15 Useful Ways to Say Goodbye in Japanese

It’s all well and good if you can communicate politely and whip out some useful Japanese phrases while speaking with your language exchange partner.

However, you could end up causing some serious misunderstandings simply by saying the wrong goodbye!

You’ve already learned how to speak conscientiously and behave in tune with Japanese etiquette. Now it’s time to finish your Japanese conversations with the same level of care.

Read on for 15 ways to say goodbye in Japanese!

Contents


How to Say Goodbye in Japanese

1. Goodbye (forever): さようなら

Romaji: sayounara

There’s a chance you’ve heard this Japanese word before as “goodbye.” While it is the direct equivalent, it’s not commonly used by native Japanese speakers.

That’s because さようなら has a strong sense of finality to it, and means there’s a good chance you might not be meeting the other person again for quite some time—or ever. So saying this to a boss or loved one may leave them feeling confused or upset. It’s most appropriate at a funeral.

2. I’m leaving home: 行って来ます

Hiragana: いってきます
Romaji: itte kimasu

If you’re leaving your home for a bit, you can say 行って来ます, which literally means “I’ll go and come back.” This phrase is usually shouted out as you slip your shoes on in the entrance way of the house.

The appropriate response from those staying at home is ってらっしゃい  (いってらっしゃい, itte rashai), or “go and come back safely.”

3. Excuse me for leaving first: お先に失礼します

Hiragana: おさきにしつれいします
Romaji: osaki ni shitsurei shimasu

It’s well known that Japanese people work long hours. In Western countries, there might be a mad rush to the door when it’s time to leave work, but in Japan, people will usually keep working away at their desk.

When you eventually leave the office, you can politely excuse yourself with this phrase, which literally means “excuse me for leaving first.” You can use just the abbreviated form お先に  (おさきに, osakini) with close colleagues, but not with your boss.

Note that if you’re in an office and going out briefly, like for a meeting, you should use phrase #2 like you would when leaving home, and your colleagues will reply accordingly. If you use this phrase instead, your colleagues might think you’re heading home early.

4. Thank you for your hard work: お疲れ様でした

Hiragana: おつかれさまでした
Romaji:
otsukaresama deshita

This phrase is the usual response to #3, said by those remaining in the office. There’s no real English translation, but you can think of it as something like “thank you for your hard work.” In fact, you can also say it to a colleague who just told you a story about a difficult client or a time-consuming project.

Another similar phrase you might hear is: 御苦労様でした  (ごくろうさまでした, gokurousama deshita). It has a similar meaning to お疲れ様でした but is said to people of a lower rank than you. For example, a boss might say 御苦労様でした to their staff. In terms of politeness, you’re safer saying お疲れ様でした.

5. Thank you for everything: お世話になりました

Hiragana: おせわになりました
Romaji:
osewa ni narimashita

Great for use in the office, this phrase also carries the connotation “thank you for your support and assistance” or even “thank you for your cooperation.”

The present tense greeting form is お世話になります (osewa ni narimasu), but you can use the past tense form above to say goodbye to a colleague who helped you out a lot, or even a client you worked with that day.

6. See ya: じゃあね

Romaji: jaa ne

With friends, you can use this as a more common and casual goodbye in Japanese. A similar phrase is じゃあ、また (jaa, mata), or “see you.”

7. See you later: またね

Romaji: mata ne

Like #6, this is a casual way to say bye to people you’re close to, and carries the meaning of either “see you later” or “see you soon.”

8. See you tomorrow: また明日

Hiragana: またあした
Romaji:
mata ashita

There are also many phrases that relate to the time you’ll meet the person again, such as this one, or the similar また来週  (またらいしゅう, mata raishu), which is “see you next week.”

Just before the New Year, you’ll get a few laughs from your friends if you say また来年  (またらいねん, mata rainen) or “see you next year.”

These are considered casual forms, though, so they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for the more formal phrases discussed above.

9. Bye bye: バイバイ

Hiragana: ばいばい
Romaji: bai bai

You may hear young people, especially girls and women, use this phrase, which sounds exactly like the English “bye bye!” Be careful using it if you’re a guy, because it can come across as kind of feminine.

10. Have fun: 楽しんできてね

Hiragana: たのしんでね
Romaji:
tanoshinde ne

If speaking to someone of a lower rank, such as a child, you could instead say this as: 楽しんでおいで. Literally translated as “go have fun,” you can say goodbye with this phrase to mean “have a good day.”

In fact, よい一日をお過ごしください (yoi tsuitachi o o sugoshi kudasai), which is literally “have a nice day,” isn’t as common or natural sounding as 楽しんでね!

11. Take care: 気をつけて

Hiragana: きをつけて
Romaji: ki wo tsukete

Just as we say “take care” in English as a parting phrase, you can also say 気をつけて in Japanese. It’s appropriate to say to someone who’s leaving your house, or someone who’s going on a holiday, for example.

12. Thank you for having me: お邪魔しました

Hiragana: おじゃましました
Romaji:
ojama shimashita

The present tense お邪魔します (ojama shimasu) literally means something like “I’m bothering you,” but it’s polite Japanese that essentially means “excuse me for disturbing you.”

So just as you might say “thanks for having me” in English when you leave someone’s home, you can use the past tense version above to say goodbye to someone who’s hosted you at their place for a visit.

13. All the best: お元気で

Hiragana: おげんきで
Romaji: o genki de

If someone’s going on a long trip or moving to a different place and you won’t be seeing them for a long time, you can use this phrase.

It’s a bit more formal than “see you,” and literally means “be healthy.” It implies something like “all the best,” “take care of yourself” or even “good luck!”

14. Get well soon: お大事に

Hiragana: おだいじに
Romaji: o daiji ni

If you’re saying goodbye to someone who’s sick, you can say this to tell them you hope they feel better soon.

15. Farewell: さらばだ

Romaji: saraba da

This is a very old expression (think samurai times) for saying goodbye. You won’t hear it often, and it’s not something you would ever say to your boss, but you could use it as a joke amongst close friends.

 

So, now you know how to say goodbye in Japanese!

Practice these expressions with your Japanese friends or language partner, and you’ll soon be ending your conversations like a native.


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