Many people think that “konnichiwa” is the only way to say hello in Japanese. However, there are actually various greetings that are used in different situations and times of day. Here are 7 common ways to say hi in Japanese:
Ohayou / Ohayou Gozaimasu – Good Morning
In the morning, the go-to greeting is “ohayou” (おはよう) or the more formal “ohayou gozaimasu” (おはようございます). “Ohayou” is used casually with friends and family, while “ohayou gozaimasu” is more polite and appropriate for coworkers, bosses, or strangers.
Konnichiwa – Hello / Good Afternoon
“Konnichiwa” (こんにちは) is the standard daytime greeting, and can be used from late morning to early evening. It literally means “today is” and expresses wishing someone well on this day. Use “konnichiwa” with anyone – friends, coworkers, strangers.
Konbanwa – Good Evening
In the evening, switch to “konbanwa” (こんばんは). This formal greeting means “this evening” and is the equivalent of saying “good evening.” Use it when meeting people or arriving at an evening event or gathering.
Yo / Ah – Hey
To casually say hi to a friend, you can use “yo” (よ)for guys or “ah” (あ)for girls. Just say “Yo!” or “Ah! (girl name)” when running into someone you know. This relaxed greeting conveys familiarity.
Ohisashiburi desu – Long Time No See
When meeting a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, say “hisashiburi” (久しぶり), meaning “it’s been a while!” You can also say “hisashiburi desu ne” (おひさしぶりです), which means “it’s been a long time, huh?”
Ojamashimasu – Hello / Excuse the Intrusion
Say “ojamashimasu” ( お邪魔します ) when entering someone’s home as a guest. It means something like “sorry to disturb you.” This shows respect and appreciation for their hospitality.
Otsukaresama – Thanks for Your Hard Work
“Otsukaresama” (お疲れ様です) expresses gratitude for someone’s efforts. It’s used as a greeting with coworkers at the end of the day or to greet someone who just finished something difficult.
So instead of sticking to just “konnichiwa,” try out these situation-specific Japanese greetings to sound more like a native speaker! The right hi or hello can convey friendliness, respect, or appreciation.