Japanese parents have many things to consider when choosing a name for their child: not only does it need to sound nice, but, when it’s written down in kanji characters, the name’s base meaning becomes readily apparent. Meaning, a name can have many different meanings depending on the characters used to compose it. The most fashionable Japanese names for baby girls are often inspired by nature. Which is no surprise, because Japan is home to some of the most picturesque natural beauty on the planet.
From Sakura which means “cherry blossoms” to Ren which means “lotus,” the Japanese ensure that their monikers are all beautiful, auspicious, and deeply meaningful. These poetic names are catching the attention of parents all over the world, many of whom like the fact that they’re not necessarily gender-specific. We decided to take a look at some of the most elegant and popular names for baby girls in Japan. Here are 25 adorable Japanese names for girls that we think you’ll fall in love with.
Akari is a gorgeous name that means “red pear tree.” It’s one of the top 20 most popular baby names chosen in Japan last year. Akari Kaida is a treasured composer for video game music and is known for creating the soundtracks to classic Capcom games like Mega Man.
Aoi means “reliance on the cherry blossoms” or “blue.” Another top 20 last year, this one really gets a lot of use for both boys and girls. Aoi Teshima is a Japanese voice actress and singer whose talents have been featured in a number of Goro Miyazaki movies including Tales from Earthsea and From up on Poppy Hill.
Chihiro is a girl’s name meaning “a thousand questions.” This extremely elegant name belonged to the young heroine of the animated film Spirited Away.
The very bright name Dai means “to shine.” While this name is popular for both boys and girls, it’s been trending for boys over the last couple of decades. We love this name for a girl and would love to hear more of it.
The very cute name Emiko means “blessed child.” Emiko Yamane is a leading character in the 1954 Godzilla film, Godzilla and its 1956 counterpart, Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
Hanako is a delicate name that means “flower child,” but there’s something you should know before choosing this moniker. There’s a Japanese urban legend about a ghost-girl who haunts school bathrooms. If you call her name, Hanako she’s rumored to occasionally answer back. The name was widely popular until the creepy legend spread in the 1950s.
Here’s a name for girls with a sunnier connotation! Haruko means “born in Spring.” Princess Haruko was Emperor Tsuchimikado‘s firstborn daughter. He was the 83rd Emperor of Japan and ruled in the late 12th century.
Hina has a wonderfully unusual meaning: “edible greens” or “good vegetables.” Vegan parents, eat your heart out! Hina is the nickname for Hinamatsuri a Japanese festival that’s also called “Girls’ Day” or “Doll’s Day.” It’s a special day celebrated on March 3rd every year.
Another nature-inspired name, Ichika means “one thousand flowers.” Ichika Osaki is a rising Japanese actor who landed her first leading role last year in the series, Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger.
This solid and strong name means “stone.” It’s a popular name for both boys and girls.
Kairi is a girl’s name of Japanese origin meaning “sea.” It’s a top 1000 name in the US and has been since 2010! Kairi is the name of the main female character in the popular role-playing video game series, Kingdom Hearts.
This gorgeous, traditional name means “child of peace.” In Japan, names ending in “ko” are rarely used as they now sound old-fashioned and the trend these days it chose names that end in “i” like Kazumi. Kazuko Kurosawa is an award-winning costume designer who has this wonderful name.
Keiko is another Japenese classic that has a wonderful meaning: “lucky child.” Keiko Matsui is an internationally renowned Japanese pianist and composer who specializes in New-Age and Jazz music.
Kimiko has a noble meaning: “empress.” American actor Kimiko Elizabeth Glenn is known for portraying Brook Soso in Orange Is the New Black. Kimiko is such a beautiful, approachable name.
Another unfussy classic, Mai is short and sweet and means “dance.” Mai Murakami is an artistic gymnast who represented Japan in the 2016 Olympics.
Miki is an adorable name that means “beautiful chronicle” and is given to both boys and girls. Mai Murakami is a retired Japanese singer and made waves with the pop trio, Candies in the 1970s.
Naoko is a common Japanese name with an admirable meaning, which, depending on how it’s written, can translate to “obedient,” “straight,” “honest,” or “green child.” Naoko can also be spelled Nahoko. Naoko is a character in the novel Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami.
Niko is a precious name that can mean “two lakes.” It’s currently a trending name for girls in Japan, the tenth most popular in the country.
If you need some good energy, consider the name Ruri for your daughter. The name refers to the blue stone and means “lapis lazuli.” Naming babies after precious gems as a protection against evil spirits is an ancient Japanese tradition.
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Ren is a name that’s popular for both boys and girls and is gaining steam in the US. The name means “water lily” or “lotus.” The lotus symbolizes purity and perfection for many Buddhists. Ren is not only a popular name in the real world it belongs to a number of characters featured in various manga and anime.
A lovely Japanese name that would certainly be appreciated in Europe and the US. It was rarely used in Japan until the 1990s and draws its current popularity from the fact that it is deeply connected to Japanese traditional culture without sounding frumpy and old-fashioned. The name means “cherry blossom.”
Guess what the seventh most popular name for girls last year was in Japan? Sara! In Japanese, the name means “vivid blossom.”
A dazzling name, Tamako means “jewel child.” Tamako Kataoka was a famed painter in the traditional Japanese painting style Nihonga. Her work is notable for the rich colors she employed to paint various landscapes.
Americans are most familiar with this name thanks to Yoko Ono. This Japanese name means “good girl.” It’s casual sound and great meaning make it one of the most common names in Japan.
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Yui is a trending name for girls in Japan. It means “helpful fountain.” You’ll commonly find this name as a surname as well, but rarely as a given name for boys. Yui Horie is an extremely popular voice actress and singer in Japan. Her devoted fan club is called, “Black Cat Alliance.”
There you go! 25 Japanese baby names for girls we absolutely love and think you will too!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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