How to Say the Four Seasons in Japanese

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In this post we are going to learn about shiki (四季 / しき) or the ‘four seasons’ in Japanese.

So if you’re looking to expand your Japanese vocabulary, or are interested in learning a bit about the different times of the year in Japan, then this is just the post for you!

How to say seasons in Japanese

First, here’s a quick-start guide on how to say the four seasons in Japanese:

Season季節 きせつkisetsu
Four seasons四季しきshiki
Spring, summer, autumn, winter春夏秋冬しゅんかしゅうとうshunkashuutou

We’ll explore this Japanese seasonal vocabulary in more detail below!

Names of the four seasons in Japanese



A woman in a pink kimono walks through a Japanese cherry blossom garden in the spring season in Japan.

Haru (春 / はる) is Japanese for ‘spring’. Springtime is a very popular time of the year to visit Japan, as it is when the sakura (aka cherry blossoms) bloom and the infamous hanami (花見 / はなみ), or cherry blossom viewing festival takes place!

In Japan, spring spans from March to May, however the cherry blossoms bloom at different times depending on the conditions and area.

So, make sure to keep up with the sakura forecast if you want to catch them at the right time!



Japanese pagoda with Mt. Fuji in the background during the summer Season in Japan.

Natsu (夏 / なつ) means ‘summer’. Summer in Japan is extremely hot and humid. The summer months are generally between June to August, although the hot summer weather can last well into September!

Summer starts off with the rainy season in June, known as tsuyu (梅雨 / つゆ). After this, the temperatures will soar, reaching to an average of 30°C across the country. 

Even when the rainy season is over, you will still see many people sporting umbrellas in the hot weather! These are actually parasols and are used as protection from the strong sun. 



A Japanese pagoda in the middle of a pond surrounded by fall trees with red leaves, showing the beauty of the autumn season in Japan.

Aki (秋 / あき) is ‘autumn’ or ‘fall’. From September to November is generally considered the autumn months.

Autumn is a great time to visit Japan because similarly to spring, it is not too hot nor too cold! The temperature is pleasant and the views of the colourful autumn leaves are a spectacular sight.

These striking red and orange leaves are called momiji (紅葉 / もみじ), and they are just as stunning as the sakura in springtime.



The golden pagoda in Kyoto, Japan, shining brilliantly in the snow in the winter season in Japan.

Fuyu (冬 / ふゆ) is ‘winter’ in Japanese! Winter is from December to February.

Depending on what part of Japan you visit, the winter weather conditions will vary. For example, in Tokyo, the temperatures are low but don’t often go below freezing. The weather is rather dry and sunny, so snowfall is quite a rarity in the city.

On the other hand, if you go up north to Hokkaido, it’s a completely different story! If you are a fan of skiing, snowboarding or ice skating this is definitely the place to be.

In Sapporo, the yuki matsuri (雪まつり / ゆきまつり) or ‘snow festival’, is arguably the biggest event of the year! The festival exhibits many intricate and sizable snow and ice sculptures in the town along with food stalls and pretty lights.

Note that in Japanese, the ‘f’ sound is pronounced as a kind of crossover between the ‘f’ and ‘h’ sounds. So although it’s fuyu it sounds more like ‘huyu’. 

Words for seasons in Japanese

Now you know the names of the four seasons in Japanese, but how do you talk about the seasons in general? There are actually a few words for ‘season’ or ‘seasons’ in Japanese, such as:




Kisetsu (季節 / きせつ) is the most commonly used word for season in Japanese. It translates simply as ‘season’ or ‘time of year’.

In addition to referring to the seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, you can use kisetsu to talk about times of the year when certain things happen. For example:

  • samui kisetsu (寒い季節 / さむいきせつ) – the cold season
  • ohanami no kisetsu (お花見の季節 / おはなみのきせつ) – cherry-blossom viewing season
  • nyuushi no kisetsu (入試のきせつ季節 / にゅうしのきせつ) – entrance exam season
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The four seasons

Shiki (四季 / しき) means four seasons. It consists of the kanji characters 四 (shi), meaning four, and 季, season, which you will recognise as the first character in 季節 / kisetsu above.



Spring to winter

Shunkashuutou (春夏秋冬 / しゅんかしゅうとう) is the kanji characters for all four seasons in one compound.

It translates as ‘the four seasons’ or simply ‘spring, summer, autumn (or fall) and winter’.

春夏秋冬 is a yojijukugo (四字熟語 / よじじゅくご) or four-character compound. Yojijukugo are a feature of the Japanese language often seen in idioms or Japanese quotes.

Although it essentially means the same as shiki (四季 / しき), shunkashuutou sounds more expressive and impactful.

This term uses the onyomi pronunciation (aka Chinese reading) as the kanji characters come together in a compound. You saw above that we pronounce the kanji for the seasons differently when speaking about them in an individual sense.

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Hannah Stafford

Hannah is a half Irish/half Japanese girl living in Ireland. Her love for Japan and the Japanese language led her to studying languages and translation in university where she specialised in Japanese. She spent a year studying abroad at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. In her free time, Hannah enjoys using her sewing machine to upcycle clothes and create new pieces!

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