27 Country Names in Japanese 🌍 Your Complete Guide

Guide to Countries in Japanese // Discover Countries, Continents and a FREE Quiz

Are you interested in learning some Countries in Japanese? Great, because this super guide will give you all the country names you need to know (plus a few bonus extras)!

Even though country names are basically untranslatable, there are “some” differences in terms of pronunciation when we learn the country names in Japanese.

First of all, you should know that the Japanese-English translation is based on ローマ字 (Romaji).

This is Latin alphabetical letters that correspond to every Japanese sound, as Hiragana and Katakana.

There are 5 vowels in Japanese (a, i, u, e, o), and every romaji ends with one of them (except ん which is the N sound).

On the other hand, there are many English sounds just with consonants, that do not vowels.

Katakana Chart
Many countries in Japanese use the Katakana alphabet

Even though there are many Japanese letters, the number of Japanese sounds is actually less than in English, so there are many sounds that are distinguished differently in English but are in fact the same in Japanese.

So with that little introduction, now we will reveal some of the most famous country names in Japanese.

If you would like your home country included, do drop us a comment below and we will gladly add it for you!

Countries in Japanese – Country Names Similar to English

Countries in Japanese – Country Names Different to English

Countries in Japanese – Country Names in Kanji

Countries in Japanese – Continents

Countries in Japanese – Your Nationality in Japanese

BONUS – Free Quiz

Countries in Japanese – FAQ’s

Learn the country names with Layla

Countries in Japanese – Similar to English

  • アメリカ【AMERIKA = USA】
  • メキシコ【MEKISHIKO = Mexico】

These are two of the easiest ones with common vowels in English and Japanese.

Since the Japanese language essentially does not have the “C” and “X” sounds, “K” is used instead.

  • スペイン 【SUPEIN = Spain】

‘Spain’ is also a country in Japanese that sounds like the English version.

First, the “S” needs to be with the vowel, in this case a “U” is used, following the rule that every letter has a vowel.

In addition, the “A” turns to an “E”. Even though the Japanese language also has an “A”, it sounds different from the one used for “Spain” and actually sounds more like “E” in Japanese.

MOTIVATOR – Did you know thanks to loanwords you probably know a load of words in Japanese already! Want to learn some loan words in Japanese? Check out our blog!

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!

  • オーストラリア【ŌSUTORARIA = Australia】
Australia in Japanese

Even though the sound of “AU” could be pronounced as “アウ”, it is a little bit hard to pronounce smoothly for many Japanese people.

Also, it would be best if you remembered that the sound of “L” does not exist in Japanese, and usually, it turns to an “R”.

However, the sound of an “R” in Japanese is also very different from English.

For example, both “light” and “right” are pronounced ライト(RAITO).

Its sound is slightly more similar to “light”, but “right” also sounds exactly the same.

  • シンガポール【SHINGAPŌRU = Singapore】

Here is another example of converting a vowel to another vowel.

“RE” could be “レ”, but “シンガポーレ” is a little bit difficult to pronounce.

“シンガポール” sounds more similar to the English.

  • イタリア【ITARIA = Italy】
  • モンゴル【MONGORU = Mongolia】
  • インド【INDO = India】

These countries in Japanese follow the rule of transforming the end part of their names.

The way of transformation is irregular. While Italy is called “ITARIA”, Mongolia is NOT “MONGORIA”.

See how they differ slightly but also are very similar to their English counterparts.

Here are some more to finish off the list and prove to you, learning countries in Japanese really isn’t too hard!

  • アルジェリア 【ARUJERIA = Algeria】
  • ブータン 【BUTAN = Bhutan】
  • ブルガリア 【BURUGARIA = Bulgaria】
  • デンマーク【DENMAKU = Denmark】
  • ガーナ 【GANA = Ghana】
  • ジャマイカ 【JAMAIKA = Jamaica】
  • ナミビア 【NAMIBIA = Namibia】
  • ノルウェー 【NORUWE = Norway】
  • スウェーデン【SUWEDEN = Sweden】

Countries in Japanese – Different to English

Not all countries in Japanese are direct translations from English. Here are some you need to look out for.

  • イギリス【IGIRISU = UK】
  • ギリシャ【GIRISHA = Greece】

Britain or the UK comes from “Ingles (English)” in Portuguese.

In the 16th century, when Portuguese people came to Japan as the first Europeans, the UK didn’t actually exist. In fact that part of the world was called “England”, hence the translation from English rather than the UK.

This name remains today, even though “England” is simply called イングランド 【INGURANDO】.

Likewise Scotland is スコットランド 【SUKOTTORANDO】.

Greece is another example told as “Gresia” in Portuguese and was converted into Japanese.

  • ドイツ【DOITSU = Germany】

This translation in Japanese is accepted by Germans, as it simply came from “Deutschland” in German.

So although in English it sounds nothing like Germany… for German natives, this is pretty much the same as Germany in German!

  • キプロス【KIPUROSU = Cyprus】

WARNING: Cyprus in Japanese is one of the most confusing country names in Japanese!

From the viewpoint of the Japanese language, a name like “Cyprus” consists of a few vowels that are tough to pronounce and so some changes are made.

Although actually, the name isn’t incredibly different, there is still enough of a difference to make it noticeable!

Of course we haven’t even mentioned the most important country yet!

  • 日本【NIHON = Japan】

As you can see, Nihon (or also Nippon) is nothing like the English of Japan.

Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese | Which Is Really The Hardest? Thumbnail

Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese | Which Is Really The Hardest?

Thinking about learning an East Asian language and don’t know which one to go for? Japanese vs Korean vs Chinese – it’s a tough choice right?!

Countries in Japanese – Countries in Kanji

While almost all foreign country names are written in Katakana, the following Asian countries use the Kanji alphabet:

  • 中国【CHUUGOKU = China】
  • 韓国【KANKOKU = South Korea】
  • 北朝鮮【KITACHOUSEN = North Korea】

Notice these countries are all based in close vicinity to Japan, and each other.

Even though Kanji is common in these countries, the pronunciation is different.

中国 is China in Chinese and Japanese. However, China in Chinese is spoken as Zhong Guo and not Chuugoku.

Due to the fact these countries are named ‘the Japanese way’ and didn’t originate from other languages, it can be difficult for foreigners not from Asian countries to pronounce.

How To Learn Kanji // The Ultimate Tips & Tricks You Should Know Thumbnail

How To Learn Kanji // The Ultimate Tips & Tricks You Should Know

How to learn Kanji? Generally, you’ll need to learn about 1,000-2,000 Chinese characters in Japanese. Here’s the best way to go about learning them.

Countries in Japanese – Continents

So we’ve learned some of the important country names in Japanese, now let’s learn the continents.

Continent in EnglishContinent in JapanesePronunciation
AfricaアフリカAfurika
Antartica南極大陸 (なんきょくたいりく)Nankyoku tairiku
AsiaアジアAjia
AustralasiaオーストラレーシアŌsutorarēshia
EuropeヨーロッパYo-roppa
North America北アメリカ (きたアメリカ)Kita amerika
South America南アメリカ (みなみアメリカ)Minami amerika

Notice some of the continents in Japanese are using Katakana and some use a mixture of Kanji and Katakana.

The pronunciation of some are really similar to the English making it not so difficult to learn.

The word for continent in Japanese is quite different though!

  • 大陸 (たいりく) 【TAIRIKU = Continent】

Country in Japanese also bares little resemblance.

  • 国 (くに) 【KUNI = Country】

How to Tell Your Nationality in Japanese

Once you have learned your country name in Japanese, it is time to practice putting this to use in real conversation.

As long as you know the country name, telling your home country and nationality is easy!

  • わたしは カナダ のしゅっしんです。
    • WATASHI WA KANADA NO SYUSSHIN DESU.
    • I am from Canada.
  • わたしは カナダ からきました。
    • WATASHI WA KANADA KARA KIMASHITA.
    • I come from Canada.
  • わたしは カナダ じんです。
    • WATASHI WA KANADA JIN DESU.
    • I’m Canadian.

The great thing about these sentences is that there are no different forms between “country name” and “nationality”.

You simply need to add じん【JIN】after the country name to describe the nationality.

Compare this to English.

  • I am English
  • I am from England

See the differences? You need to learn two new words and the same applies for other countries too (from Italy, Italian. From France, French etc).

The Japanese way is quite learner-friendly and straightforward, right?

In addition, here are a couple of phrases to ask someone’s nationality, so you can also ask the question as well as give a reply.

  • あなたはどこのしゅっしんですか?
    • ANATA WA DOKO NO SYUSSHIN DESUKA?
    • Where are you from?
  • あなたはどこからきましたか?
    • ANATA WA DOKOKARA KIMASHITAKA?
    • Where do you come from?

Countries in Japanese // Quiz

So now we’ve gone through the countries in Japanese alongside the continents it’s time to put you to the test!

We’ve prepared a quick fire quiz. It’s only 20 questions and you get your results instantly!

Let’s see how you get on. If you nail a top score, why not share in the comments below!

Welcome to your Countries Quiz! Let's get going...

First Name
Email
What is Australia in Japanese?

What is North Korea in Japanese?

What country is デンマーク ?

What is India in Japanese?

What continent is ヨーロッパ ?

What continent is アジア ?

What continent is アフリカ ?

What is the word for Country in Japanese?

What is Italy in Japanese?

What country is フランス ?

What country is ギリシャ ?

What is South Korea in Japanese?

What is the word for Continent in Japanese?

What country is イタリア ?

What is America in Japanese?

What country is 中国 ?

What country is アメリカ ?

What country is ドイツ ?

What is Mongolia in Japanese?

What is Mexico in Japanese?

Want to learn more Japanese? Why not check out our amazing 24/7 online Japanese courses here!

Learn Japanese Online

Countries in Japanese // FAQ’s

How do you say Japan in Japanese?

Japan in Japanese is 日本 and is pronounced nihon.

The Kanji translates to the ‘origin of the sun’ or ‘land of the rising sun’, as Japan is located east of China, it appeared to be the place from which the sun rose.

How do you say America in Japanese?

アメリカ.

To pronounce this is really easy, it’s simply a-me-ri-ka.

How do you say the UK in Japanese?

イギリス【IGIRISU = UK】

England or the UK comes from “Ingles (English)” in Portuguese.

In the 16th century, when Portuguese people came to Japan as the first Europeans, the UK didn’t actually exist. In fact that part of the world was called “England”, hence the translation from English rather than the UK.

This name remains today, even though “England” is simply called イングランド 【INGURANDO】.

Likewise Scotland is スコットランド 【SUKOTTORANDO】.

How do you say Australia in Japanese?

Australia in Japanese characters is オーストラリア, which is pronounced: ŌSUTORARIA.

Even though the sound of “AU” could be pronounced as “アウ”, it is a little bit hard to pronounce smoothly for many Japanese people.

How do you say China in Japanese?

China in Japanese is pronounced in Kanji, meaning it doesn’t have a ‘westernised’ sound.

The characters are the same in Chinese ‘中国’ but is pronounced CHUUGOKU.

How do you say “I am from…” in Japanese?

Let’s say you want to say “I am from Canada”…

わたしは カナダ のしゅっしんです。

WATASHI WA KANADA NO SYUSSHIN DESU.

I am from Canada.

How do you say Country in Japanese?

国 (くに) which is pronounced as kuni.

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9 comments

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  1. Devon
    Reply

    Cool post! What about Jamaica?

    1. LTL Team HQ

      It's the same as English in terms of pronunciation!

      ジャマイカ [Jamaika]

  2. Vicky
    Reply

    So many sound similar to English, cool!

    1. LTL Team HQ

      It makes life easier doesn't it!

  3. Weird how some sound the same and some are totally difference

    1. LTL Team HQ

      Where are you from Eva?

  4. Lists 21 Japanese Names For Countries 2022: Things To Know - Dream Cheeky
    Reply

    […] Source: 🔗 […]

  5. Charisse
    Reply

    I got 20/20

    1. Max Hobbs

      You... are a star!