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Top 10 Beautiful Japanese Words/Phrases

Updated on July 25, 2016

Language plays a very crucial part in the divergence of cultures. Elements like emotions, degree, tone and formation are unique to every language which makes it impossible to translate a tongue from one to another in a high accuracy.

Japan is known for its beautiful nature scenery. Here are my top 10 list of Japanese words/phrases unique to their culture that relates to nature.

1. 木枯らし「kogarashi」

木枯らし or 凩 (looks like the wind, 風「kaze」 with a tree 木「ki」 inside it) means the bitter, cold wind that signals the coming of winter when the last leaves are being shaken from trees like a tyrant that declares a new era of dictatorship upon a successful conquest. The emphasis on this word somehow is on its strength not on its coldness. Countries with four seasons can relate to this.

In a tropical country like the Philippines, we can only refer to this kind of similar phenomenon as the September wind "Amihan" that reminds us of cool winds prevailing from the northeast.

General thought that this word provokes: Transition.

Winter is coming!
Winter is coming! | Source

2. 木漏れ日「komorebi」

木漏れ日 (a combination of tree 木「ki」, escape 漏れる「moreru」 and sun 日「hi」) which means "the sunshine filtered through the trees". Wow! Is there any equivalent word of this in other languages you know? Please let me know!

This word is one of my favorites because it literally just condensed a phrase into a single word. This is one of the reasons why I love Japanese language and I am now contented just to visualize the image it brings to my mind which is good for mind relaxation.

General thought this word provokes: Bliss.

Beautiful light filtered through trees!
Beautiful light filtered through trees! | Source

3. 花見「hanami」

花見 (combination of flower 花「hana」 and watch 見ます「mimasu」) literally means "flower-viewing." However, in Japan, it refers to the spring season event of having Cherry blossoms or 桜「sakura」- viewing parties when public places are mantled with pink flowers that makes Japanese people relax and be merry.

Who doesn't want to try a Sakura-flavored Frappe from Starbucks?

General thought this word provokes: happiness.

Cherry blossoms
Cherry blossoms | Source

4. 物の哀れ「mononoaware」

物の哀れ (combination of thing 物「mono」 and 哀れ「aware」 which is translated loosely as pathos). It is the sensitivity to the transience of things. It is like seeing things passes by in the eyes of an observer giving empathy to the sense that everything will pass, will die, will lose value and will end eventually and you can't help but to just let it happen.

This is sad and beautiful at the same time.

General thought this word provokes: nostalgia.

A withering flower
A withering flower | Source

5. 生き甲斐「ikigai」

生き甲斐 means the reason for being/existence. Its the thing that wakes you up every morning. Your sense of purpose. It might refer to a person you love, your pet and anyone special to you. The reason why you are still reading this is because you still find life beautiful despite its sham and misery. You are sinking deep in the reality that you have drawn.

General thought that this word provokes: Life.

Enjoying life.
Enjoying life. | Source

6. 夢心地「yumegokochi」

夢心地 means a "dreamy state of the mind" when one's subconscious awakened and draw flashes of creative atmosphere enough to take one away from the earthly realm.

Have you ever experienced a vivid movie-like vision in the night?

General though this word provokes: wonders.

a dream state
a dream state | Source

7. 積読「tsundoku」

積読 (combination of 積む「tsumu」 which means to pile up and 読「doku」 which means reading) is a habit of stacking books after buying them only to leave them unread for a long time. Book lovers are sometimes doing this or someone just have a hobby of collecting them.

Genera thought that this word provokes: time.

A pile of unread books
A pile of unread books | Source

8. 浮世「ukiyo」

浮世 literraly means "the floating world." It originally connotes the sadness (uki) of life (yo) but became associated to the momentarily fleeing from the word and enjoy one's life to do what makes them happy.

General thought this word provokes: freedom.

Momentary relaxation
Momentary relaxation | Source

9. 天の川「amanogawa」

天の川 means the river(川) of heaven(天). This refers to the great milky way galaxy that can be seen so beautiful at starry night.

General thought this word provokes: awe.

River of heaven
River of heaven | Source

10. 森林浴「shinrinyoku」

森林浴 literally means "forest bathing." It refers to the act of going into a forest when everything is silent and suitable to have a peaceful mind away from the noises of the world. Most people do this for health reason and some for relaxation due to the fresh wind and healthy atmosphere.

general thought this word provokes: rest.

A silent forest
A silent forest | Source

Thank you for reading! That's it for the top 10 beautiful Japanese words. What word do you like the most?

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