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Learn Winter Vocabulary in Japanese


Learn Winter Vocabulary in Japanese

Welcome back to our “Video & Article” series with tutor Miki. In this article and video Miki teaches vocabulary and expressions related to winter. If you wish to up your small-talk game in winter and learn some useful words that you can use in your daily life in Japan, this article is a great read for you!

Table of Contents

[Describing cold weather]

[Warm clothes]

[Cold weather-related nouns]



The cold season is nearly over in Japan, but it never hurts to be prepared for next winter! In this article we will go over useful phrases and vocabulary for the cold days that you can make use of in casual conversations.


[Describing cold weather]

First, let’s take a look at different adjectives to describe cool or cold weather.




To start a small talk, you can use this grammar pattern:

It’s become…/It’s getting…

It’s getting cool.

It’s getting chilly.

It’s getting cold.

If someone says one of these phrases, you could respond with one of the following examples:

Somehow, the weather has been strange lately.

I agree. It gives me hard time picking clothes for the day.

[Warm clothes]

Warm clothes means “(あたた)かい恰好(かっこう)” in Japanese:

Warm clothes/outfits

In spoken Japanese, “あたたかい” becomes “あったかい” to eliminate the somewhat tongue-breaky trouble of saying “ta” two times. This is called “おんびん”. “おんびん” means that when a term includes the same syllable or letter twice, its pronunciation changes to make pronouncing the word easier.
Additionally, “恰好(かっこう)” is often pronounced without the “う” at the end. The pronunciation becomes “かっこ”.
Together “あたたかいかっこう” transforms to “あったかいかっこ” to mean warm clothing.

For example.

It might be cold where we’re going so let’s wear warm clothes.

Please wear some warm clothes when going out.

The original form of this sentence is “あたたかいかっこうをしていってね”. After applying the おんびん rules we learned before, あたたかい becomes あったかい and かっこう becomes かっこ. をしていってね is shortened to してってね in spoken Japanese. Together, this sentence turns into “あったかいかっこしてってね”.

[Cold weather-related nouns]

Next we will take a look at some other winter-related nouns.

The first term is “こうよう” which means red and yellow tinted Autumn leaves.

Autumn colours, the changing of colour of trees to yellow/red in autumn

For example:

The autumn colours look beautiful these days.

That’s true. Did you go out to look at them?

Let’s move on to the next noun used frequently in the winter.



I put out the heater.

The term “stove” in English means the stove to cook, but in Japanese English, it means a heater.

The next word is “こたつ”. A Kotatsu is a Japanese traditional low winter table covered by a heavy blanket that has a heat source inside to keep the legs warm.

I put the Kotatsu up!

Bundling up

“きぶくれ” is the term used to describe when you wear too much because you’re afraid of feeling cold and you end up looking like a thick snowman.


It’s cold, so I tend to wear so much I look like a snowman.


Lastly, we’ll look at what is the downfall for some and a lot of fun for others when learning Japanese: cold weather-related onomatopoeia! These are words that imitate or suggest the source of the sound they describe.


This describes something fluffy, like sheep fur that is very fluffy and dense.


I bought these fluffy socks.

Fluffy, light, airy

While “もこもこ” refers to dense and fluffy feelings or texture, “ふわふわ” describes something that is also fluffy but not dense but soft and loose light like clouds or cotton candy.


Fluffy cotton candy.

Warm, comfortable, feeling of warmth throughout your body

“ぽかぽか” is used to describe when your body starts to feel comfortably warm.


I feel warm and comfy since I sat down under the Kotatsu.

“Sound” of snowfall

The last one is “しんしん”. “しんしん” is an onomatopoeia to describe the feeling of snow falling quietly. When it snows, the city sounds very quiet because the snow takes in all the sounds, making the city like a soundproof music studio room. “しんしん” is like the sound of snow falling quietly and peacefully.

In small talk, you might say:

Isn’t it a nice feeling when it’s snowing quietly?

That’s everything for today. Thank you for reading this article, and please feel free to consult our native Japanese language teachers if you have any further questions!

単語たんごリスト(Vocabulary list)
(すず)しい Cool
肌寒(はだざむ) Chilly
(さむ) Cold
(こま) To be troubled, to be worried
(あたた)かい恰好(かっこう) Warm clothing
現場(げんば) On-site, at a specified location
紅葉(こうよう) Autumn colours, the changing of colour of trees to yellow/red in autumn
ストーブ Heater
こたつ Low table with heater and blanket
()ぶくれ Bundling up
もこもこ Fluffy
ふわふわ Fluffy, light, airy
ぽかぽか Warm, comfortable, feeling of warmth throughout your body
しんしん “Sound” of snowfall

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