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


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."

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Abe, Namiko. "The Meaning of the Japanese Word Konbanwa." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Abe, Namiko. (2020, August 27). The Meaning of the Japanese Word Konbanwa. Retrieved from Abe, Namiko. "The Meaning of the Japanese Word Konbanwa." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).