4 Alternative Ways to Say Hello in Japan

  • You have all heard the phrase ‘konnichiwa’ which can be used to mean hello or good afternoon. You may want to know about other ways to say ‘hello’ or ‘hi’ in Japanese. This article will teach you 4 other words and phrases that you can use to simply greet someone. There are several options in Japanese to say hello!

    Otsukare/Otsukaresama Desu

    ‘Otsukare’ is an abbreviation of ‘otsukaresama desu’. ‘Otsukaresama desu’ is a common form of greeting in the workplace which roughly means something along the lines of “You must be tired of your work”, and it is as a way to greet someone to show that you appreciate his or her hard work. As for the short version of the phrase which is ‘otsukare’, it can be used as a casual form of the greeting in a similar setting, simply to mean hi or hello.


    ‘Ossu’ is commonly used among male friends, and it is a very informal way of saying hi. It is sort of like ‘Hey, man!’. Hence, it is rarely used among different genders or among female friends. You can pronounce it with the silent ‘u’, and if you have watched shonen anime, you may have heard some male characters greet in each in this way.


    Similar to English speakers, some Japanese men also use ‘yo’ as a way to say hello to each other in friendly situations. Obviously, it is a very casual way of greeting another person, so it is recommended not to use this on others you should show your respect to, such as teachers and the elderly. You can use it to greet those who are your age or younger.


    ‘Yaho’ is commonly used as a way to greet friends. Most of the time, the phrase is used by young people, but if you are older and feeling hip, you can, of course, use it too. Even though you may think that it kinds of sound similar to ‘Yo’ which seems like it is used more often by males than females, the phrase ‘yaho’ is more commonly used by girls.

    So now that you have learned 4 more interesting words and phrases that mean hi or hello, you can use it to greet your Japanese friends! Do you have a favorite way to say hello to others in Japanese?