The meaning of yokoso (ようこそ) and how to use it

This article will give you all of the knowledge you need on the Japanese word yokoso, including its Japanese definition and translation, example sentences, related expressions and more!

What does yokoso mean?

Yokoso (ようこそ) means welcome or welcome to in Japanese. You might hear this word when visiting someone’s home or school. Yokoso also features on those signs at the airport welcoming you to Japan!

Note that “e” (へ; pronounced eh) is added after the place to express direction (i.e. the “to” part of welcome to).

Yokoso = Welcome (to)

In Japanese, yokoso means welcome or welcome to somewhere.

Below, we take a look at some examples of how to use yokoso in Japanese.

To make it easier for you, I have written each sentence in full Japanese kanji in the first line, followed by roman letters (romaji), and hiragana, with the English meaning coming last.

Yokoso nihon e.
Welcome to Japan.

Yokoso, ohairi kudasai!
Welcome. Please come in!

Youkoso, waga kou e.
Welcome to our school.

Doitashimashite = You’re welcome

We should note at this point that you cannot use yokoso to say you’re welcome in Japanese. One way to express this is to say doitashimashite (どういたしまして) instead.

Domo arigatou!
Thank you very much!

You’re welcome.

Kyou wa wazawaza arigatou ne.
Thanks for your help today.

Not at all.

In Japanese, yokoso means welcome or welcome to somewhere.

Kangei suru = to welcome

Kangei suru (歓迎する、かんげいする) is a verb that means to welcome. As we have seen, you use yokoso to welcome someone to a certain place. By contrast, kangei suru is used in a more general sense. Note that suru turns into shimasu (します) in polite language.

Anata wo itsu demo kangei shimasu.
You’re welcome anytime.

Kensetsu teki na feidobakku wa kangei shimasu.
We welcome constructive feedback.

Kangeikai = Welcome party

A kangeikai (歓迎会、かんげいかい) is a welcome party for newcomers that is especially common in Japanese companies. Kangeikai usually take place in April, which is often when new people join.

The equivalent Japanese for a leaving party is soubetsukai (送別会、そうべつかい).

Both occasions involve drinking alcohol at an izakaya or restaurant, maybe followed by another venue and/or a karaoke session. These parties are good way to get to know your fellow coworkers. They’re also a great chance to practice your Japanese!

Why example sentences?

Learning Japanese can seem like a daunting task at first. The grammar and forms of politeness are very different from what English native speakers are used to.

You also have three distinct writing systems to get the hang of. I know it was difficult for me when I started out in 2005. But don’t let the kanji fool you! Like any language, Japanese is conquered one word at a time.

Example sentences are a big part of how I achieved fluency and became a professional translator. That’s why I’m writing this series of articles to break down new words in simple terms. I hope they will be useful.

A couple of bonus tips

Here are a couple of additional pointers to supercharge your learning.

1. Learn new vocabulary terms with example sentences
It’s much easier to remember the meaning of a new word within a sentence rather than in isolation. Use sites such as Linguee to find helpful examples for the term you want to learn.

2. Focus on verbs first and foremost.
Verbs will allow you to quickly construct your own sentences so they should be the main part of your study early on. You can always learn the Japanese for pencil sharpener when you actually need it.