The best way to express your longing for someone and say “I miss you” in Japanese is to use 会いたい (aitai).
The word 会いたい (aitai) literally translates as “I want to meet you”, but it’s most commonly understood as meaning “I want to see you”. This is the best and most common way to express that you miss someone in Japanese.
I say “way to express” because there is no perfect one-to-one literal translation for “I miss you” in Japanese. The closest we get to a perfect translation is with 会いたい (aitai).
With that said, the meaning and nuances associated with 会いたい (aitai) are not limited to “I want to meet you”.
While 会いたい (aitai) communicates a desire to see someone, it also connotes a sense of loneliness.
To text your partner “I miss you” in Japanese, for instance, simply saying 会いたい (aitai) is the most natural way to do it.
Furthermore, as 会いたい (aitai) does carry these additional connotations, the implications of “I miss you” can be understood and felt even though the exact words “I miss you” were not spoken.
There are also so many other ways to convey the words “I miss you” in Japanese through other expressions and phrases.
This ultimate guide explains in detail how to say “I miss you” in Japanese with 会いたい (aitai), and with other expressions. All entries are coupled with native audio pronunciation for your reference.
Table of Contents
I Miss You in Japanese
- I miss you.
When you miss someone, the best word you can use to express the feeling is to say 会いたい (aitai), which means “I want to see you”.
You can use 会いたい (aitai) to tell someone that you’re close to, such as a partner, or boyfriend/girlfriend, that you miss them. You should generally use it with those who you are close with.
With that said, telling your parents that you miss them with 会いたい (aitai) may be considered slightly strange. This is because saying “I miss you” to your parents is not something that’s done often in Japanese culture.
You could say it to a sibling if you are really close to them.
This is mainly because of how heavy a word 会いたい (aitai) can be when you want to tell someone you miss them.
You can say it to friends, however, when you say 会いたい (aitai) to someone, they may interpret your words to mean that you have a romantic interest in them. This is especially true if the person you’re saying “I miss you” to already has romantic feelings for you.
Related: How to say I Like You in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].
Therefore 会いたい (aitai) is best used with partners. Saying it to a friend may communicate something more than friendship, depending on your relationship with that friend.
会いたい (aitai) Examples
You can use it just like that to tell someone you miss them. You could even use their name to make it more personal For instance:
- [name]! 会いたいよ。
[name]! aitai yo.
[name]! I miss you!
Replace [name] with the person’s name to whom you’re speaking. Attaching よ (yo) to the end of the sentence is an optional addition.
よ (yo) adds emphasis to the expression. It essentially functions similarly to the (!); the exclamation mark we use in English.
In short, attaching the optional よ (yo) emphasises your longing to meet someone.
Another expression you may hear, especially in Japanese Anime or TV shows is the phrase:
I miss you (I wish I could see you).
You may hear 会いたい (aitai) with な (na) attached to the end of the expression. The な (na) adds an element of “wishing” or “hoping” when you communicate “I miss you” with 会いたい (aitai) in Japanese.
In essence, attaching な (na) exaggerates how much you wish or hope you could see someone.
Therefore 会いたいな (aitai na) can be translated as “I wish I could see you, I miss you” in Japanese.
Related: How to say I Hope & Hope in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].
会いたい (aitai) Meaning
The word 会いたい (aitai) can be literally translated as “I want to meet you”, although it’s best understood as meaning “I want to see you”.
The kanji for 会いたい (aitai) is 会 which means “meet, meeting, party, association”.
会いたい (aitai) is made up of two parts.
The first part is 会い (ai), which is the ます (masu) stem of the verb 会う (au), which means “to meet”.
The second part is たい (tai) which is beginner N5 grammar that is used to express a desire or wish using verbs in Japanese.
To express a desire using verbs in Japanese, we have to use たい (tai). Here’s a quick guide on how to make and use the たい (tai) form and express “want” using verbs in Japanese.
- Firstly, take a verb. For example, 食べる (taberu). The verb for “eat” in Japanese.
- Secondly, change the verb into the ます (masu) mass form. Therefore, 食べる (taberu) becomes 食べます (tabemasu).
- Remove the ます (masu) from 食べます (tabemasu). It becomes 食べ (tabe).
- Finally, attach たい (tai) to the verb. 食べ (tabe) becomes 食べたい (tabetai); meaning “I want to eat”.
The same can be applied to the verb “to meet” in Japanese.
The verb is 会う (au), which, in ます (masu) form becomes 会います (aimasu).
Remove the ます (masu) from 会います (aimasu) and it becomes 会い (ai).
Attach たい (tai) to あい (ai), and it becomes 会いたい (aitai), meaning “I want to meet/I want to see” in Japanese.
It may also be worth knowing that 会いたい (aitai) functions as an i-adjective when conjugating it.
You in Japanese
As you may have noticed, you can say 会いたい (aitai) to someone to express how you miss them, without including any pronouns.
This is because pronouns are dropped in Japanese when the context is clear.
The full phrase “I miss you in Japanese” would be:
watashi wa anata ni aitai.
I miss you (with pronouns).
However, this expression sounds unnatural for a number of reasons.
Firstly, is the use of あなた (anata). The word あなた (anata) is the most direct translation of the pronoun “you” in Japanese.
Yet when speaking the language, it’s much more common and natural to use the person’s actual name, rather than addressing them with the pronoun “you”. This means you will have to know the person’s name to address them in Japanese.
There are some rare exceptions to this rule, however. If you are a customer in a store, for instance, you’ll most likely be addressed as お客様 (okyaku sama), in place of the pronoun “you”.
Yet, I doubt you’ll find yourself in the position of a customer service representative who’s finding themself wanting to tell a customer “I miss you” in Japanese. So I don’t think it’ll be an issue!
In Japanese, あなた (anata) is used to address one’s significant other. A wife may call their husband あなた (anata), for example.
In these scenarios, using あなた (anata) to specify that it’s your significant other you miss, would be natural.
With that said, the easiest and best way to tell someone you miss them using pronouns is to use their name!
I recommend this video for a deeper dive into the nuances and connotations associated with あなた (anata) and Japanese pronouns in general.
Saying “I” in Japanese
Secondly, the use of 私 (watashi) may also be considered unnatural.
This is also because when you say 会いたい (aitai) to someone in Japanese, it’s already obvious that you are the one who is missing them. Specifying that it’s you who is missing them can sound unnatural and redundant.
I Miss You So Much in Japanese
- I miss you so much.
Use this expression to say “I miss you so much” in Japanese. This expression is made up of two components.
The last part of the expression, 会いたい (aitai) is the same word that’s explained in detail in entry #1 above. It means “I miss you” in Japanese.
The inclusion of すごく (sugoku) makes the expression much more powerful. It amplifies how much you’re longing for someone.
すごく (sugoku) is an adverb that originates from the word すごい (sugoi), which means “great, awesome, incredible, amazing”.
Therefore すごく (sugoku), being an adverb, has the meaning of “amazingly” or “immensely”.
Pairing すごく (sugoku) with 会いたい (aitai) communicates “I miss you” but to a much greater extent.
In essence, we can understand すごく会いたい (sugoku aitai) to mean “I miss you immensely” or “I miss you so much”.
For instance, you might text your partner:
- もうすぐ帰るの？ すごく会いたい。
mousugu kaeru no? sugoku aitai.
Are you coming home soon? I miss you so much.
It goes without saying that this is a very strong expression. For that reason, it’s best reserved for partners.
I Really Miss You in Japanese
Another way to express how much you miss someone in Japanese is with the expression 本当に会いたい (hontou ni aitai).
We’ve covered 会いたい (aitai) to mean “I miss you” in Japanese, as explained above.
Saying 本当に (hontou ni) before 会いたい (aitai) is an alternate way to express how much you miss someone to a great extent.
ne…hontou ni aitai.
Hey…I really miss you.
This is because 本当に (hontou ni) means “really”, or “truly” in Japanese.
Therefore when you use this complete expression and tell someone 本当に会いたい (hontou ni aitai), you’re communicating how you’re really longing for them. You truly miss them.
An additional way to communicate how much you really miss someone is with 早く (hayaku).
早く (hayku) is another word you can place before 会いたい (aitai) to exaggerate the meaning. 早く (hayku) is an adverb/noun that originates from 早い (hayai), an i-adjective that means “fast”, “quick”, “rapid”, “soon” or “early”.
The adverb/noun 早く (hayaku), means “quickly” or “soon”.
I miss you (I want to see you soon/I want to hurry and see you).
For that reason, 早く会いたい (hayaku aitai) has a unique nuance that conveys a stronger desire to see someone soon/quickly.
I Miss You Too in Japanese
- I miss you too.
watashi mo aitai.
To respond to someone who has told you that they miss you, (assuming the feelings are mutual) you can say 私も会いたい (watashi mo aitai), meaning “I miss you too” in Japanese.
A typical response may look something like this:
watashu mo aitai. zutto soba ni ite hoshii.
I miss you too. I want you to always be by my side.
You may have noticed that this expression contains the 私 (watashi), “I” pronoun. I mentioned before that pronouns are generally omitted in Japanese as it sounds more natural.
However, the usage of 私 (watashi), the pronoun for “I” in Japanese, is necessary here to communicate the words “I miss you too”.
This is because we need to follow 私 (watashi) with も (mo) which is a grammar particle that means “also, too, as well” in Japanese.
You use も (mo) to say “this too”, or “this also” in Japanese. Therefore も (mo) needs a preceding noun to function.
In the case of 私も会いたい (watashi mo aitai), meaning “I miss you too”, the preceding noun is 私 (watashi). In essence, it’s you.
This means that we can make the sentence:
Which you could also use as a response to someone who has just told you they miss you. Although, they might be expecting you to relay the full phrase back “I miss you, too”, rather than simply saying “me too”.
I Will Miss You in Japanese
- I will miss you.
Let’s say you’re about to say goodbye to someone. You want to communicate that you are going to miss them when they do go.
To say “I will miss you” in Japanese, use もう会いたい (mou aitai).
This expression is made of two components. The second is 会いたい (aitai), meaning “I miss you” (fully explained in the earlier entries).
Preceding 会いたい (aitai) is もう (mou), an adverb that means “already, before long, by now” in Japanese.
In the expression, もう会いたい (mou aitai), the もう (mou) can be understood as meaning “already”. Interpreting it this way gives the expression the literal meaning of “I already miss you”.
Perhaps your partner is leaving tomorrow for a few weeks to go on a trip. The night before you may say something like this:
ashita iku yo no. mou aitai yo.
You’re going tomorrow, aren’t you? I will/already miss you.
To reiterate, use よ (yo) at the end of a sentence to emphasise the preceding words.
Attaching よ (yo) in the above example conveys a stronger sense of longing, as opposed to omitting it. With that said, よ (yo) is optional, and it’s fine to drop it!
I Missed You in Japanese
- I missed you.
Your loved one has just returned and they are back in the warmth of your arms. You are apart no more, and I’m sure you’re feeling overjoyed!
During this moment you may tell them 会いたかった (aitakatta), meaning “I missed you” in Japanese.
The biggest difference with this expression is the change of tense. To put it simply, 会いたかった (aitakatta) is the past tense of 会いたい (aitai), meaning “I miss you”.
Of course, being in the past tense, you should only use this expression when talking about something that happened in the past.
This is because you’re specifically communicating that your missing that person was a feeling you had.
It’s naturally assumed that that feeling has been erased now that you have been reunited (which is when you would use 会いたかった (aitakatta).
I Missed You So Much in Japanese
- I missed you so much.
If you’re feeling particularly overjoyed when being reunited with your partner for the first time in a while, you may wish to communicate how much you’ve truly missed them all this time.
By pairing ずっと (zutto) with 会いたかった (aitakatta), we compose the expressionずっと会いたかった (zutto aitakatta), which means “I missed you so much” in Japanese.
This is a powerful expression you can use for special moments when you and your partner are finally back together in person again.
The word ずっと (zutto) is what makes this expression so meaningful. ずっと (zutto) means “the whole time, all this time, all the way” in Japanese.
Use ずっと (zutto) to refer to a specific continuous state that has remained unchanged for an extended period of time.
The best way to interpret the meaning of ずっと (zutto) is as “for a long time”. Therefore when you connect it with 会いたかった (aitakatta), you express how you’ve missed the person for a prolonged duration.
It’s also possible to increase the number of times you say ずっと (zutto) in this expression.
zutto, zutto aikatta.
I’ve missed you so so much.
You can also substitute the ずっと (zutto) for すごく (sugoku), the meaning of which is explained above in an earlier entry that covers “I miss you so much” in Japanese.
I Miss Him in Japanese
- I miss him.
kare ni aitai.
You can also use 会いたい (aitai) to specify who it is that you’re missing. If the person you miss is male, you can use 彼に会いたい (kare ni aitai).
This phrase is particularly useful when you’re talking to someone else about the person you miss.
aa~… kare ni aitai.
Ahh… I miss him.
彼 (kare) is the word for “him” in Japanese.
Following 彼 (kare) comes に (ni), a grammar particle that, in this case, marks the preceding word as the object of the upcoming verb.
In short, に (ni) marks 彼 (kare) as the thing that the verb is doing. To clarify, 彼 (kare), aka “him”, is the “thing” that’s being “missed”.
You always use に (ni) when talking about someone you miss, or someone you will meet with 会う (au) in Japanese.
I Miss My Boyfriend in Japanese
If the person you miss is your boyfriend, you can communicate that in Japanese too.
The word for boyfriend in Japanese is 彼氏 (kareshi).
Following the same structure as the above entry, we substitute the word 彼 (kare), meaning “him”, for 彼氏 (kareshi), meaning boyfriend.
Therefore to be specific and say you miss your boyfriend in Japanese, use the following phrase:
kareshi ni aitai.
I miss my boyfriend.
Note that it is possible to replace the word 彼氏 (kareshi) with the person’s actual name.
This would make it:
- [name] に会いたい。
[name] ni aitai.
I miss [name].
I Miss Her/My Girlfriend in Japanese
- I miss her.
kanojo ni aitai.
If the person you miss is female, you can specify with the phrase 彼女に会いたい (kanojo ni aitai).
彼女 (kanojo) means “her” or “girlfriend” in Japanese. Be careful in that there is no way to clearly distinguish the difference between the two meanings; “her” and “girlfriend”. The word 彼女 (kanojo) can mean both.
Therefore when you refer to someone using 彼女 (kanojo) in conversation, misunderstandings could happen, especially if the person you’re speaking with doesn’t know you very well.
Generally speaking, however, when you use 彼女 (kanojo) in a sentence to talk about them as the person you miss, it will be assumed that you are in a relationship.
This is because the word 会いたい (aitai) is generally used when speaking about partners as previously mentioned. People will naturally assume you’re together when you address the person you miss as 彼女 (kanojo).
The phrase 彼女に会いたい (kanojo ni aitai) generally follows the same grammatical structure as “I miss my boyfriend”, explained above.
The に (ni) functions to mark the preceding word as the object that the verb is doing. In essence, “she” (the object in the sentence and the verb is doing) is the one being “missed” (the verb).
More Ways to Express I Miss You in Japanese
- I miss you (I’m lonely).
There are other ways to express “I miss you” in Japanese without using 会いたい (aitai).
One of these alternatives is with 寂しい (sabishii).
You can use 寂しい (sabishii) to communicate that you miss someone and that you desire their company.
The word 寂しい (sabishii) is an i-adjective that means “lonely” in Japanese. The kanji in 寂しい (sabishii) is 寂 which also denotes loneliness or mellowness.
At the beginning of this guide, I mentioned that it’s natural to omit pronouns (you & I) in Japanese. You also omit them when using 寂しい (sabishii) to express how you miss someone.
This means that simply saying 寂しい (sabishii) to someone is enough to communicate the full sentence “I’m lonely” in Japanese, without using any pronouns.
Furthermore, the term 寂しい (sabishii) is often used to indirectly express that you miss someone.
If someone were to tell you that they are 寂しい (sabishii) it’s very probable that they are missing you.
- いつまた会えるの？ 寂しいよ。
itsu mata aeru no? sabishii yo.
When can we meet again? I miss you (I’m lonely).
Using the above sentence as an example, 寂しい (sabishii) can also be paired with よ (yo) to enhance the meaning of the word.
It’s an optional addition that you can use to communicate an extra level of emotion when telling someone you miss them.
Sometimes Japanese speakers may use the word さみしい (samishii). This word is the same as 寂しい (sabishii).
While さみしい (samishii) is the phonetically incorrect way to pronounce 寂しい (sabishii), many people choose to use it in daily conversation anyway. It has become somewhat of a culturally accepted way to pronounce the word.
More Ways to Express I Missed You in Japanese
Putting the word 寂しい (sabishii) into the past tense turns the meaning into “I missed you” (lit. I was lonely) in Japanese.
The past tense of 寂しい (sabishii) is 寂しかった (sabishikatta). Similarly to the nuance and functions of the present tense 寂しい (sabishii), the past tense version can also be used without any pronouns.
Simply saying to someone 寂しかった (sabishikatta) communicates that you missed them and that you were lonely.
I missed you.
You might use 寂しかった (sabishikatta) when you’ve finally been reunited with your partner after a long period of time without each other.
As 寂しかった (sabishikatta) is in the past tense, you express that you were lonely and you missed the person when you didn’t see them.
Using 寂しかった (sabishikatta) is the same as telling someone that you missed them in English, only with the added nuance of feeling lonely.
Related: How to say Soul and Soulmate in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].
I Miss Your Voice in Japanese
- I miss your voice.
[name] no koe wo kikitai.
While you might miss the person themselves, you may also miss hearing their voice.
Telling someone that you miss their voice can be a romantic thing to do, and you can communicate that in Japanese!
Firstly, when telling someone that you miss their voice, you should address the person by their actual name (even when you’re speaking to that person directly).
This is because the best and natural way to say “you” or “your” in Japanese is to use the person’s name.
Therefore, begin this phrase with the person’s name, and attach の (no). This would make it [name]の.
の (no) is the possessive grammar particle that connects two nouns together. The noun preceding の (no) is the person’s name, and the noun following の (no) is 声 (koe), meaning “voice” in Japanese.
Saying [name] の声 ([name] no koe) is the same as saying “[name]’s voice” in Japanese.
Next comes を (wo), another grammar particle that identifies the verb’s object; the person or thing to which the action is performed.
In this case, the object is the person’s voice and the verb is the final component in the sentence: 聞きたい (kikitai).
The verb 聞きたい (kikitai) means “want to hear” in Japanese. The たい (tai) is the same たい (tai) as the one in 会いたい (aitai). To clarify, たい (tai) is a beginner’s grammar point that is used to express a desire or wish to do something.
In short, the phrase [name] の声を聞きたい ([name] no koe wo kikitai) literally means “I want to hear [name]’s voice”.
However, while this phrase does grammatically translate as wanting to hear someone’s voice, it also connotes a true feeling of longing; a desire for their voice.
I Miss Your Smile/Laugh in Japanese
- I miss your smile/laugh.
[name] no egao wo mitai.
While telling someone you miss their voice may be considered romantic, telling them you miss their smile or laugh could be even more so.
The grammatical structure of this sentence follows the exact same structure as “I miss your voice” in Japanese, explained above, just with different words. Read the above entry for a deeper explanation of the composure of the grammar in this sentence!
You can use this phrase to express how you miss someone’s laugh or smile. In Japanese, address the person whose laugh/smile you miss by their actual name (even when speaking to that person directly) instead of “you”.
笑顔 (egao) means “smiling face” or “smile” in Japanese. We know that の (no) is the possesive grammar particle that connects two nouns together.
Therefore saying the person’s name followed by の (no) and then 笑顔 (egao) would make: [name]の笑顔 ([name] no egao). This means “[name]’s smile” in Japanese.
The verb in this sentence is みたい (mitai), which is the たい (tai) form of みる (miru), meaning “to see”. The たい (tai) form is used to express a desire or wish, hence, みたい (mitai) means “want to see” in Japanese.
The literal translation of this phrase is “I want to see your smile”.
Yet, similar to saying “I want to hear your voice” in Japanese, expressing a desire to see someone’s smile has very close nuances to the English phrase “I miss your smile”.
In short, when you miss seeing someone’s smile, use this phrase to express that to them in Japanese!
I Miss You in Japanese Using Google Translate
Translating “I Miss you” or “I miss…” from English to Japanese using Google Translate will tell you that 恋しい (koishii) is the word you need.
However, the word 恋しい (koishii) is primarily used for objects and places, rather than for people.
Perhaps you’ve been away from home for a while and you miss your mother’s cooking. You may say:
haha no ryouri ga koishii.
I miss mum’s cooking.
In essence, use 恋しい (koishii) to describe something that you miss, rather than for someone who you miss.
You can place any noun and attach ~が恋しい (ga koishii) to say that you miss it in Japanese.
If you’re feeling nostalgic about your visit to Japan, for instance, you can express that using ~が恋しい (ga koishii).
nihon ga koishii.
I miss Japan.
You also don’t need to include any pronouns (I) when using this phrase!
Another example! Perhaps you miss getting out and adventuring:
ryokou ga koishii.
I miss travelling.
Maybe you miss cold weather:
samui tenki ga koishii.
I miss the cold weather.
I Miss When… in Japanese
There may be occasions when something feels nostalgic to you and you miss it. You can express nostalgia with:
Use the word 懐かしい (natsukashii) to describe something that you fondly remember, something that’s dear to you or something that is beloved.
Perhaps you’ve recently moved house and you’re feeling nostalgic about the old one.
mae no ie ga natsukashii.
The old house is nostalgic (I miss the old house).
When you describe something as 懐かしい (natsukashii) in Japanese, you indicate that you remember it fondly, perhaps so much so that you kind of miss it.
This place brings back memories!
Use 懐かしい (natsukashii) for those situations!
I Miss You Dearly in Japanese
The verb 慕う (shitau) is another word that appears frequently when using translation tools for “I miss you” in Japanese.
It is an old-fashioned way to say “I miss you dearly” in Japanese. It used to be an elegant/traditional way to express love or longing for someone. However, this is now an old meaning and thus is dated.
In more recent times, 慕う (shitau) is used when you find yourself attached to someone.
It’s not used to describe a relationship between partners or love, but rather to describe someone you idolise, someone you look up to.
sofu wo shtatteru.
I adore/idolise my grandfather.
You’ll often see 慕う (shitau) used to express a feeling towards a parent or close relative.
I Miss Japan!
nihon ga koishii!
I miss Japan!
Japan is a wonderful place to visit, and it’s even better if you can converse in the language!
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