Besides being known for technology and sprawling urban spaces, Japan is also very famous for its lush nature spots!
Surely, you’ve seen photos of snow-capped Mount Fuji, huge Lake Biwa, or bamboo forests (or been there in the flesh!).
Here are 70 Japanese words for nature to color your vocabulary green (or any color depending on the season!)
We also included a number of seasonal words for spring, summer, autumn, and winter. There is also a short section for unique nature vocabulary.
Basic Japanese words for nature
These are some of the essential Japanese words for practically everything we see in nature.
|Universe / Space||宇宙||うちゅう||uchuu|
|Sun||日 / 太陽||ひ / たいよう||hi / taiyou|
|Branch / twig||枝||えだ||eda|
|Moss / lichen||苔||こけ||koke|
|Fire (out of control)||火事||かじ||kaji|
|Sky / Heavens||空||そら||sora|
Seasonal Japanese vocabulary for nature
Japan’s nature thrives in every season for sure! Here are some words that correspond to a particular season.
|Autumn / fall||秋||あき||aki|
|Japanese maple tree||紅葉||もみじ||momiji|
It doesn’t end there! You can read more about handy and beautiful seasonal Japanese words in these articles:
- 16+ Essential Japanese Words For Spring
- 13 Words For A Perfect Japanese Summer
- 20 Beautiful Japanese Seasonal Words For Autumn
- 35+ Awesome Japanese Winter Words You Need To Know
Unique and evocative Japanese words related to nature
Beyond the basic and seasonal Japanese nature words listed above, there are many unique and beautiful Japanese words relating to nature. Some of these words, such as shinrinyoku (forest bathing) reflect concepts that we don’t have in English, so they require a bit more explanation. Here are some of our favorite evocative and beautiful Japanese nature words.
This word directly translates to ‘new green’, perfectly describing the fresh leaves of spring. When the cherry blossoms fall and spring deepens, Japan welcomes the shinryoku season (新緑 / しんりょく) to admire the lush green!
Changing leaves during autumn
Of course it’s recommended to visit Japan for the cherry blossoms in spring, but autumn brings a beautiful blend of warm colors thanks to kouyou (紅葉 / こうよう)! This refers to the red, yellow, and orange leaves that change hues during the season.
The kanji for kouyou and momiji or ‘Japanese maple leaves’ are the same! Did you catch that? That’s two ways to read one kanji!
Sun rays shining through the leaves
Another way to translate komorebi (木漏れ日 / こもれび) is ‘sunlight leaking through trees’. It’s a beautiful and peaceful view that we can admire anywhere in the world, and Japan has a particular word for it!
A ‘forest bath’ is perhaps one of the best things to do to relax! Shinrinyoku (森林浴 / しんりんよく) is done by taking a refreshing, meditative walk through a forest. Not only do you get fresh air, nature’s natural healing helps clear your head.
Cold wind in winter
One of the first indicators that winter is starting is kogarashi (木枯らし / こがらし) or the ‘cold wintry wind’! There’s no denying the excitement that comes with feeling that ‘brrrreeze’! 🥶
Flowers appearing like a mist
This Japanese nature word can be translated as a ‘hazy curtain of flowers’. Hanagasumi (花霞 / はながすみ) refers to the view of cherry blossoms looking like mist from afar. The next time you go flower viewing or hanami, make sure to take a step back and admire the misty white and pink scenery!
Nature words in Japanese
Now you know many beautiful words to describe nature in Japanese. Which is your favorite? Do you know any more Japanese nature words? Please share in the comments!
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Thea is a freelance content writer, currently majoring in Japanese studies. She likes to create art and draws inspiration from film and music. Thea was inspired to study Japanese language and culture by reading the literary works of Haruki Murakami and Edogawa Ranpo.