“Welcome” in Japanese — Examples for Every Situation

In this lesson, we learn how to say “Welcome” in Japanese. Japanese people use these expressions in several ways, so let’s get used to the variety as well.

2 ladies with open arms, welcoming for welcome in japanese

Imagine the horror when someone says “ありがとう (arigatou)!” and you reply with “はい (hai)!

Let’s get into it!

How to Say “Welcome” in Japanese

The most general phrase for “welcome” in Japanese is ようこそ (youkoso), and this greeting is given upon someone’s arrival.

If you’ve already visited the Land of The Rising Sun, you might have seen the signboard saying “Yokoso! Japan” at an airport, or some shop attendants welcomed you with a big smile and cheerful greetings of “irasshai!” and “irasshaimase!”

In Casual Situations

These are used in informal situations, but you’ll likely hear this everywhere.

  • ようこそ (youkoso) – welcome
  • いらっしゃい (irasshai) – welcome/hello

In Formal Situations

Here are some example phrases for “welcome” or “you’re welcome” in Japanese.

  • ようこそおこしくださいました (youkoso okoshikudasaimashita | ようこそお越しくださいました)

Welcome./Thank you for coming.

  • ようこそおいでくださいました (youkoso oidekudasaimashita)

Welcome./Thank you for coming.

  • ようこそいらっしゃいました (youkoso irasshaimashita)

Welcome./Thank you for coming.

  • いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase)

Welcome./Thank you for coming./Hello.

In Written Japanese

This is how “Welcome” is written in Japanese.

  • かんげい (kangei | 歓迎)

When to Use ようこそ (youkoso) and いらっしゃい (irasshai)

When you want to welcome your friends or families in your presence, ようこそ (youkoso) and いらっしゃい (irasshai) are more natural and friendly ways.

Both ようこそ (youkoso) and いらっしゃい (irasshai) are the most typical Japanese phrases to welcome guests. People use them as a greeting at airports, hotels, shops, restaurants, etc.

On the other hand, いらっしゃいませ (irasshaimase) is more formal and also typical on the business occasions.

Example

  • ようこそにほんへ! (youkoso nihon he! | ようこそ日本へ!)

Welcome to Japan!

  • わがやへようこそ (wagaya he youkoso | 我が家へようこそ )

Welcome to our home.

  • かんげいします (kangei shimasu | 歓迎します)

I’ll welcome you./You are welcome.

  • いらっしゃいませ、なんめいさまですか? (irasshaimase, nanmei sama desu ka? | いらっしゃいませ、何名様ですか?)

Welcome, how many people?

  • いらっしゃいませ、ほんじつはごらいてんどうもありがとうございます (irasshai mase, honjitsu wa goraiten doumo arigatou gozazimasu | いらっしゃいませ、本日はご来店どうもありがとうございます)

Welcome, thank you for visiting us today.

In casual conversations, native speakers use different expressions as well.

  • よくきたね (yoku kita ne | よく来たね)

Welcome, it’s nice to see you.

  • まっていたよ (matte ita yo | 待っていたよ)

I’ve been waiting for you./You’re finally here.

  • はるばるどうもありがとう (harubaru doumo arigatou | はるばるどうもありがとう)

Thank you for coming all the way.

  • あえてうれしいです (aete ureshii desu | 会えて嬉しいです)

It’s nice to see you.

If you want to invite or suggest someone to visit you, the following expressions may be useful.

  • あそびにおいでよ (asobi ni oide yo | 遊びにおいでよ)

Come visit./You should come.

  • ぜひきてください (zehi kite kudasai | 是非来てください)

Please come visit./You should come./I hope you come.

  • あなたにまたあえるのをたのしみにしています (anata ni mata aeru no wo tanoshimi ni shiteimasu | あなたにまた会えるのを楽しみにしています)

I’m looking forward to seeing you again.

man with happy face and both arms open

Word Origin of Japanese Welcome Phrase

The phrase ようこそ (youkoso) is derived from よく (yoku), an adjective to mean “good,” and こそ (koso), a modal particle to mean “really” or “big deal.”, and いらっしゃい (irasshai) originates in the abbreviated form of honorific expressions of よくきた (yoku kita | よく来た) which means “You came well.”

There are variations on how to say “welcome,” depending on your area. Here’s a list of them:

  • Tohoku area – こらっせ (korasse)
  • Fukushima area – こらんしょ (koransho)
  • Osaka area – おこしやす (okoshiyasu)
  • Kyoto area – おいでやす (oideyasu)
  • Kyushu area – きてん (kiten)
  • Kyushu area – こんね (kon ne)
  • Kagoshima area – おじゃったもんせ (ojattamonse)
  • Okinawa area – めんそーれ (mensoore)

Other “Welcome” Phrases in Japanese

In English, the word “welcome” can appear in various phrases. However, it’s a little different in Japanese. Let’s take a look at other expressions that might come in handy.

  • You’re welcome → どういたしまして (douitashimashite)

If you want to learn more about how to say “you’re welcome” in Japanese, we have a separate article for that.

  • Welcome back/Welcome home → おかえりなさい (okaerinasai | お帰りなさい)
  • You’re always welcome here → いつでもいらしてください (itsu demo irashite kudasai | 何時でもいらしてください)
  • I welcomed a new family member → あたらしいかぞくをむかえました (atarashii kazoku wo mukaemashita | 新しい家族を迎えました)

There are a number of phrases to say “You’re welcome” in Japanese.

  • いえいえ (ie ie)

No problem/Don’t mention it.

  • きにしないでください (ki ni shinaide kudasai | 気にしないで下さい)

Don’t mention it./It was my pleasure.

  • おやくにたててさいわいです (oyaku ni tatete saiwai desu | お役に立てて幸いです)

I’m glad that I could help you out./It was my pleasure.

  • よろこんでくれるとうれしいです (yorokonde kureru to ureshii desu | 喜んでくれると嬉しいです)

I hope you will like it.

  • おくちにあうとよいのですが (okuchi ni au to yoi no desu ga | お口に合うとよいのですが)

I hope you will like it./I hope it suits your taste.

Non-Verbal “Welcome” in Japanese

In Nihon, a bow, a warm smile, and an appropriate posture convey sincerity and respect. Understanding these non-verbal cues enhances your ability to make others feel genuinely welcome.

Welcomed in a Japanese Home

When invited or welcomed into a Japanese home, understanding the cultural nuances and employing appropriate expressions is key to making a positive impression.

a welcoming couple with their house at the back

Here’s a quick guide on what to say and how to conduct yourself.

When you enter a Japanese home, it’s customary to express appreciation. Use phrases like “おじゃまします” (ojama shimasu), meaning “I will disturb (your home)” or “しつれいします” (shitsurei shimasu), meaning “I will be rude.”

Bow slightly upon entering while saying these phrases as a sign of respect.

Additionally, it’s customary to bring a small gift, like sweets or a bouquet of flowers. Express that it’s a small token using the phrase “つまらないものですが” (tsumaranai mono desu ga), meaning “It’s nothing special, but..”

Always present the gift with both hands to be polite.

By embracing these gestures, you respect Japanese culture and customs, fostering a positive and appreciative atmosphere during your visit.

Learn Japanese “Welcome” by Heart

The use of English and Japanese “welcome” are slightly different, so try to learn these differences by heart.

Why don’t you experience the real “Yokoso” and “Irasshaimase” when you visit Japan?

がんばってください (ganbatte kudasai)! ^^

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