Colors in Japanese || A Complete Guide (+ FREE Quiz)

Colors in Japanese || 21 Colors to Learn (with BONUS Content)

Colors in Japanese

Japan is a brilliantly colorful place.

Flashy neon colors light up the sky at night across the country – providing a scene that can blow your mind when first entering Japan!

Far from just this though – its art, design and idyllic nature are awash with color that just demands to be talked about!

Discussing color in Japanese is easy, but there are a few things to bear in mind when you’re learning.

Most important is that the specific word used for a color can change depending on their part of speech, i.e., if the color is used like a noun or an adjective.

Confused? Don’t worry – it’s much easier than it sounds.

Colors in Japanese || A Quick Intro

Colors in Japanese || 10 Most Common

Colors in Japanese || Describing with Color

Colors in Japanese || Adding い

Colors in Japanese || More Colors

BONUS || Free Quiz

Colors in Japanese || FAQs

A great place to learn about colors in Japanese? Try LTL Flexi Classes

Japanese Colors || A Quick Intro

A couple of points from the start

DID YOU KNOW || It is also common for colors to have both a “Japanese” term, i.e., 赤 aka for Red, and loan word version, i.e., レッド reddo for, you guessed it, red!

Colors in Japanese

Secondly, colors in Japanese often end in the word 色 (いろ iro), which means “color.”

iro can also be used on its own, for example in the question, “what is your favorite color?” This can be asked in two different ways:

何色が一番好きですか。/ 大好きな色は何ですか。
naniiro ga ichiban sukidesuka. / daisukina iro wa nandesuka.

What is your favorite color?

With those important points out of the way, let’s get on and learn the most used colors in Japanese

Japanese Loanwords 🤩 41 You Should Learn Straight Away Thumbnail

Japanese Loanwords 🤩 41 You Should Learn Straight Away

Japanese Loanwords are actually a great way to boost language learning motivation because it makes you realise you can still find similarities with English!

Japanese Colors || 10 Most Common

Let’s look at a list of some of the 10 most common colors in Japanese.

NOTE || The following colors are all nouns.

EnglishJapaneseFuriganaRomaji
Red あかaka
Blue あおao
Yellow 黄色 きいろkiiro
Green みどりmidori
Orange オレンジ /
橙色
おれんじ /
だいだいいろ
orenji/
daidaiiro
Purple むらさきmurasaki
Black くろkuro
White しろshiro
Pink ピンク ぴんくpinku
Brown 茶色 ちゃいろchairo

You’ll notice that for “orange” and “pink,” a loan word is used, unlike the other colors which use a Japanese-derived word.

There is a more traditional Japanese term for pink, which is 桃色 momoiro, literally meaning “peach color.” However, this term is less common in modern Japanese.

Japanese Colors || Describing with Color

The above colors in Japanese are listed as nouns.

When we are describing something, we should put the color word first, followed by の no, and then the object we are describing.

So that’s color + の + object (n.)

FOR EXAMPLE ||

  • 紫の花 murasaki no hanapurple flowers
  • 黄色の鳥 kiiro no tori yellow bird
  • ピンクの靴 pinku no kutsupink shoes

How about a couple of example sentences using Japanese colors?

紫の花が咲いています。

murasaki no hana ga saite imasu.

The purple flowers are in bloom.
彼女はピンクの靴を履いています。

kanojo wa pinku no kutsu wo haite imasu.

She is wearing pink shoes.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN || Can you write a sentence in Japanese using color? Comment below and we’ll reply 😎

Japanese Colors || Adding い

For a select number of colors in Japanese, we can use them as adjectives by adding い, thus turning them into い-adjectives.

We cannot do this with every color so pay attention to which ones work!

EnglishJapaneseFuriganaRomaji
Red 赤い あかいakai
Blue 青い あおいaoi
Black 黒い くろいkuroi
White 白い しろいshiroi
Yellow 黄色い きいろいkiiroi
Brown 茶色い ちゃいろいchairoi

IMPORTANT || Remember い-adjectives can be put directly in front of a noun.

い-adjective + object (n.)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES || Need a refresher on using い-adjectives? Check out LTL’s Japanese grammar bank for some useful tips.

For example:

  • 赤いバス akai basu red bus
  • 青い海 aoi umi blue sea
  • 黒い車 kuroi kuruma black car
  • 白い雲 shiroi kumo white clouds

FOR EXAMPLE ||

ロンドンで赤いバスが多いです。

Rondon de akai basu ga ooidesu.

There are many red buses in London.
窓から青い海が見られます。

mado kara aoi umi ga miraremasu.

You can see the blue sea from the window.
Verbs in Japanese // A Beginners Guide Thumbnail

Verbs in Japanese // A Beginners Guide

Learning Verbs in Japanese isn’t all that hard. We teach you the basics with this super easy to follow guide which also includes a quiz at the end.

Japanese Colors || More Colors

Japanese Colours

Of course, there are many more colors than the ones listed above…!

Often, colors in Japanese will be named after objects that are that color.

We’ve already seen that in the word for “brown” 茶色 which literally translates to “tea color.”

Here are a few other examples:

  • 水色 mizuiro light blue (literally “water color”)
  • 金色 kiniro – gold
  • 銀色 giniro silver
  • 桜色 sakurairo – light pink (literally “sakura/cherry blossom color”)
  • 梅紫 umemurasaki plum
  • 墨色 sumiiro ink black (literally “ink color”)

Let’s add a few more colors and summarise them all in this table.

EnglishJapaneseFuriganaRomaji
Black くろkuro
Blue あおao
Brown 茶色 ちゃいろchairo
Cerise セリーズ せりーずserīzu
Green みどりmidori
Grey 灰色 はいいろhaīro
Gold 金色 きんいろkiniro
Indigo インディゴ いんでぃごindego
Ink Black 墨色 すみいろsumiiro
Light Blue 水色 みずいろmizuiro
Light Pink 桜色 さくらいろsakurairo
Lilac ライラック らいらっくrairakku
Orange オレンジ /
橙色
おれんじ /
だいだいいろ
orenji/
daidaiiro
Pink ピンク ぴんくpinku
Plum 梅紫 うめむらさきumemurasaki
Purple むらさきmurasaki
Red あかaka
Silver 銀色 ぎんいろginiro
Turquoise ターコイズブルー たーこいずぶるーtākoizuburū
White しろshiro
Yellow 黄色 きいろkiiro
Japanese Colours

DID YOU NOTICE || The Japanese colors that use Katakana. These are the easiest to remember as they sound almost the same as the English equivalent.

Now can you tell us your favourite color in Japanese using a full sentence?

Or do you have any questions about using color in Japanese?

Leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

Some Easily Confused Hiragana and Katakana || Read Japanese Like a Pro Thumbnail

Some Easily Confused Hiragana and Katakana || Read Japanese Like a Pro

Learning Japanese can be tricky, especially with the confusing and similar looking letters. Today, we help you banish these fears as we show you how it’s done.

How To Learn Katakana (カタカナ) // Essential Things To Know Thumbnail

How To Learn Katakana (カタカナ) // Essential Things To Know

How to Learn Katakana? | Katakana is one of Japanese’s three alphabets. Katakana are generally more angular looking than Hiragana and focuses on loanwords.

Want to learn all the colors of the rainbow (and more) in other languages too?

What are you waiting for 🙂

Japanese Colors || BONUS Quiz

Let’s see how many of those colors in Japanese you remembered.

Here is a quick fire 10 question quiz to see how well do you! Drop us a comment below with your final score 😎

Welcome to Colors Quiz! Enter your First name and email to begin. Don't worry you can unsubscribe at any time!

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What is Black in Japanese?

What is Silver in Japanese?

What is the Kanji for color?

What is Red in Japanese?

What is Blue in Japanese?

What is White in Japanese?

What is Gold in Japanese?

What is Purple in Japanese?

What is Pink in Japanese?

What is Brown in Japanese?

Japanese Colors || FAQs

How do you say color in Japanese?

Color in Japanese is 色 (いろ iro).

This is often added to the end of a word to turn it into a color.

FOR EXAMPLE || 黄色 simply means yellow (or yellow color).

What is red in Japanese?

Red in Japanese is 赤 (aka).

What is blue in Japanese?

Blue in Japanese is 青 (ao).

What is white in Japanese?

White in Japanese is 白, which is pronounced as shiro.

What are some example sentences that use colors in Japanese?

窓から青い海が見られます means “I can see the blue sky from the window”.

mado kara aoi umi ga miraremasu.

ロンドンで赤いバスが多いです。means “There are many red buses in London”.

Rondon de akai basu ga ooidesu

紫紫の花が咲いています。means “There are many purple flowers in bloom.”

murasaki no hana ga saite imasu.

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