How to Say “Thank You” in Japanese

As a good student who wants to make a good impression on other people, it is very important that you master the different ways to say “thank you” in Japanese. Given that courtesy and etiquette are very important in Japanese culture, this is not a minor detail.

You may already know the expression Arigato (ありがとう) which means “thank you.” But it’s not the only word to express gratitude in Japanese. Let’s learn some more.

First, there are some variations of Arigato, each indicating different degrees of formality.

ENGLISHHIRAGANAROMAJI
Thank youありがとうArigato
Thanks (more casual)どうもDomo
Thank you very muchありがとうございますArigato gozaimasu
Thanks a lot (more casual)どうもありがとうDomo arigato
Thank you so (very) muchどうもありがとうございますDomo arigato gozaimasu

Other ways to say “thank you” in Japanese

After learning these basics, let’s move on to slightly more complex phrases:

Arigato gozaimashita

  • (hiragana: ありがとうございました)

This expression is used when you are grateful for something that has been done to you, for example, you can say it to your teacher at the end of a lesson, or to your host when you leave a house party.

You can view it as Arigato gozaimasu in past sense. It is also used in letters and thank-you cards.

Sumimasen

  • (hiragana: すみません)

Although Sumimasen means “excuse me” or “I’m sorry”, it is also used in the sense of “thank you.” Why? Because it is a way of expressing appreciation for the work that the other person went through to give you what you are grateful for.

It is similar to when we say “I’m sorry for the trouble” to express gratitude when you ask someone a favor, or we say “You shouldn’t have bothered” when we receive a gift. It’s the same in Japanese.

And you can also put together two expressions to say thank you in Japanese (just as in Engilsh): «どうもすみません、ありがとうございます!» (Doumo sumimasen, arigatougozaimasu!). Which is equivalent to “Thank you very much, you shouldn’t have bothered!”

Osoreirimasu

  • (kanji: 恐れ入ります)

Osoreirimasu is similar to Sumimasen but much more formal. It is not something you would use on a daily basis when talking to your family and friends. Rather, it is a polite and elegant way in which a businessman expresses his gratitude in Japanese to his clients, or an employee to his boss, or among strangers.

A note of caution, though: whereas it can be viewed as the formal version of sumimasen, the expression osoreirimasu does not mean “sorry” or “I’m sorry.” It only means “thank you.”

Woman says Thank you in Japanese for present

Japanese culture places a lot of emphasis on courtesy, etiquette, respect, and good manners. That’s why it’s so important that right from the beginning you know how to fit in. And apart from knowing how to express gratitude, knowing how to greet people will be very handy as well.

Whether you travel to Japan or have to interact with Japanese people for your work or studies, showing that you are a grateful person will earn you a lot of points. Not to mention understanding when they thank you!

Learning Japanese is an experience well worth having. In addition, it can benefit you a lot as a person and even at work.

At Hanyu Chinese School of Asian languages we want to help you. Our Japanese courses are tailored to your needs, from the comfort of your home and at the time that best suits you, even if you just have a few minutes per week. At your own pace and focused on what interests you.

Contact us, we will be happy to answer your questions. Don’t forget to request your free lesson! You can also find us on social media!

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