How to say Nice to Meet You in Japanese

Nice to Meet You in Japanese

There are two main ways to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese.

These are:

  1. 初めまして。(hajimemashite).
  2. よろしくお願いします。(yoroshiku onegaishimasu).

While both mean “it’s nice to meet you” they differ in terms of use and nuances.

You can use both 初めまして (hajimemashite) and よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese.

These are the best natural phrases to use when meeting someone for the first time.

However, よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) has additional meanings and uses that extend beyond being a simple polite formula that’s used when introducing yourself to someone. 

In short, use 初めまして (hajimemashite) at the beginning of your self-introduction or greeting.

Similar to English, saying 初めまして (hajimemashite), “nice to meet you” right around the moment you introduce your name is most natural.

Whereas it’s most natural to use よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) at the end of your introduction or first meeting with someone.

This ultimate guide explains the meanings, uses and nuances associated with these two phrases and more along with plenty of examples and native audio samples for your pronunciation reference.

Similar expressions such as “nice to meet you, too” and how to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese formally and casually are also explained coupled with examples and audio!

I’ve composed this guide for beginners and intermediate learners of Japanese alike!

Nice to Meet You in Japanese

  • Nice to meet you.

The word 初めまして (hajimemashite) is the best translation for “nice to meet you” in Japanese.

When you meet someone for the first time you’ll want to say 初めまして (hajimemashite). It’s the best way to greet someone new and start introducing yourself!

初めまして (hajimemashite) originates from the word 初めて (hajimete) which means “for the first time” in Japanese.

You can use the word 初めて (hajimete) to describe first-time things. For instance:

  • 初めてのあいさつ。
    hajimete no aisatsu.
    First-time greetings.

Therefore, you should only use the phrase 初めまして (hajimemashite) when meeting someone for the first time.

Generally speaking, 初めまして (hajimemashite) is used at the beginning of your introduction. It’s one of the first phrases you can use when meeting someone new.

Nice to Meet You. My Name is… in Japanese

Nice to Meet You, My name is.. in Japanese

It’s also a great phrase to use when you are about to introduce your name.

  • 初めまして。[name] です。
    hajimemashite. [name] desu. 
    Nice to meet you. I’m [name].

Using the above template, replace [name] with your own name for a natural way to introduce yourself in Japanese in any circumstance.

There are plenty of ways to introduce your name in Japanese, however, the above template is the most failproof method.

Japanese has many polite styles of speech which can be confusing and concerning when you’re not sure which style to use.

With that said, if you’re introducing yourself to your new manager for the first time, for instance, you can increase the formality:

  • 初めまして。[name] と申します
    hajimemashite. [name] to moushimasu.
    Nice to meet you. I’m [name]. (Formal). 

Refer to this ultimate guide for all the details on introducing your name in Japanese!

How to say My Name Is in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].

Nice to Meet You #1 in Japanese Kanji

The kanji for “nice to meet you” in Japanese is 初.

The kanji 初 means “beginning” or “first” in Japanese.

Hence, 初めまして (hajimemashite) quite literally refers to a meeting with a person for the first time. This means that 初めまして (hajimemashite) is best utilised as one of the first things you say!

Hello, Nice to Meet You in Japanese

  • Hello! Nice to meet you.
    こんにちは! 初めまして。
    konnichiwa! hajimemashite. 

If there’s one thing that’s definitely appropriate to say before saying “nice to meet you” to someone new, it’s going to be “hello”.

The best way to say “hello” in Japanese before saying “nice to meet you” is with こんにちは (konnichiwa).

Greeting someone with こんにちは (konnichiwa) is similar to saying “hello”, “good day” or “good afternoon” in English.

It’s a standard greeting that flows very nicely when paired with 初めまして (hajimemashite) for an introduction.

Related: How to say How Are You in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].

As well as こんにちは (konnichiwa), you may want to say “good morning” or “good evening” too. These are:

  • おはようございます。
    ohayou gozaimasu.
    Good morning.


  • こんばんは。
    Good evening.

Related: How to say Good Night in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].

Typically, は is pronounced as “ha”. However, the final は (wa) in こんにちは (konnichiwa) and こんばんは (konbanwa) is unique as it’s pronounced as “wa”, rather than “ha”.

See the audio for pronunciation reference!

Nice to Meet You in Japanese #2

yoroshiku onegaishimasu meaning

  • Nice to meet you.
    yoroshiku onegai shimasu. 

The phrase よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) is unique in that it doesn’t have a direct English translation.

One of its meanings is commonly understood as “nice to meet you” in Japanese. You may see it translated like this in textbooks.

However, よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) has distinct nuances and a number of different uses compared to the former 初めまして (hajimemashite).

よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) Meaning

Let’s take a look at what よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) actually means.

As mentioned, textbooks teach this phrase early on as meaning “nice to meet you” in Japanese.

よろしく (yoroshiku), the first part of the phrase, is an adverb that literally means “well” or “suitable” in Japanese.

お願いします (onegaishimasu), the second part, is a formal verb that originates from お願い (onegai). The word お願い (onegai) means “request” or “wish” in Japanese.

Therefore, being a verb, お願いします (onegaishimasu) means “to make a request/to make a wish” in Japanese.

This means that the full phrase よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) literally translates to “to make a well/suitable request”.

However, despite the strange literal translation of “making a suitable request”, よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) is used as an expression which holds multiple intertwined meanings:

  1. “Best regards”.
  2. “Please treat me well”.
  3. “Please take care of…”.
  4. “It’s nice to meet you”.
  5. “Please do”.
  6. “Please remember me”.

Nice to Meet You in Japanese #2 Example

When you meet someone for the first time, you know you’ll be working together, or if you’ll be in each other’s company for a while, use よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) to communicate that you’re hoping for a good, healthy relationship with them.

A simple yet natural dialogue may look like this:

  • 初めまして。[name] です。よろしくお願いします。
    hajiemashite. [name] desu. yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
    Nice to meet you. I’m [name]. Please take care of me. (nice to meet you).

Put simply, 初めまして (hajimemashite) is used at the beginning of an introduction or greeting to mean “nice to meet you”. While よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) is used at the end of an introduction or greeting.

You don’t say よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) before you’ve introduced yourself.

The only exception to this is if someone else has introduced you first. In either case, once you’ve been introduced to the other party, saying よろしくお願いします (yoroshishiku onegaishimasu) is perfectly natural and it’s very polite to do so.

In short, use this phrase once your initial introduction has concluded!

It’s a nice way to finish and close off your initial conversation with someone you’ve not met before.

よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) VS 初めまして (hajimemashite)

As mentioned, both 初めまして (hajimemashite) and よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) can be used to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese.

初めまして (hajimemashite) is said at the beginning of the first greeting, while よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) is said at the end.

However, unlike 初めまして (hajimemashite), よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) can be used outside of first-time greetings/introductions as well.

It has many unique uses and is generally said all the time, especially in the workplace.

For example, when a company makes a request to or has a conversation with another company via phone call, they may finish the call with よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu).

よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegai shimasu) Examples

yoroshiku onegaishimasu example

Referring to the 6 intertwined meanings as listed earlier, you can also use よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) when you want to say “please take care of…” in Japanese.

If you have a Japanese partner, for instance, their parents may say to you:

  • 娘をよろしくお願いします
    musume wo yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
    Please take care of our/my daughter.

You may also use it to say “give my regards to” in Japanese. This can be very useful to say things such as:

  • アーロンによろしくお願いします
    a-ron ni yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
    Give my regards to Aaron.

Replace “Aaron” with the name of the person you wish to send greetings to. This is a great way to show positivity when you want to ask someone to tell a person to say hello to them.

It’s important to remember that you can also use よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) to communicate that you’re looking forward to developing a good relationship with someone.

This doesn’t necessarily only have to be said when you’re meeting them for the first time.

If you’re about to begin a task, project or some kind of work with someone, you may tell them:

  • 今日はよろしくお願いします
    kyou wa yoroshiku onegai shimasu.
    I’m looking forward to working with you today.

Related: How to say Good Job in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].

You even use it frequently in emails!

  • 不明点がありましたら、ご連絡ください。よろしくお願いします。
    fumeiten ga arimashitara, gorenraku kudasai. yoroshiku onegaishimasu.
    If something is unclear, please contact us. Best regards.

This is a phrase that you’ll hear frequently in Japanese, not just as a greeting!

Nice to Meet You #2 in Japanese Kanji

The kanji in よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) is 願.

願 means “request, vow, hope, wish” in Japanese. It is most often seen in the word お願い (onegai), which is used when making requests.

Related: How to say Hope & I Hope in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].

It’s worth noting that よろしく also has a kanji, although it is rarely written with it.

This kanji is 宜, which means “best regards” or “good” in Japanese.

The full phrase with kanji looks like this: 宜しくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu).

Related: How to say Good in Japanese [Ultimate Guide].

Nice to Meet You Too in Japanese

There are two ways to respond to someone who has just said “nice to meet you” to you.

In the first entry, we clarified that 初めまして (hajimemashite) is best used to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese at the beginning of the initial greeting.

Therefore the best response to 初めまして (hajimemashite), is by also replying with 初めまして (hajimemashite).

This would be the same as responding with “nice to meet you” to “nice to meet you” in English.

A more accurate way to convey the full phrase “nice to meet you, too” in Japanese would be to use the following expression:

  • Nice to meet you too.
    kochira koso yoroshiku onegai shimasu. 

With the information explained in the earlier entry in this article, we know that よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) is an expression that functions as “nice to meet you” at the end of a greeting.

The word こちらこそ (kochira koso) is also an expression that is best translated as “it is I who should say so” in Japanese.

This is a formal expression that emphasises that it is you, the speaker who is delighted to meet the other person.

Therefore, attaching こちらこそ (kochira koso) to よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) means “nice to meet you too” in Japanese.

Another way to understand this expression is to interpret it as meaning “the pleasure is mine”  or “I’m pleased to meet you” in Japanese.

To summarise, when someone says よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) to you in Japanese, you can reply with こちらこそよろしくお願いします (kochirakoso yoroshiku onegaishimasu).

For clarification, you cannot say こちらこそよろしくお願いします (kochirakoso yoroshiku onegaishimasu) straight after someone has said 初めまして (hajimemashite) to you.

In this case, it’s more natural to repeat 初めまして (hajimemashite) back to the other person!

Nice to Meet You in Japanese Formal

Nice to Meet You in Japanese Formal

While よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu), explained above, is already a formal way to express “nice to meet you” in Japanese, there is a way to increase that formality.

When you’re speaking with your company’s main boss or a headteacher, for instance, you may wish to make a good first impression and say “nice to meet you” in Japanese formally.

This level of high-formality style of speech is referred to as Keigo in Japanese.

Use the following expression to say “nice to meet” you in Japanese Keigo:

  • Nice to meet you (formal).
    yoroshiku onegai itashimasu. 

This is the most formal way to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese.

Use it when speaking with those who are considered to be of higher social status than yourself.

This is useful when you’re speaking to your boss, or perhaps to a potential employer. This expression is great for interviews!

よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) and よろしくお願いいたします (yoroshiku onegaiitashimasu) Difference

Grammatically speaking, there is one difference between よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) and よろしくお願いいたします (yoroshiku onegai itashimasu).

That is that the ending changes from します (shimasu) to いたします (itashimasu).

Put simply いたします (itashimasu) is the most formal version of します (shimasu).

To explain, します (shimasu) is the formal version of the verb する (suru), meaning “to do”. いたします (itashimasu) is one step beyond that to the most formal level.

Generally, you would use する (suru), the casual variant of the verb “to do” when speaking with friends or family.

します (shimasu) is the formal variant which you would use when speaking with colleagues or strangers.

Finally, いたします (itashimasu) is the most formal variant which you use in situations where the max level of formality is required.

We clarified earlier that the literal meaning of お願いします (onegai shimasu) is “to make a request.”

Breaking down the components reveals that お願い (onegai) means “request” and します (shimasu) means “to do”. Therefore the overall meaning is literally – to do a request.

Nice to Meet You in Japanese Casual

  • Nice to meet you (casual).

You can shorten the expression よろしくお願いします (yoroshiku onegaishimasu) to just よろしく (yoroshiku).

When you do this, the expression becomes casual. Therefore, you can use よろしく (yoroshiku) when you want to tell someone “nice to meet you” casually in Japanese.

Like the full expression, よろしく (yoroshiku) is most naturally used at the end of the initial greeting.

Once you’ve introduced your name and any other details you deem necessary, you finish with よろしく (yoroshiku) to communicate that it’s nice to meet the person.

It’s important to remember that よろしく(yoroshiku) is not a formal expression. When you meet someone for the first time, you’ll generally want to use formal language.

However, when you say よろしく(yoroshiku) to someone at the end of your introduction you establish the “social level” of the relationship. Using よろしく(yoroshiku) establishes a friendly relationship with the other person.

Yet, this friendliness is not to be mistaken for genuine goodwill. The type of relationship that is established by saying よろしく(yoroshiku) is a friend-friend one. 

You’re essentially communicating to the other person to skip the formalities.

You can also say “nice to meet you” casually in Japanese while conveying friendly vibes by using:

  • よろしく
    yoroshiku ne.
    Nice to meet you. (friendly).

Grammatically, ね (ne) is a sentence-ending particle that adds nuance to a phrase.

In this case, the addition of ね (ne) emphasises a friendly atmosphere.

For that reason, when you say よろしくね (yoroshiku ne) to someone you’re communicating “it’s nice to meet you, let’s skip the formalities and be friends”.

It’s Nice to Finally Meet You in Japanese

  • It’s nice to finally meet you.
    yatto aete ureshii desu.

This is a polite phrase you can use to tell someone that you’re delighted to have at long last met them.

Perhaps you’ve heard a lot about this person from someone else, and now you’ve finally got the opportunity to meet them.

You can communicate that with the following sequence:

  • [name]のことをたくさん聞いてます。やっと会えて嬉しいです。
    [name] no koto wo takusan kitemasu. yatto aete ureshii desu.
    I’ve heard a lot about you. It’s nice to finally meet you.

To reiterate, when speaking Japanese, the pronoun “you” isn’t used often. Instead, it’s much more natural to address the person by their name, even when speaking to them directly!

This is a formal phrase that’s great for when you’re meeting someone for the first time.

The phrase begins with やっと (yatto), meaning “finally” in Japanese.

Next is 会えて (aete), which is the potential te-form of 会う (au), meaning to “meet”. The potential form refers to the conjugation of a verb to describe an ability or inability to do something.

This means that 会えて (aete) translates as “can meet”.

The te-form has many functions. Typically, sentences in Japanese end with the verb. However, the te-form enables the verb to connect with the second part of the sentence.

Finally, 嬉しい (ureshii) means “happy”, “glad” or “pleased” in Japanese. Attached to the end is です (desu). This makes the sentence formal.

Related: How to say Happy in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]. 

Let’s remember that it’s natural to omit pronouns in Japanese, therefore, there is no need to mention “I” or “you”.

You can simply use やっと会えて嬉しいです (yatto aete ureshii desu) to someone when you want to express that you’re happy to have finally met them.

I’m Happy to Meet You in Japanese

I'm Happy to Meet You in Japanese

  • I’m happy to meet you.
    odeai de kite ureshii desu.

Telling someone that you’re happy to meet them can be a nice gesture.

You can communicate that feeling in Japanese with the above phrase.

Use this phrase at the very beginning of your initial greeting with someone – right around the time when you introduce your name.

Likewise, if someone was to say this phrase to you, you can reply with こちらこそ (kochira koso). Replying like this is the same as saying “me too” in English.

It Was Nice to Meet You in Japanese

You can use a similar pattern to communicate the same expression at the end of your first meeting.

In English, when we’ve concluded the first greeting with someone and had a brief chat we sometimes say “it was nice to meet you” to round off the conversation.

This English sentence is in the past tense and the Japanese variant of this expression is in the past tense too.

  • It was nice to meet you.
    odeai de kite ureshikatta desu.

This is a formal phrase you can use when you wish to express that you feel delighted to have met someone. It would be most natural to use it at the end of your first chat with the person you’ve just met.

I’m Looking Forward to Meeting You

  • I’m looking forward to meeting you.
    odeai de kiru no wo tanoshimishte orimasu.

You can express how you’re looking forward to seeing someone formally and casually in Japanese.

For the formal variant, please refer to the above expression.

You may want to use this expression after you’ve arranged a time and date to meet up with someone. This could be by email or phone for instance.

As such, you can say this phrase at the end of your conversation on the phone or via email. In doing so, you communicate that you’re fondly anticipating your meeting with them.

If you’re speaking with a friend or partner (whom you haven’t seen for a while), you may wish to use the casual variant of this expression.

The casual way to say “I’m looking forward to meeting you” in Japanese is:

  • 会うのを楽しみしてる。
    au no wo tansohimi shteru.
    I’m looking forward to meeting you. (casual).

This phrase begins with 会う (au) the kanji for “to meet” in Japanese.

It ends with 楽しみしてる (tanoshimi shteru). This is a verb that means “looking forward to” in Japanese.

The middle contains two particles. These are の (no) and を (wo). Grammatically speaking, の (no) transforms the preceding verb, 会う (au) into a noun. This allows it to be modified by another verb.

The を (wo) particle connects a noun and verb together. It marks the preceding noun as the “thing” that the following verb is doing.

We clarified that the verb “to meet”会う (au) has been transformed into a noun. The following verb is “looking forward to”, 楽しみしてる (tanoshi mi shteru).

Therefore the literal translation can be understood as “looking forward to meet”.

Just like others in this article, this expression also omits pronouns. This is because it’s natural to completely drop all pronouns in Japanese.

It’s an Honour to Meet You

You can express how it’s an honour to meet someone in Japanese through the use of Keigo; the polite style of Japanese speech.

In Keigo, words and phrases often change drastically from how they are in the dictionary (regular) form.

The verb for “to meet” in Japanese is 会う (au). In Keigo, it’s much longer. It becomes お目にかかる (me ni kakaru). For those curious, 目 is the kanji for “eyes” in Japanese.

As Keigo is a very polite style of speech, we can utilise it to say things such as “it’s an honour to meet you” in Japanese.

The word for honour in Japanese is 光栄 (kouei).

Combining these two words in the same sentence will make:

  • お目にかかれて光栄です。
    o me ni kakarete kouei desu.
    It’s an honour to meet you.

お目にかかる (o me ni kakaru) has been changed into お目にかかれて (o me ni kakarete). This is the potential te-form.

The potential form is used to describe an ability or inability to do something. Hence, the potential form of the Keigo word for “meet” in Japanese is a polite “can meet”.

Whereas the te-form enables verbs to connect to another noun/verb, extending the sentence length. The te-form is necessary here as Japanese sentences typically end with the verb. The te-form allows this to be bypassed.

In essence, you express how it’s an honour that you can meet this person when you use this phrase.

You may also wish to communicate things such as:

  • いつお目にかかれますか。
    itsu o me ni kakaremasu ka?
    When can I see you?

As this phrase is also in Keigo, it’s a very formal way of asking someone when you can see them.

Nice in Japanese!

  • ナイス!

The Japanese word for “nice” is ナイス (naisu)! Although this word is not used to communicate that you’re happy to meet someone. Instead, you use it to give compliments or to describe something as being good.

For more examples of how to introduce yourself properly in Japanese using some of the phrases listed in this guide, I recommend this video:

The video covers how to say “nice to meet you” in Japanese as part of your self-introduction. It also teaches how to expand your self-introduction with additional information.

For example, introducing your age, where you’re from, your job and where you live in Japanese.

For more ultimate How-to Japanese guides from me, I recommend these:

How to say Good in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]

How to say Good Job in Japanese [Ultimate Guide]

Take a look at the collection of Ultimate How-To Japanese guides! [View All Ultimate Guides].

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