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The word ‘hello’ is one of the first words we want to learn in any language! It’s no surprise that when we start learning Japanese, we want to learn the word ‘hello’ first.

This simple greeting helps us make connections and friends.

Well, of course nothing is ever simple in Japanese…

There are actually many different ways to greet somebody. It depends on the time of day, your level of formality, whether you’ve seen that person recently…

Yes, there are many unique ways to say hello in Japanese. Well, they don’t all translate exactly as ‘hello’, but they are different greetings used in the same way.

Let’s take a look at some of those today!

First of all, please watch this awesome video from JapanesePod101. Then, let’s take a closer look at when you can use each word or phrase below!

Here’s a closer look at the words and phrases from the video…

Ohayō gozaimasu

おはよう ございます

Good morning

This is how to say good morning in Japanese. This is the most common greeting to use in the morning, up until about 11 or 12. You can shorten it to ohayō when speaking casually to friends or family. The ō is a long ‘oh’ sound.

Want to learn how to read Japanese? Download your free hiragana and katakana workbook here!

Yaa

やあ

Hi

This is a very casual way to say hi or hey there! to a close friend. It’s not that commonly used and I wouldn’t recommend using it unless a Japanese friend says it to you first!

Ikaga o-sugoshi deshita ka

いかがお過ごしでした。

How have you been?

This is quite a formal greeting. You can say this when meeting somebody with higher status than you – perhaps a coworker or professor.

Genki desu ka

元気ですか

How are you?

This is a more casual way to ask how someone is. Japanese people often greet a friend with genki desu ka without saying hello.

To make it more formal, add the honorific prefix ‘o’:  ogenki desu ka?

To make it more casual, you can just ask genki?

Chōshi wa dou desu ka19 different ways to say hello in Japanese! How many of these do you know? Click through for more!

調子 はどうですか

How’s it going?

This is a Japanese greeting that means how have you been? or how are you doing lately? Chōshi means somebody’s state of health.

Kyō wa donna ichi-nichi deshita ka

今日はどんな一日でしたか

How was your day?

This is a nice way to greet someone when you meet them in the evening and you want to hear about their day.

Konnichiwa

こんにちは

Good afternoon

Most people learn konnichiwa as the way to say hello in Japanese. But actually, it’s closer to good day or good afternoon. You can use it after around 11am and in the afternoon, up until around 5 or 6pm.

Before then, you would say ohayō gozaimasu (good morning) instead.

Konbanwa

こんばんは

Good evening

Konbanwa is how to say good evening in Japanese. It can be used in formal and informal conversations.

O-ai dekite kouei desu

お会いできて光栄です

It’s nice to meet you

This is a formal way to greet somebody you meet for the first time in Japanese.

Shibarakuburi desu ne

しばらくぶりですね

Long time no see

Here is a way to greet a Japanese friend who you haven’t seen in a while. You can also say ohisashiburi desu which has roughly the same meaning.

how to say hello in japanese formal - two coworkers greeting at airport

… And here are even more Japanese greetings that weren’t covered in the video!

Moshi moshi

もしもし

Hello (on the phone)

This special greeting is used only on the phone. The person making the call and the person receiving the call can both use this expression.

Dōmo

どうも

What’s up?

Perhaps you’ve already learned dōmo as meaning something like ‘very’. Well, when it’s used by itself, it can be a very casual greeting, kind of like ‘sup‘. It sounds quite cool but extremely informal. Use carefully!

Ossu

おっす

Hey

Very casual greeting used mostly between young men who are close friends. This is not really used by women, or by men speaking to women. Don’t say this one to your Japanese teacher!

By the way, you don’t pronounce the final ‘u’. So it’s pronounced more like ‘oss’.

Yahhō

やっほー

Hello (girly)

This is a cute and feminine way to say hello in Japanese that is only used by young women and girls. It’s casual and kawaii!

よう

Hey

This is another very casual way to say hi or hey to a close friend only.

how to say hello in japanese casual - young japanese man smoking

Ōi!

おーい!

Oi/hey!

Here is one more very casual greeting. You would use this to get somebody’s attention, for example if you want to say hi to a friend who you saw in the street.

Saikin dō

最近どう

What’s up?

This means something like ‘how have you been recently?‘ or ‘what’s up?‘ but it’s a casual form, used between friends.

Harō

ハロー

Hello

This is just the English word hello in Japanese katakana! Sometimes people say hello in English to be cute or funny. Again, it’s a casual way to say hello.

Tadaima

ただいま

I’m back

Tadaima is the greeting that you say when you get back home after you’ve been out. It means I’m back or I’m home.

When you hear somebody say tadaima, you should respond with okaeri (welcome back).

19 different Japanese greetings! Wondering how to say hello in Japanese? There are many different greeting, from formal to casual. It's important to know who you're speaking to in Japanese. Click through for explanations!

There are many different ways to say hello in Japanese language! How many from this list do you know?
Do you know how to say hello in Japanese? Learn Japanese phrases and words for free at Team Japanese.com!
There are actually a lot of ways to say hello in Japanese! Casual, formal, informal, masculine, feminine etc. Learn how to greet people in Japanese correctly with this infographic. Please pin to your learning Japanese board, then click through to Team Japanese for even more free Japanese words!