Do You Know These 6 Essential Japanese Vocabulary Items for Winter?

  • Winter is here in Japan, bringing dry air, clear skies, and huge snowfall in northern prefectures such as Aomori, Hokkaido, and Iwate. There are a lot of great things about winter in Japan, such as hot and delicious drinks, seasonal food such as hot pot, and winter illuminations.

    Here are some useful words that will come in handy during winter in Japan.

    1. Samui

    “Samui” means “cold.” If you want to say that you’re feeling chilly in Japanese, you can say “Watashi wa samui desu,” or simply just “samui” on its own. If you’re going to be in Japan during the colder season, this word will come in handy.

    2. Yuki

    “Yuki” means “snow.” Depending on whereabouts you are in Japan, you might be using this word a lot. “Watashi wa yuki ga daisuki desu,” means “I like snow,” and “Watashi wa yuki ga kirai desu,” means “I dislike snow.” If you want to say that it’s snowing, you can say “Yuki ga futteimasu.”

    Northern prefectures such as the northernmost main island, Hokkaido, as well as Iwate, Nagano, and Aomori, get a lot of snow in winter, particularly in January and February.

    3. Shougatsu

    This means “New Year.” New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is very important in Japan, with its own set of traditions and customs. Almost everybody gets both of these days off from work and traditionally, families visit local shrines together to wish for good luck and health for the new year. The vocabulary for this time is “Shougatsu.”

    If you want to say “Happy New Year,” then you can say “Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu,” which literally translates to mean “Congratulations for the opening.”

    4. Danbou

    A “danbou” is a heater. Gas heaters are very popular and you might have come across the kind that needs to be refilled with fuel. These days, most Japanese households and offices have an air conditioner that also works to generate heat. You’ll find you’re using the danbou feature of this machine a lot while you’re inside a house on a cold winter’s day.

    5. Yuki daruma

    As we now know, “yuki” means “snow.” “Daruma” comes from the word meaning, “a type of doll with no arms and no legs.” Can you guess what “yuki daruma” means? That’s right – snowman!

    As in the West, it’s popular for children and adults to build snowmen and snow animals while there’s snow on the ground in Japan. If you can make it to Hokkaido in February, you can see all sorts of exciting yuki daruma and more at the famous Sapporo Snow Festival.

    6. Fuyu

    The final word on this list is “fuyu,” which means “winter”! This is the season in Japan for winter sports, Christmas preparations, as well as gloves and hats.

    With these six essential vocabulary items, you’re prepared for spending the winter season in Japan! You’re sure to hear these words often, especially “samui,” as the Japanese are not afraid of talking about the weather. Are you a fan of the colder season?