Despite being a very polite language, the Japanese language lacks a way to directly communicate “Have a Good Day.”
In English, we say things like: “Have a good day at work today,” or “Have a nice weekend” quite frequently. Whereas, in Japan, the custom of expressing these kinds of wishes to people isn’t really a thing.
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Japanese is a language with many honorifics, many of which are mandatory in many social situations to show respect. So it’s certainly a little strange that there isn’t a way to say exactly: “Have a good day” in Japanese.
That is not to say that there isn’t a way to even slightly convey these wishes to someone in Japanese at all though, however. Depending on the situation, whom you’re speaking to, and even when you’re speaking to them, there are plenty of phrases that you can use to express something similar to that of: “Have a good day” in Japanese.
In this post, I am going to break down this phrase and explore all of the possible ways, and expressions that you can use when you want to tell someone “Have a good day” in Japanese.
Author’s Note: The audio files presented are the natural way to pronounce each entry of “Have a good day” in Japanese, so I recommend using them when referring to pronunciation if you can!
Table of Contents
Have a Good Day in JapaneseGood Work Today in JapaneseHope You Had a Great Day #2I Hope You Had a Good Time in Japanese
Have a Good Day in Japanese
We quite frequently say “Have a Good Day” in English. It might be something you say to the shop assistant after they help you with your shopping, to a friend when you part, or to a family member as they are about to go out the door for work.
In English, telling someone to “Have a good day” is as simple as saying those very words. In Japanese however, you’re going to need to say something different depending on the situation. Let’s jump in!Have a Good Dayいってらっしゃいitterasshaihttps://dearteassociazione.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/いってらっしゃい.mp3
The closest you’ll get to a natural translation of “Have a good day,” in Japanese is いってらっしゃい (itterasshai). Japanese people say いってらっしゃい (itterasshai) to say “Have a good day” to someone they’re living with when they depart the household.
Put simply, いってらっしゃい (itterasshai) is best used when you want to tell someone to “have a good day” as they’re about to go to work, leave for school, or go to a place that is away from you.
Have a Good Day in Japanese Examples
For instance, It would be common for a mother to say, いってらっしゃい (itterasshai) to their son or daughter as a parting phrase when they’re about to depart for school in the mornings.
You can also say いってらっしゃい (itterasshai) when someone tells you that they’re heading off somewhere. If you’re living with a partner or spouse, you might shout out to them いってらっしゃい! when they leave for work. This literally tells them “Have a good day at work!” in Japanese.今行ってくるね！ima itte kuru ne!I’ll be off now!
And you could reply:もう行くの？いってらっしゃい ！mou iku no? itterasshai!You’re off already? Have a good day!
You’d want to avoid using this phrase if you’re searching for an expression to use to tell someone to “have a good day” for other occasions though. For example, if you’re at a supermarket doing some shopping, you wouldn’t say いってらっしゃい (itterasshai) to the cashier to wish them a good day after they’ve finished serving you. In those situations, you’re best sticking to a simple polite thank you instead.
Good Luck Today in Japanese
When we wish someone a good day, sometimes we mean “Good luck today” instead.Good Luck Today今日頑張ってねkyou gannbatte nehttps://dearteassociazione.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/今日頑張ってね.mp3
I have composed a guide with detailed explanations of all of the possible ways on how to say “Good Luck” in Japanese. Check it out for more examples and expressions!
When you want to wish someone good luck with their day you can say 今日頑張ってね (kyou gannbatte ne).
The first section of the phrase, 今日 (kyou) translates to “today.”
The second part, 頑張って (gannbatte) means to “do your best,” or “good luck.”
Put together, you have a phrase that literally translates to “Today, Good Luck.”
You can use 今日頑張ってね (kyou gannbatte ne) when you want to send words of encouragement to someone and to wish them good luck. You could say 今日頑張ってね (kyou gannbatte ne) to someone on the day of their job interview for instance, or on a day of a similar big event that is important to them.今日は仕事の面接の日でしょう。頑張って！kyou ha shigoto no mensetsu no hi deshou. ganbatte!Today is the day of your interview, isn’t it. Good luck!
You might have noticed the ね (ne), attached to the end of this phrase. By attaching ね (ne), you communicate with a higher level of kindness compared to when it’s absent. Moreover, the addition of this extra character transforms the phrase into a casual expression.
Good Luck Today Formally in Japanese
Formality: As Japanese is a polite language, it has different levels of formality that you should use when speaking to someone who is your manager, teacher, or a stranger to you.
In this case, to change the phrase from its casual variant to a more formal one, we change the ending. 今日頑張ってね becomes 今日頑張ってください. ください (kudasai) is a polite way to say please in Japanese.この日がやっと来ましたね。今日頑張ってください！kono hi ga yatto kimashita ne. kyou ganbatte kudasai!This day has finally come, hasn’t it? Good luck today! (Formal)
Even though saying “Good luck today please” may certainly sound strange in English, in Japanese, it’s the correct way to say to someone “Good luck today,” in Japanese politely.
Have a Good Time in Japanese
As mentioned earlier, In Japanese, there isn’t a way to directly tell someone to “Have a good day.” Most of the time though, we wish someone to have a good day when we part with them.
In Japanese, instead of saying “Have a good day” to mean “goodbye”, people will simply say またね (mata ne).
You can use またね (mata ne) when you want to say “See you” in Japanese as a farewell, or parting phrase.
In English, we may say to your friends and family to “Take care, and have a good day” as a parting phrase. In Japanese though, you should use またね (matane) in these circumstances when you’re saying “bye” to someone.
Alternatively, you could still say 今日楽しんでね (kyou tanoshinde ne), which means “enjoy your day in Japanese” (phrase explanation detailed above). Which one you prefer will be dependent on you. You’ll hear またね (mata ne) frequently in Japan when people want to say “goodbye” or “Have a good day” to each other.
To say “See you later” in Japanese, simply remove ね, and attach あとで (atode).今日ありがとう！またあとで！kyou arigatou! mata atode!Thanks for today! See you later!
あとで (atode) by itself means “later,” or “after.” By making it またあとで, the phrase can be understood as a way to say “See you later” in Japanese.
Note that you should only use this phrase between people who are close to you personally like friends and family.
Have a Good Day in Japanese Politely
Before we jump into the next phrases, I want to highlight some misconceptions about them. Although these upcoming phrases are a direct way of saying “Have a good day” in Japanese, you do not hear them used in everyday conversation.
The next two phrases are both grammatically correct and a native speaker will understand what you mean. However, they are very unnatural and would sound off to Japanese people. Think of it as if someone were to use the word “Godspeed” to you suddenly.
You’re parting, and you say “Catch you later,” and they respond “Godspeed.” It would probably catch you off guard a little right? That’s the same kind of feeling someone would feel if they were to hear you use these phrases in speech.
With that said, let’s take a look!Have a Good Dayごきげんようgokigenyouhttps://dearteassociazione.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ごきげんよう.mp3
You can use this phrase (if you desire to, (read above!)) as a farewell or greeting. As both a greeting and a farewell, it is analogous to “Good Day” in English. It is an elegant phrase that you should only use when you want to politely say “Good Day” in Japanese. ごきげんよう (gokigenyou).
ご – The first part of the phrase is an honorific prefix. This honorific prefix tells the listener you’re being polite/respectful.
きげん – The second part means “mood” or “spirits.”
よう – The final part is an old fashioned way of saying よい (yoi), meaning “good” in Japanese.
Practical meaning: “Be in a good mood.”
Remember the comparison to “Godspeed” I made earlier? That is because this phrase is also quite old-fashioned. Therefore you may hear characters in movies or anime using this phrase. Characters who do use ごきげんよう (gokigenyou) portray an old-fashioned upper-class image.
Literal ways to say Have a Good Day in Japanese
This phrase is similar to ごきげんよう (gokigenyou) (above). Although it is the most direct phrase of “Have a good day” in Japanese, it is not a combination of words that the Japanese frequently use together in conversation.Have a good day.良一日を （過ごしてください）yoi ichinichi wo (sugoshite kudasai)https://dearteassociazione.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/良一日を-（過ごしてください）.mp3
If you were to Google Translate “Have a good day” into Japanese, this is what you would get. Let’s break it down. Firstly, 良い (yoi) means “good.” Secondly, 一日 (ichi nichi) means “a day.”
The final part in brackets 過ごしてください (sugoshite kudasai) is a polite way of saying “please spend.”
Combining the parts together and you have a complete phrase that means exactly “Have a good day” in Japanese.
The only problem… is that it’s not a commonly used phrase.
The only time you might encounter this phrase is if someone is being extremely formal with you, or perhaps in a story, book, letter or email. Otherwise, a quick Google of “How to say have a good day in Japanese” will get this phrase appearing everywhere.
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If you’re wondering why Google Translate doesn’t do too great with Japanese, check out this entertaining video by Abroad in Japan.