Japanese language expressions for rain

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Japanese language expressions for rain

The Japanese language can often be poetic and detailed. There are expressions that capture very subtle differences in weather, taste, or even people's moods.

It is the rainy season or 梅雨(つゆ) in Japan at this time.
Although, in the northern island of Hokkaido there is no rainy season and in the southern most islands of Okinawa, the season is rather short, the rest of country is usually under heavy clouds of precipitation and humidity throughout the months of June and July.
As would be expected, this annual rainfall has lead to a wealth of vocabulary connected to rain.
Here we look at three expressions that describe the rain during this Tsuyu season.

■雨足(あまあし)Ama Ashi

A passing shower or streaks of rain. It is used in phrases like, "Ama ashi ga hayai" which means that the showers pass quickly. Or like, "Ama ashi ga tsuyoi" which means that the rain streaks are strong and heavy.

■通り雨 Toori Ame

A type of heavy rainfall that passes soon.


"Oh no, its raining again!"
"Don't worry, its just Toori Ame (literally: passing rain)."

■夕立(ゆうだち)Yu Dachi

This is the type of heavy rain that suddenly starts to fall from summer afternoons to evenings. Often comprises of thunder, brightens up in a short time, and brings in cool temperatures.

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