'Good Morning' and Other Common Japanese Greetings

Saying good morning in Japanese

Japanese speakers greet each other in many different ways depending on the time of day and the social context. For example, as with other common greetings, how you say "good morning" in Japanese depends on your relationship with the person you are addressing.

The sections below explain the various greetings in Japanese. Links are provided that connect with separate individual articles containing sound files (where available) that provide the correct way to say these phrases as well as the opportunity to practice pronunciation and increase Japanse greeting skills.

Importance of Japanese Greetings

Saying hello as well as other greetings in Japanese is easy to learn and essential before visiting the country or conversing with native speakers. Mastering these greetings is also a great early step in learning the language. Knowing the correct way to greet others in Japanese demonstrates respect and an interest in the language and culture, where proper social etiquette is of prime importance.

Ohayou Gozaimasu (Good Morning)

Saying "good morning" in Japanese

If you are speaking to a friend or find yourself in a casual setting, you would use the word ohayou (おはよう) to say good morning. However, if you were on your way into the office and ran into your boss or another supervisor, you would want to use ohayou gozaimasu (おはようございます), which is a more formal greeting.

Konnichiwa (Good Afternoon)

Konnichiwa (Hello/Good afternoon)

Although Westerners sometimes think the word konnichiwa (こんばんは) is a general greeting to be used at any time of day, it actually means "good afternoon." Today, it's a colloquial greeting used by anyone, but it can be part of the more formal greeting: Konnichi wa gokiken ikaga desu ka? (今日はご機嫌いかがですか?). This phrase loosely translates into English as “How are you feeling today?”

Konbanwa (Good Evening)

Konbanwa (Good evening)

Just as you would use one phrase to greet someone during the afternoon, the Japanese language has a different word for wishing people a good evening. Konbanwa (こんばんは) is an informal word you can use to address anyone in a friendly manner, though it can also be used as part of a larger and more formal greeting.

Oyasuminasai (Good Night)

Oyasuminasai (Good night)

Unlike wishing someone a good morning or evening, saying "good night" in Japanese is not considered a greeting. Instead, as in English, you would say oyasuminasai  (おやすみなさい) to someone before you go to bed. Oyasumi (おやすみ) also can be used.

Sayonara (Goodbye) or Dewa Mata (See You Later)

Sayonara (Good-bye)

The Japanese have several phrases for saying "goodbye," and they're all used in different situations. Sayounara (さようなら) or sayonara (さよなら) are the two most common forms. However, you would only use those when bidding farewell to someone you will not see again for some time, such as friends leaving on a vacation.

If you're just leaving for work and saying bye to your roommate, you would use the word ittekimasu (いってきます) instead. Your roommate's informal reply would be itterasshai (いってらっしゃい).

The phrase dewa mata (ではまた)  is also often used very informally. It is similar to saying "see you later" in English. You could also tell your friends you'll see them tomorrow with the phrase mata ashita (また明日).

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Abe, Namiko. "'Good Morning' and Other Common Japanese Greetings." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/learn-greetings-and-other-everyday-expressions-2027974. Abe, Namiko. (2023, April 5). 'Good Morning' and Other Common Japanese Greetings. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/learn-greetings-and-other-everyday-expressions-2027974 Abe, Namiko. "'Good Morning' and Other Common Japanese Greetings." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/learn-greetings-and-other-everyday-expressions-2027974 (accessed June 5, 2023).