Goodbye in Japanese – Different Ways of Expressing Farewell

There are a number of unique ways to say goodbye in Japanese. It depends on the situation you are in.

When learning Japanese, one of the toughest parts is trying to talk to a friend or speak with coworkers. An easy way to do so is to throw in some simple Japanese phrases upon parting to show them you’re putting in some effort.

Because of its culture of politeness, Japan has many expressions of ending a conversation or saying goodbye, with varying degrees of formality.

Let’s cover a few of the most common ways to say goodbye in Japanese so you can understand what to say and what is being said to you.

hand waving with texts good bye in Japanese on the side

How To Say Goodbye Formally In Japanese

There are 2 formal ways to say goodbye in Japanese. The first way to say goodbye is さようなら (sayounara). This is the most common formal phrase/expression to bid someone goodbye.

The second way to say goodbye is さらば (saraba). This is quite an old-fashioned word that you’ll rarely hear used in Japan. Most people who use this expression are old men. You may also hear this used in manga or in anime.

Here’s a table for how to say goodbye formally:

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
さようならSayounaraSa-yo-na-ra Goodbye
さらばSarabaSa-la-ba Farewell

Goodbye in Japanese

One way to say goodbye in Japanese is さようなら (sayounara). Sayounara is a word that’s made stateside. Japanese people are used to hearing foreigners say it. It’s okay to use in most formal or casual situations.

But just as Americans usually say some form of “bye” instead of the formal “good-bye,” native Japanese speakers don’t throw around sayounara much either, unless they think it’ll be a very long time before they see you again. They’ll be okay with your use of it, but expect them to say something else when they part with you.

Farewell in Japanese

Another way to say goodbye in Japanese is さらば (saraba). The word saraba is more akin to “farewell” and is much more serious.

This phrase is for when the other person doesn’t think they’ll be seeing you again and is rather old-fashioned. You won’t need to use this one, and if someone says it to you, they’re either being very serious or saying it jokingly.

How Do You Say Goodbye Casually In Japanese?

There are a number of casual ways of saying goodbye in the Japanese language. These expressions are used depending on the situation you are in.

However, as with any language, the most formal way of speaking is acceptable for foreigners. Although this can be the case, you’ll want to memorize some more casual phrases that Japanese people might use to address you upon parting, so you’ll know what they’re saying.

Here are just a few of the most common ways to say goodbye in Japanese:

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
じゃあねJaa neJah-nayBye
またねMata neMah-tah-naySee you!
またあしたMata ashitaMah-tah-ah-she-tahSee you tomorrow
またあとで Mata atodeMah-tah-ah-toe-daySee you later
またぜひMata zehiMah-tah-zay-heeLet's meet up again

If you aren’t sure whether it’s appropriate to use any of these, you can always fall back on an English “Good-bye” and “bye-bye” or バイバイ (bai bai), which are simple enough phrases any Japanese will understand.

But the easiest way to figure out which to use is to listen to the other person. If they say “Mata ne,” you can go ahead and repeat it.

See you in Japanese

The phrase “see you” in Japanese is またね (mata ne). It is one way to say goodbye to someone casually. This is the same for both English and Japanese.

Here’s an example of saying this Japanese phrase:

A: ぼく は いま、 いかない といけません。(boku wa ima, ikanai toikemasen.)

I have to go now.

B: はい、またね! (hai, mata ne!)

Yes, see you!

See you tomorrow in Japanese

The expression “see you tomorrow” in Japanese is またあした (mata ashita). This is another way to say goodbye in Japanese. You can use this phrase if you’re saying goodbye, but you’re meeting that person again the next day.

You can use this when you and your Japanese friends, colleagues, or acquaintances are parting ways at the end of the day or meeting but will see each other again the next day.

You wouldn’t say “See you tomorrow” if you’re going to meet up with your friend or colleagues that evening or at a later time that day.

See you later in Japanese

“See you later” in Japanese is またあとで (mata atode). You’ll use this when saying goodbye to someone who you’ll meet or see again. However, using this phrase would mean you’ll meet that person in the future. In other words, your next meeting is not set or doesn’t have an exact date or time.

You wouldn’t say “see you later” if you’re never going to see the other person again.

Mother Gives A Goodbye Kiss To Her Daughter

How Do You Say “Take Care” In Japanese?

Saying goodbye in Japanese to close friends or colleagues who are off to travel or do some errands can be expressed by saying “take care.” There are a couple of standard phrases that can be used to say it:

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
きをつけてKi wo tsuketeKey-oh-sue-kay-tayTake care
いってらっしゃい Itte rasshaiEe-tay-rah-shah-ayTake care

Translated literally, these have different meanings, but in practice, they are largely the same. You’re telling the person to take care of themselves. Kiwo tsukete is more a genuine expression that might be employed when the person is doing something dangerous (such as cycling in the rain or taking an international trip) but is also used for everyday outings.

Itte rasshai is essentially a way of telling the person to come back soon. Literally, it’s not much more than “Go and come back!” and is generally part of a call and response:

Person 1: “Itte kimasu!”

Person 2: “Itte rasshai!”

Person 1 says “itte kimasu” as they head out the door, informing you they are leaving. Person 2 says “itte rasshai” to acknowledge them.

How Do You Say “Good Night” In Japanese?

The Japanese use a unique expression when saying goodbye to close friends, family, colleagues, or even newly acquainted people in the evening. Instead of the goodbye expressions we learned earlier, they say good night. They use this when they are parting ways in the evening.

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
おやすみなさいOyasumi nasaiOh-ya-sue-me-nah-sah-eeSleep well

This is the Japanese version of “sleep well” or “sleep tight.” It can be said as you’re parting on the street, with other guests at the same inn, or even between members of the same household. Because it can be used broadly and personally, oyasumi nasai is a very useful expression.

How To Say “Thank You For The Meal” In Japanese

Whether you’ve just eaten at someone’s home or at a restaurant, it’s polite to thank the individual who just provided you with food. There is a very simple phrase that will do the trick:

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
ごちそうさまでした Gochisou samadeshitaGo-chee-so-sama-day-she-tahThank you for the meal

This literally means “It was a feast!” and is a nice thing to say as you leave a restaurant. For politeness, you can add domo to make it domo gochisou samadeshita.

If you’d like to know more about how people say thank you in Japanese, be sure to read our next article, and keep studying and learning!

How To Say “Be Well” In Japanese

Another way to say goodbye in Japanese is to wish your friends, family, or colleagues’ well-being. We usually wish them well when parting ways with them. There are 2 ways that you would say this.

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
げんきでねGenki de neGen-key-day-nayBe well
どうぞおだいじにDouzo odaijiniDoe-zoe-oh-die-gee-kneeGet well

The key difference here is how the other person is feeling. If the person is well, and you want to wish them good health, you say genki de ne. But if they are sick, and you want them to get better, odaijini (whether you add douzo or not) is appropriate.

How Do You Say Goodbye In Business Situations In Japanese?

Unlike in the English language, saying goodbye in Japanese is different in business situations. It’s nowhere close to saying goodbye to friends or family.

There are two expressions you can use to say it. It depends on who you are expressing it to. Let’s take a look at them below. One is for colleagues, and the other for customers.

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
おさきにしつれいします Osaki ni shitsurei shimasuOh-sah-kee-knee-shit-sue-lay-ee-she-mah-sueSorry, I'm leaving
おせわになりましたOse wa ni narimashitaOh-say-wah-knee-nah-ree-mah-she-tahI appreciate your business"

The phrase osaki ni shitsureshimasu is a polite announcement of your parting to coworkers. You’re apologizing to them for leaving before they do. It’s not something to say as you and a friend part at the train station, but rather something that is announced as one leaves the office.

A group of people having discussion in a room

Ose wa ni narimashita is a difficult phrase to translate into English. What it means is “thank you for taking care of me,” but that doesn’t quite cover the context. It can be said to a customer or another person outside of your own office or team to show them that you’re pleased with the relationship. “We appreciate your business” is a better translation of the general feeling involved. Because translating this nuanced phrase is complicated, Japanese colleagues will be impressed if you give it a try.

How To Say “Good Job” In Japanese

At the end of one’s day at work, you’ll often hear Japanese people, in any profession, would say “Good job” to each other. This can be a compliment or can be used to say goodbye. This is also the phrase you’ll hear all the time in Japanese work situations whenever a job is completed:

Japanese (Hiragana)RomajiPronunciationEnglish Translation
おつかれさまですOtsukare samadesuOat-sue-kah-ray-sa-ma-day-sueThanks for a job well done

This literally means “You’re tired,” and it’s a way of showing a person that you appreciate the work they’ve put in and congratulating them on a job well done. You can say it when your team members finish a task or at the end of a long day. It’s not uncommon to say this several times a day, so don’t be afraid of overusing it. You can also say otsukare samadeshita, which is the past-tense version – both are okay.

Wrap Up

In wrapping up our exploration of how to say goodbye in Japanese, remember that these phrases are like small keys that unlock big doors of connection. Whether you’re visiting Japan, meeting a new friend, or just parting ways at a train station or cafe, using these simple phrases can leave a lasting impression and show your respect for Japanese culture.

So, next time you want to say “goodbye” in Japanese, you’ll be well-prepared. And if you ever need to say “excuse me” in Japanese, don’t forget to check out our article for more useful tips!

がんばってください (ganbatte kudasai)! ^^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.