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Basic Japanese Greeting Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Culture, Grammar

We all know that, in any language, memorizing greeting phrases is very useful. In Japanese culture, greeting others with respect is very important. In this blog post, I would like to introduce you to the basic greetings in Japanese.  If you don’t have time to read through, you can watch the video at the end of the post to review some of the key greetings.


おはよう – ohayo 

– Good morning (casual way of saying to your friends or among your family)

おはようございます -ohayo gozaimasu

-Good morning (more formal way of saying “good morning”. You will say this to someone other than your close friends and family.)

こんにちは- konnichiwa


いただきます – itadaki masu

-Thank you for the food or I humbly receive. (Before you start eating, you will say this by putting your hands together by your chest. You would also say this when you receive something from others. In that case, you would say “Thank you. I humbly receive your gift.” In Japanese, it would be “ありがとうございます。いただきます。Arigatogozaimasu. Itadakimasu.”)

ごちそうさま – gochisosama

-Thank you for the meal. (You say this at the end of the meal.)

いってきます – ittekimasu

-I am leaving. (Before you leave your home, you would say this to your family member.)

いってらっしゃい -itterasshai

-See you later. (This phrase literally means that “go and come back”. However, if I were to translate this into English, it is more like, see you later.  いってらっしゃい is often followed by the phrase “きをつけて” in Japanese, meaning “be careful, or take care”.)

ごめんなさい – gomennasai

-I am sorry

ありがとう – arigato

-Thank you

さようなら – sayonara

-Good bye

またあした – mata ashita

-See you tomorrow

ただいま- tadaima

-I am home. (When you come home as you enter your house, you would say this to your family members.)

おかえり -okaeri

-Welcome home

おかえりなさい – okaerinasai

-Welcome home (More politer way of saying “welcome home”.)

こんばんは – konbanwa

-Good evening

おやすみ – oyasumi

-Good night

おやすみなさい – oyasuminasai

-Good night (more politer way of saying “good night”

はじめまして – hajimemashite

-Nice to meet you.

ひさしぶり – hisashiburi

-Long time no see.

おひさしぶりです - ohisashi buridesu

-Long time no see (more politer way of saying “long time no see”)

ごぶさたしております – gobusata shiteorimasu

-Long time no see (this also means the same thing as above phrases; however, this is much more politer way of saying “long time no see, or I haven’t seen you for a while.” You would use this phrase to someone older or in higher social status)

おげんきですか?- ogenki desuka?

-How are you?

よろしく – yoroshiku

-Please take care of the matter, or nice meeting you. (This phrase would mean differently depending on the way you use this. If you say this at the end of the phrase, “Nice to meet you.”, it would mean, more like “pleased to meet you”. (はじめまして、どうぞよろしく) It could also mean  “please take care of the matter”, if someone like your boss says this to you by asking you to do something.)

お邪魔します – ojama shimasu

-Literally means “I will disturb you.” (When you are visiting someone’s house, you say this before you enter the house.)

お邪魔しました – ojama shimashita

-Literally means “I have disturbed you.” (When you are leaving someone’s house, you say this phrase.)

いらっしゃい – irasshai

-Welcome (phrase used when you are welcoming someone into your house)

いらっしゃいませ -irasshai mase

-Welcome (more politer way of saying “welcome”. You would often hear this when you enter a store or restaurant. いらっしゃいませ is used to welcome someone into a place of business rather than into your house.)

ようこそ – yo-koso

-Welcome (This also means “welcome”. We often use it along with the name of the place. For example, 日本へようこそ!(Nihon e yo-koso) meaning, “Welcome to Japan.”)

どういたしまして – do-itashimashite

-You are welcome


Popular kids song about “greeting phrases”.

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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.