What are the most common Japanese greetings?
In this quick guide, you get a list of Japanese greetings — 30+ words and phrases. Common ways to say hi, bye, and everything in between.
Ready? Let’s go.
1. Good morning. おはよう。
This is how you say good morning in Japanese. It sounds kind of like the state of Ohio. Well, kind of… But, if that makes it easy for you to remember, then think of it as such.
2. Good morning. (formal) おはようございます。
- Ohayou gozaimasu
This is a polite way to say good morning in Japanese. You simply take the phrase above and add “gozaimasu.”
3. Hello (Good day). こんにちは。
“Konnichiwa” may be the first Japanese word most people learn. It’s super well-known. That’s why it makes it on this list of Japanese greetings.
It means hello and/or good day. You’d use it during the day.. from 11 AM to 6PM.
4. Good evening. こんばんは。
That’s the proper way of saying hello in Japanese in the evening, after 6 PM.
5. Yo! よぉ！
This is a casual Japanese greeting among young guys. That’s right, you probably use “yo” in English in the same way.
6. Hi! (girly) やっほ～！
Just a cute and girly way to say hi. If you’re a male, you wouldn’t want to use it but it’s good to know it.
7. Hello (when on the phone). もしもし。
- Moshi moshi
Yes, this is a way to say hello in Japanese. However, it’s only used for answering the phone. Nowhere else.
8. Hey. おっす。
This is another young-guy way to say “hey” or greet in Japanese. The “U” is silent in this word.
9. It’s been a while. 久しぶり。
Why’s this on the list of Japanese greetings?
Well… this does NOT literally mean hello in Japanese. But, it’s most definitely used as a Japanese greeting — in place of hello. And it’s used when you haven’t seen a person in a while.
10. I’m back! ただいま！
“Tadaima” is 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.
Whoever’s at home with you will respond with “Okaeri.”
11. Welcome Home! おかえり！
This next greeting is used on the person coming back. So, if your family member leaves the house and comes back…. when they come back, they say “tadaima” and you should respond with “okaeri.”
These Japanese greetings are very much customs and part of Japanese culture. They’re considered as “Japanese set phrases” or phrases you say on specific occasions.
13. Hey! おーい！
Like Australian “Oy!” “おーい” is one of those ways to say hello in… especially when yelling from across the street. Good way to get a friend’s attention.
14. Hello. ハロー。
Yes, this is the English “Hello.” You can indeed use it as a Japanese greeting though it’s super casual. Kids use it more than adults.
15. How are you? お元気ですか。
- O-genki desu ka.
This is the most common way to say How are you in Japanese, and is also a valid greeting. For example, you could say, “konbanwa, o-genki desuka?”
If you want to be more casual, drop the O from O-genki.
- genki desu ka.
16. How’s your day? 今日は、どんな感じ？
- Kyou wa donna kanji?
Another way to ask “how are you” or “how are things.”
17. What’s new? 最近どう。
- saikin dou
This is just another one of many ways of saying “what’s up” or “what’s new.”
18. How’s it going? どうよ?
- Dou yo?
This is more of a “how are you” greeting.
19. Welcome! いらっしゃいませ！
This is one of the most common Japanese greetings. You may not use it unless you work in a store… but you will hear it often. Shop staff will often green incoming customers with a loud “irrashaimase.”
20. Hey. どうも。
“Doumo” can mean many things depending on the context. In the case of greetings, it’s a super casual way of saying hello. You should use it only with friends.
Now, what about Japanese parting greetings?
In other words, what are all the ways to say bye in Japanese?
21. Next time! また今度！
- Mata kondou
Very simple way to say bye in Japanese and very casual. Not much to it.
22. Excuse me. 失礼します。
- Shitsurei shimasu
A super polite parting greeting. Use it with teachers, bosses, and people above you. Basically, you’re apologizing or excusing yourself to leave. The literal translation is “I will be rude/do a rude thing… (like leave!)
23. Let’s meet again. また会おう。
- Mata aou
Casual phrase. This simply means “let’s meet again.” If you want to be polite, say また会いましょう (mata aimashou).
24. I’m off! 行ってきます！
Remember “tadaima” and “okaeri?” Well, before you leave the house, you say this as a parting greeting. Literally, it means, “I’ll go and come back.” When you’re back, you can say “tadaima.”
25. See you tomorrow.また明日。
- Mata ashita
Literally, this means “again tomorrow” but it’s used to say “see you tomorrow.”
26. Goodbye. さようなら。
You might know this super popular Japanese word as well but… a majority of Japanese people don’t use it. Why? A “sayounara” is a forever-type goodbye.
27. Be careful. 気をつけて。
- Ki wo tsukete
Another variation of saying bye in Japanese. Like in English, the point here is to tell them to get home safe. Not much else to know. Very casual.
28. Get well/Take care of yourself. お大事に。
- O daiji ni
People will use this on you if you’re sick. Every time I leave a clinic or hospital in Japan, this is what the staff and nurses tell me – as a way to say bye in Japanese.
29. Bye/See ya. じゃね。
- Ja ne
Super common phrase that you’ll hear every day. Friends use this a lot.
30. Bye-Bye. バイバイ。
- Bai bai
Just a cute way of saying bye in Japanese… borrowed directly from the English “bye-bye.” Adults use it. Friends use it amongst themselves. Casual.
31. Thank you for your hard work/You worked hard today. おつかれさまでした。
- Otsukaresama deshita
This is a super common phrase and also one of the most common Japanese set phrases. Click the link to learn about set phrases if you want.
Don’t take it for its literal meaning – but it’s used to say bye to someone that has done work or did a lot. For example, coworkers say it to each other at the end of the day.
Now, you know the most common Japanese greetings.
If you want to remember these phrases, print out this list of Japanese greetings for yourself.
If you want to know how to say some other phrase, leave a comment.
I read ’em all.
– The Main Lingua Junkie