Are you a fan of Japanese culture? Or maybe you are looking to get in touch with your Japanese roots by giving your baby or yourself a meaningful Japanese name. No matter what it is that has drawn you to choose a Japanese name, we have just the list for you.
Japanese names are typically made up of one to three Chinese characters known as “kanji”. Kanji each hold a very special meaning and by combining them in different ways, Japanese parents can endow a hope for what type of person their child will grow up to be.
Culturally, Japanese names carry a lot of meaning and so when picking a Japanese name for yourself, it is very important to keep the meaning in mind.
When you meet people for the first time as well, the first thing they hear is your name and so you also have to think about what sort of impression you want to leave about yourself with your Japanese name.
This list contains some of the most common Japanese girl names, some traditional Japanese girl names, some trendy unique Japanese girl names, as well as many beautiful Japanese girl names that may just be right for you!
Like fashion, music, hairstyles, and pop culture, names go and come in trends as well. While there are some popular Japanese girl names like the name Yuki (由紀) that never seem to go out of style, other names come and go.
Here is a list of the top 10 most common Japanese girl names and what they mean.1 Himari (陽葵)
The most popular Japanese girl's name in 2021 was Himari which is made up of the characters 陽, which means sunshine, and 葵, meaning hollyhock (a type of plant with colorful flowers).
In recent years, there's been an upwards trend in choosing girl's names that are more nature-based which potentially could be one reason for the popularity of the name.2 Mei (芽依)
Mei is also an extremely popular Japanese name for girls. The kanji that make up this name are 芽, a budding sprout, and 依, a garment.
This is a very natural-sounding name and may attribute much of its popularity to the character of the same name from the popular film My Neighbor Totoro.3 Hina (陽菜)
The girl name Hina is composed of 2 Japanese characters: sunshine (陽), and plants (菜).
In 2021, this was the 5th most popular girl's name in Japan, fitting with the theme that perhaps in an ever-industrializing world, parents would still like to see their children connected to nature in some way.4 Yua (結愛)
Yua is a girl name that conveys a deep sense of love and adoration. In Japanese, the word Yu (結) means to tie or bind, meanwhile, a (愛) means love.
A girl who from birth is set to be “bound by love” will for sure have a life full of love, joy, and will always be surrounded by people who adore her.5 Yūna (結菜)
Yūna uses the same first character, 結, as Yua, and then the same second character, 菜, as Hina. Therefore the meaning of Yuna (結菜) is to be bound to plants or nature.
Again, we see this ongoing theme of Japanese parents wanting to see their children connected to, and flourishing in the great outdoors.6 Sakura (さくら)
Sakura is perhaps one of the better-known Japanese girl’s names thanks to the success of the popular Japanese anime Naruto.
But even if you are not an anime fan, chances are that you’ll know what this name means: Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry blossom.
While Sakura does have its own kanji, 桜, as a name, it is often just written as hiragana alone.7 Akari (あかり)
Another popular Japanese name for a girl that is only written with hiragana is Akari.
Akari means light and by giving your daughter this name, you are hoping that her future will be very bright as well.8 Aoi (葵)
Another pronunciation for the kanji 葵, used in the second half of Himari (陽葵), is Aoi. The meaning of this name is hollyhock, which is a beautiful pink flower that is adored by many.9 Tsumugi (紬)
Tsumugi is a type of very thin woven cloth made from silk but as a Japanese name, it actually has a lot of beauty to it.
Although naming your daughter after a textile may sound strange in English, the concept is that like this very delicate, soft cloth, your daughter will be graceful, refined, and delicate.10 Riko(莉子)
莉 means jasmine and 子 means child and so Riko means “Jasmine child”. Once again, this is a name based on nature and expresses the parent's hope for their daughter to grow up to be as beautiful as jasmine.
When parents in Japan give their daughter a name, often they will pick a beautiful Japanese girl name with the hope that she will grow up to be just as beautiful as her name.
While there are many pretty Japanese girl names, this is just a small sample of some names that exemplify beauty, grace, and elegance.11 Chiha (千羽)
The Japanese name Chiha means “One thousand wings”. This name evokes the image of either butterflies or a graceful bird such as a dove.
One hope that parents might wish upon their daughter if they give her the name Chiha is that she soars like a bird, with not even the sky being her limit.12 Hana (初夏)
Hana means “first summer” or “the start of summer” and has a very warm and gentle nuance to it.
Many baby girls who are born in early June or late may end up with this name as it is very seasonal.13 Haruka (永)
Haruka means “eternity” or “forever” and expresses a parent’s wish that their child has a long, healthy life and that they will be loved forever.
While there are multiple different characters that can be used to write this Japanese girl name, 永 is the most popular.14 Honoka (火佳)
Honoka is a very bright and warm name, perhaps for a bold and energetic little girl, and means “beautiful flame”.
There is a bit of nuance to the name that implies that girls with the name Honoka will have a bold and ambitious nature as well.15 Mika (美花)
The literal translation of the Japanese name Mika is “beautiful flower”. This emphasizes her feminine charm and womanly grace as if she was just as beautiful as a flower.16 Mizuki (美月)
Mizuki is another Japanese girl name that uses the character 美. This time, the meaning of the name Mizuki is “beautiful moon” and has a bit of a calm nuance that is peaceful, like the moon.17 Nanami (七美)
What is more flattering than just being called beautiful? What about being called beautiful seven times?
The Japanese girl name Nanami is constructed from the characters 七, seven, and 美, which means beauty. So in essence, the name means “seven beauties” or “seven times as beautiful”.18 Saki (咲)
Saki means “to bloom” in Japanese which is why many girls who are born in the spring will often bear this name.
One wish that parents may have for their daughter with this name is that like a flower, she blooms and counties to grow and flourish.19 Sayo (沙世)
Sayo is a Japanese girl name which means “sand world”. This may sound strange unless put into perspective.
Rather than a desert or some sand dunes, the name Sayo refers actually to a sprawling white sand beach which to many Japanese, is a very beautiful image.20 Yukina (雪華)
Yukina means “snow flower” and is considered to be a very lovely girl name in Japan.
Japanese winters are very harsh and so when spring finally comes around and flowers start to poke out, everyone is elated.
Likewise, the hope carried by this name is that like flowers after winter, everyone who meets Yukina will be happy whenever they see her.
These days, many parents chose cute Japanese girl names as cute or “kawaii” culture in Japan is highly permeated into the Japanese way of life.
Before their child is born, they already have ideas of how cute and adorable their baby girl will be which may just be one of the reasons they chose a cute name for their daughter.21 Ayami (彩海)
The Japanese character 彩 means vibrancy or to paint, and 海 is the ocean. Put them together and the name Ayami means “the vibrancy of the ocean”.
This cute Japanese girl name has a fun, sweet, summertime feel to it as well.22 Ema (栄実)
Ema means “flourishing beauty” but also is often chosen because the name Emma, is popular overseas.
Many Japanese parents like the international ambiguity of the name in addition to the already beautiful meaning.23 Haruna (榛)
Haruna means hazelnut and by Japanese standards, it is a very cute-sounding girl name.
A hazelnut has a rich color and is very round, two characteristics that are associated with a baby being healthy and cute.24 Hina (暖)
There are actually many ways to write one name in Japanese, with the same pronunciation, but yet with different kanji which changes the meaning entirely.
This character used for Hina means “warmth” and expresses the wish that your baby girl will be warm and cheery.25 Kanae (夢)
Kanae means dream in Japanese and carries the hope that a girl named Kanae will be creative and have big dreams.
This same character can also be pronounced Yui and the pronunciation is simply based on the parent's preference.26 Midori (みどり)
Midori means “green” in Japanese and is yet another nature-related Japanese girl name.
A girl named Midori is expected to be well connected to nature, be creative, and enjoy the outdoors.27 Mio (心陽)
“Heart sunshine” or Mio is a very cute Japanese girl name that has seen a rise in popularity in recent years.
A girl named Mio is loved, and like the sunshine, her future is bright and she is always surrounded by the warmth of meaningful relationships.28 Miyu (海夢)
The meaning of the girl’s name Miyu is “ocean dream” and is especially popular for girls who live by the sea.
One wish that a parent who names their daughter Miyu is that her dreams be as vast as the ocean.29 Natsuki (凪月)
“Summer moon” or Natuski is another highly seasonal girl name in Japan.
Many Japanese parents look for things prevalent in nature during their child’s birth as inspiration. If a girl is born during a full moon in the summer, Natsuki might end up being her name.30 Ruka (瑠華)
Ruka has a very cute nuance in Japanese and means “lapis flower”. For whatever reason, the name Ruka has a dainty feel to it in Japanese culture and would be fitting for a girl who is little with a round face.
In Japan, often just by hearing a woman’s name, you can tell just around how old she is or what generation she is from.
There are many old-fashioned Japanese girl names that although were once popular, today they feel much like the English names Bessy, Martha, and Bertha.
Without further ado, here are some prime examples of traditional Japanese girl names.31 Akemi(明美)
Akemi means “tomorrow's beauty” and is a very old-sounding name. In fact, in 1965, Akemi was the number one most popular name for girls in Japan.
Admittedly, however, due to the fact that it is pretty much just a “grandma” name, it is not all that popular for baby girls now.32 Chiyo (千代)
Chiyo was another name that was very popular back a long time ago. In 1915, Chiyo was the number one Japanese baby girl name.
The name means “one thousand generations”, and in recent years it has made a bit of a comeback.33 Fumiko(冨美子)
You’ll see a lot of older girls names in Japan, especially from the 1940s' using the character 子 or “child” as the last kanji.
The name Fumiko means “wealthy beautiful child” and if you think about what parents during that time were wanting for their kids, wealth and beauty surely were at the top of the list.34 Hanako (花子)
The name Hanako means “flower child” and has a bit more of a refined and elegant sound to it.
While the name still feels old, there are many parents who will still name their daughter Hanako with the intention of calling her Hana for sort.35 Kanako (加奈子)
The Japanese girl name Kanako yet again uses the 子 character and is preceded by 加奈 which gives the name the meaning “child who gets along well with others”.
If a girl is named Kanako, it is assumed that she will have many friends.36 Kaori (香織)
The literal translation of the girl name Kaori is “scented woven fabric” which sounds a bit funny but actually goes a bit deeper.
The Japanese character 香 means scent, or something that is intoxicating, such as an aphrodisiac. The second Japanese character 織 represents something woven, such as the strings of fate in life.
Putting them together is a hope for the future and that it will be woven with intoxicating amounts of fortune and love.37 Keiko (恵子)
If you are looking for a Japanese equivalent to the English name Grace, Keiko means “blessed child” or “graceful child”.
While a very beautiful name, it has a quiet nuance to it and is not a boisterous name in essence.38 Mayumi (まゆみ)
The girl name Mayumi is usually written using just hiragana alone, and is the name of the Japanese spindle tree.
This tree has very long, think, and elegant supple branches and is said to have the grace and charm of a beautiful woman.39 Sachiko(幸子)
Sachiko is a very traditional name in Japanese and feels almost like the poster child for “mom names” in Japan.
The meaning of Sachiko is “happy child” however, many Sachikos will just go by “Sachi” for short.40 Tamao (珠央)
Tamao is your grandmother's name. This name is the equivalent of naming your daughter Betsy in this day and age. The meaning is “central pearl” and it is a dusty name if ever there was one.
Starting from the mid-2000s, a trend in Japan known as “Kira Kira names” or “sparkle names” become quite popular.
This trend involved using extremely unusual or rare kanji, or assigning Japanese kanji to English names/words in order to make one-of-a-kind hybrid names that are totally unique.
Here are some rare Japanese girl names that are certainly not common by any means.41 Anji (杏紫)
“Purple apricot” sounds like a lovely name, sure. But the real reason that this name has a following is that “Anji” sounds like “Angie”, such as the American actress Angelina Jolie.42 Arieru (泡姫)
The little mermaid is a movie that was a large part of the lives of many both overseas and in Japan.
This is why when people realized that the Japanese characters 泡姫 “bubble princess” could be pronounced “Arieru” or “Ariel”, this unique Japanese girl name had a brief surge in popularity.43 Daiana (大穴)
The late Princess Dianna touched the lives of people all over the world and people in Japan still wish to honor her by naming their kids 大穴 after her.
Unfortunately, the characters used mean “big hole” which is not the best meaning you could get out of the kanji.44 Eren (永恋)
Eren is a subtly interesting Japanese name as it is by no means a common, traditional Japanese name, it also doesn't sound particularly foreign either.
In reality though, the inspiration behind the name Eren is “Ellen” DeGeneres, the American talk show host.45 Marin (七海)
Marin means “seven seas” however was inspired by Marilyn Monroe.
There is a small cult following to this name as not only was Marilyn Monroe very popular in Japan, but the kanji characters are quite pleasant as well.46 Miran (碧空)
Miran is an uncommon girl name in Japan. It means “turquoise sky”.
There is one celebrity child actress in Japan with this name and so perhaps in years to come, others will follow.
However, as of now, most people only know the one and only Miran.47 Naushika (今鹿)
Nausica and the Vally of the Wind is a classic Studio Ghibli film, based on the adventures of the protagonist Nausica.
She is calm, cool, independent, and kind and so there are some parents who have decided to give their baby this unconventional name as well.48 Nezumi (音頭美)
Nezumi means “rat” or “mouse” in Japanese. Or at least it usually does. However, the three characters used for this spelling of Nezumi mean “sound, brains, beauty”.
Additionally, mice have a cute image in Japan so there isn’t so much of a negative connotation.49 Rabuha (愛翔)
Rabuha is in theory short for the English “Love heart” and is thought to be a cute name.
However, there are some who say that this type of name takes things too far and there are valid concerns that children with this crazy of a name will be bullied.50 Raburi (愛莉)
The name Raburi is the Japanification of the English word “lovely”. This name is uses the kanji characters “love” and “jasmine” to get a similar meaning.
While the chances you’ll actually run into a Japanese girl named Raburi are pretty slim, it's not impossible, to say the least!Conclusion
And there you have it, 50 Japanese girl names that are perfect for any occasion!
In Japan, names are sacred and so before you give yourself, your daughter, or a character a name, really think about the meaning and what it says about them.
In Japanese culture, a name is like a wish for the future and so that is something to take to heart as well.
PS: You can use our free language tool to make your own vocabulary lists, and record your own phrases.