Want to say hello in Japanese? Good! Greetings are the first thing you should KNOW if you’re learning Japanese. The 3 most common are:
- こんにちは – Konnichiwa – Hello
- おはようございます – Ohayou gozaimasu – Good morning
- こんばんは – Konbanwa – Good evening
But, WAIT. In this guide, you get a big Japanese greetings list with 24 ways to say Hello in Japanese and explanations for each one. You might already know of Konnichiwa and maybe Ohayou.
So, let’s get into all the Japanese words for hello.
Okay, let’s start with the morning. You’re awake somewhere between 6AM and 10:59AM. And you see a friend. How do you greet them? Here’s how:
- Good morning (casual)
By the way, you should also hear real Japanese and how it sounds.
So, if you’re interested, here’s a quick lesson greetings fromJapanesePod101.com (a Japanese learning app).
Just press the play button on the player below to listen and learn to say hello in Japanese with the audio lesson.
- Japanese Lesson – How to Say Hello in Japanese (No Matter Time of Day)
- Click here to get more fun Japanese lessons at JapanesePod101.
2. Ohayou gozaimasu
Now, there’s a polite way to say good morning in Japanese. You simply take the phrase above and add “gozaimasu.” Pretty much pronounced “go-zai-mas” (zai rhymes with eye). Use this for strangers and people of higher rank.
- Ohayou gozaimasu
- Good morning (formal)
|Want to learn how to write in Japanese? Download your FREE Japanese Alphabet eBook here.|
So after morning is over… which is when? 11:00AM? Yes, after morning’s over, you should say “Hello” or “Good Day.” That’s where “konnichiwa” comes in. It’s one of the most recognized words and a super common Japanese greeting. For many learners, “konnichiwa” is their very first word.
But remember, it’s for the daytime.
- Hello (Good day)
When’s evening start? Let’s say 6PM. So after 6PM, you shouldn’t say “konnichiwa” anymore. We switch over to a good evening greeting. That’s the proper way of saying hello in Japanese at night.
- Good evening
Now this is super casual way to say hello in Japanese among young guys. That’s right, you probably use “yo” in English in the same way. Well, you can do it in Japanese. Not much of a pronunciation difference.
Girls only say this. There’s no special meaning and it’s not directly translatable. It’s just “hi” but it’s a cute way to say hello in Japanese. However, knowing Japanese how Japanese works – they probably took a longer word and shortened or switched it around.
7. Moshi moshi
Yes, this is a way to say hello in Japanese. However, it’s only used for answering the phone. Nothing else.
Do you pronounce this as “mooshy mooshy”? Please don’t. The “mo” is like mo in morning. And more often than not, it’s said as “moshi mosh” where the “i” in the second word is not pronounced.
- Moshi moshi
- Hello (when on the phone)
This is another young-guy way to say “hey” or hello in Japanese. The “U” is silent in this word.
Where does “Ossu” come from? Well, it comes from pre-occupied Japan times from Kyoto and more specifically from martial arts students. They went from greeting each other with “ohayo gozaimasu” to “ohayo-ssu” and eventually brought it down to “ossu.” That’s why it’s also commonly used with anyone studying Japanese martial arts.
This does NOT literally mean hello in Japanese. But, it’s most definitely used as a greeting, in place of hello. And it’s used when you haven’t seen a person in a while. So, yes, this is the first word you can say when you meet someone to greet them.
- It’s been a while
Yes, this can be used to say hello in Japanese. It’s what you say when you come back home. It’s like a “Hello!” or “I’m back” or “I’m home,” and is overall a greeting for when you return home. That’s it. This is one of many Japanese common set-phrases that you should know.
- I’m back!
As a bonus, if you come back home and say “tadaima” whoever is greeting you back needs to say “okaeri” or “welcome back.”
11. Dou yo?
- Dou yo?
- How’s it going? (Very casual)
You know thatdou meanshow so here you’re just asking “how things are?” But remember, Japanese language relieson context. If you and someone just took a test together and are talking about it – the listener will think you’re talking about the test.
It’s like Australian “Oy” but with a bit more of an elongated “O,” depending on how far you want to take it. This is one of those ways to say hello in Japanese… especially when yelling from across the street. Good way to get a friend’s attention.
13. Kyou wa donna kanji?
- Kyou wa donna kanji?
- How’s your day? (Very casual)
Kyou meaning today, donna meaning how/what kind and kanji is feeling/state/overall condition. Kanji is a pretty versatile word because you can use it in many contexts — like the condition of your day, the taste of some drink, the atmosphere of a tough meeting, and so on. Replace “kyou” with some other subject like … test, wine, person’s name and it will work.
14. Oai dekite kouei desu.
- Oai dekite kouei desu.
- It’s nice to meet you. (very, very formal)
NO, this is not a substitute for “Hajimemashite.” Just a phrase to say to someone you meet again.. because it’s nice to meet them. Now this phrase is formal. How can you tell? It starts with the “O” in front of the noun Ai (meeting).
15. Ikaga o-sugoshi desu ka.
- Ikaga o-sugoshi desu ka.
- How have you been?
Again, another formal phrase so don’t use it with friends but perhaps superiors.Ikaga is a very formal way to sayhow and as you can see, sugoshi (meaning time spent) begins with an o meaning it’s formal.
16. O-genki desu ka.
- O-genki desu ka.
- How are you?
Yes, you’re right. “How are you” is not a PURE way to say Hello in Japanese but… people use it as a greeting, right? Then, it’s okay. If “How are you” are the first words to come out of your mouth when meeting a friend in English, it’s the same for Japanese. By the way, “genki” means “lively”or “well,” so it’s like asking “are you doing well?”
Also, this is formal. Drop the O from O-genki and turn it into a casual phrase:
- Genki desu ka.
- How are you?/Are you genki?
Yes, this is the English “Hello.” You can indeed use it in Japanese though it’s super casual. Kids may use it. Adults, maybe not so much unless they’re being super friendly or joking.
18. Saikin dou?
- Saikin dou?
- What’s new? (very casual)
“Saikin” means recently. And “dou” means “How?” But, this is just another one of many ways of saying “what’s up” or “what’s new” or “what’s recent?”
- Welcome! (used in businesses only)
If you enter a store or a restaurant in Japan, they will yell this out. Take it as a “welcome.” Sometimes, shop staff will yell “irrashaimase” not only to entrants but to people walking by in order to get them to come in. In that case, it’s more of a “Come in!”
20. Nanka atta?
- Nanka atta?
- Anything happen? (very casual)
“Nanka” is a shortened version of “nani ka” which means “something” or “anything.” And “Atta” is the past form of the verb “aru” which means to have, be, or happen. So, it is quite literally asking, “did anything happen?”
21. (X) ga yoroshiku tte
- (X) がよろしくって
- (X) ga yoroshiku tte
- (X) says “Hello”
Want to tell someone that someone else said hi to them? Like, oh, “hey, John-san says hello to you.” This is how you do it:John-sanがよろしくって. (casual).
- Hey. (casual)
Doumo is a very versatile word. You can use it to say thanks. You can also use it to say hello in Japanese. This word is a shortened version of long greetings used back in the Edo period. It’s very casual so use only with friends.
22. Kawatta koto aru?
- Kawatta koto aru?
- Anything changed?
Yes, this is another way of saying “what’s up” or “what’s new?” Literally though, you’re asking if there have been changes (since the last time you met.)
23. X ni yoroshiku itte oite
- (X) に よろしく言っておいて
- X ni yoroshiku itte oite
- Tell X I said Hello.
Just in case you’d like to pass a hello to someone. (Casual).
24. Minasan ni, yoroshiku otsutae kudasai
- Minasan ni, yoroshiku otsutae kudasai
- Tell everyone i said hello
Just in case you want to say hello in Japanese… to everyone! (Formal)
Now you know all the fun Japanese greetings.
Now that’ you’re here, how about a quick review, eh?
Take this survey and pick the most important phrase. Doing so will help it stick a bit better.
As a quick review, here are the ways to say hello in Japanese upfront. Check out the image below.
Do you know of other unique ways to say Hello in Japanese?
Leave a comment below and I’ll add it to this list.
I read all the comments!
- Next Article: Say BYE in Japanese
– The Main Junkie
P.S. I recommend this for Japanese learners. If you REALLY want to learn to Japanese with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at JapanesePod101 (click here) and start learning!
What are the 3 basic phrases of Japanese greetings? ›
- Ohayou – おはよう Meaning: Good morning (informal) Pronunciation: Oh-ha-yoh(oo) – ends up sounding a little like the state, Ohio. ...
- Ohayou gozaimasu – おはよう ございます Meaning: Good morning (formal) ...
- Konnichiwa – こんにちは Meaning: Hello. ...
- Konbanwa – こんばんは Meaning: Good evening.
- #1 こんにちは (konnichiwa) - “Hello” in Japanese. ...
- #2 やあ! ...
- #4 おはようございます (ohayou gozaimasu) - “Good morning” in Japanese. ...
- #5 こんばんは (konbanwa) - “Good evening” in Japanese. ...
- #6 お久しぶりですね (o-hisashiburi desu ne) - “Long time no see” in Japanese. ...
- #7 ヤッホー (Ya-ho-) - “Yoohoo” in Japanese.
4 Basic Japanese Greetings: Ohayou, Konnichiwa, Konbanwa and Oyasumi.What is the simplest Japanese script? ›
Hiragana is the most basic of the 3 sets of alphabet for it is the foundation of the written Japanese language. It is the first set of characters that new language learners and children learn when they start studying. Hiragana is easier to learn when compared to Katakana and Kanji.What is a popular Japanese phrase? ›
#1 Konnichiwa (こんにちは) – Hello. #2 Ohayou gozaimasu (おはようございます) – Good morning. #3 Konbanwa (こんばんは) – Good evening. #4 Moshi moshi (もしもし) – Hello (but only if you're on the phone or something like Skype)What are some simple Japanese phrases? ›
- ありがとうございます (arigatou gozaimasu): Thank you.
- どういたしまして (douitashimashite): You're welcome.
- すみません (sumimasen): I'm sorry/excuse me.
- ごめんなさい (gomen nasai): I'm sorry.
- おいしいです (oishīdesu): It is delicious.
- 分かりません (shirimasen): I don't know.
- 忘れていました (wasurete imashita): I forgot.
- “Good morning.”
- “Good afternoon.”
- “Good evening.”
- “It's nice to meet you.”
- “It's a pleasure to meet you.” (These last two only work when you are meeting someone for the first time.)
- 7. “ Hi!” ( ...
- 8. “ Morning!” (
Sometimes it's used as neutral filler speech to indicate you're listening. Sometimes it's used as a sign of acknowledgement. Sometimes it's used as a delineating device to indicate a change in topic. Sometimes it's used as a way of saying “here you go”.How do Japanese greet each other? ›
In Japan, people greet each other by bowing. A bow can ranges from a small nod of the head to a deep bend at the waist. A deeper, longer bow indicates respect and conversely a small nod with the head is casual and informal. If the greeting takes place on tatami floor, people get on their knees to bow.Can you just say ohayo? ›
The first way to say good morning is ohayō おはよう (pronounced a lot like the state Ohio). This is the casual form, which you'd mainly use with close friends and family members. The second way to say good morning in Japanese is ohayō gozaimasu おはようございます. This is a more formal version.
Can I self learn Japanese? ›
Yes, it is absolutely possible to learn Japanese on your own! If you've got an internet connection and a good reason for learning Japanese, you can start learning right away!Can you learn Japanese in 3 months? ›
How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese on Average? With consistent studying and speaking, for about 30 minutes to an hour a day, you could speak at a conversational level in Japanese in about 3 months.How do you say yes in Japanese? ›
The simplest and most straightforward way of saying yes in Japanese is はい hai. In a more formal style, one may also use は！ ha!. If you are conversing with a close acquaintance, ええ ee is also suitable.What is Moshi Mosh? ›
Moshi moshi, or もしもし, is a common Japanese phrase that Japanese people use when picking up the phone. It's a casual greeting used for friends and family, like a “hello”, but in fact means something entirely different! In English, it literally means something more like, “to say to say”, or “I speak I speak”.What is Hello in anime? ›
If you ever watched at least one anime series, you probably already know this: “hello” in Japanese is Konnichiwa.What are the easiest Japanese words? ›
- O-negai shimasu. Please. おねがいします。
- Arigatō. Thank you. ありがとう。
- Dōitashimashite. You're welcome. どういたしまして。
- Sumimasen. Excuse me. すみません。
- Gomennasai. I am sorry. ごめんなさい。
- Ohayō gozaimasu. Good morning. おはようございます。
- Konbanwa. Good evening. こんばんは。
- O-yasumi nasai. Good night. おやすみなさい。
The short answer is: yes, you can speak fluent Japanese and understand Japanese people without ever studying a single kanji. In fact, if you focus your studies on hearing comprehension, it's likely that you will achieve fluency of speech much faster than somebody who chooses to focus on kanji.What is the easiest Japanese to learn? ›
But hiragana and katakana are easy to pick up — you could master them in a day. They're just the Japanese alphabet and each one represents a syllable. And as for kanji, focus on the language hacks we mentioned! Learn the kanji that go with your 80/20 core vocabulary first.What Japanese say before eating? ›
Before eating, Japanese people say "itadakimasu," a polite phrase meaning "I receive this food." This expresses thanks to whoever worked to prepare the food in the meal.What is 3 lines in Japanese? ›
What is a haiku? The haiku is a Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. The haiku developed from the hokku, the opening three lines of a longer poem known as a tanka.
What are some cool Japanese sayings? ›
- naruhodo (なるほど) = oh, I see! ( casual)
- yabai (やばい) = crazy (the good or bad kind, depending on context)
- ossu (おっす) = what's up?
- benkyō ni narimashita (勉強になりました) = literally “I've learned something”
- kimoi (キモい) = gross!
- Hello Beautiful.
- Hey Friend.
- Hey Boo.
- Hey Sunshine.
- Hey Sweetart.
- Hey Girl Hey.
- Hey Luv.
The most common phrases when greeting someone familiar is “Ohayō gozaimasu” (Good morning), “Konnichiwa” ('Hello' or 'Good day'), and “Konbanwa” ('Good evening').Can I say good morning at 12 am? ›
For example, “Good morning” is generally used from 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. whereas “Good afternoon” time is from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. “Good evening” is often used after 6 p.m. or when the sun goes down. Keep in mind that “Goodnight” is not a salutation. In formal communication, it is used to say goodbye.How do you say OK in Japanese? ›
大丈夫です It's okay / I'm okay. Daijoubu desu (大丈夫です / だいじょうぶです) is perhaps the most popular, polite phrase meaning 'It's/I'm okay' or 'It's alright' in Japanese. It's a very handy expression for many situations.
Oi – オイ – This is a highly informal way in the Japanese culture to get someone's attention. A lot like the English version of, “Hey!” – But even less polite. Osu – オス – This is an informal way of greeting someone in Japanese, normally used between good friends.What is hi in Tokyo? ›
Use konnichiwa (こんにちは) to greet most people in most settings. Konnichiwa (koh-nee-chee-wah) is the most common way to say "hello" in Japanese, and is considered an all-purpose greeting. You can use it during the day when greeting anyone, regardless of their social status.Does ohayo mean hi? ›
Ohayo (おはよう, ohayō) is a colloquial term meaning good morning in Japanese. Ohayo may also refer to: Good Morning (1959 film), 1959 Japanese comedy film by director Yasujirō Ozu.How do you say no in Japanese anime? ›
The word for 'no' in Japanese is いいえ (iie) or the more familiar いや (iya).What does no mean in Japan? ›
Next, の (no) as a Japanese particle indicates possession. While the word order looks a bit different, it works like 's (apostrophe s) or of. Watashi no namae wa Naomi desu. わたし の なまえ は なおみ です。 “My name is Naomi.”
Why do Japanese say Chan? ›
Chan (ちゃん) expresses that the speaker finds a person endearing. In general, -chan is used for young children, close friends, babies, grandparents and sometimes female adolescents. It may also be used towards cute animals, lovers, or youthful women. Chan is not usually used for strangers or people one has just met.Do Japanese give red envelopes? ›
Today the envelope, symbolic of the coins, is sometimes known as the yasui qian, or "suppressing Sui money". While the tradition centers on children, red envelopes are given to friends, family, colleagues and many other relatives - and different amounts of money are customary for each relation.How do Japanese show their love? ›
It's customary for Japanese women to profess their love through honmei choco, ornate handmade chocolates or expensive boxes of sweets. Women will also, sometimes begrudgingly, gift male coworkers with mini boxes of giri choco, or obligatory chocolates.What do you reply to konnichiwa? ›
When someone greets you in Japanese with “Konnichiwa” it is best to respond with the same phrase “Konnichiwa”.Is konnichiwa one word? ›
It's a formal kind of 'hello!
In Japan, people greet each other by bowing. A bow can ranges from a small nod of the head to a deep bend at the waist. A deeper, longer bow indicates respect and conversely a small nod with the head is casual and informal. If the greeting takes place on tatami floor, people get on their knees to bow.What is welcome sound in Japanese? ›
If you are a customer walking into a shop, you would hear いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase). Informally, you might hear どうぞ (dōzo) as a kind of welcome or invitation.What is the most polite way to say hello in Japanese? ›
Konnichiwa (こんにちは) is said between late morning (11am) and early evening (5pm) in Japan. It's a formal kind of 'hello! '.What does Domo Arigato mean? ›
When you buy something at a store, store clerk would say "DOMO ARIGATOU", meaning thank you "very much". You can also use DOMO as a greeting like "hello".Why do Japanese say San? ›
In Japanese, "~ san （～さん）" is a title of respect added to a name. It can be used with both male and female names, and with either surnames or given names. It can also be attached to the name of occupations and titles.
What does oi mean in Japanese? ›
Oi – オイ – This is a highly informal way in the Japanese culture to get someone's attention. A lot like the English version of, “Hey!” – But even less polite.Can you use konnichiwa at night? ›
When it comes to using it in various social contexts, you should know that Konnichiwa can be used safely in all kinds of situations (only between morning and evening; never early in the morning or late at night) except for those involving very close friends.Is it OK to just say Arigato? ›
Yes, they do! Arigatou on its own is a simple, somewhat casual “thank you.” That said, most people prefer doumo arigatou or arigatou gozaimasu as their standard way of saying thanks, because both of those phrases are more polite than arigatou on its own.What is the reply to Arigato? ›
Ie ie / No no (Not at all/No problem) A phrase that you will often hear as a reply to "arigato gozaimasu" is "ie ie". You might've learned that "you're welcome" in Japanese is "do itashimashite", but actually, this phrase isn't used very often in present day.Does ohayo mean hello? ›
Ohayo (おはよう, ohayō) is a colloquial term meaning good morning in Japanese. Ohayo may also refer to: Good Morning (1959 film), 1959 Japanese comedy film by director Yasujirō Ozu.How do you say hi casually in Japanese? ›
Ohayou is one of the first words you learn in Japanese and is one of the first greetings you will learn. On its own, it is casual and is used when meeting someone first thing in the morning and usually no later than noon.How do you reply to konnichiwa? ›
When someone greets you in Japanese with “Konnichiwa” it is best to respond with the same phrase “Konnichiwa”.