Greetings in Japanese

There are many and various ways to say hi in Japanese, and many of them can be combined. Here we show you some greetings and possible answers with their approximate translation. They are mainly used in the casual conversation.

Formal expression: In the formal settings, to superiors / elders / newly acquainted people
Casual expression: to your close friends, someone you know very well

- Japanese English
Greeting こんにちは。

Answers こんにちは。
a, dōmo


Questions げんき? (元気?)
ogenki desuka.
How’s it going?

How are you?
Answers げんきです。
genki desu
māmā desu.
okage samade.
I’m doing well.

Not bad.

Great, thank you.
Questions さいきん どう?
saikin dō?
なにか かわった ことは?
(何か かわった ことは?)
nanika kawatta kotowa?
dōshita no?
What’s up?

What’s new?

What’s going on?
Answers べつに。 (別に。)
とくに なにも。
(特に 何も。)
tokuni nanimo.
いつも どおり。
itsumo dōri.

Not much.

Same same.
Questions ちょうしは どう?
chōshiwa dō?
ちょうしは どう?

saikin chōshiwa dō?
How’s everything?

How are things?
Answers (なかなか)いいよ。
(naka naka) iiyo.
māmā desu.
じゅんちょう です。
junchō desu.
(Pretty) Good.

Not bad.

Question いろいろ うまく

iroiro umaku itteru?
How’s life?
Answers すごく ちょうし

sugoku chōshi iidesu.
It’s going very well.

Not bad.
Greeting おはよう
ohayō gozai masu.
Good morning.

Good afternoon.

Good evening.
Answers おはよう


Good morning.

Good afternoon.

Good evening.
Questions げんき だった?
genki datta?
How have you been?
Answers げんきに してたよ。
genkini shitetayo.
I’ve been ok/fine/well.

Not bad.
Questions だいじょうぶ?
だいじょうぶ ですか。
daijōbu desuka.
Are you ok?

You alright?
Answers はい、ありがとう。
hai, arigatō.
Yes, thanks.

Not bad.
Greeting はじめまして。
hajime mashite.
How do you do?
Answer はじめまして。
hajime mashite.
How do you do?
Statement あえて よかったです。
aete yokatta desu.
(会えて よかったです。)
Good/Nice to see you.
Answer こちらこそ。
kochira koso.

おかげさまで。 means thanks to you, or thanks to people who supported me.

Practice! What’s your favorite greeting?

・Post finder: Language guides to help with learning Japanese

October 24, 2017


Something that wasn't in the chart that I think is important is お陰様で (okage sama de), a polite phrase used in response to お元気ですか? (ogenki desu ka?) that translates to something along the line of "thanks to you."

October 24, 2017

I really liked your suggestion, so I updated the table (thanks to you!)

October 26, 2017

That's a very nice chart! Maybe the image could be updated for the typos to be sorted out though?

That is, unless you're trying to create a trend with "こんちには", as you've written it that exact same way five times! XD

Here's an errata, in case beginners may be writing that list down without being aware of the typos:

  • 5x こんちには → こんにちは
  • 1x いつもどうり → いつもどおり
  • 2x choshiwa → chōshiwa
  • 1x konichiwa → konnichiwa

(Those last two are spelt without typos in other parts of the chart however.) ^^

October 25, 2017

Thank you so very much for your keen eyes. "こんちには" would be a very bad trend. After so many revisions some got lost in translation. ....No they are pure typos on my part. I will do better in the future.

October 25, 2017

Wow. Fixed already! Looks perfect to me now. ^^

I was wondering how you ended up typing こんちに instead of こんにち though?

  • Qwerty romaji input: the N and T keys for typing ni and ti aren't easy to jumble up.
  • Dvorak romaji input: the N and T keys are where the K and L keys are on qwerty, which are both right next to eachother. This is more plausible, but still seems a bit unlikely to occur with typing the vowels inbetween.
  • JIS kana input: the に and ち keys are really far apart on different hands and fingers (=qwerty I and A keys). Kana input seems much more likely chance for this mistake, with maybe hitting the ち key with the other hand slightly too soon.
  • Nicola thumb-shift kana input: に and ち are both on the very same key (=qwerty U key)! The only difference is that に appears when the right-thumb shift key is pressed in sync with it, whereas ち appears when no thumb shift keys are pressed.

That last one is the easiest of those four keyboard layouts to accidentally type に and ち in the wrong order without noticing...

I use Nicola thumb-shift kana input for typing Japanese (and Dvorak for English). Just curious with how this particular typo suggests a slim possibilty it was typed using the same layout I use. ^^

But, I know far more likely than any of this, it was probably just an editing accident. Maybe originally casual こんちは was in the chart, then there was a decision to change it to the standard form by adding に to it but got added in the wrong position in the word, then this was copy-pasted to other parts of the chart?

Still worth a shot mentioning my keyboard layout curiousity though, as it would be reassuring to know of some other people using this crazy layout besides me. :D

October 25, 2017

Errata is plural.

October 25, 2017

Haha. I wondered if someone would mention that. :D

I did pause to consider whether I should have written "erratum" instead. However, I wasn't sure whether one list of four errors would be singular or plural? In the end I just stuck with the form I've come across more often and hoped for the best...

But I notice now that I put it as "an errata". This looks like I probably had 0% chance of being correct, regardless of whether or not plural might have been correct. ^^;

October 25, 2017

Maybe you meant to say "an errata list"?

November 28, 2018


Some of these are really too casual…

October 25, 2017

"Hey" is casual, right? Maybe I should work on the polite version.....? Even though Japanese can be very polite, but depending on the situations, settings and who you're talking to.

October 25, 2017

Of course it just depends on the situation, but I would say the degree of social acceptance to say "Hey!" to a stranger in New York City is definitely not the same as to say "やあ!" to a stranger in Kyoto. While there is no further guidance from Duo, it is like asking people to join a cross-culture social adventure game with bare hands.

October 25, 2017

In my opinion, こんにちはor おはようございます/こんばんは(depend on the hours) are better than やあ if you want to greet a stranger in Japan.

October 25, 2017

The lesson I did in Hiragana 2 said "konichiha" instead of "konnichiwa"

October 25, 2017

"Ha" is often pronounced "wa" in Japanese I think!

September 12, 2018

Why can't you reply to やあ with やあ again instead of あっ、どうも?

October 26, 2017

You can reply with やあ also. It was just one example out of many possible answers. どうも is used quite often by Japanese, it was worth mentioning.

October 26, 2017

Hey, I wanted to know if I could help with the brazilian portuguese translate, I don't speak japanese, but I can translate from english, I think it would help other people that want to learn, because it's really hard to think fast enough how to translate the words from two different languages at the same time.

October 26, 2017

It's beautiful

October 27, 2017

Oh, that's a little hard but I going to learn that

December 1, 2017


October 24, 2017

ありがとう HelpfulDuo!

October 24, 2017

Thank you.

Could you maybe also indicate which ones are less polite? Like, are there greetings among these I should only use with people my own age?

October 24, 2017

[deactivated user]

    I am trying to start learning Japanese from no previous experience at all. So far, it is really challenging learning the memorizing the symbols. Does anyone have any tips on how to learn Japanese? This would be really helpful. Thanks.

    October 25, 2017

    Excelente! Muchas gracias, muy útil ¶¶ Awesome! very useful

    October 26, 2017

    The answer's あっどうも is not hey. That is oh thanks.

    October 25, 2018

    I'm pretty sure はじめまして has a very strong "first time we've met" connotation, might be worth looking into. I'm not talking just about the kanjis you can use here, but actual use cases where I've faced it.

    November 8, 2018

    Yeah; I wonder who would actually say How do you do?

    November 10, 2018

    I think the lines for "Are you ok?" and "You alright?" have been swapped. One is ostensibly more formal than the other.

    January 9, 2019


    January 17, 2019
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