Arigatou and more: how to say thank you in Japanese in any situation | WeXpats Guide (2023)

Did you know that there are many different expressions for "thank you" in Japanese? They vary depending on the formality of the situation and your relationship with the person. Also, it's not always just "arigatou". Want to show your appreciation but not sure which one is best for your situation?

Table of contents

  1. The most basic thank you in Japanese
  2. Thank you in Japanese in formal situations
  3. Thank you in Japanese in informal Japanese including slang
  4. Thank you in Japanese for special situations
    1. "Thank you for the food"
    2. "Thanks for the invitation." / "Thank you for coming."
    3. "Thanks for listening"
    4. When someone got out of the way
    5. when someone took care of you
    6. if someone helped you
    7. Write a thank you card or message in Japanese
  5. So where do you add the person's name?
  6. Take away food and other useful things

The most basic thank you in Japanese

gracias(Arigatou) is the most basic form of appreciation. You can use it in everyday situations with people close to you: your family and your friends. You can use it when someone hands you sauce on the table, when your friend picks up something you dropped, when someone does something nice for you!

Arigatou and more: how to say thank you in Japanese in any situation | WeXpats Guide (1)


Thanks very much
(dumo arigatou)


Thanks very much
(Hontou ni Arigatou)

means "thank you".

A grubGracias(doumo) can be used alone or in combination with thank you to show an extra level of appreciation. Another phrase you can put before saying thank you isIn reality(hontou ni) means real or real. However, 本当に cannot be used alone in this case.

If your relationship with the person is close and casual,graciasIt can be used for both present and past. There is no need to change or add anything, regardless of when the thing you are grateful for was done.

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Thank you in Japanese in formal situations

Arigatou and more: how to say thank you in Japanese in any situation | WeXpats Guide (7)

There are different expressions for formal situations, for example in business life, or for people who are considered superior (your teacher, your boss). Even with your co-workers, no matter how good your relationship is, it's usually best or expected that you use the most polite manner in the office.

In this case, use

(arigatou gozaimasu)

and the past tense

(arigatou gozaimashita).

It's important to use a polite form; otherwise it may be considered impolite or gratitude may not be properly expressed.

If you want to show an extra layer of gratitude, you can add the sentence above:Gracias(domo) sagen

Thanks very much
(doumo arigatou gozaimasu)

or the past tense

Thanks very much
(doumo arigatou gozaimashita).

This can be used with your boss or when someone compliments you.

to say thank youcarefully(makoto ni, meaning sincere)Thank you thank youIt is used to thank a customer for something.

And in very formal situations, in a situation where a customer is struggling to do something, e.g. B. Bringing a souvenir or clearing your table when you're done eating is something you can useThanks for your time(Osoreirimasu).

(Video) Taking notes in Japanese class 2: say thank you after receiving a gift and respond to a thank you.

For more examples, especially for thank you messages, see our article:
How to Write a Thank You Card or Message in Japanese (With Example Sentences!)

Thank you in Japanese in casual situations, including slang

Arigatou and more: how to say thank you in Japanese in any situation | WeXpats Guide (8)

For your friends and family, you can be more informal. As mentioned above, ありがとう is the most basic form. But there are other similar terms to show a closeness in the relationship.Cautious: should not be used at work.

gracias(Arigato) with no extended ending is most commonly used among friends. Add toNO(ne) at the end seems more catchy.

Gracias(azassu), a shortened form of ありがとうございます, is sometimes used by young people to say thank you. It is most commonly used by young people. Because it's an abbreviation of the polite form, you may hear it at work from time to time. However, the relationship between colleagues should be very close and friendly, so it is best to avoid this in the workplace unless you are sure about the job. culture and concession of their use.

And taken directly from English, some saygracias(sankyu - Japanese pronunciation of "thank you"). The pronunciation is aemclay, noIs. Native English speakers may feel a bit uncomfortable using this option.

    Thank you in Japanese for special situations

    There are times when other expressions are more appropriate than thank you.

    "Thank you for the food"

    Arigatou and more: how to say thank you in Japanese in any situation | WeXpats Guide (9)

    For example after eating, let's say

    thank you for the food
    (gochisousamadeshita - thanks for the food).

    Show your gratitude to the people who prepared the food and the work they put into preparing it. You can tell the chef and restaurant staff when you leave, as well as any friends or family who have cooked for you!

    "Thanks for the invitation." / "Thank you for coming."

    There are also several ways to thank the host for inviting them or the guests for coming.

    Check out the article here:How to say "Thank you for coming" and "Thank you for having me" in Japanese

    "Thanks for listening"

    We have an entire article on "thanks for listening" in both conversations and speeches/presentations. Please take a look!

    How to Say Thank You in Japanese for Listening: In Conversation and in a Speech or Presentation

    When someone went the extra mile for you

    If you are harassing or helping someone, you must say so

    (Video) Learn how to say "Thank you" in different ways in Japanese! Don't say Arigato to Shop staffs!


    first as an apology. When all is said and done, say

    (arigatou gozaimashita)

    in the end it works very well. you can also use

    I'm sorry
    Thanks very much.
    (Wazawaza sumimasen/arigatou gozaimasu).

    Wazawaza shows his gratitude for doing everything for you.

    if someone helped you

    Arigatou and more: how to say thank you in Japanese in any situation | WeXpats Guide (10)

    help, help
    (tasukaru; informell) / (tasukarimasu; formell)

    it means that something someone else is doing is useful to you. You can combine this with ありがとう or すみません at the beginning depending on the formality of the situation. When someone steps in to help you when you drop something or when you're in trouble, that's a great expression. You can also turn it into the past by saying

    was saved I was helpful.
    (tasukatta; informell)/(tasukarimashita; formell).

    when someone took care of you

    thanks for helping(osewani narimashita) thanks someone who took care of you for a while. For example a teacher at a school or someone who hosted you.

    Write a thank you card or message in Japanese

    Arigatou and more: how to say thank you in Japanese in any situation | WeXpats Guide (11)

    If you want to write someone a thank you card or a message, it's good to say what it's for. The following can also be said directly to a person orally. Customize the formality to suit your needs.

    When thanking someone when you receive an item, use
    (Article) + Thank you.

    For example:

    • Thank you for the gift:
      Gift(I feel pure)Thank you thank you

      (Video) Lesson 95 – Thanking

    • Thanks for the photos):
      Photo(Section)Thank you thank you

    When thanking someone for doing something, follow the pattern
    (action) + thank you / thank you.

    If you want to say thank you to someone close to you in general for everything they've done for you, like on a birthday or Mother's Day, you can say

    • thank you forever(Itsumo Arigatou)
      which means "always thank you for everything you do".

    We cover all that and more in our article:
    How to Write a Thank You Card or Message in Japanese (With Example Sentences!)

    So where do you add the person's name?

    If you want to say the name of the person you are thanking, say the name first before you say thank you.

    For example:

    • Mom, thanks for everything.
      -mom thanks for everything
      (Okaasan, Itsumo Arigatou)

    • (teacher's name), thank you for looking after me.
      -Thank you Mr. ○○
      (○○-sensei, osewani narimashita)

    When you speak Japanese, it's usually clear to whom the message is addressed, even if you don't say a name when you make eye contact. But if you really want to be direct and personal, say your real name (or job title) before saying thank you.

    Take away food and other useful things

    We've tried to cover as many ways as possible to say thank you! Again, be sure to consider your relationship with the person before deciding which form of ありがとう to use with them. It is very important to nurture and expressgratitude(kansha no kimochi - o sentimento de gratidão).

    These articles may also be helpful!

    • How to Say You're Welcome in Japanese - Don't use Douitashimashite by default!

    • No thank you; How to politely and correctly decline in Japanese

    • How to apologize in Japanese: In a culture that apologizes for everything

    Thank you for reading!


    What is the most polite way to say thank you in Japanese? ›

    Do Japanese people say arigatou? Yes, they do! Arigatou on its own is a simple, somewhat casual “thank you.” That said, most people prefer doumo arigatou or arigatou gozaimasu as their standard way of saying thanks, because both of those phrases are more polite than arigatou on its own.

    How do you say thank you in Japanese other than Arigato? ›

    Domo (どうも)

    Generally, you can use either Arigatou or Domo in the informal context but “Domo” simply means “very”. The interesting fact about this is that the combination of “Domo” and “Arigato” gives a whole new meaning to this word. Domo Arigatou (どうもありがとう) means “Thank you very much”.

    How many ways can you say thank you in Japanese? ›

    “Thanks” in Japanese can be a simple どうも (doumo) or ありがとう (arigatou). Both are casual ways to say “thanks”. But there are a few slang ways to say it, too. One common way to say “thanks” is サンキュー (sankyuu), which is taken straight from English.

    How do you respond to thank you in Japanese casually? ›

    Hontoni arigato gozaimasu / Thank you so much

    If you want to be a little more casual, you can say "hontoni arigato" [honto:ni arigato:].

    How do you express thank you in words? ›

    Personal thank you
    1. I appreciate you!
    2. You are the best.
    3. I appreciate your help so much.
    4. I wanted to thank you for your help.
    5. I value the help you've given me.
    6. I am so thankful for you in my life.
    7. Thanks for the support.
    8. Thanks for all you do.
    Aug 3, 2022

    How do you show appreciation to a Japanese person? ›

    <2> Bowing

    Many Japanese often bow to someone, and you can see the bowing everywhere in Japan. For example, we bow when we exchange business cards with each other at first meeting. You can see the bows of store staff in front of customers at a shopping center. These bows are expressions of gratitude to someone.

    Which is more polite Arigato or Domo? ›

    Arigatou. This word actually does mean “thank you”, but in a casual and simple way. Although not recommended to use within the workplace, this word by itself is still considered a more formal compared to Domo and can be used to people you may not know but become in contact with.

    What does Domo Arigato mean? ›

    When you buy something at a store, store clerk would say "DOMO ARIGATOU", meaning thank you "very much". You can also use DOMO as a greeting like "hello".

    Does Arigato means more than I love you? ›

    The Japanese don't usually say "I love you" to the people they love. They say "arigato" to express love, thanking each other, instead of saying, "Ai shirotu yo".

    What does Arigato Gozaimashita mean? ›


    Thank you very much. Yes! The combination of all the words we have learned before creates the term Domo arigato gozaimasu (sometimes transcribed in “Doumo arigatou gozaimasu”). This expression is the formal version of Domo arigato.

    What is the difference between Arigato and Arigatou? ›

    Using “Arigato/Arigatou” to say thank you

    As you can tell, the more words you use, the deeper the gratitude. Arigato/Arigatou gozaimasu and arigato/arigatou gozaimashita mean basically the same thing, except the latter is in past tense, which conveys the nuance of an act being completed.

    What do you say after arigato? ›

    Dou itashimashite” (どう致しまして) means “You're welcome” and is widely known as the common response to “arigato gozaimasu”, but it sounds rather stiff and formal. “Iie iie” (いいえいいえ) or “ii yo ii yo” (いいよいいよ) translate as “Not at all” and are casual replies that are more frequently used in daily life.

    How do you say thank you for the help in Japanese? ›

    For something particular, How to Say “Thank You”

    手 て 伝 つだ ってくれてありがとう (ございます)。 Thank you for helping me. 来 き てくれてありがとう (ございます)。

    Can I say domo arigato? ›

    So, this 'Domo' can be used together with 'Arigato. ' as in 'domo arigato' meaning “Thank you so much.” Just saying 'domo' would be less polite than 'Arigato' since it's the short version of 'Domo arigato. ' People use 'domo' rather than 'arigato' when they consider 'arigato' is a little bit formal in a situation.

    What do you say in response to Itadakimasu? ›

    The standard phrase before a meal, “Itadakimasu” comes from the verb, “itadaku”, a humble way of saying, to eat and receive. The person who prepared the meal would reply, “Douzo meshiagare” which means, “Please help yourself.”

    What is the unique reply of thank you? ›

    3 Answers. "You're welcome.", "My pleasure.", "No problem." or "No worries."

    How do you express thanks informally? ›

    For these everyday, informal experiences, we can use a variety of expression to say thanks.
    1. Thank you. / Thanks so much. / Thanks a lot. / Thanks a bunch. / Thanks a ton. / Thanks!
    2. I really appreciate it. / You shouldn't have.
    3. I don't know what to say! / That's very kind.
    4. You're the best. / I owe you one. / You rock.
    May 22, 2019

    How do you say thank you more meaningfully? ›

    Other ways to say thank you in any occasion
    1. I appreciate what you did.
    2. Thank you for thinking of me.
    3. Thank you for your time today.
    4. I value and respect your opinion.
    5. I am so thankful for what you did.
    6. I wanted to take the time to thank you.
    7. I really appreciate your help. Thank you.
    8. Your kind words warmed my heart.

    How do you say thank you in 5 words? ›

    Use these five ways to say Thank You in English to show your friends how truly grateful you are.
    1. I couldn't have done it without you.
    2. Thanks for having my back.
    3. I owe you!
    4. Thanks for being such a star.
    5. This means a lot to me.

    Which words can be used to appreciate someone? ›

    Words to Say Thank You and Express Appreciation
    • Thanks.
    • Thank you.
    • I am indebted to you.
    • Dinner was delicious.
    • I appreciate you.
    • You are an inspiration.
    • I am grateful to/for you.
    • You are a blessing.

    How do you show respect in Japan? ›

    In Japan, people greet each other by bowing. A bow can ranges from a small nod of the head to a deep bend at the waist. A deeper, longer bow indicates respect and conversely a small nod with the head is casual and informal. If the greeting takes place on tatami floor, people get on their knees to bow.

    How do you show someone they are appreciated? ›

    Top 10 Ways to Show Appreciation
    1. Give a Gift. Giving a gift shows your loved ones that we are grateful for them and value the role they play in our lives. ...
    2. Write An Appreciation Note. ...
    3. Compliment Them. ...
    4. Create Something Homemade. ...
    5. Take Her Out for Coffee. ...
    6. Lend a Listening Ear. ...
    7. Do Something They Enjoy. ...
    8. Make a Photo Album.
    Apr 19, 2022

    Should I say Arigato or Gozaimasu? ›

    So, what's going on with this? When you say "thank you" right after you received kindness or favor from someone, you say “Arigatō gozaimasu.” But, “Arigatō gozaimashita” is used when the action you're thanking for is completely finished.

    What does Doumo Sumimasen mean? ›

    It is generally used to emphasize a meaning such as “Doumo Arigatou” (Thank you very much), or “Doumo Sumimasen” (I am very sorry), but it can be an abbreviation of these words.

    What is the difference between Arigato Gozaimasu and Arigato Gozaimashita? ›

    Arigato gozaimasu is the present tense form of thank you, while arigato gozaimashita is the past tense form. Often, arigato gozaimasu would be used for something that hasn't happened yet, while arigato gozaimashita would be used for something that has already happened.

    Is it OK to just say Arigato? ›

    As many things in Japan, it depends on the situation. In a casual situation, arigato is completely OK, while Domo arigato gozaimasu would not be the right thing to say. On the other hand, when you receive something precious or something from a respected person, saying just arigato would be rude.

    How do you say yes in Japanese? ›

    'Yes' in Japanese is はい (hai), but you often hear わかりました (wakarimashita) which literally means 'I understand' or 'OK, I agree. ' However, in informal situations, it is also acceptable to say OK です (it's OK) and, particularly amongst friends, you can utter ええ (ee).

    How do you say goodbye in Japanese? ›

    Top 20 Ways to Say Goodbye in Japanese
    1. Sayonara (さようなら) – Farewell, Goodbye (formal, rarely used) ...
    2. Bai Bai (バイバイ) – Bye-bye (casual) ...
    3. Jaa Ne (じゃあね) – See you (casual, frequently used) ...
    4. Mata Ne (またね) – See you later (casual, frequently used) ...
    5. Ittekimasu (行って来ます) – I'm leaving (when leaving home) ...
    6. Ojama Shimashita (お邪魔しました。)
    Jul 20, 2022

    Does daisuki mean I love you? ›

    If you're in a committed relationship, you can bump it up a notch to 大好きだよ (daisuki da yo), which is “I really like/love you.” The word daisuki in Japanese combines the kanji for “big” (大) and “like” 好き (like) to mean you have strong affection or interest in something.

    Does Anata mean darling or you? ›

    Anata (あなた) is the Japanese word for "you". Anata may refer to: Anata, a Japanese language second-person pronoun, sometimes used by married couples to refer to their partners.

    Do Japanese men say I love you? ›

    Linguistic differences aside, there is a larger cultural difference that causes a mistranslation to occur. Japanese people simply do not regularly say “I love you.” Someone might say “Aishiteru” in a sappy romantic movie, but overall the lingering impression after one professes their love in Japanese is a profound ...

    What does arigato mean literally? ›

    Etymology. Borrowed from Japanese ありがとう (arigatō, “thank you”).

    What is ohayo Gozaimashita? ›

    Good Morning! 「おはようございます」 "Ohayou-gozaimasu!" or simply "Ohayou!" ( it is early) Good Afternoon!

    How do you say thank you for clarifying in Japanese? ›

    Re: How to say "Thank you for the clarifications"? Saravanan san, Konnichiwa. That should be 'arirakani sitekudasatte doumo arigatougozaimasu' or 'kakuninshitekudasatte doumo arigatoug gozaimasu.

    How to say thank you for your time and effort in Japanese? ›

    Honjitsu, o-jikan o saite itadaite hontou ni arigatou gozaimasu.

    What does dozo mean? ›

    Dozo means “go ahead” or “go first.” While some words are shortened to make them easier to say (“arigatou gozaimasu” becomes “arigatou”), dozo is often lengthened to “hai-dozo” as if it were one word (Yes-go-ahead). Other times, to be insistent that someone go ahead of you, there is the very handy dozo-dozo.

    What does Gozaimasu mean? ›

    ' So what's going on with this? When you say “Good morning” politely, you say 'Ohayo gozaimasu. ' It's just the casual “Good morning,” 'Ohayo' with 'gozaimasu' at the end. The word 'gozaimasu' is a very polite expression and can roughly be translated as “am,” “is,” or “are” in English.

    What is Domo arigato gozaimasu? ›


    Domo arigato gozaimasu. Thank you very much. Yes!

    What does Arigato Gozaimasu mean in English? ›

    In Japan, arigato is a simple way of saying “thank you” among familiars or peers. Politeness is highly valued in Japanese culture, so be mindful that there are more formal ways to say “thank you” to superiors or elders (e.g., arigato gozaimasu, which is a more polite way of saying thanks).

    What is Sumimasen? ›

    SUMIMASEN has many different meanings: "I'm sorry", "thank you" and to get someone's attention. It might be confusing at first, but once you've used it for a while, it'll become second nature. When Japanese people say SUMIMASEN, they often bow in appreciation or apology.

    How do you say I love you in Japanese language? ›

    The word ai shiteru 愛してる is essentially the default phrase for "I love you" in Japanese. It is also the one that arguably comes closest in meaning to the English expression "I love you." The character 愛 ai literally translates to "love," typically with the connotation of romantic love.

    How do you introduce yourself in Japan? ›

    Stating Your Name (Using Watashi wa or 私 は)

    (My name is ___). You can also say “To saru shimasu” or と 申 し ます which also has the same idea and meaning as the two phrases we just mentioned. You can use this basic sentence or phrase when you want to introduce yourself in Japanese.

    Can arigato mean I love you? ›

    The Japanese don't usually say "I love you" to the people they love. They say "arigato" to express love, thanking each other, instead of saying, "Ai shirotu yo".

    What is arigato gozaimashita? ›

    When you say "thank you" right after you received kindness or favor from someone, you say “Arigatō gozaimasu.” But, “Arigatō gozaimashita” is used when the action you're thanking for is completely finished.

    What is Arigato konichiwa? ›

    The Five Most Important Words in Japanese

    KONNICHIWA – (hello) ARIGATO – (thank you) SUMIMASEN – (excuse me) IKURA – (how much?) DOKO – (where?)


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