What do you want to do? Sometimes when speaking to people from a different culture, you can run into some confusion and things can get lost in translation. However, deep down inside, we all want something.

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How to Use the Common Phrase ~へいきたいです。(ikitai desu)

Maybe you want to know how to say something in Japanese, maybe you want to find a pair of dress shoes for under $200, or maybe you just want to know where the nearest bathroom is! As long as you can convey to people what you want, they can usually help you. Today, we’re going to look at the common phrase ~へいきたいです (~he ikitai desu) and learn how to use it to convey where you want to go.

Let’s say that you’re traveling to Japan and want some recommendations for a good Sushi restaurant around your hotel. When we’re speaking in our native language, we tend to use more words than necessary to convey what it is we want. This may not be a problem when speaking to other native speakers of our language, but when we’re speaking to someone from another country that has only a basic understanding of our language, over-explaining and using too many words may confuse them. Therefore, let’s just keep things simple. Let’s at least get the point across that we want something, and later we can deal with the fine details (recommendations, places nearby, etc.)

I want to go to a Sushi Restaurant.

How do we say this in Japanese? Below, I have outlined five easy steps to create a Japanese sentence that conveys wanting to go somewhere.

1. Pick a Pronoun!

In order to make a sentence, we first need to start with the subject. The subject answers the question who it is we’re talking about. Is it you? Is it she? Below is a list of Japanese pronouns and their English translations.

あ あ なanataDu
彼達kare-tachithey (in general)
彼女達kanojo-tachithey (if they’re all female)

Once you’ve selected your pronoun, you need to attach the Partikel は (wa) to the end in order to indicate that it is the subject of the sentence.


Watashi wa…
Anata wa…
Kanojo wa…

2. Pick a Verb!

Since the sentence we’re translating is “I want to go to a Sushi restaurant,” our Verb is “go.” The Japanese VerbIku” means “to go.” It can be written using Kanji (行く) or just Hiragana (いく). 

3. Conjugate the Verb!

If you say “I want to go to a Sushi restaurant” in English, you use the word “want,” followed by “to go.” However, in Japanese, it works differently. You have to conjugate “Iku” into a form that conveys “want to go.” Therefore, if you want to say “want to go” in Japanese, you have to say, いきたい (ikitai).

Now that we know our pronoun (私), our subject-indicating Partikel (は), and our conjugated Verb (いきたい), we can put them together to mean “I want to go.” 

        私       +

+          いきたい
=    私はいきたい
    Watashi          + wa
+              ikitai     
=   Watashi wa ikitai
            I     +(connector Partikelwa”)+          want to go=      I want to go

Other examples:

Kare wa ikitai.
He wants to go.
Watashi-tachi wa ikitai.
We want to go.
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4. Pick a Location!

Now that we know how to say “I want to go,” it’s time to say where we want to go. Below are the names of a few places you might want to go in Japan.

レ レ ト ラ ラresutoranRestaurant
ト ト イtoirebathroom
ホ ホ テhoteruhotel
ekitrain station
タクシー乗り場takushii noribataxi stand

In order to say, “I want to go to a restaurant,” you have to connect “restaurant” to “want to go.” To do this, you can either use the Partikel へ (er) or に (ni). In Japanese, the Verb goes at the end of the sentence, so we will have to insert the place we want to go in the middle of the sentence and follow it with the Verb.

私  + は  + レストラン  + へ + いきたい  = 私はレストランへいきたい
Watashi  + wa + resutoran  + he + ikitai = Watashi wa resutoran he ikitai
I want to go to a restaurant

5. Add “Desu!”

Because Japan is a society that places high importance on respect and politeness, adding です (desu) to the end of your sentences is a good idea to show that you want to be höflich

And with that, we have arrived at our Japanese translation of “I want to go to a Sushi restaurant!”

Watashi wa Sushi-ya he ikitai desu.
I want to go to a Sushi Restaurant.

Other examples:

Kare wa toire he ikitai desu.
He wants to go to the bathroom.
Kare-tachi wa hoteru he ikitai desu.
They want to go to a hotel.
Kanojo wa kuukou he ikitai desu.
She wants to go to the airport.


In order to convey that you want to go somewhere in Japanese, you use the common phrase ~へいきたいです。You start with the subject and attach the Partikel は. Next, you conjugate the Verb 行く (iku, to go) into the form that conveys “want to go,” which is いきたい. You then stick the location of where you want to go in the center of the sentence and attach it to いきたい with the Partikel へ (er). Finally, you attach です (desu) to the end of the sentence to convey politeness. Here is the formula:

Subject  + は + Place  + へ + いきたい + です
            wa                    he ikitai     desu

Don’t forget to get out there and trainieren diese nützlich phrase! Trainieren, trainieren, trainieren!

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