7 Ways to Say Good Morning in Japanese

Are you a morning person? Spread the joy by wishing your friends and colleagues a good morning in Japanese!

In this blog post, we’ll discuss seven different ways to say “good morning” in Japanese, from the formal to the super casual.

I’ll also share some tips on how to choose the right formality level in any situation, as well as some body language and gestures you can use during greetings.

Contents

Formal Ways to Say “Good Morning” in Japanese

おはようございます (Ohayo gozaimasu)

This is the most common and polite way to say good morning in Japanese. It’s quite literally the textbook way to say good morning!

This expression is quite formal, so reserve it for greeting someone you don’t know well or someone with a higher age or social standing than you.

Here’s an example of the term in use:

ムーン係長、おはようございます。

Assistant manager Moon, good morning.

おはようございます、お世話になっております (Ohayo gozaimasu, osewa ni natte orimasu)

This polite greeting combines the formal greeting ohayo gozaimasu (おはようございます) with the phrase osewa ni natte orimasu (お世話になっております), which is a way to express gratitude for someone’s support.

This phrase is common in business and professional settings in Japan, and you’ll frequently hear it in meetings.

今朝はいかがでしょうか? (Kesa wa ikaga desu ka?)

Ask someone how they’re doing by following up your greeting with this phrase. It’s a polite (but not too formal) way to ask someone how their morning is going.

元気ですか? (Genki desu ka?)

This is an all-purpose greeting that can be used at any time of day. Literally, it means “are you healthy?” and it’s used to inquire how someone is doing. You can use this phrase in both formal and informal situations.

「田中さん、お元気ですか?」

 

The general response is 元気です (Genki desu), which indicates that you’re doing fine. 

Informal Ways to Say “Good Morning” in Japanese

おはよう (Ohayo)

Drop the formal ございます (gozaimasu) to form this casual way to say good morning to someone you know well.

While you’re better off using this phrase with close friends, it’s also an acceptable way to greet someone you don’t know as well who’s of the same social status as you, such as a colleague.

朝起きたら「おはよう」

When waking up in the morning:

はよ (Hayo)

This cute way to say good morning in Japanese is an even more shortened form of おはよ (ohayo). The greeting is typically used among close friends and family members. It can also be used in a playful or teasing way.

朝だよ (Asa da yo)

This literally means “It’s morning” and is a playful way to say good morning to someone.

Body Language and Gestures in Japanese Greetings

Japanese greetings are often accompanied by specific body language. Here’s all you need to know about that:

  • Eye contact: Japanese people do make eye contact, but it’s not as common or as sustained as in Western cultures. This is because in Japanese culture, eye contact is often seen as a sign of aggression or disrespect, especially when speaking to someone older or in a higher position.

    In general, it’s best to avoid making direct eye contact with someone older or in a higher position. Instead, look at their forehead or chin. If you’re greeting a friend or family member, it’s more acceptable to make eye contact, but try to avoid doing it for too long.

  • Posture: When greeting someone in Japanese, it’s important to have a straight and upright posture. This shows that you’re confident and respectful. Your shoulders should be relaxed, your hands should be at your sides and you should avoid slouching or fidgeting.
  • Bowing: Bowing is a formal way to greet someone in Japanese culture. If you’re greeting someone in a formal setting, such as a business meeting, you should make a deeper bow than if you’re greeting someone in a more casual setting. Greeting friends generally doesn’t require a bow, as this would be seen as too formal.
  • Waving: Waving hello in Japanese is a more casual greeting that can be used with friends, family, and acquaintances. It is not as formal as bowing, but it is still a respectful way to greet someone.

You can watch Japanese people speaking naturally and using the words and phrases in the rest of this post on FluentU.

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More Japanese Morning Vocabulary

Once you say your good mornings, you can keep talking about your morning with these morning vocabulary words:

JapaneseHiraganaRomajiEnglish
日の出 ひのでHinodeSunrise
夜明け よあけYoakeDawn
早い はやいHayaiEarly
あさAsaMorning
新鮮 しんせんShinsenFresh
つゆ TsuyuDew
明るい あかるいAkaruiBright
そよ風 そよかぜSoyokazeBreeze
起きる おきるOkiruWake-up
朝食 ちょうしょくChōshokuBreakfast
コーヒー こーひーKōhīCoffee
お茶 おちゃOchaTea
シリアル しりあるShiriaruCereal
歯を磨く はをみがくHa wo migakuBrushing teeth
シャワー しゃわーShawāShower
運動 うんどうUndōExercise
伸ばす のばすNobasuStretching
通勤 つうきんTsūkinCommute
仕事 しごとShigotoWork
学校 がっこうGakkōSchool
ルーチン るーちんRūchinRoutine
生産的 せいさんてきSeisan-tekiProductive
スケジュール すけじゅーるSukejūruSchedule
目覚まし めざましMezamashiAlarm
活力ある かつりょくあるKatsuryoku aruEnergized
新聞 しんぶんShinbunNewspaper
ジョギング じょぎんぐJoginguJogging
目覚める めざめるMezameruWaking
準備する じゅんびするJunbi suruPreparing

More Japanese Greetings

Morning greetings are reserved for, well, the morning. Beyond the morning, here’s a long list of other Japanese greetings for any time and occasion:

 

Are you having a good morning yet? Now you can say “good morning” in Japanese at any occasion and formality level!

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