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Where You Can Ask For Help In English

Where You Can Ask For Help In English

If you need help in English, you might be tempted to ask someone around you for help. Despite learning English, many Japanese people are not that confident in speaking.

If you need help getting around, finding somewhere or something ,or have an emergency, here are some places that will be able to help you.

Train Stations

Many train stations – particularly Tokyo Metro and TOEI Subway –  have uniformed staff standing in front of the ticket machines.  The staff have timetables for trains and can help you with ticket purchases and getting to where you want to go.


Your biggest help will be the hotel you stay at.  You can ask the front desk staff for help getting places, where to eat, and what to see.  If you have an emergency, they are your best bet in getting help quickly.

Some hotels have guest concierge services that can help you out as well.

Please note that small business hotels might not always have English-speaking staff on hand.

Department Stores

Most major department stores in Tokyo have uniformed information desk staff.  While they primarily deal with the department store, they can generally guide you to the right information.

Tourist Information Centers

Tourist information centers can be found in the major tourist areas as well as near or at important train stations.

The Shinjuku Tourist Information Center is at the Shinjuku Bus Terminal on the 3rd floor.

There is an information center outside Keisei Ueno Station, conveniently located for you if you arrive via the Keisei Skyliner train from Narita.

Tokyo Station has an information center in the Tokyo Metro entrance area.


If you are in a medical emergency, please dial 1-1-9.  This will connect to ambulance, fire and police services.  They have English speakers who can provide you the help you need.

A Word On Announcements

All Japan Railway trains have signage in Japanese and English. Onboard train announcements are automated in English.

All Tokyo Metro and Toei Subway trains have similar signage and announcements in English.

Other languages include Chinese and Korean.

Most tourist areas – museums, temples, shrines, department stores – have signs and directions in English as well.

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