10 Japanese Winter Words and How To Use Them

10 Japanese Winter Words and How To Use Them

The coldest season came and Christmas and New Year’s decorations with it. But how to describe this season in Japanese? Adjectives, festivities, and food! Here’s our guide about 10 useful Japanese Winter words!

Typical Japanese Winter Words

1. Fuyu・冬

First of all, the word “Winter” is ふゆ – Fuyu. Prepare for cold, snow, and amazing white landscapes. It’s also the time to prepare for New Year’s celebration!

The kanji 冬 is simple, and you can combine it to have winter-related things:

  • 冬休み・Fuyuyasumi, winter vacation
  • 冬着・Fuyugi, winter clothing

2. Samui・寒い

How to describe winter without the word “cold“? In Japanese, it’s Samui – さむい. It’s the opposite of 暑い (atsui)・”hot”. In the same way, it’s an -i ending adjective which you can conjugate like this:

Present/future form: 寒いSamuiIt’s cold
Present/ future negative form: 寒くないSamukunaiIt’s not cold
Past affermative form: 寒かった SamukattaIt was cold
Past Negative form: 寒くなかったSamukunakattaIt wasn’t cold
Continuative form: 寒くてSamukuteIt’s cold and…

3. Yuki・雪

Yuki Snow ゆき Winter Japanese word

Here’s the protagonist of the Winter season: the snow – Yuki, ゆき. The kanji for it is similar to the one for “rain” – Ame (雨), with something more. Do not mistake it!

In addition, remember how to say “snowman”: Yukidaruma – ゆきだるま (雪だるま).

4. Christmas Tree・クリスマスツリー

Japan does celebrate Christmas, even if it’s not an official Holiday. The streets will be full of decorations and light. Of course, the word comes from English and so it’s written in katakana: クリスマス – Kurisumasu. And what’s this festivity without a proper Christmas tree・クリスマスツリー?

5. New Year’s Day・お正月

Japanese winter words New Year's Day・お正月

In Japan, the first day of the New Year is considered more important than the last. To refer to it, use the word Oshougatsu, お正月. During this period, you can find special “New Year’s decorations”, the 正月飾り・Shougatsu kazari, like the Kadomatsu – かどまつ (門松), the decorations with pine branches.

Furthermore, a special New Year’s cuisine exists for the first day of the year: it’s the Oseichi Ryouri・お聖地料理. It’s an assortment of colorful dishes packed together in special boxes, where colors are the main theme. Every little dish has a special meaning in welcoming the New Year.

Japanese winter words Oseichi ryouri お聖地料理

6. Hatsumoude・初詣

はつもうで・Hatsumoude it’s the first New Year’s visit to a Shinto shrine. To learn how to behave there, check our guidelines about How to visit a Shinto shrine!

7. Kotatsu・炬燵

Japanese winter words Kotatsu こたつ 炬燵

If you never try this it’s hard to imagine how it is. Kotatsu consists of a low table with a heating device covered by a blanket. On cold days, eating a snack with tea under it is just the best!

8. Mandarin・みかん

Mandarins are very appreciated during the Winter season in Japan. This fruit under a Kotatsu will be just the perfect pairing to relax with during cold days!

9. Oden・おでん

おでん Oden Japanese Winter words Japanese food

Oden it’s a Japanese hotpot with assorted ingredients like daikon, tofu, or fish cake. Watch it, if you can’t stand hot food, you will be called a Nekojita・ねこじた!

10. Mochi・餅

Last of our Winter words list, the Mochi! This is a typical Japanese rice cake, with a special version of it during the New Year’s: the Kagami Mochi.

Check paragraph 3 of this article to know more about it!

Thank you for reading!

If you liked this article, do not miss the essential vocabulary for the other Japanese seasons!

Japanese Vocabulary: 13 Summer Words You Need to Know

Japanese Vocabulary: 10 Easy Fall Words You Need To Know!

Author: Valeria (graduated at Ca’Foscari University Japanese Studies)

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