Useful Japanese greetings

Do you know how to say hello in Japanese? How about some other useful Japanese greetings? After this free audio lesson for beginners you’ll know more than just a simple konnichiwa!


Listen to the native speakers greeting each other, and then go ahead and practice saying each Japanese phrase aloud. Once you’re feeling confident with Japanese greetings you’ll learn some different ways to say goodbye in Japanese as well. It’s important to get the basics right, and the Japanese people you meet will really appreciate your efforts. You know you’re saying it correctly if they keep talking, expecting you to keep up!

How to pronounce Japanese greetings

As hard as you try, without helpful feedback your Japanese pronunciation is never going to be the same as a native speaker’s. If you've found it difficult to perfect the way you say Japanese words and phrases, this lesson will help you.

 

Using the blue Rocket Record buttons you can record the way you say each greeting or farewell, and compare it with the way a Japanese native speaker does. That’s right, with Rocket Japanese voice mapping technology you can record your voice as many times as you need until your pronunciation matches the Japanese speaker


And when you are ready test yourself using My Level and really power up your learning and recall. Just click the "My Level" tab above to get started!

  • Formal greetings in Japanese

Greetings like “good morning” or “good afternoon” are incredibly important in Japanese. As the Japanese culture is more formal, going through the ritual of greeting another person is an important way of showing respect. Japanese tend to bow while saying “Ohayō gozaimasu”, “Konnichiwa” or “Konbanwa” depending on the time of the day. Bows can be divided into informal-15 degree angle, formal-30 degree angle, and very formal, deeper angle bows. You are expected to greet every person individually, even if they’re in a group. That means that if you’re walking along the road and pass a group of five people, you’ll have to say, “Konnichiwa,” and bow five times!

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こんにちわ
-
Konnichiwa Konnichiwa Konnichiwa Konnichiwa…
Hello, hello, hello, hello...
When addressing an unknown person or someone above you, one should start with an apology, “Sumimasen”. Also, remember to add the polite suffix –san after the name of the person. Listen to the link below to hear formal Japanese greetings…

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おはよう ございます
お早う 御座います
Ohayō gozaimasu!
Good morning!
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こんにちわ
-
Konnichiwa!
Good afternoon!
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こんばんわ
-
Konbanwa!
Good evening!
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おやすみなさい
お休みなさい
Oyasuminasai!
Good night!
Nowadays it is quite common to use short greetings, like “” and “”, however, it is more common to say nothing between close friends. They just start talking without greetings. Listen to the link below to hear some informal Japanese greetings…

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やあ
-
Yâ!
Hello
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よう
-
Yô!
Hi
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さいきん どう
最近 どう
Saikin dō?
What’s up?
There are some greetings that you will only hear in certain regions.

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まいど
毎度
Maido
Hello
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おはよう さま
お早う 様
Ohayō sama
Good Morning
  • Hello in Japanese
In the Kansai region of Japan, they have a distinct dialect called the “Kansai-ben” which is characterized as being more melodic and harsher. Within Kansai, there are greeting words that are restricted to Osaka, such as “Mokarimakka”, roughly translated “how’s business”, to which the answer is “Bochi bochi denna”.

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もうかりまっか
儲かりまっか
Mokarimakka
How’s business?
You have probably heard “Sayōnara” before, which is the most common form of saying “Good-bye”. You may have also heard “Shitsurei shimasu”, another formal farewell phrase which translates literally to “I’m being rude by leaving your presence”.

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さようなら
-
Sayōnara
Goodbye
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しつれい します
失礼 します
Shitsurei shimasu
Goodbye (formal)
Let’s listen to some casual farewells…

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じゃあ / じゃあ ね
-
Jya or Jya ne
Bye
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また ね
-
Mata ne
See you soon
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じゃあ また
-
Ja matta
See you again
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また あした
また 明日
Mata ashita
See you tomorrow
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げんき で
元気 で
Genki de!
Be well!
That’s it for today’s lesson. Using different greetings will make you sound more fluent, so try to remember as many as you can.

Ja matta!

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Sayaka Matsuura
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