Hello in Japanese: 11 Best Ways to Say Hi in Japanese

Have you ever wanted to learn how to say hello in Japanese? If so, look no further! Saying hello in Japanese is a great place to start to learn Japanese, as it serves as an important first impression. And there are many different ways of saying “hello” depending on who’s speaking and who you’re speaking to – so it’s important to be careful when using this word. Here, we’ll review 11 different ways you can use. Let’s begin!

Top 11 Common Japanese Greetings

Hello” – こんにちは (Konnichiwa)
Good morning” – おはよう ございます (Ohayou gozaimasu)
Yo!” – よー (Yo)
Oi! Hey!” – おーい (Ooi)
Hi” – やあ (Yaa)
Excuse me” – すみません (Sumimasen)
You must be tired” – おつかれさまです (Otsukare sama desu)
Hey, yes” – おっす (Ossu)
Yoohoo” – ヤッホ (Yaahoo)
Hello – informal” – ハロ (Haro)

11 Ways to Say Hello in Japanese

1- Konnichiwa – こんにちは (Hello)

こんにちは konnichiwa is the most common word for hello in Japanese. It comes first in mind when you think about Japanese. It’s commonly used between mid-morning and early evening, but it can still be applicable outside of that timeframe without drawing much attention. Even if you make a mistake and use it out of proper timing, not many people are likely to notice. Thus, if you’re learning Japanese, you should know this phrase!

2- Ohayou gozaimasu – おはよう ございます (Good morning – formal)

If you’re looking to wish someone “Good morning” in Japanese, the phrase is おはよう ございます “Ohayou gozaimasu.” This phrase literally means “It’s early” and is used as a greeting in the morning. It is considered a polite, respectful way to greet someone before 10am and is often used when speaking with an elder or superior.


3- Yo – よー (Yo!)

The Japanese expression よ “Yo!” is an informal way of saying hello. It’s primarily used among younger men and friends, similar to how “yo!” serves as a casual greeting in English. You likely won’t hear this phrase in a professional setting, but it often appears on Japanese reality television shows such as Terrace House.

4- Oi – おーい (Oi! Hey!)

The most common Japanese greeting is “Oi!”, which translates to “Hey!” Oi is usually used in casual situations, like when entering a room or just wanting to say hello to peers. It is the perfect way to get someone’s attention without being too formal.

5- Yaa – やあ (Hi)

In Japanese culture, there are both formal and informal greetings. For casual acquaintances, a simple and informal ‘hi’ is やあ (yaa). It is commonly used among friends, but should not be used when addressing someone of higher rank. If you want to be polite, you can use more formal greetings such as おはようございます (ohayou gozaimasu) or こんにちは (konnichiwa).


6- Sumimasen – すみません (Excuse me)

Other different way to say hello in Japanese is “sumimasen” The fashionable way of saying hello in Japanese is with the word “Sumimasen”, roughly translates to “excuse me” and is the polite way of approaching someone in Japan. Sumimasen can be used to ask for the time or even when enquiring about an item at a store. While this word isn’t typically used between friends and family, it’s always useful to have on hand!

7- Otsukare sama desu – おつかれさまです (You must be tired; you’ve worked hard)

In Japan, the phrase “Otsukaresama desu” is a commonly used and multipurpose greeting. It is often expressed to coworkers as congratulations on their hard work, or as a form of thank you. It can be translated as “good job” or “you’ve been working hard” in English.

8- Ossu – おっす (Hey, yes)

Another way to say hello in Japanese is ossu. It’s a slangy “hey” often used by young people and martial arts practitioners. The word has become increasingly popular due to its use in anime, and older Japanese may not be familiar with it. Regardless, it’s an informal yet fun way to start a conversation in Japan!


9- Yaahoo – ヤッホー (Yoohoo)

In Japan, there is a certain way of saying “hello” that is more commonly used by women and children. This greeting goes “yoohoo” in English and serves the same purpose. It is not regularly heard from Japanese people but can be encountered occasionally among friends, schoolers, and kids. One should use it to grab someone’s attention rather than when two people are face-to-face.

10- Haro – ハロー (Hello – informal)

In Japan, the most commonly used greeting among friends or people in a casual setting is “Haro”. This term is a loanword from English, simply meaning “hello”. It can be used in a more informal or light-hearted way, similar to how some people use snippets of different languages while joking around with each other!

11- Good evening – こんばんは – Konbanwa

If it’s evening time and you want to specifically greet someone with “Good evening,” you can use こんばんは (konbanwa). This phrase is used in polite and formal situations to convey respect.

How to Say Hi in Japanese on the Phone?

When answering the phone in Japan, it’s important to know the proper greeting. Instead of saying “hello,” which might come across as informal, you should say もしもし “moshi moshi.” This phrase comes from the verb 申す “mousu,” meaning “to say” in a humble tone. It is typically used when answering calls from friends or family members. However, in a business setting, it is considered rude to use moshi moshi. In that case, it’s better to answer with はい “hai” (meaning “yes”), followed by your last name or company name.

How to Choose the Best Way to Say Hello in Japanese?

Japanese culture places a great emphasis on greetings and addressing people correctly, with different expressions used for different situations. If you are meeting someone in a formal context like work, school or meeting strangers, it is appropriate to use “konnichiwa”. For friends or family members you can simply greet them by using their name or the more casual greeting “yaa.” It’s important to consider the context and formality to choose the right greeting when speaking Japanese.

Also you can check this video from NihongoDekita with Sayaka to learn more:

You’re ready to put your fresh understanding of how to say “hi” in Japanese, as well as some other common Japanese phrases and useful greetings, to use! Greetings are an essential component of the Japanese language that will allow you to make new friends and go to new areas.

Starting with your first class, studying Japanese is a pleasant effort. There’s never a dull moment when it comes to learning Japanese, from how to say “good morning” to understanding hiragana. Continue to practice, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can achieve.

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