"I couldn't go to Japan" -> I was not able to go to Japan/ something prevented me from going to Japan/it was not possible for me to go to Japan
For example: I couldn't go to Japan because I didn't have enough money. I couldn't go to Japan because I didn't have a passport.
"I couldn't have gone to Japan" -> There's no way I would have been able to go to Japan. (Compared to the other sentence, this one sounds like the speaker is trying to explain themself.)
For example: I couldn't have gone to Japan even if I had wanted to! (implying it was impossible for the speaker to go) I couldn't have gone to Japan during that time, I was at a meeting in England! (again, implying it was impossible for the speaker to go and the speaker is trying to explain himself)
The Language Level symbol shows a user's proficiency in the languages they're interested in. Setting your Language Level helps other users provide you with answers that aren't too complex or too simple.
Has difficulty understanding even short answers in this language.
Can ask simple questions and can understand simple answers.
Can ask all types of general questions and can understand longer answers.
Can understand long, complex answers.
This answer was given within 60 minutes of the question being posted.
How do you say "Hello" in Korean? Find out on HiNative!