Photo:Jonathan Lin on Flickr

Toyama Dialect: 5 Social Expressions to Win Friends in Toyama

Most seasoned travellers would agree that learning languages could help in communication and allowing them to enjoy the experience of visiting new places and meeting new faces. Having knowledge of a local dialect may lead you to serendipity and perhaps, discover hidden treasures!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head.
If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

-Nelson Mandela-

I would like to introduce you to the place I call home – Toyama. It is located in the Hokuriku region on the main Honshu island and is widely known in Japan for its excellent produce. If you are looking for fine rice, fresh fish and fantastic sake; Toyama is a must-visit destination!

Toyama prefecture. TAKASUGI Shinji on Wikimedia Commons
Welcome to Toyama. タチヤマカムイon Wikimedia Commons

While you are here, why not make a few friends? The Toyama-ben or “Toyama dialect” is a language that goes to the hearts of the people of Toyama. It is a local dialect that is exclusively spoken and understood by the residents of this great city. Toyama-ben may sound like a foreign language even to the ears of Japanese citizens hailing from different prefectures.

Here are my favorite social expressions in Toyama-ben. And no, you will not find these words in any standard Japanese language textbook!

1. Sokusaike (そくさいけ)

What does this mean?
• “Hello” or “How are you?”
• “Sokusaike” is similar to “ogenki desu ka?” in standard Japanese language.

How do I use this expression?
For greeting the people you meet–“Sokusaike!”–just like how you would say: “Hello” or “How are you?”

“Sokusaike!”: Photo by Taken on

2. Tanoncha (たのんちゃ)

What does this mean?
• “Please be kind to me.”
• “Tanoncha” is comparable to “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” in standard Japanese language.

How do I use this expression?
Unlike its standard language counterpart, this expression is usually used when requesting for a favour. End your sentence with “tanoncha…” and you will soon find hearts melting and hands helping all around you.

“Tanoncha…” Photo by Pexels on

3. Kito kito (きときと)

What does this mean?
• “Fresh”.
• “Kito kito” equates to “shinsenna” in standard Japanese language.

How do I use this expression?
Often used to describe fresh food, this expression conveys a subtle tone of praise and appreciation for the foods that are presented to you. To show how much you enjoy fresh seafood in Toyama with a smile, say – “Kito kito!”

“Kito kito!” Photo by Huskyherz on

4. Kinodokuna (きのどくな)

What does this mean?
“Kinodokuna” carries a combination of two meanings in one phrase: (i) Thank you (ii) I’m sorry.

How do I use this expression?
When people go out of their way to help you and to express that you are indebted to their kindness, say: “kinodokuna…” and give a respectful bow. It basically means “thank you” and “I’m sorry that you had to go through the trouble for me”.

“Kinodokuna…” Photo by 12019 on

5. Sounangake (そうなんがけ)

What does this mean?
• “Oh I see” or “right” or “ah-huh”.
• “Sounangake” is essentially a conversation filler.

How do I use this expression?
Use this expression when you are listening to a person talking to you. It shows that you are interested in their conversation; in a very similar way that you would say: “Oh I see” / “right”/ “ah-huh” when you are engaging in a conversation.


“Sounangake” Photo by Maasaak on Wikimedia Commons.
Towards the mountains afar,
Over the skies of blue,
Your adventures have begun,
Amazing experiences await you,
My language tips shared,
And it’s yours to try.
Be the first to read
Entries on Taiken Japan,
New ideas will uplift you.

Popular Posts

Related Posts