how to greet someone in Japanese

How to Greet Someone in Japanese

Japan is a country where etiquette and choosing the right words is incredibly important. This is also reflected in how the Japanese greet each other. There are countless ways to greet someone in Japanese. That’s why I wrote this post show, where I show you how to greet someone in Japanese.

Table of Contents

How to Adress People in Japanese

how to greet someone in Japanese

Choosing the right words and expressions when talking to a Japanese person is pretty important (here’s why).

If somebody is older or more important than you, you must use honorifics. But when you speak to friends, family, younger or “less important” people you can use informal speech.

This distinction is pretty important to the Japanese and it means that there are often two ways to say the same thing.

Most Common Ways to Greet in Japanese

The most common ways to greet someone in Japanese are:

  • Ohayō / Ohayō gozaimasu – Good morning (informal/formal)
  • Konnichiwa – Hello, Good afternoon
  • Konbanwa – Good evening

If you’re a foreigner these are the only greetings you need to know. But if you want to show some more respect you can also bow by moving your head forward a bit. The Japanese will appreciate it.

Other Ways to Greet Someone in Japanese

This wouldn’t be a complete guide on how to greet someone in Japanese if I didn’t include all the other ways Japanese people greet each other.

So, other ways to greet in Japanese include:

  • Hajimemashite – Nice to meet you (used when you introduce yourself to someone you’ve met for the first time)
  • Hisashiburi / Ohisashiburi desu – Long time no see! (informal/formal)
  • Irasshaimase! – Welcome! (used by shop assistants to greet guests)
  • Moshi moshi – Hello (on the phone)
  • Osu – Hey (informal; only used by men to greet other men)
  • Yaho – Hey! (informal; used by girls to greet both girls and boys)
  • Tadaima – I’m back

How to Reply to Japanese Greetings

Japanese service is so great that you’ll often be greeted before you’ve even had the chance to open your mouth. You want to be nice and say something back.

So, what should you reply when a Japanese person greets you?

If someone says konnichiwa, konbanwa or ohayō gozaimasu to you it’s best to reply by also saying konnichiwa, konbanwa or ohayō gozaimasu.

But if you enter a shop and someone greets you by shouting irasshaimase you don’t have to reply anything.

In case you aren’t sure what to do, simply smile and say konnichiwa. Even if it doesn’t fit the situation they’ll appreciate your effort to speak Japanese.

Thanks for Reading

I hoped this guide on how to greet someone in Japanese was useful. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comment section down below.

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