Guide: How to Say ‘City’ in Japanese – Learn New Language Tips

Are you interested in learning Japanese and expanding your language skills? Knowing how to say ‘city’ in Japanese is an essential part of speaking the language fluently. Japan is known for its bustling cities, and learning to express this concept in Japanese can help you better understand and appreciate the culture.

In this first section, we will provide an introduction to the topic and explain the importance of learning how to say ‘city’ in Japanese. We will also discuss the cultural significance of cities in Japan and why it is essential to expand your language skills. By the end of this guide, you will have a better understanding of how to say ‘city’ in Japanese and other related vocabulary.

Whether you are planning a trip to Japan or simply interested in learning a new language, mastering the Japanese word for city can be a great step towards fluency. So, let’s get started!

Understanding the Basics of the Japanese Language

If you want to learn how to say ‘city’ in Japanese, it’s important to understand the basics of the Japanese language. Expressing ‘city’ in Japanese requires a good grasp of some fundamental vocabulary and grammar rules.

Firstly, there are two different words that can be used to express ‘city’ in Japanese: (shi) and 都市 (toshi). Shi is used for smaller cities, while toshi is used for larger cities and urban areas.

Additionally, it’s important to note that in Japanese, the order of words in a sentence is subject-object-verb, which is the opposite of English. This means that when you are saying ‘city’ in Japanese, the word for ‘city’ will come before the verb, rather than after it.

Japanese Word for Urban Area

Aside from the word ‘city’, there are other words in Japanese that can be used to express ‘urban area’. One of the most common words is 都会 (tokai), which is used to describe a large, metropolitan area.

Another word for urban area is 地域 (chiiki), which can be used to describe a specific region or area within a city.

Saying ‘City’ in Japanese

To say ‘city’ in Japanese, simply use the word (shi). For example, if you wanted to say ‘I live in the city’, you would say ‘watashi wa shi ni sunde imasu’.

If you are talking about a larger, more urbanized area, you can use the word 都市 (toshi) instead. For example, ‘Tokyo is a big city’ would be ‘Tokyo wa ookii toshi desu’.

Japanese Word English Translation
都市 Urban Area/City
都会 Metropolitan Area
地域 Region/Area

Now that you understand the basics of expressing ‘city’ in Japanese, it’s time to move on to learning some common Japanese words and phrases related to cities in the next section.

Common Japanese Words for City

Now that you have an understanding of how to express “city” and “urban area” in Japanese, let’s dive into some common vocabulary related to cities. It is essential to recognize the names of various cities and towns in Japanese, especially if you plan on traveling or living in Japan.

City Name in Japanese

In Japanese, the word for “city” is “市” (shi), and you will find it used in the names of numerous cities throughout Japan. For example, Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is written as “東京市” (Tōkyō-shi) in Japanese. Kyoto, another popular tourist destination in Japan, is written as “京都市” (Kyōto-shi).

English Japanese
Tokyo 東京市 (Tōkyō-shi)
Kyoto 京都市 (Kyōto-shi)
Osaka 大阪市 (Ōsaka-shi)
Sapporo 札幌市 (Sapporo-shi)

Japanese Word for Urban Area

Aside from the word “city,” several other words relate to urban areas in Japanese. For example, “都市” (toshi) is another word that you can use to refer to cities or the urban area in general. Similarly, “市街地” (shigaichi) means downtown or city center.

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City Terminology in Japanese

Learning key terminology related to cities in Japanese can enhance your language skills. Here are some words and phrases to keep in mind:

  • “中心街” (chūshingai) – city center
  • “地下鉄” (chikatetsu) – subway
  • “駅” (eki) – station
  • “公園” (kōen) – park
  • “博物館” (hakubutsukan) – museum

City Expressions in Japanese

Lastly, being able to talk about cities and express your opinion is essential. Here are some common expressions related to cities in Japanese:

  • “この街は人気がある” (Kono machi wa ninki ga aru) – This city is popular.
  • “私はこの町の雰囲気が好きです” (Watashi wa kono machi no fun’iki ga suki desu) – I like the atmosphere of this town.
  • “この街には何がありますか?” (Kono machi ni wa nani ga arimasu ka?) – What is there to do in this city?

With these common Japanese words and expressions related to cities, you can communicate your thoughts and opinions about the places you visit or live in.

Useful Phrases for Talking about Cities in Japanese

Now that you have learned some basic vocabulary and expressions related to cities in Japanese, it’s time to put them into practice. Here are some useful phrases that will help you talk about cities with confidence:

Phrase in English Japanese Translation
What is the name of this city? この街の名前は何ですか?(Kono machi no namae wa nan desu ka?)
I live in Tokyo. 私は東京に住んでいます。(Watashi wa Tokyo ni sunde imasu.)
What are some famous attractions in this city? この街で有名な観光地は何ですか?(Kono machi de yuumei na kankouchi wa nan desu ka?)
Do you know how to get to the train station? 駅までの行き方を知っていますか?(Eki made no ikikata wo shitte imasu ka?)
Have you been to Kyoto? 京都に行ったことがありますか?(Kyouto ni itta koto ga arimasu ka?)

Remember to use appropriate vocabulary and honorifics when speaking with others, especially those of higher status or older age.

Polite Expressions

When speaking with someone for the first time, or in a formal situation, it’s important to use polite language. Here are some examples:

Phrase in English Japanese Translation
Excuse me, can you tell me the way to the city center? すみません、市内中心部への行き方をお聞かせいただけますか?(Sumimasen, shinai chuushinbu e no ikikata wo o-kikase itadakemasu ka?)
I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Can you repeat that? すみません、わかりません。もう一度お願いします。(Sumimasen, wakarimasen. Mou ichido onegaishimasu.)
Thank you for your help. お力添えをいただきありがとうございました。(O-chikara soe wo itadaki arigatou gozaimashita.)

By using these expressions, you will show respect and make a positive impression on the people you are speaking with.

Practice Your Language Skills – Exercises and Examples

Now that you have learned the basics of expressing ‘city’ in Japanese, let’s practice your language skills with some exercises and examples!


English Japanese Reading
City 都市 Toshi
Urban area 都市圏 Toshiken
Town Machi
Capital city 首都 Shuto
Big city 大都市 Daitoshi

Practice saying each word out loud and use them in simple sentences. For example:

  • 私は大都市が好きです。 (Watashi wa daitoshi ga suki desu.) – I like big cities.
  • この町には美しい公園があります。 (Kono machi ni wa utsukushii kouen ga arimasu.) – This town has a beautiful park.


Practice pronouncing each word correctly by listening to Japanese speakers and repeating after them. Pay attention to the different sounds and inflections in their voice. You can also use language learning apps or watch Japanese movies and TV shows to hear native speakers.

Sentence Formation

Practice forming sentences by translating simple English sentences into Japanese. For example:

  • You live in the city. (あなたは都市に住んでいます。 Anata wa toshi ni sunde imasu.)
  • There are many shops in the urban area. (都市圏には多くの店があります。 Toshiken ni wa ooku no mise ga arimasu.)
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Additional Resources

If you want more practice or need additional resources, consider using language exchange websites or apps, Japanese language courses, or online language forums. The more you practice, the more confident you will become in your language skills!

Tips for Mastering the Japanese Language

Now that you have learned how to say ‘city’ in Japanese and expanded your vocabulary related to cities, it’s time to work on mastering the language. Here are some tips to help you on your journey:

Immerse Yourself in the Language

The best way to improve your Japanese skills is to immerse yourself in the language. Watch Japanese films and TV shows, listen to Japanese music, and read Japanese books. This helps you get familiar with the language and its nuances, which can be challenging to learn from textbooks.

Practice Speaking with Native Speakers

Find language exchange partners or join a language group to practice speaking with native speakers. This gives you the opportunity to practice your speaking skills, improve your pronunciation, and learn new vocabulary in a more natural setting.

Use Online Resources

The internet offers a wealth of resources for learning Japanese. Take advantage of online courses, language apps, and online communities where you can ask questions and get feedback on your language skills.

Stay Consistent

Learning a new language takes time and effort, so it’s important to stay consistent. Set aside time each day or week to practice your language skills, whether it’s reading, writing, listening, or speaking.

By following these tips and continuing to practice, you can master the Japanese language and become confident in expressing and discussing cities in Japanese.


Q: How do I say ‘city’ in Japanese?

A: The word for ‘city’ in Japanese is “shi” (市) or “tokai” (都会).

Q: How do I say ‘urban area’ in Japanese?

A: The term for ‘urban area’ in Japanese is “toshi” (都市) or “tokyu” (都区).

Q: How do I say ‘capital city’ in Japanese?

A: The term for ‘capital city’ in Japanese is “shuto” (首都) or “todofuken no shuto” (都道府県の首都).

Q: What are some common Japanese words for cities?

A: Some common Japanese words for cities include “machi” (街), “to” (都), “shi” (市), and “toshi” (都市).

Q: How can I ask for directions in Japanese?

A: To ask for directions in Japanese, you can use phrases like “sumimasen, chizu wa dokodesu ka?” (すみません、地図はどこですか?) which means “Excuse me, where is the map?” or “sumimasen, koko wa doko desu ka?” (すみません、ここはどこですか?) which means “Excuse me, where is this place?”

Q: What are some useful phrases for talking about cities in Japanese?

A: Some useful phrases for talking about cities in Japanese include “Watashi no sukina toshi wa Tokyo desu” (私の好きな都市は東京です) which means “My favorite city is Tokyo” and “Kono machi wa kirei desu ne” (この街はきれいですね) which means “This city is beautiful, isn’t it?”

Q: How can I practice my language skills related to cities in Japanese?

A: You can practice your language skills related to cities in Japanese by using flashcards to memorize vocabulary, engaging in language exchange with native speakers, and participating in online language courses or tutorials.

Q: What are some tips for mastering the Japanese language?

A: Some tips for mastering the Japanese language include immersing yourself in the language through watching Japanese movies or TV shows, finding a language exchange partner to practice with, and utilizing online resources such as language learning apps or websites.

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