Say Hello in Japanese: 24 Easy Phrases (Audio Inside)


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.

1. Ohayou

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)

By the way, you should also hear real Japanese and how it sounds.

So, if you’re interested, here’s a quick lesson greetings from (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.

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.

  • おはようございます
  • Ohayou gozaimasu
  • Good morning (formal)
Want to learn how to write in Japanese? Download your FREE Japanese Alphabet eBook here.

3. Konnichiwa

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.

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

4. Konbanwa

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

5. “Yo!”

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!

6. Yahho~

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!

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.

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

8. Ossu! 

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!

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

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

10. Tadaima!

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!

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?

  • どうよ?
  • Dou yo?
  • How’s it going? (Very casual)

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.

12. Ōi!

  • おーい!
  • Ōi!
  • Hey!

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?

  • 今日は、どんな感じ?
  • 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.

  • お会いできて光栄です。
  • 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.

  • 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.

16. O-genki desu ka.

  • 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. 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:

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

17. Haro-

  • ハロー
  • haro-
  • Hello

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?

  • 最近どう
  • 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?”

19. Irasshaimase

  • いらっしゃいませ
  • Irasshaimase
  • 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?

  • なんかあった?
  • 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).

21. Doumo

  • どうも
  • Doumo
  • 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?

  • 変わったことある?
  • 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

  • 皆さんに、よろしくお伝え下さい
  • 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.

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

say hello in japanese

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!

What’s next?


– 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!

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How would you say “Well if it isn’t Gary” in a funny/sly/cunning context.

For instance, say your friend Gary is notorious for showing up 5 minutes late. He shows up late everyday. So while you are waiting for him and you start to hear his footsteps, before he can enter the room and offer his apologies you say “Well if it isn’t Gary.”

Like you totally expected him to be late and are feigning surprise he bothered to show up at all.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jim

Clear concise learnable and pleasant.

Rafaela Rafa

Thank you so much!


I love to learn Japanese i have just completed how to say hello in Japanese from