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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