How to Say Temperature in Japanese: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to discussing the weather or describing how hot or cold it is, knowing how to express temperature in Japanese is essential. In this guide, we will explore various ways to convey temperature in both formal and informal contexts, while also shedding light on regional variations and offering tips to help you navigate this topic with ease.

Formal Expressions for Temperature

In formal situations, such as business settings or when conversing with people you are not well-acquainted with, it is important to use appropriate language. Here are some formal expressions you can use to talk about temperature in Japanese:

「気温(きおん)」- Ki-on: This is the most common and standard way to describe temperature in formal contexts. It is often used in weather forecasts and scientific discussions.

「温度(おんど)」- On-do: While primarily used to denote temperature in scientific or technical contexts, it can also be used interchangeably with “ki-on” in formal situations.

「摂氏(せっし)」- Sesshi: This is the formal term for Celsius. When using this term, it is common to add 「度(ど)」- Do at the end to indicate the unit of temperature.

Here are a few examples of how to use these formal expressions:

  1. きょうの気温は30度です。- Kyō no ki-on wa 30-do desu. (Today’s temperature is 30 degrees.)
  2. 湿度と温度に注意してください。- Shitsudo to ondo ni chūi shite kudasai. (Please pay attention to the humidity and temperature.)

Informal Expressions for Temperature

In casual conversations among friends, family, or peers, it is common to use more casual expressions to talk about temperature. Here are some informal ways to discuss temperature in Japanese:

「暑い(あつい)」- Atsui: This word means “hot” and is often used to describe high temperatures.

「寒い(さむい)」- Samui: On the other hand, this word means “cold” and is used to describe low temperatures.

Using these informal expressions is straightforward. Simply combine them with 「です(desu)」at the end of a sentence to make it polite, or omit it for a more casual tone. Here are a few examples:

  1. 今日は暑いですね。- Kyō wa atsui desu ne. (Today is hot, isn’t it?)
  2. 寒いから温かい飲み物がほしい。- Samui kara atatakai nomimono ga hoshii. (Because it’s cold, I want a hot drink.)

Regional Variations

While Japanese is generally a homogeneous language spoken throughout Japan, there are some regional variations when it comes to expressing temperature. These variations can be observed in local dialects or the use of local words to describe temperature. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • 北海道(ほっかいどう)- Hokkaido: In the northernmost region of Japan, it is common to use the dialect-specific words「さむい」(samui) for “cold” and 「あつい」(atsui) for “hot.” However, these words are also widely understood in standard Japanese.
  • 九州(きゅうしゅう)- Kyushu: In some parts of Kyushu, such as Nagasaki and Kumamoto, the word「じぇんじぇん」(jenjen) is used to mean “very hot” or “scorching.”

Remember that while these regional variations exist, you can confidently use the standard Japanese expressions mentioned earlier throughout the country without causing any confusion.

Tips for Using Temperature Expressions

To further enhance your understanding and usage of temperature expressions in Japanese, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be aware of context: Consider the intent and context of the conversation when choosing which temperature expression to use. Formal situations require more appropriate language, while casual settings allow for more informal expressions.
  2. Combine with weather expressions: Temperature is often discussed together with weather conditions. By learning weather expressions in Japanese, you can create more natural and comprehensive sentences. For instance, 「曇りで涼しいですね」(Kumori de suzushii desu ne) means “It’s cool because it’s cloudy.”
  3. Learn temperature numbers: Familiarize yourself with how to read numbers in Japanese to effectively convey specific temperatures. This will greatly improve your ability to discuss temperature-related topics.
  4. Use adverbs for emphasis: To emphasize certain temperature conditions, consider adding adverbs such as 「とても」(totemo) meaning “very” or 「ちょっと」(chotto) meaning “a bit” before the temperature expression. For example, 「とても寒いです!」(Totemo samui desu!) means “It’s very cold!”

By keeping these tips in mind, you will be more confident in discussing temperature in Japanese in various situations.


Expressing temperature in Japanese is an important skill that allows you to engage in discussions about climate and weather conditions. Whether you find yourself in formal or informal settings, understanding the appropriate expressions and regional variations will ensure effective communication. Remember to consider the context, utilize adverbs for emphasis, and practice the relevant vocabulary and numbers. Soon enough, you’ll be comfortably discussing the temperature in Japanese while immersing yourself in the rich culture of Japan.

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