thank you in Japanese

Thank you in Japanese: 20 phrases to thank people around you

ありがとう — “Thank you” is a word that you will use quite often once you visit Japan. But this single word just doesn’t fit in every situation. There are several phrases to say thank you in Japanese, you can learn Japanese online to know more details about the phrases and their use.

Thank you is not just a word, it is a gesture. Showing gratitude never goes out of style. Thanking people means that you are grateful for the things people do to you and it automatically spreads positive vibes.

Before moving on to different phrases to say thank you in Japanese, it is essential to establish and be clear regarding the actual meaning of thank you in Japanese. The kanji for ありがとう is written as 有難う.

The word for “thanks” in Japanese

There is a difference between the word ‘thank you’ and ‘showing thanks’. Let us get it clear first:

感謝(かんしゃ)— “gratitude” is equal to what we call “thanks” in the English language.

感謝祭(かんしゃさい)— “Thanksgiving Day” is the term used to mention the holiday in the United States. Similar to this, Japan has a day when it gives thanks to its laborers, called 勤労感謝の日(きんろうかんしゃのひ)— “Labor Thanksgiving Day.”

There are many different ways to say thank you in Japanese. The reason is that the Japanese have a different level of politeness. It is a very respectful language that believes in being thankful and grateful towards other people.

The other reason is that ‘thank you’ need to be context based. For example, you definitely would not think of saying ありがとう to your senior, especially your boss or instructors but it is definitely fine to use this phrase to your friends and peers in a casual environment.

Sometimes, it becomes a little tough to decide which phrase to use. That is why it is very important to seek guidance from language learning professionals. If you are looking for learning Japanese, Italki is the right stop for you.

With Italki, you can have the best one-on-one video class sessions with the best online Japanese teachers, most probably being Japanese native speakers, these instructors will help you understand the use of the right Japanese phrases at the right time. With Italki, you can learn Japanese punctuation marks to write your formal writing pieces professionally and error-free.

Always try to say thank you like you really mean it. It is not necessary to memorize all the phrases, you can look for the shortcuts. But, you need to be very clear about the selection of your thank you phrase.

If you are working in Japan then memorizing business thank you phrases are essential for you but if you are not working, you can skip them. So let’s get started.

How to say thank you in Japanese

どうもありがとうございます — Thank You Very Much

It is one of the most common ways to say thank you in Japanese. It is normally seen in Japanese textbooks. This is because it is a formal way of saying thank you. But there are several other phrases of thank you that are also formal and recognized.

どうも — Thanks or Hello

This phrase is mostly used with the closest friends because it is highly informal. In fact, it is a 挨拶(あいさつ “greeting” too. But if you are having the first interaction with someone, you can say 初めまして(はじめまして “Nice to meet you”.

どうもありがとう — Thank You Very Much

There are several ways to say thank you very much in Japanese. All of them vary in tone, style, and attitude.

どうもありがとうございます — Thank You Very Much (Polite)

This is very we get a little more formal and organized. The ございます at the end shows a form of 尊敬(そんけい which means “respect” or 丁寧(ていねい)that indicates “politeness.”

It is the same as the ございます in お早うございます(おはようございます)i.e. “good morning.”

ありがとうございます is a very polite way to say thank you after you have seen a tough situation or undesirable circumstances.

どうもありがとうございました — Thank You Very Much (Polite way in Past Tense)

This phrase is used when someone has already done a favor to you. For instance:


(きのう、しゅくだいをてつだってくれてありがとうございました) (Thanks for helping me with my homework yesterday).

Just remember that this phrase is used in the past tense format to thank someone who has done something good to you in the past. It could be awkward to use this phrase in the present situation.

~てくれて+ありがとう — Thank you for doing…

You can use this phrase when you are thanking someone for a particular task or favor they have done for you. For example:



Thanks for following me on Instagram.

To make it seem more polite and soft, you can add ございます in the end.

Ways to say thank you in business settings

お疲れ様です(おつかれさまです)— Thank You for Your Hard Work

This is the phrase that you can use to thank your seniors and your coworkers. People in Japan regularly use this phrase to thank their bosses in the work setting. In some situations, it can also be used as a greeting.

ご苦労様です (ごくろうさまです)— Thank You for Your Hard Work (to Subordinates)

Be aware! Do not use this phrase to your boss. It is not a rude phrase but it has a sense of informality. It is normally said to 目下の人(めしたのひと (subordinates).

誠にありがとうございます(まことにありがとうございます)— Thank You Kindly

誠に(まことに) — is the respectful way to say 本当に(ほんとうに) — “very.” It is found written quite often. It is largely used by social media influencers in their emails sent to their subscribers.

Saying this phrase to your close ones, for example, friends becomes quite awkward and weird.

恐縮です(きょうしゅくです)— I Am Indebted to You

This is another phrase used quite often in business and work settings. It is also used by workers to their customers. You can also use this phrase with your seniors if they help you out with something.

There are some situations where this phrase is used to say ‘I am sorry. For example:



Sorry to trouble you…

In some situations, it is used to show gratitude. For example:



Thank you for being so kind.

These were some of the formal and informal ways of saying thank you in Japanese. It is essential for you to be clear regarding their right use. The best way to learn Japanese is to use these phrases in your speech as much as possible. It will not only decrease your hesitation but will also allow you to understand the right contextual use of these phrases.


Learning Japanese is fun. You can also use anime to learn Japanese, and see the sentence structures in an entertaining way. All you are required to be consistent and regular in your approach. Happy learning!

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