Hello and Goodbye in the Japanese Language

Published December 8th, 2022

Saying Hello and Goodbye in Japanese- Casual Greetings

How to say "hello" in Japanese? It's all about social appropriateness. You have to be aware of whom you're speaking to and converse accordingly. In the case of greetings and farewells, casual terms are short and indicate a close level of familiarity or intimacy between the speaker and the listener. Take a look at the basic greetings and farewells for casual situations in the tables below. We've also provided sample contextualized mini dialogues with cultural notes to have you speaking like a pro in no time!

About the curvy letters

Japanese uses an alphabet called hiragana, that looks like this- ひらがな. Most students learning Japanese start out by learning this alphabet along with vocabulary. Of course, Japanese can also be written with English alphabet letters. This is called "romaji," for "Roman lettering." For the purposes of this lesson, we will show both romaji and hiragana versions of the vocabulary.

Basic Greetings for Friends and Family

English Romaji Hiragana Audio
'Morning! ohayou おはよう
What's Up? (used by men) osu おす
Hello konnichiwa こんにちは
Good Evening konbanwa こんばんは
Nice to see you again hisashiburi ひさしぶり
See you! ja ne じゃね

Causual Friends

Sample greeting scenarios for casual settings

Two friends meet up at the bus stop-

Mariko: Ohayou, Yuko-san!
'Morning, Yuko!
Yuko: Mariko-san, ohayou!
Mariko, good morning!
("San" is a title of respect used after people's names. Use it whenever to talk directly to or about someone else.)

Two male friends meet up for an early game of racquetball-

Ryota: Keisuke-kun, osu!
Hey, Keisuke!
Keisuke: Osu!
(Kun is a title of respect similar to san, and used after men's names. It's used when a superior addresses a subordinate, or when younger males of equal status address each other. Osu is a casual greeting between close male friends. While it's generally said in the morning, it can be used at any time of day.)

In the afternoon, two besties get together for coffee-

Tomoko: Konnichiwa, Haru-chan.
Hi, Haruko!
Haruko: Tomo-chan, konnichiwa.
Hi, Tomoko!
(Chan is a title in addition to san and kun, one of intimacy and affection, indicating a very close personal relationship to the person you're speaking or referring to. People of any age or gender use it with close friends and family. When it's used with people's names, the name is usually shortened like in the example above.)


The two girls above are going out clubbing on Saturday night -

Tomoko: Haru-chan, konbanwa. Ikou ka?
Hi, Haruko. Ready to go?
Haruko: Konbanwa, Tomo-chan. Ja, ikou!
Hi, Tomoko. Yeah, let's go!
(People usually begin saying konbanwa around sundown.)

Two cousins see each other at an extended family gathering-

Takako: Hisashiburi, Sachie-san!
Nice to see you, Sachie!
Sachie: Hisashiburi!
Nice to see you!

Two high school classmates say goodbye at the end of the day-

Michiko: Fumie-san, ja ne.
'Bye, Fumie
Fumie: Ja ne.
'Bye. (Note that while these two students are not best friends, they still use each other's first names to indicate a certain level of familiarity, that of classmates.)