“Good Afternoon” in Japanese – How to Express This Greeting

Did you know that there are different ways to say “good afternoon” in Japanese? Today, we tackle all these phrases and all the other ins and outs of this greeting!

hands waving with a speech bubble saying "good afternoon"

This common greeting is just one of the most important expressions the Japanese have to offer. As a new language student, it’s essential to be aware of this simple Japanese phrase and to master its usage.

Do you know how to read in Japanese? If not, this article has romaji versions of the vocabulary to help you out. However, we encourage you to learn the alphabet so you can read the words in hiragana and katakana, too.

Let’s get started!

How to Say “Good Afternoon” in Japanese

The standard form of “good afternoon” in Japanese is こんにちは (konnichiwa). Technically speaking, there is no separation between this phrase and “hello” in Japanese, but they have a bit of difference.

To literally greet “good afternoon,” it would be いい ひる です ね (ii hiru desu ne), but this is not the interjection that we know and love. This is instead just words being forced together with individual meanings. いい (ii) means good, while ひる (hiru | 昼) stands for noon – again, very literal.

This combination sounds weird outside of a greeting and would never be heard within the language, so be aware but not fooled!

Meaning of Konnichiwa in Japanese Greetings

Let’s break down the parts of this greeting. Technically speaking, こんいちは (konnichiwa) is a compound word originating from 3 separate parts in the Japanese.

  • The こん (kon | 今) of this phrase means “this” or “now.”
  • にち (nichi | 日) is the way to say “day” or even “sun” in Japanese, as in the Japanese word にちようび (nichiyoubi|日曜日), or “the day of the Sun” (which is literally Sunday).

  • は (ha) is a Japanese particle that is used to mark the subject of a sentence or idea.

Originally, this modern-day term was part of a longer sentence for greeting. The pronunciation would be like this: こんにちはこきけんいかがですか (kon nichi wa gokiken ikaga desu ka | 今日はご機嫌いかがですか).

This is just a formal greeting or a polite phrase to ask a person or someone how they’re feeling, but it’s an outdated expression and would sound antiquated if said nowadays in Japan. Oddly enough, in the Japanese culture, has never seemed to develop a formal way of greeting as a completely standalone assertion.

Nonetheless, here we see the origins of the phrase こんにちは (konnichiwa) – it seems like folks just got too lazy to ask the question after a while!

Rules for Writing Konnichiha

Those well-studied in Japanese Hiragana will have noticed that the final “wa” in こんにちは (konnichiwa) is actually the character は, which is standardly read as “ha.” The reason for this is, as we stated earlier – this は (ha) is not taking its ordinary reading but is instead taking on its reading as a Japanese particle!

When used as a particle to mark a subject of any thought, は (ha) is read and written as such. This is an established Japanese grammar rule to be mastered front to back!

Example Sentences

こんにちはゆなさん。ひさしぶりですね。おげんき? (konnichiha yuna san. Hisashiburi desu ne. ogenki? | こんにちは由奈さん。久しぶりですね。お元気?)

Hey good afternoon Yuna, long time no see, how are you?

げんきですよ、ありがとう (genki desu yo, arigatou | 元気ですよ、ありがとう)

I’m doing good, thanks.

こんにちは。いまどこいく? (os, konnichiha. imadokoiku? | こんにちは。今どこ行く?)

Yo, good afternoon. Where are we headed now?

まだえいがかんにいくだろう?いっしょにな~ ( konnichiha. mada eigakan ni iku darou? Issho ni na. | まだ映画館に行くだろう?一緒にな~)

Afternoon. We’re still going to the movie theater, right? The two of us?

や、そう。。。やっぱりわすれた、ごまん (ya, sou, yappari wasureta, gomen. | や、そう。。。やっぱり忘れた、ごめん)

Oh yea… I actually forgot, sorry.

ううん、べつに (uun, betsu ni | ううん、別に)

Nope, no sweat.

The Secret of Ohayou

For those who have studied even a beginner level of Japanese, the injection おはよう (ohayou) is known to represent “good morning” and nothing else. But, おはよう (ohayou) as a greeting has a bit more to offer than that.

In fact, おはよう (ohayou) is often used as an informal way to greet or say hello to someone for the first time in Japan. It could be a close friend, a colleague, or a younger person.

So even if it’s 4 pm in the late winter afternoon or 6 in the evening, おはよう! (ohayou!) can be used as a way to greet Japanese people or your friends in a shortened version.

That being said, don’t be thrown off if you hear おはよう (ohayou) when you’d expect to hear こんいちは (konnichiwa) in the afternoon! You may use おはよう (ohayou) as a casual greeting for close friends or family members anytime in the morning, afternoon, evening, or even in the middle of the night.

Example Sentences

おはよう! (ohayou!)

Good morning!

おはよう! りょうりをつくている? (ohayou!… ryouri wo tsukuteiru? | 料理を作ている?)

Good morning! Are you cooking?

うん、 たまごやく (un, tamagoyaki | うん、 卵焼き)

Yes, omelette.

あっ、 たまごやきたべたいな~おいしそうよ (aa, tamago yaki tabetai na~ oishisou yo |あっ、 卵焼き食べたいな~美味しそうよ)

Ah, I want to eat an omelette~ it looks delicious!

Other Related Resources

Now that you know the ways to greet someone with “Good afternoon” in Japanese, we’d like to show you more resources if you’re talking to someone during other times of the day and are useful in everyday life:

To Sum Up

Learning how to express “good afternoon” in Japanese, along with other greetings such as “good morning,” “good evening,” or “good night” is important for various reasons.

These phrases are essential to learning the Japanese language better and prove especially useful for travelers, tourists, and those studying. It is also to show your appreciation for Japanese culture.

These greetings and other expressions from other languages not only help you communicate with a native speaker but also show respect or politeness at different times.

Have you ever used these greetings in your interactions with Japanese people to leave a good impression? Tell us how it went in the comment section below!

がんばってください (ganbatte kudasai)! ^^

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