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Just like in the English language, there are various ways to greet a person in Japanese. The main greetings of good morning, good afternoon, and good evening are chosen based on the time of day. Here's a brief rundown to get you started:
Good morning in Japanese: The Japanese word for 'good morning' is 'ohayou'. The ending 'gozaimasu' can be added for politeness, extending the phrase to 'ohayou gozaimasu'. Ohayou is generally used until around 10am. Pronounced: Oh-high-yoh go-zeye-ee-moss.
Hello / Good afternoon in Japanese: For a more generic greeting meaning 'hello', the Japanese say 'konnichiwa'. This is used in the late morning hours and through to the late afternoon. Pronounced: Kohn-nee-chee-wah.
Good evening in Japanese: During the evening hours, the Japanese say, 'konbanwa' which translates to 'good evening' in English. Pronounced: Kohn-bahn-wah.
As you can see, choosing the proper Japanese greeting is as easy as determining the time of day. So the next time you travel to Japan, you'll have no trouble greeting the Japanese people in their own language.
Scroll down for many other Japanese greetings and goodbyes including Nice to meet you and See you later, as well as information about the Japanese terms used when entering or leaving a home: Ittekimasu/Itterashai and Tadaima/Okaeri.
(Words in bold
added during the last update. Latest additions can also been seen on our LearnJapaneseCL
Saying hello in Japanese:
Kon'nichiwa / こんにちは
- Hello / Good day / Good afternoon
Ohayou (gozaimasu)* / おはようございます
- Good morning
Konbanwa / こんばんは
- Good evening
Moshi moshi / もしもし
- Hello (Used when answering the telephone)
Hajimemashite / はじめまして
- Nice to meet you
Ohisashiburi desu / おひさしぶりです
- It's been a while
Saying Goodbye in Japanese:
Sayounara / さようなら
- Good bye (More final, for longer absences)
Oyasumi nasai / おやすみなさい
- Good night (Said to those going to bed)
Sore dewa, matane - Well, see you later
Sore dewa mata ashita - See you tomorrow
Ja matte ne - Well, later then
Ja ne - Later / See ya
Osaki ni - I'm leaving first (Said by those leaving the office)
Otsukare sama deshita - Thanks for all your hard work (Response to 'osaki ni')
Japanese terms used when leaving and entering the home:
Ittekimasu - I'm off (Said by those who are leaving the house, to those who are staying)
Itterashai - Take care (Said by those who are staying in the house, to those who are leaving)
Tadaima / ただいま
- I'm home (Said when returning home)
Okaeri (nasai)* / おかえりなさい
- Welcome home (Response to 'tadaima')
Ojamashimasu - Sorry to bother you (Said when entering someone else's home)
* - gozaimasu (ございます) / nasai (なさい) added for politeness.
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- Come home soon
- I hope to see you soon
- I will miss you
- I will see you soon
- Talk to you soon
- Welcome to America