Directions in Japanese – How to say Up, Down, Left and Right in Japanese?

Posted by on June 14, 2019 – Japanese Study

Do you know how to describe the position of something in Japanese using directions?

Today, you will learn 10 Japanese positioning words that describe where something is.



Level 1: Above, Below, Left, Right



To describe the position of something or someone, you can use these 2 sentence patterns:

1. ~(noun)は~(noun)の~(position)にあります/います

(~ wa ~ no ~ ni arimasu/imasu) 

For example:

上: Above/on


kabanwa isuno ueni arimasu

The bag is on the chair

下: Below/under


ikuwa kino shitani arimasu

The dog is under the tree.

2. ~(noun)の~(position)に~(noun)があります/います

(~ no ~ ni ~ ga arimasu/imasu)

For example:

左: Left 


Penno hidarini keitaiga arimasu

There is a phone on the left side of the pen.

右: Right


Watashino migini senseiga imasu

There is a teacher on my right.


Level 2: inside, outside, behind, and in front of


Vocabulary list

Inside/in: 中 (なか naka )

Outside: 外 (そと soto)

In front: 前 (まえ mae)

Behind: 後ろ (うしろ ushiro)

You can also use the 2 sentence patterns above to form a sentence

For example

中: Inside


Ringowa basukettono nakani arimasu

The apples are in the basket.

外: Outside


Ieno sotoni jidenshaga arimasu

There is a bike outside my house.

前: In front


Terebino maeni bouruga arimasu

There is a ball in front of the TV.

後ろ: Behind


Kodomono ushironi nekoga imasu

There is a cat behind the kid.

Level 3: Beside, Nearby


The 3rd level of Japanese Position words are隣(となり tonari)  近く(ちかく chikaku)

隣 means “beside something” and 近くmeans “nearby something”

Let’s look at some example sentences.

隣(となり): Beside something


Byouinno tonarini connbiniga arimasu

There is a convenience store beside the hospital.


近く: Nearby something


Konochikakuni ginkouga arimasu

There is a bank nearby.


List of Vocabulary


Japanese  Pronunciation  Meaning
Ue Above/ on
Shita Below/ under
Hidari Left
Migi Right
Naka Inside
Soto Outside
Mae In Front of
後ろ Ushito Behind
Tonari Beside
近く Chikaku Nearby










Now you know the 10 common Japanese positioning words, do you know how to ask for directions in Japanese?

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