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Japanese Words for Family


It’s a quick review day for Japanese words for family! How many do you know already?? This list is contains the casual forms of the family words used when speaking to friends or family. I’m also creating a list for polite family words that I will be sending out in the Japanese Words newsletter. So if you aren’t already a Japanese Words member, be sure to sign up today. You can find the Japanese Words sign up page here.


If you enjoyed this post and found these Japanese words useful. You might also like the following posts:

1000+ Japanese Words List

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A few days a go I made a post with some common Japanese words that you could use in situations for traveling and basic communication. Writing that post reminded me of a list of vocab/ kanji words I had put together a few years ago. After a little bit of searching I was able to find the list and have included it at the bottom of the post for anyone to download. It is a collection of words from the Japanese textbooks I had used when I was a study abroad student in Japan. The list contains nearly 1300 Japanese words with kanji, hiragana, and English readings.

The Japanese words on this list are in the order that they appeared in the text. The text books were generally in order of easier common words to more difficult words. However, the fact still remains they came from a text book and there will be words you should probably skip or at least put off to a later study date.  Since some of them will not be that important (for instance, if you are just learning Japanese then you probable don’t need to learn “Shinai” (bamboo sword) right away) I recommend that you go through the list and mark off uncommon and rarely used words.

Removing the rare and unused words will save you a lot of wasted time on learning Japanese words that you will never use. I have left the list complete, but most people will benefit by eliminating some of the words from their study. You can find a better explanation on learning Japanese words in this article on How to Learn Japanese Words.

To download the file, right click the below link and choose “save link as”or “save file as”.

Japanese words list


First 20 entries in the Japanese words list:

漢字 Pronunciation Meaning
歴史 れきし History
文学 ぶんがく Literature
国際関係 こくさいかんけい International relations
奨学金 しょうがくきん Scholarship
図書室 としょしつ Library room
作文 さくぶん composition/essay
事務所 じむしょ Office
お昼 おひる Noon
あさ Morning
今朝 けさ This morning
夕べ ゆうべ Last night
横浜 よこはま Place name
箱根 はこね Place name
漢字 かんじ Chinese character
雑誌 ざっし Magazine
ばん Evening
よる Night
遊ぶ あそぶ Play
勉強 べんきょう Study
剣道 けんどう Kendo

This was something I made a few years ago, so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you find any errors.

Common Japanese Words

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Words are the building blocks of language. In order to have any type of conversation in Japanese, you will need to know a certain amount of Japanese words. The more Japanese words you know, the more you will be able to communicate. However, it’s not just the number of Japanese words that’s important, but also which ones.

When most people think of learning the Japanese language, they think of the years of hard work they will need to put in. The majority of people consider this hard work and the amount of time it will take to reach fluency, and decide it’s impossible. Having studied Japanese and language learning for over 9 years, I have heard quite a few people say they could never do it. However, learning a new language, even one like Japanese, isn’t as difficult and doesn’t take as long as most people think. In fact, with diligent study and the right materials, I believe someone can have a level of fluency within a matter of months.

The Japanese language has hundreds of thousands of words, but it is only a small fraction of those words that makes up the majority of both  the spoken and written language. Since the written words and spoken words will be slightly different, and because most of your communication in Japanese will be spoken, the quickest way to gain fluency is to learn the most commonly spoken Japanese words and phrases.

The key is too choose the right materials. I have used literally dozens of Japanese books and most of them have one common problem, they are full of Japanese words and situational phrases that you don’t need to know. Most also focus too much on learning to say things a proper way. This is great for someone who wants to learn proper Japanese, but will slow down someone who wants to gain conversational fluency. Also, don’t be afraid to use use materials such as comic books, tv shows, and movies. The latter two not only allow you to learn commonly used Japanese words, but practice your listening as well.

Below I have created a short list of some of the most common and most helpful Japanese words. These are words that should definitely be in a Japanese learners vocabulary and will especially be helpful for someone planning to visit Japan. Note that this list is by no means comprehensive or complete, but should help you get around when you visit Japan. In addition to the words listed here, I highly recommend that you study as many common Japanese phrases as possible. Learning common Japanese phrases will help you to better communicate and also to put words in context.

You can also find a much larger list containing 1000+ Japanese words in a downloadable pdf format at the below link.

Japanese words list

If you like this list, and would like more like it, be sure to sign up for our free updates. You will also get access to “5 Tips to Study Japanese Faster” and a bunch of other resources. Just add your e-mail to the form below.


Common Japanese Words

English Japanese Japanese
Me, I watashi わたし
Me, I (for males boku ぼく
Yes hai はい
No iie いいえ
What nani なに
Name namae なまえ
Nice to meet you Hajimemashite はじめまして
want to go to~ ~ni ikitai 〜に いきたい
want to eat~ ~wo tabetai 〜を たべたい
want to drink~ ~wo nomitai 〜を のみたい
water omizu おみず
can’t eat~ ~wo taberarenai 〜を たべられない
excuse me/sorry sumimasen すみません
thank you arigatou gozaimasu ありがとうございます
want to buy~ ~wo kaitai 〜を かいたい
want to see~ ~wo mitai 〜を みたい
sorry gomen nasai ごめん なさい
good morning ohayougozaimasu おはようございます
good afternoon konnichi wa こんにちは
good evening konnban wa こんばんは
how are you? ogenki desu ka おげんき です か
I’m fine genki desu げんき です
taxi takushii タクシー
hotel hoteru ホテル
train densha でんしゃ
station eki えき
hospital byouin びょういん
where is~ ~wa doko 〜は どこ
bathroom otearai おてあらい
ticket kippu きっぷ
money okane おかね
bank ginkou ぎんこう
police keisatsu けいさつ
How much? ikura いくら
plane hikouki ひこうき
foreigner gaijin がいじん
Japan nihon にほん
Japanese nihonjin


person hito ひと
hurts itai いたい

25 Other Helpful Japanese Words

noon ohiru おひる
morning asa あさ
evening yoru よる
meal gohan ごはん
play asobu あそぶ
listen kiku きく
expensive takai たかい
half hanbun はんぶん
cheap yasui やすい
room heya へや
art museum bijutsukan びじゅつかん
park koen こうえん
zoo doubutsuen どうぶつえん
express train kaisoku かいそく
subway chikatetsu ちかてつ
car kuruma くるま
close chikai ちかい
far toi とおい
tasty oishii おいしい
spacious hiroi ひろい
narrow semai せまい
warm atatakai あたたかい
cold samui さむい
bright akarui あかるい
dark kurai くらい

Numbers and Time

One ichi いち
Two ni
Three san さん
Four shi
Five go
Six roku ろく
Seven shichi しち
Eight hachi はち
Nine ku
Ten juu じゅう
One hundred hyaku
One thousand sen せん
Ten thousand man まん
Time jikan じかん
~O’clock ji
Fall aki あき
Winter fuyu ふゆ
Spring haru はる
Summer natsu なつ
Monday getsuyoubi げつようび
Tuesday kayoubi かようび
Wednesday suiyoubi すいようび
Thursday mokuyoubi もくようび
Friday kinyoubi きんようび
Saturday doyoubi どようび
Sunday nichiyoubi にちようび
weekend shuumatsu しゅうまつ
vacation, rest yasumi やすみ

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