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The 100+ Most Common Japanese Verbs

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How many Japanese verbs do you know? When you know the 100 most common Japanese verbs and understand basic Japanese verb conjugation, you can express and understand Japanese much better!

Verbs are one of the most important parts of speech, and it’s said that verbs are the second most frequently used words (26%, next to nouns at 42%) among all other categories of words in daily Japanese conversations. 

It’s always a bit tiring to learn grammatical rules, such as the conjugation patterns of verbs. However, it’s easier than you think! Once you have the rules down and become used to using them, all you have to do is apply those rules to new Japanese verbs you learn.

Japanese verb conjugation has unique rules from those in English. But don’t worry! Some features are simpler—there’s no verb conjugation based on the speaker, such as singular vs. plural, gender, or the category of that person grammatically, called 人称 (ninshō). This means that in English, verbs change based on who’s speaking:

  • I am
  • She is
  • You are
  • I go
  • He goes

However, Japanese verbs remain the same regardless of who the speaker is.
In this article, we’ll introduce the top 100 Japanese verbs for beginners, which are most frequently used. We’ll also give you some tips about Japanese verb conjugation, though we’ll have a more in-depth article on this topic later on. Let’s master Japanese verbs here at JapanesePod101!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Japanese Table of Contents
  1. Verb Groups: Different Types of Japanese Verbs
  2. Action Verbs: Physical
  3. Action Verbs: Mental
  4. Other Verbs
  5. Japanese Auxiliary Verbs: 助動詞 (Jodōshi)
  6. Verb Usage: How Japanese Verbs Work
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Verb Groups: Different Types of Japanese Verbs

Top Verbs

Japanese verbs always end with u or ru, and verbs are categorized into three groups: 

  • Class 1: U-verb
  • Class 2: Ru-verb
  • Class 3: Irregular verb

As the conjugation system itself is very simple, memorizing the patterns and rules will help you learn how to use Japanese verbs properly.

Japanese verbs consist of two parts: a verb base (“stem”) and a suffix. A stem doesn’t change, and a suffix conjugates according to the forms. These forms include casual vs. polite and plain vs. negative.

Class 1: U-Verbs

書く (kaku):writeCasualPolite
Stemkak
Basic Form書-く
kak-u
書-きます
kak-imasu
Negative Form書-かない
kak-anai
書-きません
kak-imasen

The verb 書く (kaku), meaning “write,” has the stem kak and the suffix u. As you can see from the Japanese verbs chart above, the suffix conjugates and changes according to the forms. 

However, you have to keep in mind that if a verb ends with u, it means that the last vowel is u. Therefore,  u-verbs can end with Hiragana:

  • う(u)
  • く (ku)
  • す(su)
  • つ (tsu)
  • ぬ (nu)
  • む (mu)
  • る (ru
Woman Writing Something in a Journal

U-verb Examples

EnglishReadingKanjiHiragana
meetau会うあう
learnmanabu学ぶまなぶ
pushosu押すおす
pullhiku引くひく

Class 2: Ru-Verbs

出る (deru) :come outCasualPolite
Stemde
Basic Form出-る
de-ru
出-ます
de-masu
Negative Form出-ない
de-nai
出-ません
de-masen

The verb 出る (deru), meaning “come out,” has the stem de and the suffix ru. The suffix conjugates and changes as it did above. It’s similar to u-verbs, but slightly different.

Ru-verb Examples

EnglishReadingKanjiHiragana
teachoshieru教えるおしえる
exist
(living things)
iruいるいる
sleepneru寝るねる
answerkotaeru答えるこたえる

Class 3: Irregular Verbs

Don’t worry too much! There are only two Japanese irregular verbs.

The stems of the verbs change according to the conjugating forms. There are only two verbs, so let’s memorize them!

  • 来る (kuru):come
来る (kuru) :comeCasualPolite
Stemku / ko / ki
Basic Form来-る
く-る
ku-ru
来-ます
き-ます
ki-masu
Negative Form来-ない
こ-ない
ko-nai
来-ません
き-ません
ki-masen
  • する (suru):do
する (suru) :doCasualPolite
Stemsu / shi
Basic Formす-る
su-ru
し-ます
shi-masu
Negative Formし-ない
shi-nai
し-ません
shi-masen

The Japanese verb する (suru), meaning “do,” is a very handy word which can often turn a noun into a verb when it’s added next to the noun. 

For example:

  • 勉強 (benkyō)   + する (suru)  = to study

studying                (do)  

  • 参加 (sanka)  + する (suru)  = to participate

participation           (do)  

  • 感謝 (kansha)   + する (suru)  = to thank/appreciate

  appreciation/gratitude      (do)  

Now that you have a better idea of how to conjugate different types of verbs, let’s move on to our Japanese verbs list! 

Pencil and Notebook Pages that have been Written In

2. Action Verbs: Physical 

To start, here are the most common Japanese verbs of motion.

EnglishJapanese ReadingKanjiHiragana
see / look / watchmiru見るみる
hear / listenkiku聞くきく
sayiu言ういう
walkaruku歩くあるく
runhashiru走るはしる
eattaberu食べるたべる
drinknomu飲むのむ
taketoru取るとる
usetsukau使うつかう
moveugoku動くうごく
hold / grabtsukamu掴むつかむ
standsuwaru座るすわる
standtatsu立つたつ
wearkiru着るきる
take off (clothes/shoes)nugu脱ぐぬぐ
workhataraku働くはたらく
wake upokiru起きるおきる
goiku行くいく
comekuru来るくる
bendmageru曲げるまげる
searchsagasu探すさがす
readyomu読むよむ
playasobu遊ぶあそぶ
get on (vehicle)noru乗るのる
get off (vehicle)oriru降りるおりる
starthajimeru始めるはじめる
finishoeru終えるおえる
openakeru開けるあける
closeshimeru閉めるしめる
stoptomeru止めるとめる
putoku置くおく
waitmatsu待つまつ
restyasumu休むやすむ
learnmanabu学ぶまなぶ
giveataeru与えるあたえる
visitotozureru訪れるおとずれる
leavesaru去るさる
departshuppatsu suru出発するしゅっぱつする
arrivetōchaku suru到着するとうちゃくする
selluru売るうる
buykau買うかう
liveikiru生きるいきる
dieshinu死ぬしぬ
Group of People Running on a Field

3. Action Verbs: Mental 

These everyday Japanese verbs are essential for expressing actions that aren’t physical or immediately tangible. Take a look!

knowJapanese ReadingKanjiHiragana
knowshiru知るしる
thinkkangaeru考えるかんがえる
imaginesōzō suru想像するそうぞうする
feelkanjiru感じるかんじる
likekonomu好むこのむ
dislikekirau嫌うきらう
loveaisuru愛するあいする
hatenikumu憎むにくむ
believeshinjiru信じるしんじる
expectkitai suru期待するきたいする
understandrikai suru理解するりかいする
rememberomoidasu思い出すおもいだす
agreedōi suru同意するどういする
laughwarau笑うわらう
crynaku泣くなく
get angryokoru怒るおこる
feel sadkanashimu悲しむかなしむ
wish / hopenegau願うねがう
get surprisedodoroku驚くおどろく
forgetwasureru忘れるわすれる
satisfymanzoku suru満足するまんぞくする
doubtutagau疑ううたがう
decidekimeru決めるきめる
noticekizuku気づくきづく

To check your pronunciation of Japanese verbs with audio, see our page about the 25 Most Commonly Used Verbs.

4. Other Verbs 

More Essential Verbs

You’re almost done! There are just a few more Japanese language verbs you should know.

EnglishJapanese ReadingKanjiHiragana
appeararawareru現れるあらわれる
remainkieru消えるきえる
remainnokoru残るのこる
returnkaeru帰るかえる
checkkakunin suru確認するかくにんする
increasefueru増えるふえる
decreaseheru減るへる
carryhakobu運ぶはこぶ
get drykawaku乾くかわく
get wetnureru濡れるぬれる
washarau洗うあらう
get dirtyyogoreru汚れるよごれる
indicateshimesu示すしめす
enjoytanoshimu楽しむたのしむ
fallochiru落ちるおちる
winkatsu勝つかつ
losemakeru負けるまける
breakkowasu壊すこわす
fixnaosu直すなおす
crosswataru渡るわたる
changekawaru変わるかわる
sendokuru送るおくる
receiveuketoru受け取るうけとる
Someone Washing Hands with Soap and Water

5. Japanese Auxiliary Verbs: 助動詞 (Jodōshi)

The Japanese 助動詞 (Jodōshi), which translates as “auxiliary verb,” is a functional type of word with some variations. By adding an auxiliary verb, the meaning of the preceding word will be modified. 

For example:

  • 感じる (kanjiru) : “feel”   +   させる (saseru) [causative verb]

           = 感じさせる (kanjisaseru) : “make (you) feel”

  • 食べる (taberu) : “eat”   +   られる (rareru) [ability]

           = 食べられる (taberareru) : edible

Here are some of the Japanese auxiliary verbs:

Japanese ReadingHiraganaUsage / Meaning / Example
(sa)seru(ら)れるCausation

食べさせる 
tabesaseru
to make (one) eat
(ra) reru(ら)れるPassive / Ability, etc.

食べられる
taberareru  
edible / being eaten
nai / nu / n(よ)うNegation

食べない
tabenai  
(I do) not eat
(よ)うVolition

食べよう
tabe  
I will eat / Let’s eat
tai / tagaruたい / たがるDesire

食べたい
tabetai 
I want to eat
yō daようだSimilarity

食べるようだ
taberu yō da  
it looks like (she/he) eats
sō daそうだHearsay

食べるそうだ
taberu sō da 
they say that (she/he) eats
rashiiらしいHearsay / Behavior

食べるらしい
taberu rashii
they say that (she/he) may eat
da / desu・masuだ / です・ますPredication / Politeness (copula)

食べます
tabemasu 
(I) eat
One Woman Whispering in Another Woman’s Ear

6. Verb Usage: How Japanese Verbs Work

Japanese language verb conjugation patterns differ for u-verbs, ru-verbs, and irregular verbs. 

Because many frequently used Japanese words are in this category, let’s take a look at an example for u-verbs.

The conjugation pattern for the verb 書く (kaku), meaning “write,” is as follows:

ConjugationKanjiUsage / Meaning
kakAnai書かないNegative Form
kakImasu書きますPolite Form
kaIta書いたTa- Form
kakU書くDictionary Form
kakU toki書くときAttributive Form 
kakEba書けばConditional Form
kakE書けImperative Form
kakO書こうSuggestion Form (“Let’s-“)

For more detail on the grammar of Japanese verbs and other conjugation patterns, please visit Verb Conjugation.

We also have other articles you may like to check out: Top 100 Japanese Adjectives, Top 100 Japanese Nouns, and Japanese Pronouns.

7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Negative Verbs

In this article, we introduced the most common Japanese verbs and explained the basics of Japanese verb conjugation. Once you know the conjugation patterns, you’ll be able to more quickly expand your Japanese verbs vocabulary and take better command of the language.

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and other useful Japanese phrases for a variety of situations, you’ll find a lot of helpful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide an array of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. To get you started, here’s some more information on Japanese basics with audio: 

To learn how to converse with others in Japanese, check out Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases. If you want to learn Japanese kanji, you’ll also enjoy Basic Kanji for Verbs and Basic Kanji for Adjectives.

And there’s so much more! Learn faster and enjoy studying Japanese at JapanesePod101.com!

Before you go, let us know in the comments if there are any Japanese verbs you still want to know! We’d be glad to help, and look forward to hearing from you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Japanese

Your Ultimate Guide to Japanese Pronouns

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Pronouns are used to substitute nouns, such as people or things, in a sentence. Using pronouns allows you to avoid repetitive usage of a particular word in a sentence, which would sound awkward. Japanese pronouns are very different from those in English because Japanese pronouns can be omitted from a sentence when they’re implied through the context.

Unlike in English, there are many different variations of Japanese personal pronouns that translate as “I/me” and “you,” although only a few are commonly used. This expression of Japanese pronouns comes from Japanese culture, which puts importance on respect, seniority, and social order. 

Each Japanese pronoun variation denotes the different characteristics of the speaker. These include gender, age, social status, level of respect, and their relationship with the person they’re speaking to.
Ready to learn Japanese pronouns? In this Japanese pronoun guide, we introduce Japanese pronouns that will boost your language skills, and teach you how to use them. JapanesePod101 makes it simple and easy to understand!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese Table of Contents
  1. Japanese Personal Pronouns
  2. Japanese Demonstrative Pronouns
  3. Japanese Interrogative Pronouns
  4. Japanese Indefinite Pronouns
  5. Examples
  6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Japanese Personal Pronouns

Introduce Yourself

Personal pronouns in Japanese are rich in expression, and there are dozens of first- and second-person pronouns. However, most of them aren’t commonly used so we’ll introduce frequently used Japanese personal pronouns here.

1. 1st, 2nd, 3rd Person Singular

1. How to Say “I”

ReadingKanjiHiraganaLevel of FormalityGenderCharacteristics
watakushiわたくしvery formalbothVery formal and polite personal pronoun often used in very official occasions.
watashiわたしformal / informalbothUsed by both genders in formal occasions, such as at the workplace. This is the most commonly used word for “I,” but it’s often omitted in a sentence. In informal situations, this is typically used by women.
atashiあたしinformalfemaleThis is the casual version of watashi and it’s used by younger females in conversations. However, it can sound a bit childish and unsophisticated.
bokuぼくinformalmaleUsed by males of all ages, but very often by kids and younger men. It gives an impression of  humbleness. This can also be used as a second-person pronoun toward little boys (English equivalent: “kid”).
oreおれvery informalmaleFrequently used by men in informal settings, such as among family and friends. It sounds very masculine. This can be very rude when it’s used in formal occasions or in front of respectable/senior people.

2. How to Say “You”

ReadingKanjiHiraganaLevel of FormalityGenderCharacteristics
anata貴方あなたformal / informalbothThis is almost equivalent to the English word “you.” However, it’s not often used as the subject in a sentence, and it’s often omitted. It’s more common to use a person’s name with a Japanese honorific, such as 様 (sama) or さん (san), to express “you” in formal contexts. In addition, wives often call their husbands by this Japanese pronoun. When used this way, it’s comparable to the English words “dear” or “darling.” Kanji is rarely used.
kimiきみinformalbothOften used to call subordinates and peers in informal settings. It can also be affectionate and polite when used by a boyfriend/husband to call his girlfriend/wife. It’s impolite and inappropriate when used with respectable/senior people or strangers. The Kanji 君 can also be read as kun when it’s added next to a male’s name as a casual and affectionate honorific word.
omaeお前おまえvery informalboth / maleOften used by men. It expresses that the speaker has a superior status or age, and it’s very rude to use this toward senior people and in formal settings. It’s also used among close friends to call peers. In addition, husbands frequently call their wives by this pronoun, which is comparable to the female use of anata.
antaあんたvery informalbothIt’s a short version of anata, but it sounds very impolite and implies a sense of contempt. It can also be used between people in a very close relationship. It’s very rude and inappropriate to use toward  senior people and in formal settings.
kisama貴様きさまvery rude and hostilebothThe historical origin of this word was very formal, but it’s used today as a very rude way to call another person. It has a sense of extreme hostility from the speaker. You’ll often hear this in  時代劇 (jidaigeki) (samurai warrior) drama shows.
Two Women Having a Casual Chat.

3. How to Say “He” and “She”

Does Japanese have gendered pronouns? Sort of. Here’s what we mean:

ReadingKanjiHiraganaLevel of Formality
kareかれformal / informal
kanojo彼女かのじょformal / informal

The Japanese pronouns for the third person are above. However, they’re not used like they are in English.

Native Japanese people prefer to use the person’s name, or to describe them as あの人 (ano hito), meaning “that person,” which makes it unnecessary to indicate gender.

In informal settings, 彼 (kare) means “boyfriend” and 彼女 (kanojo) means “girlfriend.”

2. 1st, 2nd, 3rd Person Plural

In order to make Japanese personal pronouns plural, a suffix is added to them.
The suffix can be ~達 (-tachi ), ~方 (-gata), or ~ら (-ra), depending on which word comes in front.

MeaningSuffixReadingLevel of Formality
We-tachiwatashi-tachineutral / formal
You [plural]-tachianata-tachineutral / formal
You [plural]-gataanata-gataformal
They [he, plural]-rakare-raneutral / formal
They [she, plural]-rakanojo-raneutral / formal

The suffix 達 (-tachi) can be added to most of the nouns that refer to people and animals. For example, 動物達(dōbutsu-tachi) means “animals.”

Old Japanese Couple Drinking Tea Together.

3. Possessive Forms

To make Japanese possessive pronouns, add the suffix の (〜no) to the pronouns.

MeaningReading
minewatashi no
yoursanata no
hiskare no
herskanojo no
ourswatashi-tachi no
theirskare-ra no

4. Reflective or Intensive Forms

To make Japanese reflexive pronouns or intensive forms, add the suffix 自身 (〜jishin) to the pronouns.

MeaningReading
myselfwatashi jishin
yourselfanata jishin
himselfkare jishin
herselfkanojo jishin
ourselveswatashi-tachi jishin
themselveskare-ra jishin

To hear how to pronounce Japanese pronouns, visit Most Useful Pronouns.

2. Japanese Demonstrative Pronouns

Basic Questions

Demonstrative pronouns in Japanese are typically written in Hiragana. Further, Japanese demonstrative pronouns are easy to remember as they’re categorized in groups depending on their degree of distance from the speaker or listener.

Words that:

  • begin with こ (ko-) indicate something close to the speaker. 
  • begin with そ (so-) indicate some distance from the speaker or something close to the listener.
  • begin with あ (a-) indicate far distance.
MeaningReadingHiraganaNotes
thiskoreこれnear speaker
itsoreそれnear listener
thatareあれdistant from both speaker and listener
thesekore-raこれらnear speaker
thosesore-ra /
are-ra
それら/
あれら
near listener /
distant from both speaker and listener
herekokoここnear speaker
theresokoそこnear listener
over thereasokoあそこdistant from both speaker and listener

3. Japanese Interrogative Pronouns

Similar to demonstrative pronouns, most of the Japanese interrogative pronouns begin with ど (do-) or だ (da-).

MeaningReadingKanjiHiragana
whatnaniなに
whichdono / doreどの/どれ
whodareだれ
whomdare ni誰に誰に
whosedare no誰のだれの
whenitsuいつ
whynazeなぜ

Keep in mind that “whose” is a possessive form of “who,” and the rules of the Japanese possessive forms also apply:

誰 (dare) meaning “who” + の (〜no) = 誰の (dare no) meaning “whose.”

Woman with Question Marks above Head

4. Japanese Indefinite Pronouns

In the Japanese language, “everyone/everybody” and “anyone/anybody” are both translated as 誰でも (dare demo) in some contexts.

In a negative sentence using indefinite pronouns such as “no one/nobody,” “nowhere,” and “nothing,” a negative form is typically: も…ない (...mo…nai …).

MeaningReadingKanjiHiragana
everyone /
everybody
minna / dare demo皆/誰でもみんな/だれでも
everywheredoko demo /
doko ni mo
どこでも/どこにも
everythingsubete / zenbu全て/全部すべて/ぜんぶ
someone /
somebody
dare ka誰かだれか
somewheredoko kaどこか
somethingnani ka何かなにか
no one /
nobody
dare mo…nai誰も…ないだれも…ない
nowheredoko ni mo…naiどこにも…ない
nothingnani mo…nai何も…ないなにも…ない
anyone /
anybody
dare demo誰でもだれでも
anywheredoko demo /
doko ni mo
どこでも/どこにも
anythingnan demo何でもなんでも
Looking for Something on TV

5. Examples

Now that we’ve come to the end of this Japanese pronouns list, here are some example sentences using Japanese pronouns.

1. Personal Pronouns

  • あなたと私は東京出身で、彼と彼女は大阪出身です。

Anata to watashi wa Tōkyō shusshin de, kare to kanojo wa Ōsaka shusshin desu. 

You and I are from Tokyo, and he and she are from Osaka.

  • 年上の人に向かって「お前」や「貴様」と呼ぶことはとても失礼です。

Toshiue no hito ni mukatte “omae” ya “kisama” to yobu koto wa totemo shitsurei desu.

It is very rude to call an elder person omae and kisama.

  • 私達は明日、君の誕生日会へ行きます。

Watashi-tachi wa ashita, kimi no tanjōbi kai e ikimasu.

We will go to your birthday party tomorrow.

2. Demonstrative Pronouns

  • それをここに持ってきてください。

Sore o koko ni motte kite kudasai. 

Please bring it here.

  • これらの本はあそこの棚へ戻してください。

Kore-ra no hon wa asoko no tana e modoshite kudasai. 

Please put these books back on the shelf over there.

  • 彼らはここからあなたの家へ出発しました。

Kare-ra wa koko kara anata no ie e shuppatsu shimashita.

They departed to your home from here.

3. Interrogative Pronouns

  • 私はなぜあそこに行かなければならないか分かりません。

Watashi wa naze aoko ni ikanakereba naranai ka wakarimasen. 

I don’t understand why I have to go there.

  • 誰に向かって話しているのですか。

Dare ni mukatte hanashite iru no desu ka.

To whom are you talking?

  • あそこのあの靴は誰のですか。

Asoko no ano kutsu wa dare no desu ka.

Whose shoes are those there?

4. Indefinite Pronouns

  • 彼女はどこかに全てを置いてきました。

Kanojo wa doko ka ni subete o oite kimashita. 

She left everything somewhere.

  • 誰もあのような変な服を持っていないでしょう。

Dare mo ano yō na hen na fuku o motte inai deshō.

No one would have strange clothes like that.

  • 誰かが彼にここで何でも食べていいと伝えました。

Dare ka ga kare ni koko de nan demo tabete ii to tsutaemashita.

Somebody told him that he could eat anything here.

 To learn more useful Japanese vocabulary, check out our 100 Adjectives and 100 Nouns articles.

6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Improve Listening

In this article, we introduced you to a variety of common pronouns in Japanese. By now, you should have an enhanced vocabulary and have a better idea of how to use Japanese pronouns. This is something that will definitely improve your overall Japanese language skills! 

Did you learn something new from this article? Do you want to know more about Japanese grammar? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and other useful Japanese phrases for any situation, you’ll find more helpful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons to help you improve your Japanese language skills. 

To get you started, here’s some more information about the basics of Japanese, with audio:

To learn how to converse in Japanese, check out Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases. Basic Kanji for Verbs and Basic Kanji for Adjectives are also useful if you want to learn Japanese kanji.

And there’s so much more! Learn faster and enjoy studying Japanese at JapanesePod101.com!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

How to Tell Time in Japanese

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Telling time is one of the most essential aspects of everyday life. Learning how to tell time in Japanese will help you improve your basic Japanese language skills. Whether you’re checking the time for transportation or making an appointment, knowing how to say time in Japanese will help you when visiting Japan.

Telling time in Japanese is quite simple and easy to understand. Unlike in English, when expressing time in Japanese, the words which indicate the hour and minute are always added next to the numbers (e.g. 3:12 or three twelve = 時 (3ji) 分 (12fun). Thus, even without context or a sentence, you’ll easily understand that these phrases indicate time in Japanese.

In this article, we introduce the basic vocabulary and phrases for telling time in Japanese. Let’s get started! 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Japanese Table of Contents
  1. How to Ask for the Time
  2. Telling Time in Japanese: Hours
  3. Telling Time in Japanese: Minutes
  4. The Hours Divided into Minutes
  5. General Time Reference of the Day
  6. Adverbs of Time in Japanese
  7. Time Proverbs and Sayings
  8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. How to Ask for the Time

Time

Here’s a list of the most typical phrases for asking about time in Japanese.

1- What time is it now? 

Japanese: 今何時ですか。

Reading: Ima nan-ji desu ka. 

  • すみません、今何時ですか。

Sumimasen, ima nan-ji desu ka. 

Excuse me, what time is it now?

2- Do you know the time now? 

Japanese: 今何時かわかりますか。

Reading: Ima nan-ji ka wakarimasu ka. 

  • ちょっといいですか、今何時かわかりますか。

Chotto ii desu ka, ima nan-ji ka wakarimasu ka.

Can I talk to you a bit? Do you know the time now?

3- What time is the [e.g. meeting]? 

Japanese: [会議] は何時ですか。

Reading: [Kaigi] wa nan-ji desu ka.

  • 田中さん、到着は何時ですか。

Tanaka-san, tōchaku wa nan-ji desu ka.

Mr. (Ms.) Tanaka, what time is the arrival?

4- What time do we meet up? 

Japanese: 何時に集合ですか。

Reading: Nan-ji ni shūgō desu ka.

  • すみません、7月10日は何時に集合ですか。

Sumimasen, shichi-gatsu tōka wa nan-ji ni shūgō desu ka.

Excuse me, what time do we meet up on July 10?

To learn dates in Japanese, please visit our Reading Dates in Japanese article.

Man Rushing

Japanese people are famous for being on time.

2. Telling Time in Japanese: Hours

When speaking, the twelve-hour clock is more commonly used; when written, either the twelve-hour clock or the twenty-four-hour clock is used for telling time in Japanese.

When using the twelve-hour clock, add 午前 (gozen) meaning “a.m.” or 午後 (gogo) meaning “p.m.” to clarify.

1- The Twelve-Hour Clock in Japanese

Add 時 (ji), meaning “hour” or “o’clock,” after the Japanese numbers. Keep in mind that Arabic numbers are commonly used.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaReading
0 o’clock零時れいじrei-ji
1 o’clock一時いちじichi-ji
2 o’clock二時にじni-ji
3 o’clock三時さんじsan-ji
4 o’clock四時よじyo-ji
5 o’clock五時ごじgo-ji
6 o’clock六時ろくじroku-ji
7 o’clock七時しちじshichi-ji
8 o’clock八時はちじhachi-ji
9 o’clock九時くじku-ji
10 o’clock十時じゅうじjū-ji
11 o’clock十一時じゅういちじjū ichi-ji
12 o’clock十二時じゅうにじjū ni-ji

Please visit our Japanese Numbers article and Numbers page on JapanesePod101 to learn how to read numbers in Japanese.

2- Examples

  • 昼食の時間は午後1時です。

Chūshoku no jikan wa gogo ichi-ji desu. 

Lunch time is at one o’clock p.m.

  • 会議は10時からですか。

Kaigi wa jū-ji kara desu ka.   

Is the meeting at ten o’clock?

  • 明日の朝7時に来てください。

Ashita no asa shichi-ji ni kite kudasai.

Please come at seven o’clock tomorrow morning.

Man Tapping His Wrist Watch

Toki wa kane nari (Time is money).

3. Telling Time in Japanese: Minutes

1- Minutes in Japanese

Unlike in English, 分  (fun) or (pun) meaning “minute” is always added after the numbers when telling minutes in Japanese. 

  • “Minute(s)” in Japanese is 分 and it’s pronounced either fun or pun depending on which number comes before 分.
  • Minutes are usually written with Arabic numbers rather than Kanji.
EnglishKanjiHiraganaReading
1 minute一分いっぷんippun
2 minutes二分にふんni-fun
3 minutes三分さんぷんsan-pun
4 minutes四分よんふんyon-fun
5 minutes五分ごふんgo-fun
6 minutes六分ろっぷんroppun
7 minutes七分ななふんnana-fun
8 minutes八分はっぷんhappun
9 minutes九分きゅうふんkyū-fun
10 minutes十分じゅっぷんjuppun
20 minutes二十分にじゅっぷんni-juppun
30 minutes三十分さんじゅっぷんsan-juppun
40 minutes四十分よんじゅっぷんyon-juppun
50 minutes五十分ごじゅっぷんgo-juppun

2- Examples

  • 地震は朝9時24分に起きました。

Jishin wa asa ku-ji ni-jū yon-fun ni okimashita. 

The earthquake occurred at 9:24 in the morning.

  • 次の電車は3時47分に来ます。

Tsugi no densha wa san-ji yon-jū nana-fun ni kimasu.     

The next train comes at 3:47.

  • 今の時間は午後6時18分です。

Ima no jikan wa gogo roku-ji jū happun desu.

The current time is 6:18 p.m.

A Wall Clock

It is jū-ji jū ippun (10:11) in Japanese.

4. The Hours Divided into Minutes

Telling time with minutes in Japanese is quite simple and there are no special terms or phrases to express certain groups of minutes, except for 半 (han) meaning “half.” On the other hand, English has more specific expressions, such as “quarter,” “XX past two (XX minutes after two o’clock),” and “XX to seven (XX minutes before seven o’clock).” 

  • To express “thirty minutes past XX o’clock” in Japanese, just add 半 (han), meaning “half,” after “number + 時 (ji).”
  • There’s no particular word for “quarter” when telling time in Japanese. It‘s simply “fifteen minutes”: 15分 (jū go-fun).
  • “Five past six,” or 6:05, is 6時5分 (roku-ji go-fun) in Japanese.
  • “Ten to seven” is 7時10分前 (shichi-ji juppun mae) in Japanese, which literally means “Ten minutes before seven o’clock.”

 Examples

  • 飛行機は朝8時半に出発します。

Hikōki wa asa hachi-ji han ni shuppatsu shimasu. 

The airplane departs at 8:30 in the morning.

  • 明日の会議は3時15分前に来てください。

Ashita no kaigi wa san-ji jū go-fun mae ni kite kudasai.     

Please come to tomorrow’s meeting fifteen minutes before three o’clock.

  • 今の時間は9時10分前です。

Ima no jikan wa ku-ji juppun mae desu.

The current time is ten minutes before nine o’clock.

  • あの学校は朝6時半に開きます。

Ano gakkō wa asa roku-ji han ni akimasu.

That school opens at 6:30 in the morning.

5. General Time Reference of the Day

What if you want to give a nonspecific or approximate time in Japanese? Here’s some basic vocabulary for describing time in Japanese based on the general time of day.

EnglishKanjiHiraganaReading
AM午前ごぜんgozen
PM午後ごごgogo
morningあさasa
early morning早朝そうちょうsōchō
sunrise日の出ひのでhinode
noon正午しょうごshōgo
midday日中にっちゅうnicchū
early evening夕方ゆうがたyūgata
sunset日没にちぼつnichibotsu
evening / nightよるyoru
midnight深夜しんやshin’ya
Hearts Drawn in the Sand

The sunset time in summer is around seven o’clock p.m. in Japan.

 Examples

  • 夏の日の出は早朝の4時半です。

Natsu no hinode wa sōchō no yo-ji han desu. 

The sunrise in summer is at 4:30 in the early morning.

  • 明日の夜8時に夕食を食べましょう。

Ashita no yoru hachi-ji ni yūshoku o tabemashō.     

Let’s have dinner at eight o’clock tomorrow evening.

  • 私の飛行機は深夜12時3分に出発します。

Watashi no hikōki wa shin’ya jū ni-ji san-pun ni shuppatsu shimasu.

My flight departs at 12:03, at midnight.

  • 私は今日正午から夕方まで忙しいです。

Watashi wa kyō shōgo kara yūgata made isogashii desu.

I’m busy from noon to early evening today.

6. Adverbs of Time in Japanese

Improve Listening

You can create more-detailed and specific time-related expression by using time adverbs. Japanese adverbs of time include:

EnglishKanjiHiraganaReading
right now今すぐいますぐima sugu
beforeまえmae
afterあと/ごato/go
soonもうすぐmō sugu
soonほとんどhotondo
aroundころ/ごろkoro/goro
aboutやくyaku
currently現在げんざいgenzai
meanwhileその間にそのあいだにsono aida ni
at the same time同時にどうじにdōji ni
at the same timeいつでもitsu demo
as soon as possible出来るだけ早くできるだけはやくdekirudake hayaku
in a while間もなく/しばらくまもなく/しばらくmamonaku/shibaraku
for a long time長い間ながいあいだnagai aida

 Examples

  • 今すぐ来きてください。会議は15分後に始まります。

Ima sugu kite kudasai. Kaigi wa jū go-fun go ni hajimarimasu.      

Please come right now. The meeting is starting after fifteen minutes.

  • 同時に、別のパーティーが午後7時半から始まります。

Dōji ni, betsu no pātī ga gogo shichi-ji han kara hajimarimasu.     

At the same time, another party will start at 7:30 p.m.

  • 私は午前8時から長い間待っています。出来るだけ早くここへ来てください。

Watashi wa gozen hachi-ji kara nagai aida matte imasu. Dekirudake hayaku koko e kite kudasai.

I have been waiting for a long time, since 8 o’clock a.m. Come here as soon as possible.

  • 今は午後2時58分で、もうすぐ3時になります。まもなく電車が来ます。

Ima wa gogo ni-ji go-jū happun de, mō sugu san-ji ni narimasu. Mamonaku densha ga kimasu.

It is 2:58 p.m. and it’s going to be 3:00 soon. The train comes in a while.

Two People Looking at the Train Schedule

Japanese trains are very punctual.

7. Time Proverbs and Sayings

When talking about time in Japanese culture, there are many ことわざ (kotowaza) and 慣用句 (kan’yōku), or “proverbs” and “sayings” regarding time in Japanese. Here are some of the most famous proverbs.

  • Time is money.

Japanese: 時は金なり

Reading: Toki wa kane nari

Meaning: It literally translates to “time is money,” and it means that time is as precious as money.

遅れないように! 「時は金なり」ですよ。

Okurenai yō ni! “Toki wa kane nari” desu yo.

Don’t be late! Time is money.

  • Time flies.

Japanese: 光陰矢のごとし

Reading: Kōin ya no gotoshi

Meaning: It literally translates to “time is like an arrow,” meaning that time flies fast, like an arrow. The word 光陰 (Kōin) comes from  漢文 (Kanbun), an old Chinese word which denotes “light and shade,” meaning “time.” Thus, time goes by with days and nights.

前回会った時から既に5年経ちました。「光陰矢のごとし」ですね。

Zenkai atta toki kara sude ni go-nen tachimashita. “Kōin ya no gotoshi” desu ne.

Five years have already passed since we last met. Time flies, doesn’t it?

  • Time and tide wait for no man.

Japanese: 歳月人を待たず

Reading: Saigetsu hito o matazu

Meaning: It literally translates to “years and months do not wait for man,” meaning that time goes by constantly without heeding one’s circumstances. It indicates that people shouldn’t waste time and should instead make each day count.

やるべき事ややりたい事は今すぐやりましょう。「歳月人を待たず」ですよ!

Yarubeki koto ya yaritai koto wa ima sugu yarimashō. ”Saigetsu hito o matazu” desu yo!

Do right now what you should do and what you want to do. It’s “time and tide wait for no man!”

  • Each day is like a thousand years.

Japanese: 一日千秋

Reading: Ichijitsu senshū 

Meaning: It literally translates to “one day is like a thousand autumns.” It means that one can hardly wait for something because it feels very far in the future, as if one day is like a thousand years (autumn comes a thousand times). 秋 (aki/shū) means “autumn,” but it also can mean “time” as a metaphor. It’s said that autumn is the time for harvest, and ancient people realized that a year had passed when autumn came.

彼女は来月行く予定のコンサートを一日千秋の思いで待っています。

Kanojo wa raigetsu iku yotei no konsāto o ichijitsu senshū no omoi de matte imasu.

She’s waiting for the concert she’s going to next month with the feeling that each day is like a thousand years.

8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Basic Questions

In this article, we introduced how to tell time in Japanese, including the basic vocabulary and phrases, such as the different units of time in Japanese. Now you can ask for the time and tell time in Japanese whenever you make an appointment or check times for your travels.

I hope you’ll enjoy meeting friends and getting around in Japan; make sure you’re on time when meeting them! 

Are there any time-related words in Japanese you still want to know? Let us know in the comments! 

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and other useful Japanese phrases, you’ll find a lot of helpful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. Here’s some more information about numbers and time in Japanese with audio: Talking about Time, Numbers, and Kanji for Numbers and Counters.

 To learn how to make conversation in Japanese, check out Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases. Phrases You Need at the Bus or Train Station and Trains are also useful if you plan on getting around Japan with public transportation.

There’s so much more! Be a fast learner and enjoy studying Japanese at JapanesePod101.com!

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Guide to the Top 100+ Japanese Nouns

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Expanding one’s vocabulary is one of the most essential elements in improving one’s language skills. Learning Japanese nouns will help you boost your knowledge of the Japanese language because nouns occupy the majority of the language’s words. Knowing the top 100 Japanese nouns is the first step to enhance your Japanese vocabulary.

Japanese nouns are used to name a person, place, thing, or idea. Contrary to English, Japanese nouns don’t accompany any articles, such as “a” and “the.” In addition, there are no certain rules for indicating, in a precise sense, whether a noun is singular or plural. For example, there’s the word 達(たち) [tachi], which indicates a plural form of people or creatures when it’s put next to a noun (e.g. 動物 + 達 = 動物達:animals).

In most cases, however, Japanese nouns don’t have anything added to indicate the difference between singular and plural. In order to show that a certain noun in Japanese is plural, add another word such as たくさんの (takusan no), or “many,” and 二つの (futatsu no), or “two” in the sentence.

In this article, we introduce the 100 most common Japanese nouns. Let’s master the basic Japanese nouns in everyday life here at JapanesePod101! Here are the top Japanese nouns by category.

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Table of Contents
  1. Japanese Nouns: Appliances
  2. Japanese Nouns: Technology
  3. Japanese Nouns: Transportation
  4. Japanese Nouns: Food & Restaurants
  5. Japanese Nouns: School Essentials
  6. Japanese Nouns: Occupations
  7. Japanese Nouns: Family Members
  8. Japanese Nouns: Body Parts
  9. Japanese Nouns: Time
  10. 10. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese


1. Japanese Nouns: Appliances



Nouns 1

Before studying this basic Japanese nouns list, keep in mind that some of the imported words from other languages become Japanese words, or 和製英語 (wasei eigo), with a similar sound written in Katakana. For example, “television” is テレビ (terebi) in Japanese.

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
1refrigerator冷蔵庫れいぞうこreizōko
2freezer冷凍庫れいとうこreitōko
3microwave電子レンジでんしれんじdenshi renji
4air conditioner冷房機/クーラーれいぼうき/クーラーreibōki / kūrā
5heater暖房機だんぼうきdanbōki
6laundry machine洗濯機せんたくきsentakuki
7hair dryerドライヤーdoraiyā
8TVテレビterebi


Examples

冷凍庫から氷と、冷蔵庫から飲み物を出してください。
Reitōko kara kōri to, reizōko kara nomimono o dashite kudasai.
Please take out ice from the freezer and drinks from the refrigerator.

お風呂の後はドライヤーで髪を乾かします。
O-furo no ato wa doraiyā de kami o kawakashimasu.
After taking a bath, I dry my hair with a hair dryer.

私はテレビを見ることが好きです。
Watashi wa terebi o miru koto ga suki desu.
I like watching TV.

電子レンジと洗濯機が壊れたので困っています。
Denshi renji to sentakuki ga kowareta node komatte imasu.
I’m upset because the microwave and laundry machine broke.

You can also check our more useful Japanese nouns for home appliances with Japanese pronunciations at our Home Appliances vocabulary list!

Air Conditioner

Air conditioner in Japanese is also called クーラー (kūrā), which comes from the word “cooler.”



2. Japanese Nouns: Technology



Most important Japanese nouns regarding technology originated from other countries and were imported to Japan. Expressed in Katakana, these imported words have Japanese pronunciation that resembles the original English words.

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
9computerコンピューターconpyūtā
10laptopノートパソコンnōto pasokon
11tabletタブレットtaburetto
12cellphone携帯電話けいたいでんわkeitai denwa
13headphoneヘッドホンheddohon
14charger充電器じゅうでんきjyūdenki
15wifiワイファイwaifai
16appアプリapuri
17websiteウェブサイトwebusaito
18fileファイルfairu
19accountアカウントakaunto
20passwordパスワードpasuwādo


Examples

私はタブレットよりもノートパソコンの方が好きです。
Watshi wa taburetto yori mo nōto pasokon no hō ga suki desu.
I like laptops more than tablets.

ワイファイのパスワードは何ですか。
Waifai no pasuwādo wa nan desu ka.
What is the wifi password?

あなたの携帯電話の充電器を使ってもいいですか。
Anata no keitai denwa jyūdenki o tsukatte mo ii desu ka.
Can I use your mobile phone charger?

Our vocabulary list about the Top 20 Words You’ll Need for the Internet is also useful to learn Japanese nouns related to technology.

3. Japanese Nouns: Transportation



Transportation is an essential part of daily life. Some of the most useful Japanese nouns are vocabulary words related to transportation. This is especially true for those who travel in Japan, who may need to ask how to get around.

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
21airplane飛行機ひこうきhikōki
22train電車でんしゃdensha
23subway地下鉄ちかてつchikatetsu
24busバスbasu
25taxiタクシーtakushī
26bicycle自転車じてんしゃjitensha
27stationえきeki
28bus stopバス停ばすていbasutei
29airport空港くうこうkūkō
30traffic light信号しんごうshingō
31intersection交差点こうさてんkōsaten
32road道/道路みち/どうろmichi/dōro


Example

一番近いバス停はどこですか。
Ichi-ban chikai basutei wa doko desu ka.
Where is the nearest bus stop?

私の町には地下鉄はありません。
Watashi no machi ni wa chikatetsu wa arimasen.
There is no subway in my town.

信号のある交差点を左に曲がります。
Shingō no aru kōsaten o hidari ni magarimasu.
Turn left at the intersection which has a traffic light.

Attendant Watching Train Leave

Public transportation is well-developed in Japan, especially in the large cities. Shinkansen is very famous for its super-fast speed and is popular among foreign tourists.



4. Japanese Nouns: Food & Restaurants



Whenever you go out to eat at restaurants, you look at a menu and order what you want to eat and drink. Knowing Japanese nouns and vocabulary related to restaurants makes your dining-out experience much smoother. Japan has a variety of foods and a wide range of ingredients are used in the Japanese food culture. If can’t eat certain things due to your religion, an allergy, or a discipline such as vegetarianism, you have to ask a staff member if your preferred meal is available. Here’s a common Japanese nouns list to help you do so!

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
33menuメニューmenyū
34waiter/waitress店員てんいんten’in
35bill会計かいけいkaikei
36forkフォークfōku
37knifeナイフnaifu
38spoonスプーンsupūn
39chopsticks箸箸はしhashi
40waterみずmizu
41vegetables野菜やさいyasai
42beef牛肉ぎゅうにくgyūniku
43pork豚肉ぶたにくbutaniku
44chicken鶏肉とりにくtoriniku


Examples

ベジタリアンのメニューはありますか。
Bejitarian no menyū wa arimasu ka.  
Do you have a vegetarian menu?

お箸の使い方を教えてください。
O-hashi no tsukaikata o oshiete kudasai.
Please teach me how to use chopsticks.

私は豚肉を食べられません。
Watashi wa butaniku o taberaremasen.
I can’t eat pork.

For more about Japanese nouns related to food and restaurants, see our Food – Utensils & Tableware and Restaurant vocabulary lists.

Fully Set Dining Table

Japan has great food culture where you can find tasty food from low-end and high-end restaurants.



5. Japanese Nouns: School Essentials



The Japanese school system consists of elementary school, middle school, high school, and higher education such as universities and vocational schools. Compulsory education is six years of elementary school and three years of middle school, and both are free. Here are the most common nouns in Japanese related to school.

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
45elementary school小学校しょうがっこうshōgakkō
46middle school中学校ちゅうがっこうshōgakkō
47high school高校こうこうkōkō
48college/university大学だいがくdaigaku
49student生徒/学生せいと/がくせいseito/gakusei
50teacher先生/教師せんせい/きょうしsensei/kyōshi
51major専攻せんこうsenkō
52degree学位がくいgakui
53exam試験しけんshiken
54homework宿題しゅくだいshukudai


Examples

あなたの専攻は何ですか。
Anata no senkō wa nan desu ka.
What is your major?

彼女は小学校の先生です。
Kanojo wa shōgakkō no sensei desu.
She is a teacher at an elementary school.

私は宿題を終えた後に遊びに行きます。
Watashi wa shukudai o oeta ato ni asobi ni ikimasu.
I will go and play after finishing my homework.

6. Japanese Nouns: Occupations



Nouns 2

To engage in certain occupations, one must pass the related national examinations. The most difficult occupations to attain in Japan are said to be a doctor, lawyer, and accountant, in terms of how difficult the national examinations are.

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
55doctor医師いしishi
56nurse看護師かんごしkangoshi
57lawyer弁護士べんごしbengoshi
58chef料理人りょうりにんryōrinin
59businessperson実業家じつぎょうかjitsugyōka
60police officer警察官けいさつかんkeisatsukan
61firefighter消防士しょうぼうしshōbōshi
62engineer技術者ぎじゅつしゃgijutsusha
63civil servant公務員こうむいんkōmuin
64accountant会計士かいけいしkaikeishi


Examples

消防士になるのは難しいですか。
Shōbōshi ni naru no wa muzukashii desu ka.  
Is it difficult to become a firefighter?

私は警察官になりたいです。
Watashi wa keisatsukan ni naritai desu.
I want to become a police officer.

公務員の職業は安定しているので人気です。
Kōmuin no shokugyō wa antei shite iru node ninki desu.
The occupation of civil servant is popular because it is stable.

To hear how to pronounce the words on this Japanese list of nouns, see our Jobs / Work vocabulary list.

Group of Different Professions Some people take many years to pass the national examination to be a lawyer or accountant in Japan.

7. Japanese Nouns: Family Members



It’s useful to know Japanese nouns and vocabulary related to family members when you introduce yourself and describe your family to someone.

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
65family家族かぞくkazoku
66mother母/お母さんはは/おかあさんhaha/o-kā-san
67father父/お父さんちち/おとうさんchichi/o-tō-san
68parentおやoya
69daughterむすめmusume
70son息子むすこmusuko
71grandma祖母そぼsobo
72grandpa祖父そふsofu


Examples

私の母は看護師です。
Watashi no haha wa kangoshi desu.
My mother is a nurse.

私の家族は5人家族です。
Watashi no kazoku wa go-nin kazoku desu.
My family has five family members.

彼女の息子は6歳です。
Kanojo no musuko wa roku-sai desu.
Her son is six years old.

Compared to English, Japanese has more words to describe family members according to age and style, and also uses both formal and informal forms. For more details on this, please visit our Japanese Family article and our Must-Know Terms for Family Members vocabulary list.

8. Japanese Nouns: Body Parts



Nouns 3

Knowing the Japanese nouns for the parts of the body is very useful, especially when it comes to health (e.g. seeing a doctor at a hospital or working out at the gym).

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
73bodyからだkarada
74headあたまatama
75shoulderかたkata
76armうでude
77legあしashi
78chestむねmune
79abdomenはらhara
80faceかおkao
81eyeme
82noseはなhana
83mouthくちkuchi
84earみみmimi


Examples

風邪を引いたので頭が痛いです。
Kaze o hiita node atama ga itai desu.  
I have a headache because I caught a cold.

体を動かす運動は健康に良いです。
Karada o ugokasu undō wa kenkō ni ii desu.
Exercise that moves your body is good for health.

彼女は可愛い大きな目を持っています。
Kanojo wa kawaii ōkina me o motte imasu.
She has cute big eyes.

For more Japanese nouns of body parts, and to check their Japanese pronunciation, visit our Body Parts vocabulary list.

Photo of the Upper Bodies of Two Fit People

Many Japanese people are keen on diet and health.



9. Japanese Nouns: Time



Expressing the time is essential for everyday life. Learning the Japanese nouns for time is always useful for things such as scheduling plans, making an appointment, or just checking the time and date. Here’s our Japanese nouns list for words related to time.

EnglishKanjiHiragana/KatakanaReading
85today今日きょうkyō
86yesterday昨日きのうkinō
87tomorrow明日あしたkinō
88Monday月曜日げつようびgetsu-yōbi
89Tuesday火曜日かようびka-yōbi
90Wednesday水曜日すいようびsui-yōbi
91Thursday木曜日もくようびmoku-yōbi
92Friday金曜日きんようびkin-yōbi
93Saturday土曜日どようびdo-yōbi
94Saturday日曜日にちようびnichi-yōbi
95dayにち/ひnichi/hi
96weekしゅうshū
97monthつき/げつtsuki/getsu
98year (as unit)とし/ねんtoshi/nen
99hour時間じかんjikan
100minuteふんfun


Examples

明日は金曜日です。
Ashita wa kin-yōbi desu.
Tomorrow is Friday.

結果を出すまで2年と5ヶ月かかりました。
Kekka o dasu made ni-nen to go-kagetsu kakarimashita.
It took two years and five months to achieve the result.

私は今日3時間歩きました。
Watashi wa kyō san-jikan arukimashita.
I walked three hours today.

There are various expressions regarding dates in Japanese. Visit our article on Japanese Dates to learn more Japanese nouns of time and date, and how to use that information in real life!

10. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese



Nouns 4

We’ve now introduced the 100 most useful Japanese nouns. I hope this article helps you improve your Japanese vocabulary and skills!

Did you learn any new words today? Are there any Japanese nouns you still want to know? Let us know in the comments; we look forward to hearing from you!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and other Japanese nouns, you’ll find a lot more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

To learn about Japanese nouns and more vocabulary, check out Top 25 Japanese Nouns and Japanese Core 100 Word List. Our vocabulary lists about School, School Subjects, and Body – Describing the Body are also useful; you can learn more about the topics and practice your Japanese pronunciation with audio.

There’s so much more, too! Learn faster and enjoy studying Japanese at JapanesePod101.com!

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Life Event Messages: Happy Birthday in Japanese & More

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Giving proper greetings and celebration messages is essential in making relationships better. Whether you have Japanese friends online, live in Japan, or just want to understand Japanese culture, it’s good to know how Japanese people celebrate events and what they say. Once you learn how to say Happy Birthday in Japanese, Happy New Year in Japanese, and Merry Christmas in Japanese, use them practically with your friends!

Japan has various life and annual events to celebrate. Some of them come from the Western culture, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day. But there are unique Japanese traditions as well, such as the twentieth and sixtieth birthdays, also called 成人 (Seijin) and 還暦 (Kanreki) respectively.

So, how do you wish someone well in Japanese? In this article, we introduce practical life event messages. Let’s master holiday greetings in Japanese, and more, here at JapanesePod101!

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Table of Contents

  1. Birthday + Turning 20 Years Old
  2. Japanese Congratulations: Graduation
  3. Japanese Congratulations: New Job / Promotion
  4. Retirement + Turning 60 Years Old
  5. Japanese Congratulations: Wedding & Marriage
  6. Japanese Congratulations: Pregnancy and Birth
  7. Bad News
  8. Injured/Sick
  9. Death/Funerals: Offering Condolences in Japanese Culture
  10. Holidays
  11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Birthday + Turning 20 Years Old

Happy Birthday

As is the case in other cultures, birthdays are a happy celebration in Japan. Japanese people celebrate one’s birthday with a cake with candles, and by singing the Happy Birthday to You song in English (Japanese people also sing this song in English because it’s very easy and simple). In most cases, people have a birthday party, and friends and family give gifts to the birthday person.

A person’s twentieth birthday is very important in Japanese culture, because this is the official age of maturity, called 成人 (Seijin) in Japan, and one is officially recognized as an adult. Apart from individual twentieth birthday celebrations, Japan has the national holiday 成人の日 (Seijin no Hi), or “Coming of Age Day,” on the second Monday of January every year.

Check out our Coming of Age Day page for related Japanese vocabulary.

Here are phrases to say Happy Birthday in Japanese.

1- Happy birthday!

Japanese: (お) 誕生日おめでとう!
Pronunciation: (O)tanjōbi omedetō!

It literally translates to “birthday (tanjōbi) congratulations (omedetō).” It sounds more polite when you put お (O) in front of tanjōbi.

When you want to say it during a formal occasion, or to an older person, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end, which makes it even more polite.

2- Belated happy birthday!

 
                  
Japanese: 遅くなったけど、(お)誕生日おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Osoku natta kedo, (o)tanjōbi omedetō!

You can still wish your friends a happy birthday, even if you weren’t able to do so on the actual day!

Osoku natta kedo means “It’s late, but…” To make it more polite and formal, say Osoku narimashita kedo.

3- Wish you enjoy a special day!

                   
Japanese: 特別な日を楽しんでね!
Pronunciation: Tokubetsu na hi o tanoshinde ne!

A birthday is a special day, and when you want the birthday girl/boy to enjoy it, you can tell her/him this phrase.

To say it politely in a formal way, change ね (ne) to ください (kudasai).

Birthday Party

It’s common to sing Happy Birthday to You in Japan.

2. Japanese Congratulations: Graduation

Basic Questions

Whether it’s a kindergarten or university, completing school is worth a happy celebration. Japanese schools have both entrance and graduation ceremonies at the schools, which family members also attend.

Graduation from a university is often a big celebration, especially for the graduate’s parents who get to experience the fulfilling feeling of having finished raising their child. Graduates also celebrate with friends for their achievements and the good memories they made together.

Here are phrases for celebrating graduation.

1- Congratulations for your graduation!

                  

Japanese: 卒業おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Sotsugyō omedetō!

It literally translates to “graduation (sotsugyō) congratulations (omedetō).” For formal occasions, such as when a school principal is addressing students, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end. This makes it polite and respectful.

2- Well done for striving for four years!

            
Japanese: 大変な4年間よく頑張ったね!
Pronunciation: Taihen na yo-nenkan yoku ganbatta ne!

You can say this phrase to family members or friends. When you just want to say “well done,” it’s yoku ganbatta ne.

3- Lead your way step by step to make your dream come true.

      

Japanese: 夢に向かって一歩一歩進んでください。
Pronunciation: Yume ni mukatte ippo ippo susunde kudasai.

This phrase is often used by parents or seniors to a new graduate to encourage his/her new path in life.

It literally means “toward a dream (yume ni mukatte),” “step by step (ippo ippo),” and “go forward (susunde kudasai),” in a polite way.

Crowd of Graduates

Graduation of Japanese schools is in March.

3. Japanese Congratulations: New Job / Promotion

When a new university graduate gets a new job, family and friends celebrate him/her, usually by going out for a nice dinner. Some parents give a gift that will be useful for their work, such as a watch or a set of suits. In return, the child takes his or her parents out for a nice dinner once he/she gets their first salary.

When someone has a job promotion, family, friends, and sometimes his/her boss and team, celebrate him/her. It doesn’t necessarily involve giving a gift, but people go out for a drink or dinner, in most cases.

Here are phrases to celebrate getting a new job/promotion in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your new job / promotion!

                
Japanese: 就職 / 昇進おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Shūshoku / Shōshin omedetō!

It literally translates to “employment (shūshoku) / promotion (shōshin),” and “congratulations (omedetō).” You can use this phrase to congratulate your friends, family, and younger colleagues.

Coworkers Celebrating

In Japan, the start of work for newly employed graduates is usually in April.

2- Good luck in your new workplace.

Japanese: 新しい職場で頑張ってね。
Pronunciation: Atarashī shokuba de ganbatte ne.

This is a very useful phrase to use when your friend or family member gets a new job.

It breaks down to “at new workplace (atarashii shokuba de),” and “strive well (ganbatte ne).” If you want to say it more politely for a formal setting, change ね (ne) to ください (kudasai).

3- I’m looking forward to your success.

   
Japanese: あなたの活躍を楽しみにしています。
Pronunciation: Anata no katsuyaku o tanoshimi ni shite imasu.

This is a polite phrase that a family member or boss/elder colleague can tell someone who gets a new job or a promotion. It breaks down to “your success (anata no katsuyaku),” and “I’m looking forward to (tanoshimi ni shite imasu).”

4. Retirement + Turning 60 Years Old

Talking About Age

Traditionally, the age of retirement in Japan is sixty. In the traditional Japanese employment system, called 終身雇用 (Shūshin koyō), or “life-time employment,” retirement means that someone has finished working by serving a company for some decades. It’s considered honorable and respectable.

Not only family, but also his/her company and colleagues, often have a celebration party with flowers and gifts. Nowadays, due to an increase in the aging population, active and healthy seniors continue to work after they turn sixty years old, sometimes until their sixty-fifth of seventieth birthday.

On the other hand, turning sixty years old is considered good fortune and a cause to celebrate; this celebration is called 還暦 (Kanreki). Following the traditional sixty-year calendar cycle of the lunar calendar, turning sixty means accomplishing its cycle. Thus, it’s the beginning of another cycle in his/her life. The person’s family celebrates him/her by giving gifts in red, which is the color of fortune.

Below are phrases to celebrate retirement/sixtieth birthdays in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your retirement!

Japanese: 定年退職おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Teinen taishoku omedetō!

This is a very common phrase of congratulations. It literally translates to “retirement age resignation (teinen taishoku) congratulations (omedetō).”

When you want to say it for a formal occasion, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it even more polite.

2- Well done for 30 years of contribution.

Japanese: 30年間の献身お疲れ様でした。
Pronunciation: San-jū-nenkan no kenshin otsukare-sama deshita.

お疲れ様 (Otsukare-sama) is one of the most common Japanese untranslatable words. It has various meanings, depending on the situation. But in this case, it means “Well done.”

3- Please enjoy your new stage of life.

Japanese: 次の新しい人生を楽しんでください。
Pronunciation: Tsugi no atarashii jinsei o tanoshinde kudasai.

Retired people often spend plenty of their new free time for hobbies and enjoyment. This polite phrase is useful when you wish for someone to have a nice life after retirement.

5. Japanese Congratulations: Wedding & Marriage

Marriage Proposal

The average age of a person’s first marriage nowadays is older (around thirty) than it was some decades ago; people’s views on marriage are becoming more diverse and flexible, as well. However, getting married and having a wedding is still a big life event in Japan.

Japanese marriage traditions typically include the following:

  • 結納 (yuinō), or “engagement ceremony”
  • 入籍 (nyūseki), or “official marriage register”
  • 挙式 (kyoshiki), or “wedding ceremony”
  • 披露宴 (hirōen), or “wedding party”

The western style of wedding ceremonies is becoming very popular in Japan, although there are some people who prefer the traditional Japanese style with the 着物 (kimono).

So, how do you congratulate a wedding in Japanese? Below are phrases for celebrating marriage in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your marriage!

Japanese: 結婚おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Kekkon omedetō!

This is a very common phrase for congratulations in Japanese when someone is getting married. It literally translates to “marriage (kekkon) congratulations (omedetō).”

When you want to say it in a formal occasion, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it even more polite.

2- I wish you happiness for many years to come.

   
Japanese: 末長くお幸せに。
Pronunciation: Suenagaku o-shiawase ni.

It literally translates to “for a long time (suenagaku), be happy (o-shiawase ni).” This phrase is also commonly used together with Kekkon omedetō.

3- Have a wonderful married life.

                  
Japanese: 素敵な結婚生活を送ってね。
Pronunciation: Suteki na kekkon seikatsu o okutte ne.

This is another common message for a newly married couple. When you want to say it in a formal occasion, change ね (ne) to ください (kudasai).

Man Putting Wedding Ring on Woman's Finger

Japanese weddings are conducted in either the western style or the Japanese traditional style.

6. Japanese Congratulations: Pregnancy and Birth

Pregnancy and birth are auspicious events in someone’s life. Traditionally, people give congratulation messages when a pregnant woman announces her pregnancy, and send her gifts after the baby is born. Japanese culture doesn’t have a “baby shower” celebration traditionally; however, the baby shower is becoming popular among young people due to the influence of western culture.

Below are phrases to celebrate pregnancy/birth in Japanese.

1- Congratulations for your pregnancy!

Japanese: 妊娠おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Ninshin omedetō!

For a formal occasion, change 妊娠 (ninshin), meaning “pregnancy,” to ご懐妊 (go-kainin), which is a more respectful form of the word “pregnancy,” and add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end to make it more polite and respectful. However, this form is very formal and not commonly used.

2- I wish a healthy baby will be born.

                  
Japanese: 元気な赤ちゃんが生まれますように。
Pronunciation: Genki na aka-chan ga umaremasu yō ni.

It literally means “lively baby (genki na aka-chan), be born (umaremasu)” + expression of wish (yō ni).
This phrase is also commonly used together with Ninshin omedetō.

3- Congratulations for a baby’s birth!

             
Japanese: 赤ちゃんの誕生おめでとう!
Pronunciation: Aka-chan no tanjō omedetō!

Tell this message when your friend has their baby. For a formal occasion, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it more polite and respectful.

7. Bad News

Life isn’t always full of happy events and celebrations, and sometimes bad things can happen in our lives. In Japanese culture, it’s very important to have empathy and give consideration to other people’s feelings. This is because the culture puts values on 和 (Wa), or harmony in our society.

When someone tells you bad news, it’s good to listen carefully first, show that you understand him/her, and then say something to cheer him/her up.

Here are some Japanese condolences messages that you can say to those who have bad news.

1- I’m sorry to hear that.

                       
Japanese: それは残念です。
Pronunciation: Sore wa zannen desu.

It literally translates to “it is regrettable (sore wa zannen)” + polite way to finish a sentence (desu).

Say this to your colleague, for example, if he confides in you that he couldn’t pass a promotion exam, or his pet has passed away.

2- I understand your feelings.

Japanese: あなたのお気持ち分かります。
Pronunciation: Anata no o-kimochi wakarimasu.

It literally translates to “your feeling [polite] (anata no o-kimochi), I understand (wakarimasu).” This is a typical message to show that you understand him/her and that you’re with him/her.

3- Cheer up!

Japanese: 元気出して!
Pronunciation: Genki dashite!

This is a very straightforward phrase to cheer someone up. Say this phrase to your friends or someone who has a close relationship with you.

8. Injured/Sick

An unexpected injury or sickness can happen anytime and to anyone. Whether it happened to your grandparent, friend, or colleague, it’s always nice to offer him or her some warm messages.

Here are some useful phrases you can say to those who get injured/sick.

1- How are you feeling?

 

Japanese: 気分はどうですか。
Pronunciation: Kibun wa dō desu ka.

This is a typical question you can ask when someone falls ill. If it’s a family member or someone very close to you, you can also say kibun wa dō? in a casual manner. Japanese people often make おかゆ (O-kayu), or “rice porridge,” for a sick person as an easy-to-digest and stomach-friendly meal.

2- I hope you get well soon.

Japanese: 早く良くなりますように。
Pronunciation: Hayaku yoku narimasu yō ni.

This is a very common and important phrase that you can tell any injured or sick person.

3- Please take care.

                       
Japanese: お大事に。
Pronunciation: O-daiji ni.

This is another very important phrase you should tell an injured/sick person. This is usually said at the end of a conversation before you leave.

For a more polite form, add なさってください (nasatte kudasai) when speaking to someone elderly or respectable.

Children Giving Their Sick Mother a Gift

Healthcare in Japan provides universal-care based on the national health insurance program.

9. Death/Funerals: Offering Condolences in Japanese Culture

While a newborn life is blessed and celebrated, any life is destined to experience death sooner or later. Death is considered a serious matter, and a funeral is usually held solemnly. Even if it happened to a person who is very close, Japanese people use formal and respectful language for messages to the deceased’s family and relatives.

Below are condolence phrases in Japanese that you can use.

1- Please accept my sincere condolences.

Japanese: お悔やみ申し上げます。
Pronunciation: O-kuyami mōshiagemasu.

This phrase is formal and commonly used to show your condolences, usually at a funeral. It literally translates to “condolence (o-kuyami), [I] say (mōshiagemasu).” Note that the last word here is the most respectful and humble expression for the word “say.”

2- I pray that his/her soul may rest in peace.

 
Japanese: ご冥福をお祈りいたします。
Pronunciation: Go-meifuku o oinori itashimasu.

This phrase is formal and very commonly used. It literally translates to “happiness in the next world (go-meifuku), [I] pray (oinori), do (itashimasu).” Note that the last word here is a humble expression.

3- I’m so sorry, I don’t know what to say.

Japanese: 御愁傷様です。なんと言っていいかわかりません。
Pronunciation: Go-shūshō-sama desu. Nan to itte ii no ka wakarimasen.

You can use this polite phrase when someone tells you that someone you know has passed away. Go-shūshō-sama refers to a thing or status that people lament and grieve.

10. Holidays

Do you know whether Japanese people celebrate Christmas in Japan? Yes, they do! However, most Japanese people don’t have any religious feeling for Christmas celebrations; it’s rather regarded as a special and romantic event for couples, or as a happy event for friends and family to eat cakes and give gifts. Christmas Day isn’t a national holiday in Japan.

On the other hand, お正月 (o-shōgatsu), or New Year’s Day, is a traditional annual festive holiday. It’s one of the most important events of the year, and family and relatives get together and celebrate the coming new year. January 1 is the actual holiday, and many companies are off from the end of the year until the first few days of January.

Here are phrases for holiday greetings in Japanese, including how to say Merry Christmas in Japanese and Japanese New Year congratulations!

1- Merry Christmas!

 
Japanese: メリークリスマス!
Pronunciation: Merī kurisumasu!

How to say Merry Christmas in Japanese is almost the same as in English. It’s directly imported in Japanese, but Japanese people pronounce it in the Japanese way. Also, it’s written merī kurisumasu.

Check out Must-Know Christmas Day Vocabulary for more Christmas-related terms in Japanese.

2- Happy New Year!

Japanese: 明けましておめでとう!
Pronunciation: Akemashite omedetō

“Happy New Year” in Japanese is akemashite omedetō, which literally means “(a new year day has) dawned (明けまして), congratulations (omedetō).” This is the most-used phrase for “happy holidays” in Japanese for the new year.

When you want to say it in a formal occasion or to an older person, add ございます (gozaimasu) to the end; this makes it even more polite.

3- To another good year!

Japanese: 今年もよろしく!
Pronunciation: Kotoshi mo yorosiku!

This phrase is very popular among friends, colleagues, and clients.

Kotoshi mo means “this year, too” and yoroshiku is another one of the most common Japanese untranslatable words. It has various meanings depending on the situation, but in this case, it means “best regards” or “favorably please.”

For more useful holiday greetings in Japanese, check out Holiday Greetings and Wishes for the Holiday Season and Happy New Year! Words & Phrases for the New Year! You’ll learn Japanese winter seasonal greetings and customs.

Traditional Japanese New Year's Food

おせち (osechi) is a special meal for the New Year in Japan, and we eat it with best wishes phrases in Japanese.

11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We introduced Japanese life event messages, such as how to say Happy Birthday in Japanese and Merry Christmas in Japanese. I hope this article was useful in improving your Japanese for better communication with your friends!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language and holiday greetings in Japanese, you’ll find much more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

For more about Japanese holidays and Japanese holiday vocabulary, check out Holidays in Japan. To learn about how to express your feelings, you’ll find Words and Phrases to Help You Describe Your Feelings useful; you can even learn and practice your pronunciation with audio. And for conversation practice, Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases are very helpful!

Know that your hard work will pay off; with enough practice, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time with JapanesePod101.com!

Before you go, let us know which of these phrases you’ll be able to use first! Are there any life event messages you still want us to cover? Let us know in the comments!

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Learn the Top 100 Essential Japanese Adjectives

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Do you realize how many adjectives you use when you describe or express something, such as feeling, personality, weather conditions, and the size and color of things? Adjectives in Japanese are various and rich in expression, so learning the top 100 Japanese adjectives will greatly improve your conversation skills in Japanese!

It’s not very difficult to learn Japanese adjectives rules, as they work in mostly the same way as they do in English grammar. Before we move onto our list, though, it’s prudent to go over Japanese adjectives rules to give you context.

So first things first: Where do Japanese adjectives go?

For example, a Japanese adjective is placed before a noun: 親切な人 (shinsetsu na hito), meaning “kind person.” Or they can follow the noun + be verb + adjective pattern: 外は寒い (soto wa samui), meaning “outside is cold.”

Most Japanese adjectives end with the sound of either Hiragana い (i) or な (na), unless it’s not in past form. An adjective consists of a stem, such as 親切 (shinsetsu), which never changes, and a suffix, such as な (na), which can change.

Ready to expand your Japanese adjectives vocabulary? You’ll enjoy speaking Japanese a lot more once you know the variety of Japanese adjectives! Here’s our top 100 Japanese adjectives list at JapanesePod101.com!

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Table of Contents

  1. Describing Dimension, Size, Distance & Number
  2. Describing Value
  3. Describing Sense
  4. Japanese Adjectives for Personality & Feelings
  5. Describing Speed, Difficulty, Importance, etc.
  6. Describing Colors
  7. Describing Shapes
  8. Describing Weather
  9. Japanese Adjectives for Food: Describing Taste
  10. Describing Situations
  11. Describing Physical Traits or Physical Conditions
  12. Describing Appearance and Condition
  13. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Describing Dimension, Size, Distance & Number

Common Adjectives

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
1 ōkii 大きい おおきい big
2 chiisai 小さい ちいさい small
3 hiroi 広い ひろい wide
4 semai 狭い せまい narrow
5 takai 高い たかい tall
6 hikui 低い ひくい short; low
7 omoi 重い おもい heavy
8 karui 軽い かるい light
9 chikai 近い ちかい close
10 tōi 遠い とおい far
11 ōi 多い おおい many
12 sukunai 少ない すくない few

Hangers of Different Sizes

2- Example Sentences

  • 部屋に大きいベッドと小さい椅子があります。
    Heya ni ōkii beddo to chiisai isu ga arimasu.
    There is a big bed and a small chair in the room.
  • このカバンは重いです。
    Kono kaban wa omoi desu.
    This bag is heavy.
  • 駅はここから遠いです。
    Eki wa koko kara tōi desu.
    The station is far from here.
  • あそこに高いビルがあります。
    Asoko ni takai biru ga arimasu.
    There is a tall building there.

2. Describing Value

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
13 yoi 良い よい good
14 warui 悪い わるい bad
15 subarashii 素晴らしい すばらしい great
16 hidoi ひどい ひどい awful; terrible
17 utsukushii 美しい うつくしい beautiful
18 minikui 醜い みにくい ugly
19 kōka na 高価な こうかな expensive
20 yasui 安い やすい cheap

2- Example Sentences

  • 私はテストで良い結果を出した。
    Watashi wa tesuto de yoi kekka wo dashita.
    I got a good result on the test.
  • そこから素晴らしい眺めが見えます。
    Soko kara subarashii nagame ga miemasu.
    You can see a great view from there.
  • あの女性はとても美しいです。
    Ano josei wa totemo utsukushii desu.
    That lady is very beautiful.
  • この安いカメラはすぐに壊れました。
    Kono yasui kamera wa sugu ni kowaremashita.
    This cheap camera broke instantly.

3. Describing Sense

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
21 yawarakai 柔らかい やわらかい soft
22 katai 硬い・固い かたい hard
23 tsuyoi 強い つよい strong
24 yowai 弱い よわい weak
25 nameraka na 滑らかな なめらかな smooth
26 arai 荒い あらい rough
27 fukuzatsu na 複雑な ふくざつな complicated

2- Example Sentences

  • この西陣織は柔らかい素材です。
    Kono Nishijin-ori wa yawarakai sozai desu.
    This Nishijin-ori is soft material.
  • 彼女は強い男性が好きです。
    Kanojo wa tsuyoi dansei ga suki desu.
    She likes strong men.
  • ダイヤモンドは硬い石です。
    Daiyamondo wa katai ishi desu.
    Diamond is a hard stone.
  • その問題は複雑です。
    Sono mondai wa fukuzatsu desu.
    The problem is complicated.

4. Japanese Adjectives for Personality & Feelings

Improve Pronunciation

Looking for Japanese adjectives to describe a person? Here are the best Japanese adjectives to describe someone’s personality or feelings.

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
28 omoshiroi 面白い おもしろい funny; interesting
29 shitashimiyasui 親しみやすい したしみやすい friendly
30 otonashii 大人しい おとなしい quiet
31 ganko na 頑固な がんこな stubborn
32 yasashii 優しい やさしい amiable; thoughtful
33 ureshii 嬉しい うれしい happy
34 kanashii 悲しい かなしい sad
35 shakōteki na 社交的な しゃこうてきな sociable
36 kodoku na 孤独な こどくな lonely
37 okotta 怒った おこった angry

Also visit “Which Adjective Describes Your Personality Best?” to check Japanese pronunciation, and see some more related vocabulary.

Man and Woman Having Coffee Together

2- Example Sentences

  • 彼女は頑固な人です。
    Kanojo wa ganko na hito desu.
    She is a stubborn person.
  • 私は面白い人が大好きです。
    Watashi wa omoshiroi hito ga daisuki desu.
    I really like a funny person.
  • 試験に合格したので嬉しいです。
    Shiken ni gōkaku shita node ureshii desu.
    I am happy because I passed the exam.
  • 彼は社交的な学生です。
    Kare wa shakōteki na gakusei desu.
    He is a sociable student.

To learn more about Personalities and Feelings, please read this article.

5. Describing Speed, Difficulty, Importance, etc.

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
38 hayai 速い はやい fast
39 osoi 遅い おそい slow
40 kantan na 簡単な かんたんな easy
41 muzukashii 難しい むずかしい difficult
42 jyūyō na 重要な じゅうような important
43 atarashii 新しい あたらしい new
44 furui 古い ふるい old
45 majime na 真面目な まじめな serious

Man Running Quickly

2- Example Sentences

  • インターネットが遅いのでビデオ電話ができません。
    Intānetto ga osoi node bideo-denwa ga dekimasen.
    I can’t make a video-call because the internet is slow.
  • これは簡単な問題です。
    Kore wa kantan na mondai desu.
    This is an easy problem.
  • 私は新しい携帯電話が欲しいです。
    Watashi wa atarashii keitai denwa ga hoshii desu.
    I want a new mobile phone.
  • 彼は真面目な会議で笑い出しました。
    Kare wa majime na kaigi de waraidashimashita.
    He started laughing at a serious meeting.

6. Describing Colors

1- Vocabulary

“Color” is iro in Japanese.
 

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
46 akai 赤い あかい red
47 aoi 青い あおい blue
48 midori no 緑の みどりの green
49 kiiroi 黄色い きいろい yellow
50 kuroi 黒い くろい black
51 shiroi 白い しろい white
52 kurai 暗い くらい dark
53 akarui 明るい あかるい light; bright
54 azayaka na 鮮やかな あざやかな vivid
55 bon’yari shita ぼんやりした dull

Cluster of Colorful Legos

2- Example Sentences

  • りんごは赤い種類と緑の種類があります。
    Ringo wa akai shurui to midori no shurui ga arimasu.
    Apples have a red kind and a green kind.
  • 白いライオンを見たことがありますか。
    Shiroi raion o mita koto ga arimasu ka.
    Have you seen white lions?
  • 私は暗い色の服が好きです。
    Watashi wa kurai iro no fuku ga suki desu.
    I like clothes with dark colors.
  • その浴衣は鮮やかな色が特徴です。
    Sono yukata wa azayaka na iro ga tokuchō desu.
    That Yukata is characterized by vivid colors.

7. Describing Shapes

1- Vocabulary

“Shape” is katachi in Japanese.

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
56 marui 丸い・円い まるい round
57 shikakui 四角い しかくい square
58 sankaku no 三角の さんかくの triangular
59 chōhōkei no 長方形の ちょうほうけいの rectangular
60 kyūtai no 球体の きゅうたいの spherical
61 rippōtai no 立方体の りっぽうたいの cubic

Cards with Colored Shapes on Them

2- Example Sentences

  • その丸い鏡を見てください。
    Sono marui kagami o mite kudasai.
    Please look at the round mirror.
  • ゴミはあの四角い箱に入れてください。
    Gomi wa ano shikakui hako ni irete kudasai.
    Please put trash in that square garbage bin.
  • 地球は球体の形をしています。
    Chikyū wa kyūtai no katachi o shite imasu.
    The earth has a spherical shape.
  • この建築は立方体の形が有名です。
    Kono kenchiku wa rippōtai no katachi ga yūmei desu.
    This architecture is famous for its cubic shape.

8. Describing Weather

Reading

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
62 atsui 暑い あつい hot
63 samui 寒い さむい cold
64 mushimushi shita 蒸し蒸しした むしむしした humid
65 atatakai 暖かい あたたかい warm
66 hadazamui 肌寒い はだざむい chilly

Also, check out our lesson Learn the Top 15 Weather Conditions to learn how to express even more weather conditions in Japanese.

2- Example Sentences

  • 今日は寒いので手袋を持って行ってください。
    Kyō wa samui node tebukuro o motte itte kudasai.
    Please take gloves with you because today is cold.
  • 夏は30度を超える暑い日が続きます。
    Natsu wa 30-do o koeru atsui hi ga tsuzukimasu.
    Hot days with over 30 degrees continue in summer.
  • 春は暖かい気候で花見ができます。
    Haru wa atatakai kikō de hanami ga dekimasu.
    Spring has a warm climate, and flowers bloom.
  • 昨日は肌寒い日でした。
    Kinō wa hadazamui hi deshita.
    Yesterday was chilly.

To learn more about weather, please visit our article all about Japanese Weather.

9. Japanese Adjectives for Food: Describing Taste

Here are the most common and important Japanese adjectives for describing food and taste!

1- Vocabulary

 

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
67 amai 甘い あまい sweet
68 shiokarai 塩辛い しおからい salty
69 suppai 酸っぱい すっぱい sour
70 nigai 苦い にがい bitter
71 karai 辛い からい spicy; hot
72 oishii 美味しい おいしい delicious; tasty
73 mazui 不味い まずい tastes bad

Variety of Donuts

2- Example Sentences

  • 私は甘いものが大好きです。
    Watashi wa amai mono ga daisuki desu.
    I like sweets very much.
  • この梅干しは塩辛いので食べられません。
    Kono umeboshi wa shiokarai node taberaremasen.
    I can’t eat this Umeboshi because it’s salty.
  • 彼は苦いコーヒーが好きです。
    Kare wa nigai kōhī ga suki desu.
    He likes bitter coffee.
  • 明日は記念日なので美味しいものを食べたい。
    Ashita wa kinenbi na node oishii mono o tabetai.
    I want to eat something delicious because tomorrow is an anniversary.

10. Describing Situations

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
74 tanoshii 楽しい たのしい fun
75 tsumaranai つまらない boring
76 anzen na 安全な あんぜんな safe; secure
77 kiken na 危険な きけんな dangerous
78 kinkyū no 緊急の きんきゅうの urgent
79 ochitsuita 落ち着いた おちついた calm
80 tadashii 正しい ただしい correct; right
81 ayamatta 誤った あやまった wrong

People Partying at Night Club

2- Example Sentences

  • これは安全な調理器具です。
    Kore wa anzen na chōri kigu desu.
    This is safe cooking equipment.
  • 私はつまらない映画で寝落ちしました。
    Watashi wa tsumaranai eiga de neochi shimashita.
    I fell asleep during the boring movie.
  • 彼は危険な橋を渡りました。
    Kare wa kiken na hashi o watarimashita.
    He crossed a dangerous bridge.
  • いつも正しい行いをしなさい。
    Itsumo tadashii okonai o shinasai.
    Always do the right things.

11. Describing Physical Traits or Physical Conditions

1- Vocabulary

 

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
82 wakai 若い わかい young
83 toshioita 年老いた としおいた old
84 genki na 元気な げんきな lively
85 byōki no 病気の びょうきの sick
86 kirei na 綺麗な きれいな clean; beautiful
87 kitanai 汚い きたない dirty
88 suteki na 素敵な すてきな nice
89 hen na 変な へんな strange; odd
90 seijō na 正常な せいじょうな normal
91 ijō na 異常な いじょうな abnormal

Grandfather Walking with Grandchildren

2- Example Sentences

  • 「若い時の苦労は買ってでもせよ」ということわざがある。
    Wakai toki no kurō wa katte demo seyo” to iu kotowaza ga aru.
    There is a proverb saying “Heavy work in youth is quiet in old age.”
  • 彼女の部屋はいつも綺麗です。
    Kanojo no heya wa itsumo kirei desu.
    Her room is always clean.
  • あの女性は素敵な靴を履いています。
    Ano josei wa suteki na kutsu o haite imasu.
    That lady wears nice shoes.
  • 異常な症状が出たらすぐに電話してください。
    Ijō na shōjō ga detara sugu ni denwa shite kudasai.
    If abnormal symptoms appear, please call me immediately.

12. Describing Appearance and Condition

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
92 kawaii 可愛い かわいい pretty; cute
93 kichin to shita きちんとした neat
94 miryokuteki na 魅力的な みりょくてきな attractive
95 miryoku no nai 魅力のない みりょくのない unattractive
96 futotta 太った ふとった fat
97 yaseta 痩せた やせた lean; thin
98 okanemochi na お金持ちな おかねもちな rich
99 mazushii 貧しい まずしい poor
100 heikinteki na 平均的な へいきんてきな average

2- Example Sentences

  • 彼女はいつもきちんとした服を着ています。
    Kanojo wa itsumo kichin to shita fuku o kite imasu.
    She always wears neat clothes.
  • 私は平均的な家出身です。
    Watashi wa heikinteki na ie shusshin desu.
    I am from an average family.
  • 貧しい子供達のために募金をしてください。
    Mazushii kodomo-tachi no tame ni bokin o shite kudasai.
    Please donate for poor children.

13. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

In this Japanese adjectives lesson, we introduced the top 100 Japanese adjectives with examples. We hope this article is helpful for you, and has given you more footing to improve your Japanese vocabulary! Do you feel prepared to describe your personality and feelings?

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find a lot more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. For more Japanese adjectives practice, Most Common Adjectives and Words and Phrases to Help You Describe Your Feelings are useful to help you learn pronunciation with audio. Further, Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases are essential for your conversation practice.

Know that your hard work will pay off; with enough practice, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time with JapanesePod101.com!

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Japanese Netflix Programs: Learn Japanese with Netflix

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It’s wonderful if you can learn Japanese and have entertainment at the same time. Yes, it is possible with online streaming services! One of the most famous and popular is Netflix, which nowadays offers a wide range of Japanese shows and movies. A lot of Japanese movies on Netflix are available with subtitles in both Japanese and English, so it’s ideal to learn by listening to actual pronunciation, reading what words mean, and/or checking vocabulary and spelling. In terms of understanding Japanese culture, Netflix can also be a great source for this.

When it comes to learning and entertainment, watching Japanese shows on Netflix is much easier and useful than watching them on TV or at actual movie theaters. Watching Japanese shows on Netflix doesn’t require traveling to theaters, you don’t need to bother checking schedules, and you don’t need to remember to record. Most of all, you can repeat lines at any time, and as many times as you like, with subtitles so that you can learn Japanese more efficiently.

Whether you just want to enjoy watching Japanese movies on Netflix casually, or you want to try learning conversational Japanese, Netflix is one of the best options for you. Either way, watching Netflix Japanese shows will boost your Japanese skills and allow you to see Japanese culture in action.

So what’s on Japanese Netflix? Here’s JapanesePod101’s list of recommended Japanese Netflix titles for an enjoyable Japanese learning experience!

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Table of Contents

  1. Midnight Dining / 深夜食堂 (Shin’ya Shokudō)
  2. Hibana: Spark / 火花
  3. Terrace House / テラスハウス
  4. Ainori Love Wagon / あいのり
  5. Atelier / アンダーウェア
  6. Solitary Gourmet / 孤独のグルメ
  7. Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman / さぼリーマン甘太朗
  8. Million Yen Women / 100万円の女たち
  9. Dad of Light / ファイナルファンタジーXIV 光のお父さん
  10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi / 二郎は鮨の夢を見る
  11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Midnight Dining / 深夜食堂 (Shin’ya Shokudō)

Midnight Diner is a Japanese TV series, based on the manga of the same title: 深夜食堂 (Shin’ya Shokudō). This Japanese show is currently one of the best Japanese Netflix shows. This drama is mainly about a diner which operates at midnight, and follows the owner’s interactions with his customers.

The setting of the show is a small Izakaya named “Meshiya” in Shinjuku, the big city that never sleeps in Tokyo. As Shinjuku is busy with its nightlife, there are always customers who visit this midnight diner (open from midnight to seven o’clock in the morning). Customers come to the diner for delicious traditional Japanese food and relaxing conversation with the master chef after their stressful day. What’s interesting is that each customer has a unique and touching story.

You’ll learn about how Japanese people talk about their lives, dreams, and love lives, and get a taste of Japanese traditional night foods and drinks. When it comes to the language they use, it may be a bit difficult for beginners, as the characters speak in a very casual style (sometimes with slang), which is far from using the structured formal language. However, this can be useful learning material for grasping colloquial Japanese.

You’ll probably hear Japanese curse words in some episodes, but here’s a tip for you: Japanese Curse Words You Should Never Use.

2. Hibana: Spark / 火花

Hibana, the Japanese word meaning “spark,” is a Japanese Netflix show based on the award-winning novel written by a Japanese comedian. Inspired in part by the author’s real life, the story is about two young manzai comedians and their struggles as they try to become big stand-up comedians. This show has ten episodes, and each episode focuses on one year of their lives, totaling a span of ten years.

This Japanese Netflix show attracts viewers’ attention and draws them into the story as it depicts human drama with stark reality, both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. The drama is well-filmed to show human relationships and the reality of competitiveness in the comedy industry.

For Japanese learners, it’s useful to know how people use conversational Japanese around close friends, seniors, and juniors, using both the formal and informal language. For this reason, we recommend this show for intermediate-level Japanese learners. This show also gives insight into the culture and industry of Japanese comedy.

Many Japanese comedians are from the Kansai area, and they speak Kansai dialect. For more information on this topic, check out our Japanese Dialects guide!

3. Terrace House / テラスハウス

This Netflix Japanese show is based on the reality TV show that aired on Japanese Fuji TV with five series, and now they’ve made a Netflix original series. This reality show follows the lives of young Japanese strangers—three girls and three guys—living together in one posh house. Viewers get to see how different people get to know each other and form human relationships (and sometimes romance) over time.

This show doesn’t have a particular story, nor dramatic turn of events. However, this is a good way to know how the younger Japanese generations interact with each other in everyday life. Although they share their lives under one roof, each member still engages in their own work or study outside the house, and they’re free to enter and leave. This setting makes the show more realistic and interesting.

If you want to make new Japanese friends and speak natural Japanese (which normal textbooks don’t teach), this can be the ideal show to watch. You can learn how to speak when you’re getting to know someone new, and how to start conversations.

This Japanese Netflix show is recommended for Japanese learners at the intermediate level. The conversations are mostly informal and spoken among young people, without structured or formal language.

4. Ainori Love Wagon / あいのり

This Japanese show on Netflix is originally from the popular Japanese TV program which was first aired two decades ago. The Japanese word Ainori means “ride together,” and can also mean “love ride,” based on how it’s read. This reality show follows seven young, single Japanese participants who go on a road trip to foreign countries in a pink van. The goal of participants is to find real love and become a couple with another participant while on the budget-type trip. They’ll then finish traveling and return to Japan together.

Ainori is an interesting love reality show which also introduces foreign countries and cultures during the participants’ travels. Each participant has a unique personality, and as you keep watching, you may find some favorite characters whom you want to support and see them happily form a couple. Unlike Terrace House, which features fancy people and a posh house, Ainori has more events, adventure, and drama as the participants travel to foreign lands.

We recommend this show for intermediate Japanese learners. Similarly to Terrace House, conversations are informal, without structured or formal language. It’s good for learning how young Japanese people talk and communicate with each other.

If you want to learn more about love phrases, check out Romance and Love in Japanese here!

5. Atelier / アンダーウェア

Atelier (the title of the original Japanese version is アンダーウェア meaning “Underwear” ) is a Netflix Japanese drama produced by Fuji TV for Netflix. It has thirteen episodes, and the real and famous lingerie company sponsors and supports this drama, making it more realistic in detail.

This show centers on a girl who has started her career at a high-end lingerie company and struggles to do well there. Through all the happenings, the story focuses on her interactions and relationship with her boss and the owner of the company. The character settings remind viewers of Anna Wintour and Miranda Priestly.

This Japanese Netflix drama provides viewers with a chance to learn some business conversation in Japanese for the office setting, and gives viewers insight into the daily life of a young employee. It’s good for intermediate-level learners.

6. Solitary Gourmet / 孤独のグルメ

Looking for good Japanese Netflix shows about food?

Solitary Gourmet is based on the original Japanese comic of the same name, and it has been produced as a Japanese TV drama series. It’s now available on Netflix.

This show is about nothing but Japanese cuisine, and it’s great for Japanese food lovers. The story follows a Japanese salesman who travels to different places across Japan for business, and visits various restaurants. He has a great passion for food, and he feels ultimate happiness when he indulges in eating delicious food.

It may sound boring, as it’s about a businessman eating alone, but this show actually offers something more and can be very addictive. In each episode, the main character tries out new restaurants and bars, and he enjoys every detail of speciality food. It’s intriguing how he tastes food and describes it to himself (in his head) in detail.

This is recommended for Japanese food fans and those who are interested in the Japanese food culture. You’ll learn a lot more about Japanese cuisine than just sushi and ramen. Also, watching this show is a great way to improve your vocabulary, especially in terms of adjectives.

7. Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman / さぼリーマン甘太朗

This is another one of the top Japanese Netflix shows which is based on the manga comics featuring food, but this one is about sweets. What’s interesting and attractive about this series is that the featured cafes, patisserie, and sweets and desserts are real, although the story itself is fiction.

The story of this Japanese Netflix series centers on a salaryman, Kantaro, who is considered a go‐getter and hardworking businessman. However, his seemingly fast and efficient work is actually motivated by his endless passion for sweets and desserts. He manages his work in such a way that he can sneak out to eat sweets in various places across Tokyo. Each episode focuses on a particular kind of sweet.

This show is good for Japanese learners, especially those who love sweets. If you live in Tokyo or have a chance to visit Tokyo, you can actually try the sweets featured in this show! If that’s possible, try to learn what Kantaro says to describe sweets; you’ll be able to practice those phrases while tasting yummy sweets. This show also offers a great chance to learn formal business Japanese.

8. Million Yen Women / 100万円の女たち

This Japanese show on Netflix is also based on a manga, and the series was co-produced by TV Tokyo and Netflix into a live-action drama.

This mysterious plot features a young novelist, and five beautiful women who suddenly moved in with him to pay him a crazy one-million yen per month to help his living. Each of the five women has unique characteristics and background stories, making the story more attractive.

He wonders why these women came to his place to offer him such crazy help, but it’s forbidden to ask them questions. However, through living with them, a small piece of the mystery is revealed little by little in each episode.

This is one of the most fascinating Japanese Netflix programs today. This show is very amusing as the story is shrouded in curious mystery and viewers are pulled into its unique world to discover the secret. You can simply enjoy watching it, but it can also be good material to learn conversational Japanese. It’s recommended for beginner- and intermediate-level learners.

9. Dad of Light / ファイナルファンタジーXIV 光のお父さん

Improve Pronunciation

This was originally a TV drama based on a true story from a blog, and is the first live-action series to commercialize the game Final Fantasy XIV.

The story focuses on a father and his son as they reconnect by playing the online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV. The son, who feels distant from his father after years of little conversation, tries to break the ice. He remembered that he and his father played Final Fantasy III together when he was a kid, and they had a good bond through the game. He hopes that this passion for FFXIV will help them reconnect and he plans to become friends with his father in the online game without telling him who he really is. Over time, through playing and working together in-game, he tries to understand and communicate with his father better.

This Japanese Netflix TV series would be very interesting for gamers, particularly those who already have some knowledge about Final Fantasy. This show features a lot of game-related vocabulary, and is recommended for beginner- and intermediate-level learners.

10. Jiro Dreams of Sushi / 二郎は鮨の夢を見る

If you couldn’t tell, Japanese Netflix TV shows about food are quite popular. This one also features food, but is different from the others on this list because it’s a documentary film. The film was directed by David Gelb, and the documentary focuses on Jiro Ono (小野 二郎 Ono Jirō), who is an eighty-five-year-old sushi master.

The film features the legendary Jiro’s renowned restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro which has three Michelin stars. His restaurant, located in the middle of Ginza, one of the most expensive districts in Tokyo, has merely ten seats, but the minimum price per person is from ¥30,000. The documentary also focuses on Jiro’s relationship with his two sons, both of whom are also sushi chefs (and one of them is his eventual heir).

This documentary gives insight into the ultimate Japanese craftsmanship and pursuit in the art of food. The Japanese spoken in this film isn’t a perfect tool for learning, but it still helps you to deepen your knowledge of Japanese.

11. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

Best Ways to Learn

I hope this Japanese Netflix list of the best shows on Netflix to learn Japanese is helpful, and that it makes your Japanese studies more enjoyable! By now, you should have a better idea of how to use Japanese Netflix content to make learning fun and efficient.

Ready to watch Japanese Netflix? Which of these Japanese Netflix programs are you most interested in? Let us know!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. For example, Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations to practice your Japanese with audio. If you’re a fan of Japanese anime, How to Learn Japanese with Anime? and 76 Must-Know Japanese Onomatopoeia Words are helpful. If you’re planning to visit Japan, check out 3 Reasons to Learn Japanese Before Traveling!

Know that your hard work will pay off; with enough practice, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time!

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Japanese Conjunctions: Learn Japanese Linking Words

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If you’re learning Japanese grammar, you may be surprised by how many variations there are of Japanese conjunctions and Japanese connective particles, and how they vary depending on the use of sentences.

When you think about speaking your mother tongue, the flow of your sentences is very natural, without redundancy or lack of words. This is because you can use conjunctions effectively and naturally to connect sentences.

In this way, in Japanese grammar, conjunctions are one of the most essential parts of speech. When you master Japanese conjunctions, you’ll be able to speak Japanese quite fluently!

By the end of this article, you should have a better idea about Japanese conjunctions meaning, how to use Japanese conjunctions, and have an increased Japanese conjunction vocabulary!

Here are some of the most basic and useful Japanese conjunctions and connectives. Let’s enjoy learning here at JapanesePod101.com!

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Conjunction?
  2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts
  3. Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Conjunctions to Express Cause
  5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Conjunctions to Express Choices
  7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions
  8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. What is a Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions are words that connect and conjoin phrases, clauses, or sentences together. A conjunction word doesn’t have a meaning itself, much like prepositions. Conjunctions in Japanese function similarly to how they do in English.

The conjunction in Japanese is usually a particle or postposition that’s usually used at the end of the dependent clause(s), determining the relationship of the conjoined clauses. Examples of these relationships include copulative, disjunctive, adversative, and conclusive.

For example, here are the most common Japanese conjunctions by type:

  • Copulative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the addition and/or connection of meanings.

    And:
    と、(to)
    や、 (ya)
    そして (soshite)

    Also:
    も、(mo)
    もまた (mo mata)

    Then:
    そして、 (soshite)
    それから (sorekara)

    Or:
    または、(mata wa)
    また (mata)

  • Disjunctive Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the disjunction of their meanings.

    -or, -or : -ka, -ka ‥か、‥か
    -and, -and : -ya, -ya ‥や、‥や

  • Adversative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the opposition of their meanings.

    But:
    しかし、(shikashi)
    が、(ga)
    けど (kedo)
    けれども (keredomo)
    なのに (nanoni)
    でも (demo)

    However:
    しかしながら、 (shikashinagara)
    ところが (tokoroga)
     
    Despite:
    にもかかわらず (nimokakawarazu)

  • Conclusive Conjunctions

    So:
    それで、(sorede)
    なので (nanode)

    And then:
    それから、(sorekara)
    その後 (sonogo)

    Therefore: 
    それゆえに、(soreyue ni)
    だから、(dakara)
    したがって (shitagatte)

    Thus:
    ゆえに、(yue ni)
    したがって (shitagatte)

There are exceptions where Japanese language conjunctions can’t be used to connect equivalent clauses or sentences. However, we’ll explain the basic and most important Japanese conjunctions in this article.

Japanese Conjunctions

Japanese conjunctions have a wide range of variations

2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts

Here are the commonly used Japanese conjunctions which connect clauses/sentences with a function of addition.

1- と (to)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It simply adds one thing to another.
  • Usage:と(to) is used when you list everything that’s applicable. と (to) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan to banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    • In this case, there are only apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

2- や (ya)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds one thing to another.
  • Usage: や (ya) is similar to と (to), but it’s used when you list only some parts of a whole, which are applicable. や (ya) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo ya mikan ga arimasu.
    There are apples and oranges on the table.

    • The translation in English is the same as that for the example for と (to). In this case, however, it implies that there are things besides the apple and orange on the table.

3- そして (soshite)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds things to each other, like the last words. It can also mean “thus” and “and then.”
  • Usage: そして (soshite) is used to add noun(s), or to explain an action that follows.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごとみかん、そしてバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan, soshite banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    私はりんごを食べます。そしてみかんも食べます。
    Watashi wa ringo o tabemasu. Soshite mikan mo tabemasu.
    I’ll eat an apple. And then I’ll eat an orange, too.

3. Conjunctions to Express Condition

Improve Listening

There are several variations of Japanese conjunctions which are used to introduce a conditional clause.

1- もし (moshi)

  • Meaning: It means simply “if,” but it can also mean “in case” and “supposing.”
  • Usage: When using もし (moshi), the end of a sentence should be conjugated to the conditional form, such as: たら (-tara), なら (-nara), ならば (-naraba), or すると (-suruto).

    When the conditional form is emphasized, it’s possible to omit もし (moshi) and the sentence still keeps the expression of condition.

  • Example:

    もし明日雨が降るなら、ピクニックは中止です。
    Moshi ashita ame ga furu nara, pikunikku wa chūshi desu.
    If it rains tomorrow, the picnic will be cancelled.

2- たら (tara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: As mentioned above, たら (-tara) is used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning. It’s usually used to express a relationship of assumption, as well as a specific and one-time consequence.
  • Example:

    もし時間があったら、映画を見たいです。
    Moshi jikan ga attara, eiga o mitai desu.
    If I have time, I want to watch a movie.

3- なら (nara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: なら (-nara) is also used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning.

    Unlike たら (-tara), なら (-nara) is usually used to express a speaker’s decision, order, hope, or opinion of assumption when assuming a certain thing.

  • Example:

    京都へ行くなら、新幹線で行きたいです。
    Kyōto e iku nara, Shinkansen de ikitai desu.
    If I go to Kyoto, I want to go by Shinkansen.

4- すると (suruto)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.すると (suruto) can also mean “then.”
  • Usage: When using すると (suruto) as a conditional conjunction, と (to) or だと (da to) usually come in front of it. It expresses a relationship of assumption and a consequence.
  • Example:

    彼が間に合わないとすると、私たちは会議を始められません。
    Kare ga maniawanai to suruto, watashi-tachi wa kaigi o hajimeraremasen.
    If he can’t come in time, we can’t start a meeting.

Group Talking Over Drinks

When you use conjunctions effectively, conversations will go smoothly.

4. Conjunctions to Express Cause

There’s also a number of Japanese conjunctions which are used to express cause. Combining two clauses/sentences with the following conjunctions denotes a reason and result. In Japanese grammar, note that the clause/sentence that states the reason comes first.

1- だから (da kara) / から (kara)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “so,” “therefore,” or “thus.”
  • Usage: だから (da kara) and から (kara) are very similar. However, a noun usually comes in front of だから (da kara), and an adjective or verb comes before から (kara).
  • Example:

    明日は日曜日だから 仕事はしません。
    Ashita wa nichi-yōbi da kara shigoto wa shimasen.
    Tomorrow is Sunday, so I don’t work.

    太るからケーキは食べません。
    Futoru kara kēki wa tabemasen.
    I will get fat, so I don’t eat cakes.

When considering the word order in Japanese grammar, it’s easier to remember the meaning as “so” rather than “because,” to match the order in English grammar.

2- ので (node)

  • Meaning: This word means “so” or “thus.”
  • Usage: ので (node) is used the same way as から (kara), but ので (node) is somewhat more polite.
  • Example:

    辛いので食べられません。
    Karai node taberaremasen.
    It is spicy, so I can’t eat it.

3- ため (tame) / のため (no tame)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “because (of) …” or “as a consequence of …”
  • Usage: Both ため (tame) and のため (no tame) have the same meaning, but an adjective or verb usually comes before ため (tame), and a noun comes in front of のため (no tame).
  • Example:

    宝くじが当たったため、私は車を買いました。
    Takarakuji ga atatta tame, watashi wa kuruma o kaimashita.
    I bought a car because I won the lottery.

    のため電車は遅れました。
    Yuki no tame densha wa okuremashita.
    Because of the snow, the train was delayed.

4- なぜなら (nazenara)

  • Meaning: This word means “because.”
  • Usage: When you use なぜなら (nazenara), please remember that a sentence of a particular situation comes before なぜなら (nazenara), and a sentence to explain why follows it. It often comes with だから (da kara) or から (kara) to explain why.
  • Example:

    彼女は怒って帰りました。なぜなら彼氏が浮気したのを知ったからです。
    Kanojo wa okotte kaerimashita. Nazenara kareshi ga uwaki shita no o shitta kara desu.
    She got angry and left, because she came to know her boyfriend had cheated on her.

Two Women Talking

In order to learn which conjunction is appropriate to use and in what situation, try to listen to how Japanese people use Japanese conjunctions in various situations.

5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition

Here are several examples of Japanese conjunctions which are used to denote contrast.

1- しかし (shikashi) / でも (demo)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: Both しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are the most commonly used conjunctions to express opposition. They usually come at the beginning of a sentence and refer to the statement which was mentioned before. しかし (shikashi) is often used in formal situations, while でも (demo) is more casual and colloquial.
  • Example:

    気温は低く寒いです。しかし、 花が咲きました。
    Kion wa hikuku samui desu. Shikashi, hana ga sakimashita.
    The temperature is low and it’s cold. However, flowers bloom.

    外は暖かい。でも、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai. Demo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside. But the wind is cold.

2- が (ga) / だが (daga)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: が (ga) and だが (daga) are almost the same, but が (ga) is used to conjoin separate sentences with a comma, and だが (daga) is often used at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Example:

    お金はある、旅行する時間がない。
    O-kane wa aru ga, ryokō suru jikan ga nai.
    I have money, but I don’t have time to travel.

    春は好きです。だが、夏は好きではないです。
    Haru wa suki desu. Daga, natsu wa suki de wa nai desu.
    I like spring. But I don’t like summer.

3- ところが (tokoroga) / なのに (nanoni)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: ところが (tokoroga) and なのに (nanoni) have similar meanings which express reverse conditions. They have a nuance of surprise, or sometimes complaint, which contrasts the expectation. ところが (tokoroga) is more formal, while なのに (nanoni) is used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.
  • Example:

    彼女は勉強をしなかった。とことろが、試験に受かった。
    Kanojo wa benkyō o shinakatta. Tokoroga, shiken ni ukatta.
    She did not study. But she passed the examination.

    彼は先生だ。なのに、英語を話せない。
    Kare wa sensei da. Nanoni, eigo o hanasenai.
    He is a teacher. But he can’t speak English.

4- けど (kedo) / けれども (keredomo)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “but,” “however,” “though,” and “although.”
  • Usage: While しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are often used at the beginning of a sentence with a comma, けど (kedo) and けれども (keredomo) are used to conjoin two separate sentences to express reverse conditions.

    けど (kedo) and けれどもけど (keredomo) are almost the same. However, けれども (keredomo) is slightly more formal and polite, while けど (kedo) is often used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.

  • Example:

    外は暖かいけど、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai kedo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside, but the wind is cold.

    私は1ヶ月お菓子を食べなかったけれども、痩せなかった。
    Watashi wa ikkagetsu o-kashi o tabenakatta keredomo, yasenakatta.
    Although I didn’t eat snacks for a month, I didn’t lose weight.

6. Conjunctions to Express Choices

Improve Listening Part 2

Here are some basic Japanese conjunctions which are used to express choices and alternatives.

1- または (matawa) / もしくは (moshikuwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “otherwise.”
  • Usage: These conjunctions are used when you want to show options for something. または (matawa) and もしくは (moshikuwa) are very similar, and there’s not much difference in their meaning and usage. または (matawa) is more common and is used more often than もしくは (moshikuwa).
  • Example:

    電車またはバスで行きます。
    Densha matawa basu de ikimasu.
    I will go by train or bus.

    クレジットカードもしくは、電子決済でお支払いください。
    Kurejitto cādo moshikuwa, denshi kessai de o-shiharai kudasai.
    Please pay by credit card or through an electric payment.

2- か (ka)

  • Meaning: This word means “or,” or “whether…or.”
  • Usage: か (ka) is almost the same in meaning as the English word “or.” With this meaning, か (ka) is usually used twice in a sentence to indicate alternatives.
  • Example:

    今レストランは開いている、 閉まっている、知っていますか。
    Ima resutoran wa aite iru ka, shimatte iru ka, shitte imasu ka.
    Do you know if the restaurant is open or closed now?

3- あるいは (aruiwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “alternatively.”
  • Usage: あるいは (aruiwa) is another Japanese conjunction to express a choice between A or B. This is often used to show things which are of the same or similar kind. It has a nuance of “alternatively.”
  • Example:

    私は来年大阪あるいは名古屋へ転勤になります。
    Watashi wa rainen Ōsaka aruiwa Nagoya e tenkin ni narimasu.
    I will be transferred to Osaka or Nagoya next year.

Woman Thinking

Some Japanese conjunctions are only used in colloquial speech, and some are mostly used in formal settings.

7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions

It is good to know other useful Japanese conjunctions to improve your conversation skills. Here are some commonly used expressions.

1- ところで (tokorode)

  • Meaning: This word means “by the way.”
  • Usage: This phrase is often used when you change the topic in a conversation, and it’s generally used before asking a question.
  • Example:

    ところで、今週末は何か予定ありますか。
    Tokorode, konshūmatsu wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    By the way, do you have any plans for this weekend?

2- 一方で (ippō de)

  • Meaning: This phrase can mean “on the other hand,” “while,” or “meanwhile.”
  • Usage: 一方で (ippō de) is used to indicate that the following sentence will be in a direction different from the previous sentence. The following sentence doesn’t necessarily have to be completely opposite from the previous one. 一方で (ippō de) can be also be used to mean “while” or “meanwhile.”
  • Example:

    彼女は寿司が好きです。一方で彼はピザが好きです。
    Kanojo wa sushi ga suki desu. Ippō de kare wa piza ga suki desu.
    She likes sushi. On the other hand, he likes pizza.

3- 例えば (tatoeba)

  • Meaning: This means “for example.”
  • Usage: This phrase can be used exactly the same as “for example” in English. It’s used when you want to give examples.
  • Example:

    私の趣味はスポーツです。例えば、水泳とテニスが好きです。
    Watashi no shumi wa supōtsu desu. Tatoeba, suiei to tenisu ga suki desu.
    My hobby is sports. For example, I like swimming and tennis.

4- さらに (sarani) / その上 (sonoue)

  • Meaning: These words can mean “in addition” and “moreover.”
  • Usage: Bothさらに (sarani) and その上 (sonoue) are used when you want to add something. その上 (sonoue) has a slightly stronger emphasis thanさらに (sarani).その上 (sonoue) is literally translated as “on top of that.”
  • Example:

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and moreover, I went to the gym on Sunday.

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。その上、夜は映画を見に行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita. Sonoue, yoru wa eiga o mi ni ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and in addition, I went to the gym on Sunday. Moreover, I went to see the movie.

Please see our article on Must-Know Adverbs and Phrases for Connecting Thoughts for more examples with audio.

8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this Japanese conjunctions list is helpful for your Japanese language studies. By learning Japanese conjunctions, your conversation skills will improve a lot, and you can enjoy speaking Japanese much more!

Which conjunctions do you plan on using soon? Which ones are you still struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re keen on learning more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a plethora of free lessons for you to help you boost your Japanese language skills, regardless of your current skill level:

All of your studying and practice will pay off, and soon you’ll be speaking and writing in Japanese like a native! And SpanishPod101 will be here throughout your language-learning journey with support and effective lesson materials!

Best wishes, and happy learning!

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Japanese Etiquette and Manners

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What is Japanese etiquette?

Japanese culture is well-known for its politeness and unique features, and what is thought to be normal in other countries isn’t always common in Japan. Many foreign tourists wonder what exactly the DO’s and DON’Ts in Japan are when traveling to Japan for the first time.

Japanese people are warm and welcoming to travelers, and they understand if foreign travelers don’t know all the Japanese customs. However, it’s always good to know the basic Japanese etiquette and manners in advance to make your trip more smooth and enjoyable. It’s also a part of experiencing and exploring the Japanese culture.

Here’s our guide to Japanese manners and etiquette, especially for travelers. Here, you’ll find all the Japanese etiquette tips, Japanese customs, and other Japanese etiquette for foreigners you need to know!

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Table of Contents

  1. Basic Japanese Etiquette
  2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners
  3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing
  4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting
  5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette
  6. Japanese Business Etiquette
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

1. Basic Japanese Etiquette

Thanks

The DO’s and DON’Ts in this first section are very basic, and they’re common in most important occasions in Japan.

1- DO’s

  • Be Polite

    Politeness may be the basis for other Japanese etiquette rules. It’s noted that Japanese etiquette is greatly influenced by the concept of collectivism, which is characterized by fairness among people and prioritization of interests of the social group over individuals. It also emphasizes on maximizing the benefits and goodness of the group through each individual’s effort and thoughtfulness. This means that being polite and kind to others is for everyone’s convenience and happiness.

  • Respect

    Respect is another very essential value when it comes to Japanese manners and customs. In order to add to everyone’s happiness, you should respect others’ rights, interests, convenience, and so on. In addition, influenced by Confucianism, respecting elders is also important; please help elders cross the street, walk up stairs with luggage, and so on.

  • Be Punctual, Even Early

    Keeping time is imperative in Japanese culture social etiquette. This is a way of respecting others and not wasting their valuable time. Japanese trains arrive on time, and Japanese people usually arrive five to ten minutes before the meeting time. If it’s an interview at a company, it’s not good enough to arrive just on time; you’re expected to arrive earlier than the appointment time. Definitely keep this in mind if you’re serious about learning Japanese business etiquette.

  • Keep in Order

    To be fair to everyone and respect others, Japanese people naturally queue up even if there’s no instruction to do so. For instance, they may keep from rushing into an activity if they see that there are already too many people doing it. You’ll see Japanese people queuing neatly aside the opening doors of the train on crowded weekday mornings.

Interior of a Metro Car

Keep public places clean and do not litter.

2- DON’Ts

  • Don’t Bother Others

    Prioritization of the group’s interests also means that bothering and annoying others is considered very bad manners in Japan. Even if you’re starving or don’t have enough time, please refrain from eating smelly foods (such as fast food) on the train, or putting on makeup during the ride.

  • Don’t Litter

    Streets are not your own room, so don’t litter on the streets. Usually, you don’t find many trash bins along the streets in Japan, but you’ll notice that the ground is free from rubbish. It’s common courtesy according to modern Japanese etiquette to keep your trash with you until you find a bin or arrive home.

  • Don’t be Loud

    Another important Japanese etiquette rule: In public places, you’re expected not to make loud noises. Especially on a train, keep your conversation voice soft and quiet. Talking loudly or talking on the phone will make surrounding Japanese people feel uncomfortable. Please don’t forget to set your mobile phone to silent when you’re on a public transportation.

2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners

Hygiene

There are quite different table manners and etiquette in Japan compared to other countries. Don’t be surprised; when in Japan, do as the Japanese do!

1- Greet Before/After Eating

This is one of the most basic Japanese greeting etiquette rules, and Japanese people do this for every meal.

According to Japanese etiquette table manners, you should say いただきます (Itadakimasu) before eating. The phrase Itadakimasu doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but it means “I’m thankful for this food and I will start eating.”

Also, say ごちそうさまでした (Gochisō-sama deshita) after you’ve finished eating. This phrase means “It was delicious,” and it shows appreciation for the meal.

2- Use Chopsticks Properly: Chopstick Etiquette in Japan

When you’re an adult, you’re expected to know how to use chopsticks properly as this is good Japanese etiquette when eating. So when you’re eating at a Japanese cuisine restaurant, try to use chopsticks. If you don’t have the confidence to use chopsticks well, you can still ask a waiter for forks and knives.

However, don’t play with your chopsticks. It’s considered rude behavior, as well as childish, if you hold one stick with one hand and the other stick with the other hand, poking food around or pointing to something with your chopsticks, etc.

In addition, never stick them vertically in your rice bowl and never use your chopsticks to pass a piece of food to someone else’s chopsticks directly. These actions are associated with funeral rituals and the deceased, and are considered the worst possible chopstick behavior.

3- Make Noise While Eating Soup Noodles

According to Japanese manners and etiquette, making noise while you’re eating is considered bad manners. The only exception is for soup noodles such as ramen, udon, and soba, when it comes to slurping soup and noodles. Slurping shows that you’re enjoying your food. However, making chewing noises isn’t appropriate, and it’s considered rude and is associated with poor education. Close your mouth while you’re chewing food.

Bowl of Noodles

Slurping is ok only for soup noodles in Japan.

4- Do Not Pour Your Own Drink When You’re with Someone

This is another typical Japanese etiquette rule when dining. When you dine out with your friends, colleagues, or your boss, it’s rude to pour your own drink yourself. You pour drinks for everyone else first, and then they will pour your drink in return.

Usually, those who are youngest or in the lowest position of a hierarchy should be the one to pour elders drinks first. This is especially true for work-related occasions.

Even among friends, pouring drinks for each other is considered nice, and it shows your mutual thoughtfulness toward a good friendship.

5- Do Not Pay a Tip

Good news for everyone! According to Japanese etiquette, money shouldn’t be given as a tip. This bit of Japanese etiquette when visiting may surprise you, but don’t leave a tip on the table. Otherwise, the waiter/ess will run after you to let you know that you forgot your money. If you try to hand a tip to them, the staff member will wonder what the money’s for and won’t know what to do with it.

So, just keep your change in your pocket, even if you’re impressed by nice Japanese services. Instead, tell a staff member that you really liked their food or services with a smile.

Group of People Eating Out

Make sure you use chopsticks properly, especially at proper Sushi and Japanese restaurants.

3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing

Bad Phrases

In this section, we’ll go over etiquette in Japan you need to keep in mind while sightseeing! This is just simple Japanese etiquette to ensure you’re polite and respectful wherever you are.

1- At Shrines and Temples

There are numerous 神社 (jinja) or “Shintō shrines” and お寺 (o-tera) or “Buddhist temples” across Japan. Foreign tourists are welcome to visit them, but there are particular manners and etiquette rules for sightseeing.

Shrines and temples are considered sacred places, and you should behave quietly with respect. Smoking is not allowed inside of the precincts. Take off your hat and don’t dress too casually when you enter buildings (for example, don’t wear beach sandals).

When arriving at the main building, throw a coin into an offering box in front of the sacred object. Then, make a short prayer with your palms together in front of your chest.

When entering Shrines, you need to do a purification ritual. There’s a water source usually located near the main 鳥居 (Torii) gate and you need to purify your body before proceeding further into the Shrine.

Take a provided ladle to scoop up water and pour it over both of your hands to rinse them. Then pour a bit of water in your hand and use it to rinse your mouth. Do not swallow the water, but spit it out on the ground. Put the ladle back to where it was.

2- Taxi Doors

More often than not, Japanese taxi doors are automatic! So note this tip on Japanese cultural etiquette for taxis.

When you stop a taxi, the driver will pull the lever and open the door (usually for the back seat) for you. After you get in a taxi, the door will close automatically. So don’t try to open or close the taxi door by yourself.

Taxi Dashboard

Japanese taxi calculates fee by meters.

3- Onsen and Swimming Pools

温泉 (Onsen), or hot springs, is one of the most popular things to do in Japan, especially during the cold seasons. If you have large tattoos on your body, however, you have to be checked to see if you’re allowed to use Onsen or the public swimming pool.

This essential Japanese etiquette rule may seem strange, so let us explain.

Traditionally, most Japanese onsen and public pools ban people with tattoos from using the facilities. This is because they intend to keep out Yakuza and members of crime gangs, who are associated with having body tattoos.

However, due to the growing demand of foreign tourists with tattoos, the number of tattoo-friendly facilities is increasing. Some facilities provide cover-up tape to allow those with tattoos access to the facilities. Be sure to check the availability in advance if you have visible tattoos on your body.

When you use Onsen, Japanese etiquette requires that users wash their bodies before entering a pool. Onsen is shared with others and it must be kept clean and hygienic. Even if you’re very excited to experience Onsen, don’t rush straight into a pool; clean yourself first.

Onsen

Japanese Onsen is usually gender-separated and you can’t wear swimsuits.

4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting

As you learn Japanese etiquette, knowing how to greet is essential. Greeting is imperative to the Japanese etiquette and manners, as politeness and respect start from the greeting.

1- Bowing

Bowing is one of the most important common Japanese body language gestures for both formal and informal occasions. People bow to greet, nod, thank, and apologize.

There are variations of how to bow, depending on the depth, duration, and seriousness, but foreign tourists aren’t expected to understand all of it. Japanese people won’t be offended if visitors don’t bow correctly.

Bow politely; bend your head and back in a straight line when you meet someone, thank someone, or say goodbye. Bowing can be a bit awkward for you at first if you’re used to shaking hands, but follow and imitate how Japanese people bow. When someone bows to you as a greeting, it’s usually sufficient to do the same in return.

Two Men Bowing to Each Other

Bowing properly and politely is one of the most important business manners.

2- Shaking Hands but No Hugging/Kissing

Japanese people also shake hands when they greet often, such as in a work-related setting. However, the Japanese don’t hug or kiss as a greeting. Japanese people prefer to keep personal space, and traditionally avoid intimate physical body contact in public.

Hugging as a greeting can be done by Japanese people only in special cases, such as meeting someone you know well after quite a long time, or when a person is extremely emotional with joy or in mourning. Ordinary Japanese people never kiss as a greeting. If you try to hug or kiss a Japanese person whom you just met, they will get startled and feel offended.

So, when you greet Japanese people, just bow or shake hands. Do not hug or kiss.

5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette

1- Remove Your Shoes

Japanese people never wear shoes inside of a house. Every house has 玄関 (genkan) or a sunken-foyer entrance inside of the door where you remove your shoes before you actually enter the main section of the home.

You also have to remove your shoes when entering Japanese traditional accommodations which are called 民宿 (minshuku) or 旅館 (ryokan), temple halls, some restaurants, and buildings with 畳 (tatami) areas. Tatami is a type of mat made of grass used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.

It’s very rude and offensive if you enter places with your shoes on where you’re supposed to take them off, so please be aware!

2- Bring a Gift

One of the essential Japanese etiquette rules when visiting someone’s house is to bring a little お土産 (o-miyage), or a gift, for the host in return for their hospitality. It’s common courtesy to give a nicely wrapped gift to the host to show your appreciation for their invitation. Common gifts include sweets or drinks that they can share and enjoy while you’re visiting.

It’s rude to visit without a gift, especially when you know that the host will cook meals for you. So, when you’re invited to your friend’s place, buy cakes or a bottle of wine, and arrive on time.

Two Glasses of Wine Being Poured

A bottle of wine or Champagne would be a good choice to take for a dinner invitation.

3- Slippers

If you’re invited to someone’s home as a guest, you may be offered a pair of slippers at the genkan for walking around inside. Slippers are okay on wooden or smooth flooring, but don’t wear slippers on tatami flooring. Remove your slippers before entering a Japanese tatami room.

In addition, some households have toilet slippers. You should change out of your original slippers into toilet slippers when you enter the restroom, and never step outside the restroom wearing toilet slippers. Some hotels and restaurants also have such separated slippers in the restroom.

To learn more, please watch our YouTube video about How to Visit Someone’s House.

6. Japanese Business Etiquette

Business

Now, it’s time for our Japanese business etiquette guide. Be mindful of all the Japanese business etiquette dos and don’ts here, because they can make or break your first impression.

1- Greeting and Introduction

According to Japanese business etiquette rules, when you meet someone in a business-related occasion, it’s considered good manners to greet them with a decent bow. You should also introduce yourself briefly with your business card.

As for bowing, stand straight first, put your hands in line with the sides of your body, and bend your upper body forward. You shouldn’t bow too quickly, and don’t just bend your head nor arch your back.

Japanese people usually talk about themselves with their name, which company they work for, what job position they’re in, and sometimes how long they’ve worked for their company or industry. Telling or asking for detailed personal information is usually inappropriate.

To learn more about bowing, please see How to Bow in Japan & Manners.

2- Exchanging Business Cards

When you meet someone, exchanging 名刺 (meishi), or business cards, is a must-do business custom in Japan in formal settings. Treat a business card with care, as Japanese people regard it as one’s face.

Make sure you give or receive a business card with both hands when exchanging cards. Handing a card with just one hand is considered very rude. Further, read a card you were given carefully, and ask some questions or offer comments; this is a good way to start a conversation.

Man Giving Woman a Business Card

Japanese businessmen often bow when they exchange business cards.

3- Dining in Business Settings

Whether you’re dining with colleagues, your boss, or your clients, the seating position is important in business settings.

The seat in the deepest part of the room and the furthest place from the door is considered the best seat, and it should be offered to the most respected person (such as the person in the highest job position, or the oldest person). Further, clients are prioritized above your colleagues, even your boss. The seat closest to the door is considered the least important position, and this is usually used by the youngest person.

Also, the youngest person (or the person in the lowest job position) should usually take everyone’s drink order and tell it to the waiter or waitress. The most respected or important person often gives a small speech and gives a Kanpai toast.

Dining in a business setting in Japan is very hierarchical, and roles at the dining table are implicitly allocated and performed according to the participants’ attributes.

To learn more, our video about How to Attend a Japanese Company Drinking Party is useful.

7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope this article about Japanese etiquette and manners is helpful, and that you’ll have a more enjoyable experience when you visit Japan!

If you’d like to learn about the Japanese language, you’ll find very useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have a YouTube channel where you can enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. Learning Japanese gestures is also very helpful when it comes to understanding Japanese etiquette and culture.

When you plan to visit Japan, don’t forget to check out the following content: Learn the Top 25 Must-Know Japanese Phrases!, Top 20 Travel Phrases You Should Know in Japanese, Best Traveling Tips and Places to Visit in Japan!, and much more.

Before you go, be sure to let us know in the comments what you thought about our Japanese etiquette guide. Do you feel more confident now, or is there still a situation or topic you need information about? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Japanese Calendar Dates: Reading Dates in Japanese and More

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Learning how to read dates is one of the most basic things when learning a new language, and it’s essential in everyday life. For instance, you use dates when making appointments, buying tickets for a particular day, asking for someone’s birthday, etc.

Expressing the date in Japanese isn’t very complicated. The date in Japanese mostly follows the counter system, with just a few exceptions; English, on the other hand, has different names for the months and days of the week.

You’ll be able to learn dates in Japanese much easier once you know Japanese numbers. If you’re not yet familiar with numbers in Japanese, please visit Japanese Numbers on our website.

Table of Contents

  1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?
  2. How to Say the Years in Japanese
  3. How to Say the Months in Japanese
  4. How to Say the Days in Japanese
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese
  6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?

Numbers

How to say dates in Japanese is very simple. Dates in Japanese writing start with the year, then the month, and finally the day. The only exception is when there’s a particular instruction to write it a different way, such as on an entry form.

1- How to Write Dates in Japanese

1. April 30, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 or 2019/04/30  

  • 年 (nen) : year
  • 月 (gatsu) : month
  • 日(nichi) : day

2. With the days of the week, Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 (火曜) or 2019年4月30日 (火)

  • The days of the week are usually indicated in a round bracket ( ) and placed after the day.
  • The name of the day is expressed in a short form.

Tuesday is 火曜日(ka-yōbi), but when it’s expressed in a written form, it usually becomes 火曜 (ka-yō) or just 火 (ka).

2- How to Read Dates in Japanese

2019年4月30日 (火曜) is read as follows:

Ni-sen jū-kyū / nen / shi / gatsu / san-jū / nichi / ka-yō

Literally translated as:
Two-thousand ten nine / year / four / month / three ten / day / Tuesday

To listen to the pronunciation of basic Japanese numbers, please visit Numbers on our website.

3- Examples

  • 今日は2019年1月13日です。
    Kyō wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen ichi-gatsu jū-san-nichi desu.
    Today is January 13th, 2019.
  • 私は1990年5月1日生まれです。
    Watashi wa sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū-nen go-gatsu tsuitachi umare desu.
    I was born on May 1st, 1990.
  • 試験は2019年8月30日です。
    Shiken wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen hachi-gatsu san-jū-nichi desu.
    The examination is on August 30th, 2019.

Man Looking at Schedule

In Japan, keeping the date and time for appointments is very important. Please don’t mix up months and dates!

2. How to Say the Years in Japanese

1- Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian calendar is very common in Japan to express the years.

Just say the year and then add “nen (年)” which is a year counter meaning ‘year’.

  • 1575年 : sen go-hyaku nana-jū go-nen
  • 1998年:sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū hachi-nen
  • 2003年:ni-sen san-nen

In some cases, numbers can be expressed with the last two digits as a short version.

For example, 1998 is 98年 (kyū-jū hachi-nen).

2- Japanese Era Calendar

Did you know that there’s also a Japanese calendar?

The Japanese people use 和暦 (Wareki), or the Japanese era calendar, which is based on the reigns of Japanese emperors. The previous era was called 平成 (Heisei), which started on January 8, 1989, when the previous Emperor, Akihito, acceded to the throne following the death of his father. The current era is called 令和 (Reiwa), which started on May 1, 2019, when the current Emperor, Naruhito, acceded to the throne following the abdication of his father.

2019 is the first year of the Reiwa era. It’s written as 令和1年 and read as Reiwa ichi-nen.

This traditional Japanese era calendar is often used for official occasions and in written form, such as in official documents used for public services at a city hall.

3- Vocabulary for Describing Relative Years

  • 今年 ことし (Kotoshi) : This year
  • 去年 きょねん (Kyonen) : Last year
  • 一昨年 おととし (Ototoshi) : The year before last year
  • 来年 らいねん (Rainen) : Next year
  • 再来年 さらいねん (Sarainen) : The year after next year
  • 閏年 うるうどし (Urūdoshi) : Leap year
  • 毎年 まいとし (Maitoshi) : Every year

4- Examples

  • 今年は2019年です。
    Kotoshi wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen desu.
    This year is 2019.
  • 来年の2020年はうるう年です。
    Rainen no ni-sen ni-jū-nen wa urūdoshi desu.
    The next year of 2020 is a leap year.
  • 2005年は平成17年です。
    Ni-sen go-nen wa Heisei jū nana-nen desu.
    2005 was year seventeen of the Heisei era.
  • 私は2012年に結婚しました。
    Watashi wa ni-sen jū ni-nen ni kekkon shimashita. 
    I got married in 2012.

3. How to Say the Months in Japanese

Months

1- Saying the Month in Japanese: Japanese Months

Using months and dates in Japanese is very simple. It follows this simple pattern, without exception:

Name a number (1-12) of the month, and then just add 月 (gatsu), which is a month counter meaning “month.”

 

          English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1           January           一月            いちがつ           ichi-gatsu
2           February            二月           にがつ           ni-gatsu
3           March            三月           さんがつ           san-gatsu
4           April            四月           しがつ           shi-gatsu
5           May           五月           ごがつ           go-gatsu
6           June            六月           ろくがつ           roku-gatsu
7           July            七月           しちがつ           shichi-gatsu
8           August           八月           はちがつ           hachi-gatsu
9           September           九月           くがつ           ku-gatsu
10           October           十月            じゅうがつ           jū-gatsu
11           November           十一月           じゅういちがつ           jū ichi-gatsu
12           December           十二月           じゅうにがつ           jū ni-gatsu

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the months in Japanese, please visit Talking about Months on our website.

2- Relative Vocabulary for the Month in Japanese

  • 今月 こんげつ (Kongetsu) : This month
  • 先月 せんげつ (Sengetsu) : Last month
  • 先々月 せんせんげつ (Sensengetsu) : Month before last month
  • 来月 らいげつ (Raigetsu) : Next month
  • 再来月 さらいげつ (Saraigetsu) : Next next month
  • 毎月 まいつき (Maitsuki) : Every month

3- Examples

  • 私は六月生まれです。
    Watashi wa roku-gatsu umare desu.
    I was born in June.
  • 日本では四月に学校が始まります。
    Nihon de wa shi-gatsu ni gakkō ga hajimarimasu.
    School starts in April in Japan.
  • 私の誕生日は先月でした。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa sengetsu deshita.
    My birthday was last month.
  • 今月は仕事が忙しいです。
    Kongetsu wa shigoto ga isogashii desu.
    This month is busy with work.

4. How to Say the Days in Japanese

Weekdays

1- Days

How to say the days of the month in Japanese is a bit more complicated.

The basic pattern for days and dates in Japanese is number + 日 (nichi), which is a day counter meaning “day.”

All the dates are written in this pattern. However, when it comes to reading, there are some exceptions and irregularities, indicated in blue in the chart below.

The days, especially those from one to ten, have a unique reading which is very different from ordinary Japanese Numbers. After eleven, it’s basically read with regular numbers and 日 (nichi), except for fourteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-four, and twenty-nine.

It’s very common to use Arabic numerals to express dates, together with the kanji 日 (nichi). For example: 1日, 24日, 30日, etc.

Dates are also often written in Kanji, especially in official documents and vertical writing scripts. 

English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1st      一日      ついたち      tsuitachi
2nd      二日      ふつ・か      futsuka
3rd      三日      みっ・か      mikka
4th      四日      よっ・か      yokka
5th      五日       いつ・か     vitsuka
6th      六日      むい・か      muika
7th      七日      なの・か      nanoka
8th      八日      よう・か      yōka
9th      九日      ここの・か      kokonoka
10th      十日      とお・か      tōka
11th      十一日       じゅう・いち・にち      jū ichi-nichi
12th      十二日      じゅう・に・にち      jū ni-nichi
13th      十三日      じゅう・さん・にち      jū san-nichi
14th      十四日      じゅう・よっ・か      jū yokka
15th      十五日      じゅう・ご・にち      jū go-nichi
16th      十六日      じゅう・ろく・にち      jū roku-nichi
17th      十七日      じゅう・しち・にち      jū shichi-nichi
18th      十八日      じゅう・はち・にち      jū hachi-nichi
19th      十九日      じゅう・く・にち      jū ku-nichi
20th      二十日      はつ・か      hatsuka
21st      二十一日      に・じゅう・いち・にち      ni-jū ichi-nichi
22nd      二十二日      に・じゅう・に・にち      ni-jū ni-nichi
23rd      二十三日      に・じゅう・さん・にち      ni-jū san-nichi
24th      二十四日      に・じゅう・よっ・か      ni-jū yokka
25th      二十五日      に・じゅう・ご・にち      ni-jū go-nichi
26th      二十六日      に・じゅう・ろく・にち      ni-jū roku-nichi
27th      二十七日      に・じゅう・しち・にち      nijū shichi-nichi
28th      二十八日      に・じゅう・はち・にち      ni-jū hachi-nichi
29th      二十九日      に・じゅう・く・にち      ni-jū ku-nichi
30th      三十日      さん・じゅう・にち      san-jū-nichi
31st      三十一日      さん・じゅう・いち・にち      san-jū ichi-nichi

2- Relative Vocabulary for Days

  • 今日 きょう (Kyō) : Today
  • 昨日 きのう (Kinō) : Yesterday
  • 一昨日 おととい (Ototoi) : The day before yesterday
  • 明日 あした (Ashita) : Tomorrow
  • 明後日 あさって (Asatte) : The day after tomorrow
  • 毎日 まいにち (Mainichi) : Everyday

3- Examples

  • 今日は六月一日です。
    Kyō wa roku-gatsu tsuitachi desu.
    Today is June 1st.
  • 五月五日は子供の日で、祝日です。
    Go-gatsu itsuka wa kodomo no hi de, shukujistu desu.
    May 5th is Children’s Day and it is a national holiday.
  • 私の誕生日は二月二十日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa ni-gatsu hatsuka desu.
    My birthday is February 20th.
  • 4月24日の天気予報は雨です。
    Shi-gatsu ni-jū yokka no tenki yohō wa ame desu.  
    The weather forecast on April 24th is rain.

Flipping Through Pages of a Calendar

The Japanese calendar often starts on Sunday.

5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese

1- Days of the Week

How to say the days of the week in Japanese is simple. All of them are named after elements and nature, and they all end with 曜日(yōbi) which denotes a day of the week.

English      Kanji      Hiragana      How to read      Meaning
Monday      月曜日      げつ ようび      gets-yōbi      月 means “moon”
Tuesday      火曜日      か ようび      ka-yōbi      火 means “fire”
Wednesday      水曜日      すい ようび      su- yōbi      水 means “water”
Thursday      木曜日      もく ようび      moku-yōbi      木 means “wood”
Friday      金曜日      きん ようび      kin-yōbi      金 means “gold”
Saturday      土曜日      ど ようび      do-yōbi      土 means “earth”
Sunday      日曜日      にち ようび      nichi-yōbi      日 means “sun”

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the days of the week in Japanese, please visit Talking about Days on our website.

2- Relative Vocabularies of Week

“Week” in Japanese is 週 (shū).

  • 平日 へいじつ (Heijitsu) : Weekday
  • 週末 しゅうまつ (Shūmatsu) : Weekend
  • 今週 こんしゅう (Konshū) : This week
  • 先週 せんしゅう (Senshū) : Last week
  • 先々週 せんせんしゅう (Sensenshū) : Week before last week
  • 来週 らいしゅう (Raishū) : Next week
  • 再来週 さらいしゅう (Saraishū) : Next next week
  • 毎週 まいしゅう (Maishū) : Every week

3- Examples

  • 今週は金曜日が休みです。
    Konshū wa kin-yōbi ga yasumi desu.
    Friday is off this week.
  • 2月4日は月曜日です。
    Ni-gatsu yokka wa getsu-yōbi desu.
    February 4th is Monday.
  • 来週の土曜日は結婚記念日です。
    Raishū no do-yōbi wa kekkon kinenbi desu.
    Saturday of next week is a marriage anniversary.
  • 月曜日から金曜日まで仕事で忙しいです。
    Getsu-yōbi kara kin-yōbi made shigoto de isogashii desu.
    I am busy with work from Monday to Friday.

Person Writing on a Calendar Planner

Saturdays and Sundays are usually off at work and school in Japan, but some schools have classes on Saturdays and some people work on weekends.

6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese

1- Appointments / Reservations

  • 2月14日は何か予定ありますか。
    Ni-gatsu jū-yokka wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    Do you have any plans for February 14th?
  • 土曜日と日曜日の週末なら空いています。
    Do-yōbi to nichi-yōbi no shūmatsu nara aite imasu.
    I am free on weekends, Saturday and Sunday.
  • 12月25日に予約は取れますか。
    Jū ni-gatsu ni-jū go-nichi ni yoyaku wa toremasu ka.
    Can I make a reservation for December 25th?
  • 7月13日に予約をお願いします。
    Shichi-gatsu jū san-nichi ni yoyaku o onegai shimasu.
    Please make a reservation for July 13th.

Table with Reserved Sign On It

When you make an appointment or reservation, make sure you mention the date in addition to the day of the week.

2- Asking / Answering Questions

  • 今日は何日の何曜日ですか。
    Kyō wa nan-nichi no nan-yōbi desu ka.
    What day is it today?

    今日は3月10日の日曜日です。
    Kyō wa san-gatsu tōka no nichi-yōbi desu.
    Today is March 10th and Sunday.

  • あなたの誕生日はいつですか。
    Anata no tanjōbi wa itsu desu ka.
    When is your birthday?

    私の誕生日は8月7日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa hachi-gatsu nanoka desu.
    My birthday is August 7th.

  • いつから学校が始まりますか。
    Itsu kara gakkō ga hajimarimasu ka.
    When does your school start?

    私の学校は4月1日に始まります。
    Watashi no gakkō wa shi-gatsu tsuitachi ni hajimarimasu.
    My school starts on April 1st.

7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article about reading dates in Japanese is helpful for you to improve your Japanese. The date is one of the most important counters when it comes to numbers. There are a variety of Japanese counter words for each object, action, or event that you should also learn.

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

On our YouTube channel, you’ll enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about reading dates in Japanese now! Do you feel like you know your way around Japanese calendar dates and saying dates in Japanese? Why not practice telling dates in Japanese by dropping us a comment with today’s date?

We always look forward to hearing from you!

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