Talking about the weather in Japanese

Weather in Japan

Talking about the weather in Japanese 天気

Japan weather.

Although the English might be renowned for always talking about the weather, you haven’t heard the Japanese! Perhaps, however, it’s less the actual weather they obsess about than the seasonal climate.

Never, ever – ever – in Japan is the temperature “just right,” or chodo ii. It is always either (grimacing) atsui, i.e. hot, or samui, i.e. cold. In other words, the Japanese love complaining about the climate more than actually talking about it.

So talking about the weather in Japanese is actually remarkably easy. Forget about grammar and sophisticated vocab. With atsui and samui – and the appropriate body language and grimaces – you’ve basically mastered it.

However, it you’d like to add a few descriptive touches, here are some extra words that might come in handy:

weather – tenki
climate – kiko
temperature – ondo
rain – ame (rhymes with lamé)
snow – yuki (rhymes with spooky)
wind – kaze (also “cold” as in “to catch a cold)
cloudy – kumori
sunny – hare (like “hurray!,” but with the stress on the first syllable)
muggy / humid – mushi-atsui (mooshy atsooey)
warm – atatakai

Example conversation

Mrs. Tanaka: Ohayo gozaimasu! (Good morning)

Mrs. Bando: Ohayo gozaimasu! (Good morning)

Mrs. Tanaka: Kyo wa honto ni samui desu ne. (It’s really cold today, isn’t it.)

Mrs. Bando: So desu ne. Honto ni samui desu yo. (Yes, it really is cold.)

Mrs. Tanaka: Kaze o hikanai yo ni ki o tsukete kudasai ne. (Please take care not to catch a cold.)

Mrs. Bando: Arigato gozaimasu. (Thank you very much.)

Mrs. Tanaka: Kotoshi wa toku ni hayatte imasu mono. (They are particularly prevalent this year.)

Mrs. Bando: Desu yo ne! (You’re telling me!)

Mrs. Tanaka: Konna samui hi ga tsuzuku to nakanaka naorinikui mono desu shi. (And with the cold days persisting like this, it’s very difficult to cure.)

Mrs. Bando: Tashika ni so desho ne. (I’m sure you’re right.)

Mrs. Tanaka: Toku ni kodomo ga hiku to kawaiso desu mono. (And you feel particularly sorry for any children who catch it.)

Mrs. Bando: Tashika ni! (Without a doubt!) Atatakaku suru to ii desu ne. (It’s good to dress up warm.)

Mrs. Tanaka: So nan desu yo. (So true.)

Mrs. Bando: Ne! (But isn’t it just!)

Mrs. Tanaka: Dewa, dewa. Soro soro shitsurei shimasu ne. (Well, well, I’d better get going.)

Mrs. Bando: Hai, hai! (Very well!)

Mrs. Tanaka: O-karada ki o tsukete kudasai ne. (Look after yourself won’t you.)

Mrs. Bando: Hai, domo domo. (Yes, thank you.)

Mrs. Tanaka: Dewa, shitsurei shimasu. (All right, goodbye.)

Mrs. Bando: Hai, shitsurei shimasu. (Goodbye)


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