So I was watching 女が階段を上る時 by Mikio Naruse late at night, and heard something that sounded familiar. Alas, I fell asleep and returned the movie before checking (yes there is still a rental store in my hood).

Anyway, in the movie a hostess from a rival club walks into a bar, and receives the 『いらっしゃい!』greeting. However, I remember hearing her respond to the greeting with another set phrase that sounded familiar yet was one I haven't learned. Does anyone know if there is set response to 『いらっしゃい!』? I think I might have heard it in another old movie before, but not irl.

Edit; the character say ごくろうさん, but this is not a phrase with a specific relation to 『いらっしゃい!』. Thanks, all!

  • 2
    I suppose you could always find out what the response was by renting the movie again.
    – user1478
    Commented Sep 21, 2013 at 23:53
  • I can't speak to the phrase used in the film, but there are a variety of suggestions on how to respond to 「いらっしゃいませ」 here. The selected answer suggests 「どうも」 while others suggest that it's best to say nothing at all. Somebody may have mentioned the phrase you're looking for. Commented Sep 22, 2013 at 6:09
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    I watched the movie and only saw one instance when somebody responded to 「いらっしゃい」. At about 22:16 the owner of バー・カルトン comes in at closing time and says 「ごくろうさん」 to けいこ. This is not a set response to 「いらっしゃい」 but means roughly "Thanks for the hard work" and is only used with social subordinates (employer to employee, customer to delivery person, etc.). Perhaps this is the phrase you're thinking of? Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 15:59
  • @ThisSuitIsBlackNot --Bingo! thanks. I knew I had heard that before but was almost asleep so it didn't register in my mind. Thanks!
    – yadokari
    Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 12:42

3 Answers 3

  1. If you are being greeted with an いらっしゃいませ, when entering a large shop, supermarket, bank etc., you are not expected to reply. If you feel you need to somehow acknowledge, a short nod would do.

  2. If you hear いらっしゃい, when entering someone's house, お邪魔します or 失礼します would be a standard answer. If you are entering a small shop and there are no other customer (so that the いらっしゃい(ませ) is addressed to you personally, you say something like 入ってもいいですか? or まだやっていますか?. Of course, it is perfectly OK say the above phrases before being greeted.


I guess you could go with these standbys: 失礼します。 お邪魔します。 ご迷惑をおかけいたします。 ごぶさたいたしました。 // only if you know the マスタ and not seen him for awhile

If I am not with a native Japanese, I reply something like: "入ってもよろしいですか?お忙しいですか?"

I have watched Tampopo (famous movie about ramen's place in Japanese culture) several times, and the customers almost always just place their orders after Tampopo says "いらっしゃいませ".


As far as I know, there isn't a set response to いらっしゃい(ませ). Usually people don't say anything in response. You can politely acknowledge the person welcoming you in a non-linguistic manner by smiling or nodding.

(I wanted to post いらっしゃいました as a joke answer, but fortunately I'm too mature to do so ;-)

  • Yeah, saying いらっしゃいました in exactly the same high tone as the greeting is a sure way to make an impression :-) Commented Sep 23, 2013 at 1:57
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    Using a "ただいま" would be an entrée to get to know the shop owner and his staff. Everyone would just bust-out laughing. But, you'd have to feign ignorance.
    – davewp
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 2:28

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