japanese drink only green tea. But you might be surprised to know that they're also big fans of coffee! So you'll take a break in this lesson to have a cup of joe. You'll be amazed at the number and variety of coffee shops in Japan. After this lesson, you'll know how to order coffee and take a relaxing break in Tokyo. You'll also learn one of the single most useful expressions—onegaishimasu—which you'll use to politely ask for not only coffee but anything at all.

Are you ready to go shopping? First, you'll learn the yen's value and how to say large numbers up to 100,000 yen. You'll also learn some must-use phrases for shopping: "What is this?" "How much is it?" and "I'll take this, please." In this lesson, you'll visit two great shopping neighborhoods in Tokyo: Akihabara, a famous place to buy electronics; and Asakusa, a traditional area of Tokyo where you can visit one of the city's oldest temples and buy some nice souvenirs.

In this lesson, you'll follow Dan and Jen on an outing to the Imperial Palace in the heart of Tokyo. During their misadventures, you'll learn the right language for navigating your own way around the city. You'll also get familiar with some words for places that you'll likely want to find during your own travels, like the ATM machine, the train station, the restroom, and more!

Who doesn't like to eat? One of the best things about getting to know a new language and culture is getting to try out the food that goes along with it. In this lesson, you'll learn about Japanese diet and food etiquette. You'll go to one of the most common eateries in Japan: noodle and sushi restaurants, where you'll practice being seated, asking for an English menu, ordering food and drinks, and taking care of the check all in Japanese.

For the next three lessons, you'll travel out of Tokyo to see Japan's beautiful countryside. As a planning stage of the trip, you'll get acquainted with the different types of hotels in Japan, including traditional Japanese-style inns and more Western-style hotels. You'll also learn how to say dates in Japanese for making a hotel reservation and practice them by using a mock check-in.

Have you heard of Mount Fuji? That's where you'll go in this lesson as you visit Hakone, a famous village known for its hot springs and views of Mount Fuji. In the process, you'll get to know Japan's railway system and some useful train-related travel expressions. You'll also learn how to tell time so you won't miss your train! Maybe Dan and Jen can use what they've learned to join you in Hakone as well.

Would you like to learn to relax Japanese-style? You've reached your mountain destination, arriving at a Japanese inn, where you'll relax and get pampered with fabulous food. Following check-in, you'll learn how to ask about inn amenities. You'll also get to know all about Japan's national affinities for bathing and karaoke—all part of relaxing Japanese-style.

In this final lesson, you'll learn how to prepare for any unexpected situations while traveling in Japan. You'll see how to ask for help and handle medical emergencies. Just in case you lose anything, you'll discover how to ask around and find it. Then you'll be ready for a fun and safe trip to Japan!



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Ririko Hayashi

Ririko Hayashi has successfully taught people of all ages for over 30 years. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Ririko received her Bachelor's degree in Japan and then moved to the United States, where she obtained her Master's degree. Her professional experience includes working as a Japanese-English interpreter in several fields, including business, law, and education. She teaches Japanese to private students and is a longtime music teacher at the college level.


“The course was outstanding!! The approach and method of teaching was completely appropriate ...The instructor's pleasing personality was very evident in each lesson... In addition, her pride in being a guide to her native language and customs embellished the lessons with an exceptionally pleasant atmosphere and authenticity... I look forward to enrolling in her future courses.”

“I absolutely loved this instructor. She was the best I've had in a very long time. She obviously went above and beyond when preparing this course. She had a great way of incorporating stories into the lesson to keep it fun and interesting. This instructor fascinated me with the subject matter and I am eager to learn more. I will continue my studies on my own but hope she will offer an advanced course in the future! She is an asset to your school!”

“Ririko has done an outstanding job of putting this course together. It offered a real life experience of learning the Japanese language and visiting Japan. I was first concerned this wouldn't be face-to-face learning, but after going through the course, I felt it exceeded my expectations beyond what I could have imagined.”

"I really enjoyed this course and the way the lessons were designed. I thought the instructor was very helpful and I found her approach made the material easy to learn. I would be interested in taking another course like this from this instructor."

“This course was so much fun! I hope to travel to Japan in a few years. What I have learned makes me feel confident in interacting with Japanese people and understanding their culture. Thank you!”

“Ririko-sensei was a excellent teacher:). I learned very very much in what I believe to be in a very short time. The way in which Ririko-sensei spoke Japanese to teach how to pronounce the words and letters was very clear and understandable, and I would highly recommend her to other who are looking for online Japanese classes. The extra information given really helped in me getting a better understanding of Japanese language and culture.”

“Excellent course! It was an optimal mix of useful language, basic sentence structure, understanding of Japanese culture, people, and country. The course made me want to return to Japan as soon as possible. The instructor's style was very amicable, rendering learning enjoyable, and making me regret not having met her. I wish there was a follow-on course. Wonderful -- and thank you.”

“This course was more than I had hoped. I entered the course desiring to learn a few words and phrases of Japanese and came away wanting to really learn the language and actually visit Japan! The "Quick Reviews" were extremely useful to me. I don't know if more could be added, but that would be great. Also, it would be nice and helpful to "hear", as well as see written, the proper answers when the student is asked to translate sentences from English to Japanese. Overall, this was a very enjoyable course and I am very glad I took it. The instructor, Ririko Hayashi, was very accessible and knowledgeable. Arigatou gozaimasu, Ririko-sama.”

“The instructor was extremely helpful and knowledgeable and I enjoyed this class immensely. In order to continue in our Japanese studies, please have a part 2 of Japanese available for instruction. Thank you!”

“This course was an excellent resource for anyone wishing to visit Japan. I would love to see a series of follow on courses to further develop reading, writing, and listening skills.”

Self-Guided Course Code: T9744
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: jpn