Even if you don't know much Japanese, you probably know how to say "thank you" at least. Almost everyone with an interest in Japan is likely to have picked up arigatō, the standard word for “thank you,” universally understood throughout the country. Others might even be familiar with the colloquial “domo” and the formal “arigatō gozaimashita.”
However, Japan’s 47 different prefectures are a treasure trove of local dialects, rich in unique and fun phrases that sometimes sound similar, sometimes seem to come from an entirely different language! If you want to travel Japan like a local, why don’t you say “Thank you!” in the regional dialect and surprise people with a bit of local culture? Let’s take a look at the many ways to say “Thank you!” in Japan!
※Keep in mind that this list isn’t a complete list of every single phrase or word, as prefectures often have more than one dialect, while others simply use the Japanese standard of “arigatō.”
Aichi: arigatōsan (ありがとうさん)
Akita: ogi ni (おぎに)
Aomori: arigatōgosu (ありがとうごす) or meyaguda (めやぐだ)
Chiba: angatō (あんがとう)
Ehime: dandan (だんだん)
Fukui: kinodokuna (きのどくな) or ōkinō (おうきのう)
Fukushima: taihen (たいへん) or shite moratte（してもらって）
Fukushima is particularly interesting, as “taihen” usually means very, extremely, or even awful. “Shite moratte,” on the other hand, is a grammatical construct that literally translates to “have someone do something,” as in “have someone give you a haircut.”
Gifu: kinodoku (きのどく) or utatē (うたてー)
Hiroshima: arigatō arimasu (ありがとうあります) or arigatono (ありがとの)
Note that “arigatō arimasu” is a fairly old expression and not actually used much around Hiroshima nowadays. Nonetheless, it will likely put a smile on the face of Hiroshimans of older generations!
Hokkaido: iya tasukatta (いや助かった)
This phrase literally means something along the lines of “Whew, you saved me!” in a very colloquial, friendly way. Hokkaido might have a reputation for having a cold climate, but the folks living there sure seem warm!
Hyogo: ōkini (おーきに ) or arigatō-omasu (ありがとうおます)
Ishikawa: kinodokuna (きのどくな) or anyato (あんやと)
Iwate: arigatōgansu (ありがとうがんす)
Kagawa: arigatode (ありがとで)
Trivia time: the dialect in Kagawa Prefecture isn’t called Kagawa-ben but rather sanuki-ben. Sanuki is the old name of the prefecture.
Kagoshima: arigatō-gozasu (ありがとうござす)
Kumamoto: chōjō (ちょうじょう) or dandan (だんだん)
In Kumamoto, “dandan” usually isn’t used all by itself but usually combined with other phrases: “Dōmo na~, dandan na~!”
Kyoto: ōkini (おおきに)
The word ōkini is common to quite a lot of dialects in the Kansai area. The original meaning of the word is “greatly” or “very much” and while you will most likely hear it the most in shops and restaurants.
Mie: ōkinna (おおきんな)
Miyagi: manzu domo ne (まんずどうもね)
Miyazaki: katashigenai (かたしげない) or ōkin (おおきん)
Nagano: arigatō gozansu (ありがとうござんす)
Nagasaki: arigatō gozasu (ありがとうござす)
Nara: ōkini (おおきに)
Niigata: gochisōsama desu (ごちそうさまです)
The phrase “gochisōsama deshita” is used all over Japan, but usually after finishing a meal. In Niigata, however, you’ll sometimes hear “gochisōsama desu” as a way to say thank you, especially from the older folks of the prefecture.
Oita: ōkini (おおきに)
Okayama: arigatō gozansu (ありがとうござんす)
Okinawa: nihēdēbiru (にへーでーびる)
Osaka: ōkini (おおきに)
Saga: aigatō (あいがとう)
Saitama: arigatona (ありがとな)
Shiga: ōkini (おおきに)
Shimane: dandan (だんだん)
Shizuoka: ōkini (おおきに)
Tokushima: tamaruka (たまるか)
Tottori: dandan (だんだん) or yōkoso (ようこそ)
Toyama: gochisōsama (ごちそうさま) or kinodoku (きのどく)
Wakayama: ōkiniyo~ (おおきによ～)
Yamagata: oshōshina (おしょうしな)
Yamaguchi: taegatō gozaimasu (たえがとうございます)
Yamanashi: arigatōgoisu (ありがとうごいす)
And here is one that is universally understood across all of Japan: sankyū! (さんきゅー！)
As you might have guessed, this word is the Japanese pronunciation of the English “thank you.”
Of course, there’s no need to learn all of these many ways to say “thank you” in Japanese by heart. But when you find yourself traveling to Osaka, for example, make sure to thank the shopkeeper with a hearty “Ōkini!” when they hand you the local specialty, takoyaki.
Dandan, manzu domo ne, and kinodokuna for reading!
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