How to Say Goodnight in Japanese

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Saying “goodnight” in Japanese can seem tricky at first, but with a little practice it becomes natural. Here is a complete guide on the Japanese expressions, conjugations, and cultural tips for properly bidding someone goodnight in Japanese.

Also Read: Here’s how to say hi in Japanese

The Most Common Ways to Say Goodnight

Oyasumi (おやすみ)

The most basic way to say goodnight in Japanese is “oyasumi.” It comes from the verb “yasumu” meaning “to rest.” The “o” at the beginning makes it more polite.

Oyasumi is used when speaking to friends, family, or equals. You can say “Oyasumi” on its own when parting for bed or leaving late at night.

Some examples:

  • Ja, mata ashita. Oyasumi. (Well, see you tomorrow. Goodnight.)
  • Oyasumi nasai. (Goodnight.)

Oyasumi nasai (おやすみなさい)

A more polite version is “oyasumi nasai.” The “nasai” comes from the verb conjugation that makes it a request or command. By adding “o” and “nasai,” it becomes a polite way to wish someone a good rest.

Use “oyasumi nasai” when speaking to superiors, elders, clients, bosses or teachers. It is the safest option in formal situations.

Some examples:

  • Oyasumi nasai Tanaka-buchou. (Goodnight Manager Tanaka.)
  • Kyō wa otsukaresama deshita. Oyasumi nasai. (Thank you for your hard work today. Goodnight.)

Other Common Expressions

A few other goodnight greetings you may hear:

  • Gokurōsama (ご苦労様) – Polite way of saying “good work today.”
  • Otsukaresama (お疲れ様) – Same meaning as above, but less formal.
  • Shitsurei shimasu (失礼します) – Said when leaving someone’s house/office late at night. Means “Excuse me for leaving at this hour.”

Replying to “Oyasumi”

When someone says “Oyasumi” to you, it is polite to return the greeting, saying “Oyasumi” or “Oyasumi nasai” back to them. Do not simply say “Hai” or “Arigatō” as a reply.

Cultural Tips

  • Only use “Oyasumi” with close friends, family, or equals. Use “Oyasumi nasai” for superiors.
  • It may be strange to say “Oyasumi” to colleagues or superiors in some formal work settings. Alternatives like “Otsukaresama” or “Gokurōsama” can be safer.
  • Do not say “Oyasumi” to strangers or in very formal situations. Stick to standard greetings like “Konbanwa.”
  • Saying “Oyasumi” is reserved for night time. Do not use it during the day.

With this guide, you now have the conjugations, vocabulary, and cultural know-how to properly wish someone a good night’s rest in Japanese. Just a simple “Oyasumi” can make your interactions feel more natural and friendly. So start practicing this greeting, and sleep well!

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