How to say thank you in Japanese

Expressions of thanks are, of course, essential in Japanese, perhaps even more so than in other languages.

As well as the oft-used “arigato”, we are going to show you the different ways to ask for things politely and how to say thank you in Japanese.

A small nod to complement expressions of thanks is often welcome, without necessarily performing a bow unless the person you are talking to is someone important.

How do you say please in Japanese?

  • お願いします onegaishimasu: please/ you’re welcome
  • お願いいたします onegai-itashimasu: please/you’re welcome (more formal)
  • ー下さい – kudasai: please, following a question
  • どうぞ douzo: you’re welcome

How do you say ‘thank you’ in Japanese?

  • ありがとう (ございます) arigatou (gozaimasu): thank you (very much)
  • どうも doumo: thank you, usually in response to “dozo” (you’re welcome)
  • サンキュー sankyu: it sounds like the English thank you – mainly used by young people
  • 大きに ookini: thank you (in the Kansai regional dialect)
  • お世話になりました osewani narimashita: thank you for your help
  • すみません sumimasen: thank you while apologizing

As a bit of a joke you could say that March 9 is ‘Thank you Day’ in Japan because 3/9 is pronounced “san kyu” in Japanese!

How do you say ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘no thank you’ in Japanese?

  • どういたしまして dou itashimashite: it’s nothing / you’re welcome
  • いいえ iie: you’re welcome, used among friends
  • 結構です kekkou desu: no thank you
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Posted by Gael
Editor in chief
Gael is founder and responsible for Kanpai's publication. In love with Japanese culture, he travels to Japan regularly since 2003 and shares his information and tips.
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