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Things to Know When Visiting Japan! Basic Japanese Phrases #1

The language barrier seems like a pretty big hurdle when visiting a foreign country. There are probably a lot of people who are uneasy with talking to the locals. The goal of this pamphlet is to teach you the ABCs and relieve some of that unease!


greetings human men women hi hello

Today we'll be talking about, "Greetings." Japanese people tend to get anxiety when approached by foreigners not speaking Japanese, so this should help to close that distance between you and them! It's not so bad! Give it a try!

Greetings by Time of Day

morning ohayo Japanese men

Every day starts with an "Ohayou gozaimasu" in the morning. This greeting is usually used from 4am to 10am. In the past, this greeting used to be spoken as, "Ohayai koto de gozaimasu ne," meaning, "You sure are up early." That phrase shortened considerably to become the "Ohayou" greeting that we use today.

Japanese konnichiwa greetings men

"Kon'nichiwa" is a very standard greeting in Japanese. It's mainly used from 10am to evening. This greeting comes from when people used to say, "Kon'nichi wa gokigen ikaga desu ka?" Which means, "How are you doing today?"

afternoon sunset human men 2 Japanese

"Konbanwa" is used from evening to until around 3am. Sounds pretty close to Kon'nichiwa, doesn't it? The greeting derives from a similar phrase to that of Kon'nichiwa as well that ended up being shortened to what we use today.

good night greetings men huton

"Konbanwa" is usually what we use as a night-time greeting, but if a Japanese person were about to go to sleep, they'd say, "Oyasuminasai." It is believed that this phrase came from older days in Japan where an innkeeper would tell his clients, "Yukkuri oyasumikudasai," meaning, "Have a nice rest."

Expressive Phrases

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"""Arigatou"" is used when you want to express gratitude or when someone does something for you.
It's used quite a few times a day, usually.

The Japanese expression ""Arigatai"" is used to describe something rare that doesn't happen often.
This transformed into the word ""Arigatou"" that we use today."

Japanese human boy men greetings job

Use "Gomen'nasai" when you'd like to apologize for something. Another expression that has a similar meaning is, "Sumimasen," but this one also has a few other meanings. Check out the following website if you'd like to know more!

cat Japanese boy men greetings cat boy men surprised greetings

How was that? Greetings are the first step on the road to communication! This concludes the ABCs. More like just the As! We hope your trip to Japan is a wonderful one!