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. Below is 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.
Notes: Words in bold added during the last update. You can also view these greetings from English to Japanese.
Saying hello in Japanese:
Youkoso ➔ Welcome
Ohayou (gozaimasu)* / おはようございます ➔ Good morning
Minna-san, ohayou ➔ Good morning to all
Kon'nichiwa / こんにちは ➔ Hello / Good day / Good afternoon
Konbanwa / こんばんは ➔ Good evening
Minna-san, konbanwa ➔ Good evening, everyone
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
* gozaimasu (ございます) added for politeness.
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)
Ja matane ➔ See you later
Sore dewa, matane ➔ Well, see you later
Ja matte ne ➔ Well, later then
Ja ne ➔ Later / See ya
Sore dewa, mata ashita ➔ Well, see you tomorrow
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')
Yoi ichi nichi wo ➔ Have a good day
* nasai (なさい) added for politeness.
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)
* nasai (なさい) added for politeness.
*List of greetings last updated: March 4, 2018.
Can you answer these questions about Japanese greetings?
1. How do you say hello in Japanese?
2. How do you say good morning in Japanese?
3. How do you say good evening in Japanese?
4. How do you say good afternoon in Japanese?
5. How do you say goodbye in Japanese?
6. How do you say good night in Japanese?
7. What does itterashai mean in English?
8. How do you say welcome home in Japanese?
9. How do you say see you later in Japanese?
10. How do you say have a good day in Japanese?
11. How do you say take care in Japanese?
12. How do you say good evening everyone in Japanese?
13. What is the English meaning of tadaima?
14. What is the English meaning of okaeri?
15. How do you say welcome in the Japanese language?
16. What is the English meaning of ittekimasu?
17. How do you say I'm leaving first in Japanese?
18. What is the Japanese response to tadaima?
19. How do you say I'm home in Japanese?
20. How do you say good morning to all in Japanese?