A business letter, especially the external letter is a formal document. It needs a formal writing style, which is different from a personal letter, or internal letter.
In the external documents, it is very important not only to use correct language and format, but also to use opening and closing greetings. That is a polite sentence used at the beginning/ the end of a document before entering the main text, and before closing the letter.
This article will introduce some opening season's greetings when writing external letters in Japanese.
The shortest and simplest: 時下 (At the present time)
This is the most normal and shortest way. It is a convenient word because it can be used at any season of the year. It is used with ますます (increasingly). Do not use 時下の候 (in the season), or 時下貴社ますます.
For example, you can write an opening greeting using 時下 like this:
拝啓 時下ますますご清祥の段、お喜び申し上げます。(Dear Sir/ Madam, I would like to express my gratitude to you for your continued prosperity.)
1. 初春の候 / 迎春の候/ 厳しい寒さが続いておりますが (The weather of early spring / The spring welcome season / Although the severe cold continues)
These phrase only use for January.
The phrase 厳しい寒さが続いておりますが is a softer expression, using words of Japanese origin. The first one and second one are formal expression, using Chinese origin. 初春 / 迎春 are the words used to celebrate the new year, representing the coming of the new year and spring.
Let's start a new year greetings with 拝啓 初春の候、貴社ますますご発展のことと拝察いたします。(In the early days of spring, I look forward to seeing your company's continued development.)
2. 立春の候 / 春寒の候 / 梅の便りも聞かれる今日この頃 (The weather of the first day of spring / The weather of cold spring / These days, I hear news about plum blossoms)
These phrase only use for February.
Because in Japan, spring begins in March, the word 立春 represents the beginning of spring on the calendar.
An example for this phrase: 拝啓 春寒の候、貴社におかれましてはご清栄のこととお慶び申し上げます。(Dear Sir/ Madam, I would like to express my gratitude to you for your continued support during this spring and cold season.)
3. 早春の候 / 春分の候 / 一雨ごとに春めいてまいりましたが (The weather of early spring / The weather of the vernal equinox / Every time it rains, it feels like spring)
These phrase only use for March.
早春, 春分 is used to express the beginning of spring, when the snow starts to melt and spring rain begins to fall.
You can use this phrase like this: 拝啓 早春の候 ますますご清祥のこととお喜び申し上げます。(I wish you all the best in the early spring weather.)
4. 陽春の候 / 桜花の候 / 春爛漫の季節となりました (The springtime / The weather of cherry blossoms / The glorious time of spring has arrived)
These phrase only use for April.
Examples you can refer to: 拝啓 春陽の候、貴社に置かれましてはますます繁栄のことと、お喜び申し上げます。(In the spring of spring, I would like to wish you all the best in your company's continued prosperity.)
5. 新緑の候 / 立夏の候 / 新緑さわやかな季節となりました (The season of fresh greenery / The beginning of summer / The season of fresh greenery has arrived)
These phrase only use for May.
The word 新緑 means "Fresh green". You can use the word 若葉 instead, they share the same meaning.
For example: 拝啓 若葉の鮮やかな季節、貴社いよいよご清祥のこととお喜び申し上げます。(In the season of bright young leaves, we would like to express our gratitude to your company's good fortune.)
6. 梅雨の候 / 長雨の候 / うっとうしい季節となりましたが (The rainy season / A long rainy season / It's been a tiresome season)
These phrase only use for June.
June ~ July is the time when it rains a lot. An example that you can use when greeting in this season is 拝啓 梅雨の候、益々ご清栄のこととお慶び申し上げます。(We would like to thank you for your continued support during the rainy season.)
7. 盛夏の候 / 猛暑の候 / 暑中お見舞い申し上げます (The weather of midsummer / The weather of intense heat / We wish you all the best in the summer)
These phrase only use for July.
This is considered the hottest and most uncomfortable season of the year. When writing letters, emails, etc., don't forget to include greetings about this season.
Greetings during this season often include wishes for good health, such as 拝啓 猛暑の候、ご健勝のこととお慶び申し上げます。(We hope you are staying healthy in this extremely hot weather.)
8. 残暑の候 / 晩夏の候 / 残暑厳しい折から (The lingering heat of summer / The late summer weather / From the severe lingering summer heat)
These phrase only use for August.
This is also considered an unpleasant month of the year. Greetings still revolve around the topic of heat. For example, 拝啓 残暑厳しい折から、貴社ますますご発展のこととお慶び申し上げます。(Dear Sir/ Madam, I would like to express my gratitude for your company's continued development during this difficult season.)
9. 初秋の候 / 秋涼の候 / 朝夕は涼しくなってまいりましたが (The early autumn weather /The cool autumn weather / The mornings and evenings are getting cooler)
These phrase only use for September.
At this time, the weather starts to cool down and people begin to feel the atmosphere of autumn. A simple example when greeting in this season is 拝啓 初秋の候、ますますご健勝のこととお慶び申し上げます。(We wish you all the best in your health in the early autumn weather.)
10. 仲秋の候 / 秋晴の候 / 日ごとに秋も深まってまいりましたが (The mid-autumn weather / The autumn clear weather / Autumn is deepening day by day)
These phrase only use for October.
In October, the weather is nice and you can start to see the beautiful autumn leaves. In this season, people can use 拝啓 仲秋の候、貴社益々ご清栄のこととお慶び申し上げます。(We would like to express our gratitude for the continued success of your company during the mid-autumn season.) as an opening season's greetings.
11. 晩秋の候 / 落葉の候 / 落ち葉の季節になりました (The weather of late autumn / The weather of fallen leaves / The season of falling leaves has arrived)
These phrase only use for November.
The are many seasonal words that can be used when greeting in November, including 晩秋 (late autumn)、季秋 (season autumn)、深秋 (deep autumn)、暮秋 (late autumn)、夜寒 (cold night), etc.
An example for this season's greeting is 拝啓 晩秋の候、貴社におかれましては益々ご清栄のこととお慶び申し上げます。(We would like to express our sincere gratitude to you for your continued support as we approach late autumn.)
12. 寒冷の候 / 師走の候 / 今年もあとわずかとなりましたが (The cold weather / The cold weather of December / There are only a few days left in this year)
These phrase only use for December.
December is a busy season with many events. It is also the month that brings the year to a close. It is recommended that you add your gratitude for the past year along with your greetings. For example: 拝啓 師走の候、貴社におかれましては、ご活躍とご発展の一年かと拝察いたします。(As December approaches, I look forward to a year of success and development for your company.)
Above are some opening season's greetings when writing external letters in Japanese. Hope the article will be useful to you.
Wish you all the best!