Say Hello in Japanese | Basic Facts You Need To Know!

Wondering how you can say hello to your Japanese friends in Nihongo? Or maybe planning a trip to Japan? Let’s talk about some facts that you need to know while learning this simple greeting.

If you want to be familiar with easy-to-learn expressions to use in Japan or to your Japanese friends whenever you want to say hello in their native language, here are some of the words that you may find very useful.


Katakana コンニチハ
Hiragana こんにちは
Pronunciation [kohn-nee-chee-wah!]

Generally speaking, hello literally translates to “konnichiwa” in Japanese. You can use this word in almost all cases but just be mindful as to when you should use it. It is not ideal to say this word in the morning (6am-11am) or when the sky gets dark (6pm-midnight).

You can simply use the words “Ohayo!” which means good morning, and “Konbanwa!” in the evening as a form of greeting.

Konnichiwa also means “Good afternoon” in Japanese so maybe that explains the fact why there’s proper etiquette or right approach of using the word correctly.

Moshi Moshi

Kanji None
Hiragana もしもし
Pronunciation [mosh-mosh]

Moshi Moshi is only used when you are talking over the phone. For the example, when someone calls you and you accepted the call, you should say: “moshi mosh” which literally means hello.

Please bear in mind that this word cannot be used when you are having a conversation or greeting someone face to face.


Kanji None
Hiragana やあ!
Pronunciation [yah]

“Yah!” is considered as an informal yet acceptable way of saying hello among friends. Women tend to use this word more often than men in Japan.

Remember, you can only use this informal expression when you really are close to the person your talking with.


Kanji 押忍
(root word)
Hiragana おっす
Pronunciation [ohss]

“Ossu!” is like “hey, dude/man!” in most cases and this is a common greeting for Japanese men/boys. If you have a really good friend from Japan, you can start a good conversation by saying this in a more positive tone.

Do you know that our legendary anime hero from Dragon Ball -San Goku- usually use this word when delivering his lines?


Katakana ヤーホー
Hiragana やっほ~
Pronunciation [yah-ho]

Another informal way to great your friends is by saying “Yahho!” and this world is more common in Kansai region or the western region of Japan. Young girls use this word to great their close friends occasionally.

Ohisashiburi desu!

Kanji お久しぶりです
Hiragana おひさしぶりです
Pronunciation [oh-hee-sa-shee-boo-ree-dess!]

“Ohisashiburi desu!” literally means “long time no see!” and this phrase is common for friends or common relatives who have not seen each other for quite some time.

Maybe, you’re wondering why it has its own translation but it is still included on the list. In most cases, this expression cannot be used in a formal conversation.

For people who have a good relationship with each other and just had the chance to see each other, this can be a very good way to say Hello again.