25 Japanese Weather Words & Terms

By Donnie | Articles

It’s another rainy day here in Japan. It’s not really one of those rainy days that gets you down, it’s just one of those chill in the house and relax type of rainy days. For some reason, today, I was looking out the window trying to think of all the Japanese weather words I know, and instead of just sitting and thinking about them, I figured “Why not write a post about it?” Lately I’ve been really interested in trying to make some noticeable changes in how well I am able to express exactly what I’m thinking. I think part of being able to do that is having a strong command of the basics, the foundational Japanese. So I’m trying to take some time to go back and hit some of the old grammar concepts and vocab. I think weather is definitely one of the important basics. Here we go:

25 Japanese Weather Words & Terms (Tenki 天気)

*Tenki-The Japanese word for weather.*

1. Sunny– Hare (はれ or 晴れ)

2. Rainy– Amefuri (あめふり or 雨降り)

3. Cloudy– Kumori (くもり or 曇り)

4. Overcast– Amagumori (あまぐもり or 雨曇り)

5. Windy– Kaze (かぜ or 風)

6. Hot– Atsui(あつい or 暑い) Just remember that the kaji used for hot (weather) and hot (objects) are different.

7. Cold– Samui (さむい or 寒い)

8. Cool– Suzushi (すずしい or 涼しい)

9. Humid– Jimejime (じめじめ)

10. Dry– Hideri (ひでり or 日照り)

11. Rain– Ame (あめ or 雨)

12. Downpour– Za-Za- (ざーざー)

13. Drizzle– Konukame (こぬかめ or 小糠雨)

14. Sleet– Mizore (みぞれ or 霙)

15. Ice & Snow– Hyousetsu (ひょうせつ or 氷雪)

16. Thunderstorm-Raiu (らいう or 雷雨) 

17. Thunder– Kaminari (かみなり or 雷) Generally this word is used to refer to both thunder and lightning.

18. Lightning– Inazuma (いざぬま or 稲妻) Refers to a flash of lightning, but kaminari is the more common term I think.

19. Temperature– Kion (きおん or 気温)

20. Typhoon– Taifu (たいふ or 台風) This term can be used for both typhoons and hurricanes.

21. Tornado– Tatsumaki- (たつまき or 竜巻) Just think Street Fighter 2, Ryu and Ken 🙂

22. Accumulate– Tsumoru- (つもる or 積もるYou can use this when you talk about snow accumulating on the ground.

23. Precipitation or Rainfall-Kosui (こうすい or 降水)

24. Flood– Kosui (こうすい or 洪水) Same word but different kanji. Japanese is like that sometimes.

25.Rainbow– Niji. (にじ or 虹)

Let’s do a quick brush up on the four season names, too, because they’re pretty important and they’re related.

Winter– Fuyu (ふゆ or 冬)
Spring-Haru (はる or 春)
Summer-Natsu (なつ or 夏)
Fall-Aki (あき or 秋)

If you have any other you’d like to add, please feel to post away in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and I hope these words help.

Donald Ash

About the Author

  • Sean says:

    What about the term “kisho” (気象) which I found on a tropical weather page. Does it literally mean “air elephant”? (Google translate suggests it might mean “air phenomenon”). Somehow in my mind it became “water elephant” and now it’s become my term for thunderstorms. It seems approriate, heavy clouds are like giant water elephants in the air. =)

    • Donald Ash says:

      Whoa! I missed that one. I don’t know if air elephant is the literal translation or not, but the kanji are definitely the same. It’s funny how kanji can be like that sometimes. Even though reading them may be a little tough sometimes, getting an idea of what they mean can sometimes be very straightforward (like in your example). Like iceberg 氷山 uses the kanji for ice and the kanji for mountain. It makes sense, right?

      Thank you so much for posting that, Sean.

      • Ching Wen says:

        Hi, I’m a Taiwanese learning Japanese.
        As I know, sometimes the meaning in Japanese Kanji is the same as Chinese, sometimes doesn’t. In Chinese, 気象(氣象in Chinese character) is Meteorology, like “weather” in a formal way, I guess.
        So in my interpretation, it’s “weather phenomenon,” 気 is for天気, 象 is for 現象(phenomenon,げんしょう)
        And 気象庁 is the meteorological agency, so I think I’ll take it this way. 😀

        Thanks for sharing the post. And it’s fun to learn language with people around the world!

  • ジェームズ says:

    The plain word for snow is missing.雪 Also known as Yukiゆき。This page would also benefit from the verb to fall, of which I don’t know what it is. heh
    Very interesting page;I like the technical terms for sleet, it could prove to be quite useful. これはたのしいです!

  • says:

    Donald Sensei,
    When you said “Just remember that the kanji used for hot (weather) and hot (objects) are different.” Is it the same for cold?

    • Donald Ash says:

      Good question!! I don’t think it’s the same for cold to be honest. I’ll have to check on that, but I don’t think so. Aww, kanji…so confusing at times, lol.

  • charlesjannuzi says:

    In summer the word you hear the most is ‘mushi-atsui’–hot and humid. And it is indeed humid in most of Japan in the summer.

  • Katsuki Senpai says:

    Thank yu for this now I know my stuff!

  • Teacup says:

    Just noticed something!

    “Inazuma (いざぬま or 稲妻)” - Your romaji and hiragana do not match :c

    Thank you for sharing this list! ^^

  • ISHITOYA Kentaro says:

    We don’t use Konukaame in daily conversation, Kirisame is more popular.
    When we spoke about windy whether, Kaze ga tsuyoi.
    Downpour is Doshaburi, Za-Za is onomatope. ザーザー降りの雨/雨がザーザー降っている
    Taifu reading is たいふう Taifuu

  • Hayden Hopkins says:

    Under lightning, you put いざぬま (Izanuma) instead of いなずま (Inazuma). I’m not entirely sure if I’m right, but seeing as いなずま is the proper hiragana for Inazuma, and matches up, I think it’s right. Plus I double checked with other sources, so I thought I’d mention it.

  • >
    Read previous post:
    Ten Japanese Folktales You Should Know

    TEN JAPANESE MONOGATARI (物語) YOU SHOULD KNOW *The term Monogatari can mean legend, tale or story. There are days when...

    Close