Japanese Greetings: Beginner’s Guide Part 2

Japanese Greetings: Beginner’s Guide Part 2

Learn greetings like ‘Ohayō, ‘Konbanwa’ and more

Last time, we look at formal and informal ways to greet someone in Japanese. This week we look at time-specific greetings and ways to say goodbye.

Time-specific greetings


Greeting someone before lunch you usually say ohayō when speaking to friends and people you are familiar with. If it is someone you may not know well, you switch to the more formal ‘ohayō gozaimasu’. You can say ‘konnichiwa’ in the morning but ‘ohayō’ is a more correct greeting. The correct way to pronounce ohayō gozaimasu in ‘oh-hah-yoh goh-za-ee-muss.’


In the evening, after dinner, Konbanwa is the standard greeting to use. You can use ‘konnichiwa but konbanwa is the standard, better way to greet

. The correct way to pronounce Konbanwa is ‘kohn-bahn-wah.’

Ways of saying Good-bye


It may burst your bubble but most Japanese do not use Sayōnara when greeting each other goodbye. Yes, Sayōnara is the direct equivalent of saying good-bye, but it is really not commonly used. Sayōnara, in a sense, has finality to it because it means that there is a good chance you will not be meeting the person you are addressing for some time. Saying Sayōnara to your boss or a loved one may just leave them confused or upset, especially if you plan to see them soon again. It is more a formal farewell than a good bye.

Let us then learn of better ways to say good bye.

Oyasumi Nasai

Oyasumi nasai is a way to say ‘good night’ when you part ways at night. It is more a way to say good bye than a greeting and you may get strange looks if you use this to say ‘Hello’ at night.. When in the company of friends, classmates, close family members, or people you are familiar with you can shorten this greeting to ‘oyasumi.’ This greeting is pronounced as ‘oh-yah-soo-mee nah-sigh.’

Ja ne

When saying goodbye to friends the phrase ‘Ja ne’ can be used. Instead of goodbye it means ‘Cya’ or ‘Talk you again soon’. This greeting is pronounced as Jah-ne. A different way of saying ‘See you soon’ is Mata ne.

Mata ashita or mata raishu

Mata ashita and mata raishu are time related greetings. Mata ashita, means ‘see you tomorrow’ and mata raishu means ‘see you next week’. It is a casual way to say good bye. Just before New Year some people say ‘Mata rainen’. It means ‘see you next year’.

Bai bai

Bai bai sounds easy, doesn’t it and yes it means bye bye, and young people use it, but it is more used among the girls and if a guy uses it it may sound kind of feminine.

Here is a video aid to help with the pronounciation of some of the words we learned in Part 1 and Part 2, as well as some extra phrases we can all learn. Please follow our link: http://bit.ly/Saying-hello-or-goodbye

In Japan bowing are used in greeting and saying goodbye. Here is a guide to bowing, please follow our link: http://bit.ly/guide-to-bowing

Did you miss part 1 of our greeting guide? Here is the link: http://bit.ly/Japanese-greetings-beginners-guide-part-1

There are many more ways to say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in Japanese. It is a culture rich with it’s own ways of meet and greet. Armed with the knowledge we gave you, we are sure many phrases in anime will be clearer to you. Thank you for learning these greetings with us. Mata ne!

For any suggestions, opinions or requests please mail us at bentobox@animefanatika.co.za