Although you hope it is never necessary, it’s good to know how to say emergency and health-related words while traveling.

The Japanese word for hospital is Byōin.

To pronounce this correctly, let’s first break it down into syllables:


As you can see, you have two separate sounds. But notice the unique punctuation (called chōonpu) over the letter o. This symbol means you hold the o sound longer when you say it.

The first sound, “Byō” will almost sound like two. Here is how to say “Byō”:

Combine the English letter “B” with the English word yo (as in yo-yo). Pronounce the B as a “soft b”. It should sound like the b in the words book and ball. Now combine it: B+yo. Remember to hold the “o” sound a fraction of a second longer.

The second sound, “in”, is pronounced similar to “een” in the English word teen.

Now put the sounds together. Keep repeating the word until  you get more comfortable with it. Before you know it, you’ll have it!


For more useful Japanese words, go to WOW: Word of the Week


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