24 Unique Ways to Say Hello in Japanese (Audio)

Hi there!

Want to say hello in Japanese?

That’s good. Real good. This is the first phrase you should KNOW if you’re learning Japanese. And if you’re not learning… leave!

So, today, you’ll learn 24 ways to say Hello in Japanese. Unique because you can ONLY use them in certain situations.

Keep reading. Here’s what you can do with this lesson…

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  • Get the free Japanese Audio Lesson below & listen

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24 Unique Ways to Say Hello in Japanese

1. Good Morning in Japanese

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:

  • おはよう
  • Ohayou
  • Good morning (casual)

say hello in japanese

You should ALSO listen to this Japanese lesson by JapanesePod101 (click here for more lessons) to hear REAL pronunciation.

  • How to say hello any time of day in Japanese.

Just press the play button on the player below to listen. If you want to read along, be sure to visit them at the link above. While you listen, feel free to scroll down to learn the 24 ways!

2. Good Morning in Japanese (part 2)

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.

  • おはようございます
  • Ohayou gozaimasu
  • Good morning (formal)

say hello in japanese

3. How to say Hello or Good Day in Japanese

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 of Japanese to say hello.

But remember, it’s for the daytime.

  • こんにちは
  • Konnichiwa
  • Hello (Good day)

say hello in japanese

4. How to say Good Evening in Japanese

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.

  • こんばんは
  • Konbanwa
  • Good evening

say hello in japanese

5. “Yo” in Japanese

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.

  • よぉ
  • Yoo!
  • Yo!

say hello in japanese

6. Yahho~ in Japanese: A greeting for girls

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.

  • やっほ~
  • Yahho~
  • Hi!

say hello in japanese

7. Moshi Moshi in Japanese

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 then not, it’s said as “moshi mosh” where the “i” in the second word is not pronounced.

  • もしもし
  • Moshi moshi
  • Hello (when on the phone)

say hello in japanese

8. Ossu in Japanese

This is another young-guy way to say “hey” or hello in Japanese. The “U” is silent in this word.

  • おっす
  • Ossu
  • Hey

say hello in japanese

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.

9. Hisashiburi in Japanese

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.

  • 久しぶり
  • Hisashiburi
  • It’s been a while

say hello in japanese

10. Tadaima in Japanese

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.

  • ただいま
  • Tadaima
  • I’m back!

say hello in japanese

As a bonus, if you come back home and say “tadaima” whoever is greeting you back needs to say “okaeri” or “welcome back.”

11. How’s it going in Japanese – Dou yo?

  • どうよ?
  • Dou yo?
  • How’s it going?

You know that dou means how so here you’re just asking “how things are?” But remember, Japanese language relies on 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.

say hello in japanese

12. Hey in Japanese

  • おーい!
  • Ōi!
  • Hey!

It’s like Australian “Oy!” It’s one of those ways to say hello in Japanese… especially when yelling from across the street. Good way to get a friend’s attention.

say hello in japanese

13. How was your day?

  • 今日は、どんな感じ?
  • Kyou wa donna kanji?
  • How’s your day?

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.

say hello in japanese

14. It’s nice to meet you.

  • お会いできて光栄です。
  • Oai dekite kouei desu.
  • It’s nice to meet you.

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).

say hello in japanese

15. How have you been?

  • いかがお過ごしですか。
  • 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 say how and as you can see, sugoshi (meaning time spent) begins with an o meaning it’s formal.

say hello in japanese

16. How are you?

  • お元気ですか。
  • 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.

say hello in japanese

Also, this is formal. Drop the O from O-genki and turn it into a casual phrase:

  • 元気ですか。
  • genki desu ka.
  • How are you?

17. Hello

  • ハロー
  • harou

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.

say hello in japanese

18. What’s new?

  • 最近どう
  • Saikin dou?

“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?”

say hello in japanese

19. Welcome!

  • いらっしゃいませ
  • Irasshaimase

If you enter a store or a business in Japan, they will yell this out. Take it as a “welcome” or a “Come in!” 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!”

say hello in japanese

20. Anything happen!?

  • なんかあった?
  • Nanka atta?

“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?”

say hello in japanese

21. (X) says “Hello”

  • (X) がよろしくって
  • (X) ga yoroshiku tte

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).

say hello in japanese

21. Hey

  • どうも
  • Doumo

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.

say hello in japanese

22. Anything changed?

  • 変わったことある
  • Kawatta koto aru?

Yes, this is another way of saying “what’s up” or “what’s new?”

say hello in japanese

23. Tell X I said Hello

  • (X) に よろしく言っておいて
  • X ni yoroshiku itte oite

Just in case you’d like to pass a hello to someone. (Casual).

say hello in japanese

24. Tell everyone i said hello

  • 皆さんに、よろしくお伝え下さい
  • Minasan ni, yoroshiku otsutae kudasai

Just in case you want to say hello in Japanese… to everyone! (Formal)

say hello in japanese


As a quick review, here are the ways to say hello in Japanese upfront.

English Japanese Romaji
Good morning おはよう Ohayou
Good morning (formal) おはようございます Ohayou gozaimasu
Hello (Good day) こんにちは Konnichiwa
Good evening こんばんは Konbanwa
Yo! よぉ Yoo!
Hi! (girly) やっほ~ Yahho~
Hello (when on the phone) もしもし Moshi moshi
Hey おっす Ossu
It’s been a while 久しぶり Hisashiburi
I’m back! ただいま Tadaima
How’s it going? どうよ? Dou yo?
Hey! おーい! Ōi!
How’s your day? 今日は、どんな感じ? Kyou wa donna kanji?
It’s nice to meet you. お会いできて光栄です。 Oai dekite kouei desu.
How have you been? いかがお過ごしですか。 Ikaga o-sugoshi desu ka.
How are you? 元気ですか。 genki desu ka.

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!

Other lessons you will absolutely love:

What’s next?

Later!

– 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!

Rafaela Rafa 2016-11-11 09:36:00
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Thank you so much!

Mike 2016-06-23 22:50:00
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I love to learn Japanese i have just completed how to say hello in Japanese from