The Meaning of the Japanese Word Konbanwa

Japanese Greetings

Getty Images/Jonathan McHugh

Whether you're visiting Japan or you're simply trying to learn a new language, knowing how to say and write simple greetings is a great way to start communicating with people in their language.

The way to say good evening in Japanese is Konbanwa.

Konbanwa shouldn't be confused with  "konnichi wa," which is a greeting often during daytime hours. 

Greetings for Day and Night

Japanese citizens will use the morning greeting "ohayou gozaimasu,"  most often before about 10:30 a.m. "Konnichiwa" is used most often after 10:30 a.m., while "konbanwa" is the appropriate evening greeting.

Pronunciation of Konbanwa

Listen to the audio file for "Konbanwa."

Japanese Characters for Konbanwa

こんばんは。

Writing Rules

There is a rule for writing hiragana "wa" and "ha." When "wa" is used as a particle, it is written in hiragana as "ha." "Konbanwa" is now a fixed greeting. However, in the old days it was a part of sentence such as "Tonight is ~ (Konban wa ~)" and "wa" functioned as a particle. That's why it is still written in hiragana as "ha."