6 different actual ways to say “Hello” in Japanese

If you visit Japan and can greet Japanese people in Japanese, you can enjoy your visit to Japan more. In general hello is translated into konnichiwa, but we have some different ways depending on situations. When I see the websites which introduce how to say hello in Japanese, I feel they are unnatural sometimes. So I will introduce actual ways to say hello in Japanese.

1. Ohayogozaimasu/おはようございます

When you greet strangers and elderly people in the morning, you can say “Ohayogozaimasu”/「おはようございます」to them. Gozaimasu/「ございます」 is a polite language, so this is a formal style. When you visit Japan, normally you would use “Ohayogozaimasu”. In casual situations you can say just “Ohayo”. If you want to greet your friends in Japanese, it’s better you say just “Ohayo”.

2. Konnichiwa/こんにちは

When you greet people in Japanese after noon, you can say “Konnichiwa”/「こんにちは」to them. You can use this word in both formal and casual situations.

3. Konbanwa/こんばんは

When you greet people in Japanese in the evening and at night, you can say “Konbanwa”/「こんばんは」to them. You can use this word in both formal and casual situations.

4. Otsukaresamadesu/お疲つかれ様さまです

Japanese say “Otsukaresamadesu”/「おつかさまです」 originally when they greet bosses and senior colleagues in workplace. But now they can often say it in private also. Desu/です is a polite language, so this is formal style. When you greet strangers and elderly people, you can say “Otsukaresamadesu”/「おつかさまです」to them. You can use it every time. Otsukaresama/おつかさま and Otukare/おつかれ are casual styles. If you greet friends, it’s better you use casual styles. Japanese adults use this word for greeting very often in my experiences.

5. Ohisashiburidesu/お久ひさしぶりです

When you greet the elderly people whom you have never seen for a long time in Japanese, you can say “Ohiisashiburidesu”/「おひさしぶりです」to them. O/お and Desu/です are polite languages, so this is a formal style. When you see friends whom you have never seen for a long time, it’s better you say “Hisasiburi”/「ひさしぶり」. It’s a casual style.

6. Hajimemasite/初はじめまして

When you greet the people whom you have never seen and you are going to keep in touch with, you can say “Hajimemasite”/「はじめまして」 to them. You can use it in both formal and casual styles. For example, when you see a friend of your friend, you can say

Summary

Depending on the situations you can greet each other in Japanese differently. These words are natural expressions in my experiences although there are other ways.

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