Tokyo Language - How hard is it to get by in Tokyo without knowing the Japanese language.
It's easier than ever for English speakers to navigate their way
around Tokyo without speaking any Japanese. Signs at subway and train
stations include the station names in romaji (Romanized characters).
There are also many districts of Tokyo (such as Roppongi) with
establishments that cater specifically to gaijin (foreigners). Once
you've decided to venture beyond the gaijin scene, however, the
language barrier is more likely to become a problem, so it can be
helpful to know some tips for ordering in restaurants, shopping in
stores, and asking for directions.
Many local people in Tokyo can speak some English and most are more than happy to help out. You are more likely to have luck asking someone under 35 to help you. Almost all the hotels in our Tokyo hotel guide has English language speakers on the main desk.
Refer to our Japanese phrase book for some basic terms to help out.