There are plenty of ways to say “beautiful” in Japanese. The most common way is to say 美しい (utsukushii) which quite literally translates to “beautiful”.

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美しい (utsukushii) is what’s called an i-adjective. Its meaning is considerably more intense than the English word “beautiful”. In short, if you describe something as 美しい (utsukushii), you’re conveying a little more than simply “beautiful”.

In Japanese, saying 美しい (utsukushii) conveys an image of “true beauty”. Therefore it should be reserved for when you feel something is truly breathtaking.

There are many other ways to say “beautiful” in Japanese, such as 綺麗 (kirei).

綺麗 (kirei) is a less intensive version of 美しい (utsukushii) that also means “beautiful”. However, unlike 美しい (utsukushii), you can use 綺麗 (kirei) to describe the cleanliness of something too. If something is 綺麗 (kirei), it means it’s tidy and/or clean.

To call someone beautiful in Japanese, you can use either the more intense 美しい (utsukushii), or the pleasant 綺麗 (kirei).

In this ultimate guide, I explore all the ways to say “beautiful” and the synonyms in Japanese. I also talk about the meanings and usage of each word while providing detailed examples and explanations. All entries have been coupled with an audio clip for your correct pronunciation reference. As always, any questions at all, feel free to ask!

Table of Contents

Beautiful in JapaneseBeautiful Person in JapanesePretty in JapaneseCute in JapaneseThe Word For HandsomeMore ways to ComplimentJapanese Names That Mean BeautifulBeautifying Words in Keigo

Beautiful in Japanese


美しい (utsukushii) is one of the two main ways to say “beautiful” in Japanese. It is an i-adjective that can be used to describe something or someone that is truly beautiful.

The kanji is 美 which directly translates to “beauty” or “beautiful”.

美しい (utsukushii) is a very powerful word that means “beautiful” in Japanese. It is much stronger than the English word.

This means that calling someone or something 美しい (utsukushii) should be done sparingly, and only when you honestly feel the sheer beauty radiating from the person or thing.

You’re Beautiful in Japanese – 美しい (utsukushii)

To compliment someone and say “you’re beautiful” in casual Japanese you can simply say the person’s name +は美しい (ha utsukushii).

は美しい。 ha utsukushii.You’re beautiful.

In Japanese, instead of referring to others as “you” like we do in English, you should instead use the person’s actual name. You can use あなた (anata) which does mean “you”, however calling someone who is not your significant other あなた (anata) can sound unnatural. Therefore using the person’s name is the best way to address them!

美しい (utsukushii) is a considerably intense word. Hence, you’re best of using it to describe someone only when you feel that they are truly beautiful. There is a lot of emphasis on “truly”! Overuse of this word to compliment someone can radiate abnormal vibes.

Beautiful on The Inside

Unique to 美しい (utsukushii), you can use this word to describe someone or something as being beautiful both on the outside and inside. This means that 美しい (utsukushii) can describe the fundamental core of something as being beautiful.

For example, you could describe a particular place as 美しい (utsukushii).

この村はとても美しい。kono mura ha totemo utsukushii.This village is really beautiful.

By calling the village 美しい (utsukushii), you refer not only to its outside appearance but also the spirit and history of the village as a whole. For that reason, 美しい (utsukushii) is a very pure and sophisticated adjective. It has different nuances compared to the other ways to say “beautiful” in Japanese.

Something is Beautiful in Japanese


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