Want to learn how to say hello in Japanese correctly?Learn basic Japanese greetings such as konnichiwa, ohayō, konbanwa and how to say hello in Japanese on the phone in this post.
Learning basic Japanese greetings is one of the first things you do as a Japanese student. The Japanese language is very contextual and what you say depends on who you are talking to.
Japanese people are big on formality so you should always use the correct form. For example, you use the honorific and humble forms in the work place with your managers and clients.
We cover many Japanese phrases and Japanese greetings at JapaneseUp. Today, in this post, you’d learn the right way to say hello in Japanese.
Japanese Greetings to Say Hello in Japanese
First, know that even though hello is a common greeting in English, there isn’t really an exact translation in the Japanese language.
Depending on the time of the day, Japanese people usually greet each other using good morning, good afternoon or good evening instead.
How to Say Good Afternoon in Japanese
Konnichiwa is the standard way to say hello and is applicable in most settings. You can use this all-purpose greeting for anyone, regardless of social status.
You can’t go wrong with this phrase. If you only remember one phrase from this post, make it this one.
This is how Japanese people pronounce konnichiwa:
How to Say Good Morning in Japanese
You use this phrase to say hello when greeting someone before lunch.
Romaji: Ohayō gozaimasu
Try pronouncing it out loud along with the video:
If you are feeling lazy, you can also shorten your morning greeting to お早う・おはよう (ohayō) when speaking to friends and others with whom you are on familiar terms.
How to Say Good Evening in Japanese
You use this phrase to say hello in the evening. After dinner, you would begin greeting others with this phrase rather than konnichiwa.
Here’s a video demonstrating how to read and write this phrase (this dude has beautiful handwriting!):
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Pop quiz: When you write konnichiwa and konbanwa, which hiragana character do you use for the letter “wa”?
If you answer は, you got it correct! Please do not use わwhen you write こんにちは(good afternoon) and こんばんは(good evening). Many beginners mix up は and わ here.
The correct hiragana to use in both cases is は, not わ.
How to Say Hello in Japanese on the Phone (Japanese Phone Greeting)
Unlike in English where you can use the generic hello on the phone, the Japanese use a different and specific vocab to say hello on the phone:
Romaji: Moshi moshi
Regardless of whether you are the caller or the person being called, you answer the phone with “moshi moshi.”
Note: This phrase is much more appropriate to use for phone conversations than konnichiwa. You should not use moshi moshi to say hello in person unless you are being sarcastic.
How to Say Hello to Someone You Have Not Met for Some Time
There is even a special phrase you use to greet people you have not seen recently. It means something like “long time no see ” or “it’s been a while” in English.
You would usually use this greeting upon meeting a friend or a close family member you have not seen in several weeks, months, or years.
To make this greeting more formal, you can say お久し振りですね・おひさしぶりですね (o hisashiburi desu ne).
Other Japanese Phrases Related to Hello
How to Say Good Night in Japanese
Romaji: Oyasumi nasai
Here’s how to pronounce oyasumi nasai:
Note that this phrase is more often used in parting as a way of saying “goodbye” late at night rather than “hello.”
You might get some strange looks if you use this when you meet someone, even if it’s really late in the night.
When you are among friends, classmates, close family members, or anyone else with whom you can speak to familiarly, this phrase can also be shortened to お休み・おやすみ(oyasumi).
How to Say Goodbye in Japanese
You can use this phrase in casual correspondence and conversation:
Hirgana: ではまた or じゃまた
Romaji: Dewa mata or Ja mata
It means see you later in English.
Another phrase for goodbye is:
Though this phrase is rather well known among foreigners, it is quite formal and not used that often by the Japanese in their daily conversations. It carries the connotation of farewell.
How to Say How Are You in Japanese
This phrase literally means something like “are you in good health” and is commonly uttered when meeting someone you know.
Romaji: Ogenki desu ka?
How to Say Nice to Meet You in Japanese
If you are meeting someone for the first time, you can say:
If you want to be extra polite, you can follow up immediately with this phrase below:
Romaji: Dōzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu
This means “I am looking forward to working with you” or “Thanks in advance for your cooperation.” When first meeting someone, you’re opening up a relationship with the person.
So you use this phrase to thank the other person in advance for things he/she hasn’t done yet but will do for you in the future. It seals a deal or solidifies a relationship.
Showing Respect via the Japanese Bow
どうぞ宜しくお願いします is usually accompanied by a deep and heartfelt bow, and is the “secret password” of the Japanese language which opens every door.
When you meet someone, you often bow as a sign of respect. The bow is equivalent to a respectful handshake in the Western world.
A bow can be initiated be either party (though often the greeter). When you receive a bow, bow back.
You should bow at least as low as, though preferably slightly lower than the one who bowed first. Bowing lower is a sign of respect.
So try to bow lower than the person giving the bow if they are of higher social status than you, or if you do not know that person.
- Greeting bows are generally 15 degrees for people you are familiar with and
- 30 degrees for people you just met or are of higher social standing.
- 45 degree bows are usually not used for greetings, unless you are meeting the emperor or Prime Minister.
- If you are bowing in greeting to a good friend, you can simply nod your head to bow. This is the most casual of bows.
Here’s a video demonstrating how to bow in Japan:
Bow with your arms at the side, eyes facing the same direction as your head. Make sure to bow from the waist. Bowing with just your head or shoulders is very casual and can be seen as rude.
Here’s a great infographic on how to bow and how not to bow in Japan.
How to Say Hi & Hey in Japanese Slang
When you hang out with close friends, you can be super casual and use innuendos and slang words. Let’s take a look at how to say hi and hey in Japanese among buddies.
Warning: These slang words are only meant to be used with close friends. Do not say any of these words and phrases to someone older than you or to strangers of any age.
And even more importantly, do not use these phrases in the work place with your managers or clients!
A book that’s clearly not suitable for work:
How to Say Hi in Japanese Slang
This word is a slang variation of konnichiwa and it sounds less stiff. You use it when you meet and greet friends.
And this is a tad more conservative than おっす(ossu), which you’d learn about below.
Note: If you are being introduced to someone for the very first time, sorry, you’d have to stick to konnichiwa.
How to Say Hey in Japanese Slang
This word is the usual way of saying “hey” or “hi” as a friendly greeting to some close friends. Do not use it with strangers as it is a bit too much and rather impolite.
How to Say What’s Up in Japanese Slang
Originally an extremely formal word used in the military, this word is still commonly used by martial arts practitioners.
Nowadays, it is a slangy way to say hello among young people. Friends use it to greet each other and it can have many variations.
This is a very informal greeting used between close male friends or close male relatives around the same age.
This phrase is not usually used between female friends or between friends of opposite genders. It is somewhat similar to saying “hey, man!” or “hey, dude!” in English.
How to Say How’s It Going in Japanese Slang
Romaji: Chōshi dō?
This question can be used at social gatherings with friends and is a safe phrase to ask people how they are doing. It can mean “how have you been,” “what’s new,” or “what’s happening.”
Another variation to ask what’s new is:
Romaji: Saikin dō?
Like most other informal greetings, you should only pose this question to someone you are on familiar terms with, like a friend, sibling, or a close classmate/coworker.
Summary & Conclusion
Hope this post helped you to say hello in Japanese the right way. Remember, formality is an important aspect of Japanese communication.
- Konnichiwa is a standard greeting that can be used throughout the wholeof Japan and with all speakers of Japanese.
- If you want to sound more natural, don’t forget to use time specific greetings. Using konnichiwa in the morning or evening might be seen as a little strange.
- When in doubt, 30 degrees is a safe angle to bow at for almost everyone.
Have fun with these Japanese phrases and make sure that you pick the right context to try out these Japanese greetings!
When someone greets you in Japanese with “Konnichiwa” it is best to respond with the same phrase “Konnichiwa”. Even though it means “Good afternoon” or “Hello” and is usually used around noon or in the afternoon, it is common to…What should I reply to ohayo? ›
The perfect ohayo gozaimasu reply
It could be replied with a simple “Ohayou” or “Daijobudesu”. The first word means good morning as well, and the second phrase means “I am good” in Japanese. Learning these basic greetings is important and helpful when visiting Japan for the first time.
MOSHIMOSHI is an expression you use when you make a telephone call. There are several explanations about its origin, but it is generally believed that it comes from MÔSU, a humble form of “say.” When telephones began to be used in Japan, telephone operators were at work.Is Moshi Moshi formal? ›
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 should I reply to Hello? ›
– It's a casual way of greeting an acquaintance. The response should be “hey” or “hey dude!”What should I respond to Hello? ›
“Good morning!” (or “Good afternoon/evening!”) This is a formal way to respond to “Hey!” You may use it with someone unfamiliar or your co-worker or even an employer or supervisor. Just be sure to answer according to the time of day! You can also use this if you want to prevent a long conversation with someone.What should I reply after Moshi Moshi? ›
To politely conclude your exchange with a client or supplier, the conventional expression is お世話になっております (o-sewa ni natte orimasu), “Thank you for your support, thank you for working with us.” You can also use this expression when answering the phone. Use “shitsurei shimasu” to politely conclude your conversation.What should I reply after OK thanks? ›
- you're welcome. phrase. used in reply to someone who has thanked you.
- no problem. phrase. ...
- not at all. phrase. ...
- don't mention it. phrase. ...
- it's no bother. phrase. ...
- (it's) my pleasure. phrase. ...
- it's/that's all right. phrase. ...
- it's nothing/think nothing of it. phrase.
“Genki” literally means “health.” It's common when someone has been sick or you haven't seen someone in a while to say “genki desuka?” which is literally asking “are you healthy?”. The common positive answer to this is “genki desu” which just means “I am healthy.”Is Ko Nai meaning? ›
inside, within, between, among, house, home.
What does desu mean? Desu is a polite Japanese linking verb meaning “to be” as well other forms of the verb. Western fans of anime and manga sometimes add it to the end of sentences to sound cute and imitate Japanese.What does Oi mean in Japanese? ›
おい • (oi) (usually impolite) Said to get someone's attention; hey!; oi!Are you okay in Japanese? ›
大丈夫ですか？ (daijōbu desu ka?) is probably the most natural way to ask, “are you okay?” in Japanese. 大丈夫 (daijōbu) means “okay.” Adding “ですか？” (desu ka?) to turn it into a question to ask if someone is okay.Why do Japanese say hai so much? ›
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”.Is ohayo formal? ›
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.How do you respond to heyyy from a girl? ›
Respond with “heyyy :D.” one more “y” and a bigger smily face shows how much you care. Since they're clearly not interested in introductions or small talk, just skip right to the big questions.Is OK a good answer? ›
Generally, people say “Ok” when they agree with something. For instance, in a workplace or personal setting, it may be the answer to a question, or response to an idea or opinion. In other instances, “Ok” may be a show of consent or approval of a request.What should I reply after wow? ›
Often, the best response is Nice! or Lovely! or How nice! or How lovely!How do u reply to konichiwa? ›
Fellow Japanese customers will reply with silence, but if this makes you feel awkward, a reply of "ohayo gozaimasu" (good morning) or "konnichiwa" (good day) or "konbanwa" (good evening).What do you reply after konichiwa? ›
- HD. Harini. 20 Apr. Response to konichiwa is konichiwa. Reply for arigato is douitashimashite(どういたしまして) 0 Comments.
- KV. Kaustubh. 17 Jan. response to konnnichiwa is konnichiwa only , you will say DOUITASHIMASHITE = (you're) welcome. 0 Comments.
- Yes I can/Yes, sure thing.
- Yes of course!/Of course I will.
- Yes I can. It's this way.
- Sure. It's 10am.
- Sure thing!
- I can certainly do that for you.
- Yes here you go!/Sure, here you go.
- OK I will.
nani desu ka – 何ですか (なにですか) : a polite expression meaning 'what? ' in Japanese.Is saying Anata rude? ›
When Japanese people explicitly state “you” in their sentences, it's proper to use the person's name and attach a suffix. You are probably already familiar with “～san”, which is a polite suffix. If you use “anata” with someone who you know, it is rude. So it's better to use name plus san.What is Anata? ›
anata in British English
(ˈænətə ) or anatman (ænˈɑtmən ) (in Theravada Buddhism) the belief that since all things are constantly changing, there can be no such thing as a permanent, unchanging self: one of the three basic characteristics of existence.
"Naiyou" (内容) means "contents".What does chai ka mean in Thai? ›
If you were to directly translate the word yes in Thai, you would get the word 'chai' (ใช่). You can also add the respective polite word onto it to show respect to whoever you are talking to. So that would be either 'chai krab' (ใช่ครับ) for males or 'chai ka' (ใช่ค่ะ) for females.What is Nai Korean? ›
Noun. 나이 (nai) age of a person or other living thing.What is Suki desu? ›
at last, 好きです / 'suki desu' means to love, or 好きだ / 'suki da' or 好き / 'suki' in the familiar form. You can add 大 / 'dai' before 'suki' to really mean it, which gives us 大好きです / 'daisuki desu'.What is Kudasai? ›
When you ask somebody to do something in Japanese, you say TE-form verbs and then KUDASAI (Please, or I would ask you to).What is sai desu? ›
sai – 歳/才 (さい) : a suffix meaning 'age' in Japanese. Normally, it is used after a numeral or “nan” to add the meaning of “age”. desu – です : an auxiliary verb put after a noun, adjective, or phrase to make it polite.
Yare yare (やれ やれ) is a Japanese interjection that is mainly used by men and means “Good grief”, “Give me a break”, or “Thank…Why do Japanese say yo? ›
“Yo!” in Japanese – よー！
Exactly the same as English. You can greet a close friend informally with a simple yo! You wouldn't say this to anyone older than you, though. This one is also more masculine, but sometimes young girls and women say it, too, to get someone's attention.
The word temee てめぇ, also written with kanji as temee 手前, is essentially a very rude way of saying "you." It's way more rude than saying omae.What is Moshi Moshi reply? ›
To politely conclude your exchange with a client or supplier, the conventional expression is お世話になっております (o-sewa ni natte orimasu), “Thank you for your support, thank you for working with us.” You can also use this expression when answering the phone. Use “shitsurei shimasu” to politely conclude your conversation.How do you answer konnichiwa? ›
Response to konichiwa is konichiwa.Is it rude to say Moshi Moshi? ›
If you're receiving a call from family or friends, moshi moshi is the way to go. But never use it in business situations. It's considered rude because it's a shortened phrase. Younger Japanese people don't always know not to use "moshi moshi" in formal telephone calls (Honestly.What is Daijoubu desu? ›
daijoubu desu = i'm fine, i'm alright, it's ok.. ( you reply back to someone or that someone asking you)How do you reply to Baka? ›
Here are some examples. Stupid is “Baka”. Idiot is “aho”. Then, at the end, you can say either “da” or “darou” to complete the sentence.What is Ogenki desu ka? ›
In OGENKI DESU KA (Are you fine?), OGENKI is an adjective GENKI (fine, healthy) with an honorific O before it. If you answer, “Yes, I'm fine,” you say HAI, GENKI DESU. You do not add the honorific O, when you talk about yourself.Is Hai Hai rude in Japanese? ›
"Hai hai." = Yes, yes. / Okay, okay. In Japan, saying yes twice is often considered rude behavior. In fact, many parents tell their kids off for it.
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”.What is Bai in Japan? ›
bai. Parts of speech adverb (fukushi) by. Parts of speech interjection (kandoushi) bye.