16 Ways to Say “Cool” in Japanese: Kakkoii and Beyond

You know what’s cool? Knowing how to say “cool” in Japanese!

Let’s explore the nuances of each expression, from the mainstream to the slangy.

You’ll be dropping these cool phrases like a native Japanese speaker in no time!

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The Most Common Way to Say “Cool” in Japanese: かっこいい (kakkoii)

This is the most standard and widely used term for “cool” in Japanese. It can describe a person, object or action that’s stylish or impressive.

The word kakkoii in Japanese is often used to describe something or someone as “cool” or “stylish.” Here are a few ways you can use it:

Here are a few more examples. Click on any word in these sentences for a breakdown:

えー!もうかっこいいですね。

Whoa! That’s so cool.
待って!こんなかっこいい人が私の髪切るの?

Wait! This gorgeous person is gonna cut my hair?!
ええ?/かっこいい!/ちょっと、来ないで!あっち行って!

Huh? / So cool! / Hey, don’t come (near me)! Go away!

More Ways to Say “Cool” in Japanese

すごい (sugoi)

While primarily translated as “amazing” or “awesome,” sugoi can also be used to convey a sense of something being cool or impressive.

ポートタワーもすごいのさ

Port Tower is also spectacular!

イケてる (iketeru)

This is a colloquial expression often used among young people. It signifies something or someone being stylish, trendy or cool.

カッチョいい (kaccho ii)

This is an informal phrase, and is commonly used in casual conversations among friends.

クール (kuuru)

This one might sound familiar! Borrowed from English, kuuru is used in Japanese to describe someone who is cool in a calm, composed or sophisticated manner.

格好つける (kakko tsukeru)

This phrase is often used to describe someone acting cool or trying to be stylish, sometimes with a slightly negative connotation.

洒落てる (shareteru)

This term refers to being stylish or sophisticated and can be used to express something as cool in a fashionable sense.

ヤバい (yabai)

Originally meaning “dangerous,” yabai is often used informally to convey excitement or awe, similar to saying something’s cool.

素敵 (suteki)

While it directly translates to “lovely” or “charming,” suteki is used to express admiration and can be applied to things or people that are cool in a positive sense.

扉を開けたら、素敵な世界。

If you open the door, it’s a wonderful world.

イケメン (ikemen)

This term specifically refers to a cool, handsome man. It’s often used to describe someone who isn’t just attractive but also has a cool demeanor.

かっこよくてイケメンで色々なことをすぐにしてくれる。

(Someone) who is cool, handsome, and will do lots of things (for me) right away.

格好つく (kakkou tsuku)

This phrase is used to describe someone dressing well or looking stylish, giving them an overall cool appearance.

スゲェ (sugee)

An abbreviated form of sugoi, sugee is used online and in text messages to convey excitement or awe, similar to saying something is cool.

カモーン (kamoon)

Borrowed from English, kamoon is often used in a similar way to say “come on” or “cool.” It’s a very casual expression.

かっこええ (kakkoee)

In the Kansai region (including cities like Osaka and Kyoto), you’ll hear the regional dialect 関西弁 (Kansai-ben). In this dialect, locals will use the word kakkoee to mean “cool” or “good-looking.”

かっちょええ (kaccho ii) / カッチョええ (kaccho yoi)

広島弁 (Hiroshima-ben), used in Hiroshima and the surrounding areas, uses these variations of the standard kakkoii.

かっちょいい (kaccho ii) / カッコつける (kakko tsukeru)

These are the 九州弁 (Kyushu-ben) variations, which are used to convey a sense of something being cool or stylish.

Cool Japanese Words

Want to learn some more cool Japanese words? Here’s a fun list of awesome words to get you started. 

わびさび  (Wabi-Sabi) — Finding beauty in imperfection and appreciating the transient nature of things.

しょうがない  (Shoganai) — It can’t be helped; accepting the things beyond your control.

「まあ出会いがなきゃ、しょうがないけどね」とか言われて。

and (she) said (to me),

生き甲斐  (Ikigai) — A reason for being; the concept of finding joy and purpose in life.

生き甲斐ってやつが光り輝くから

Because what makes (our) life worth living shines bright

積ん読  (Tsundoku) — Acquiring books but letting them pile up without reading them.

木漏れ日  (Komorebi) — The interplay of light and leaves when sunlight filters through trees.

カーテンを開いて静かな木漏れ日の優しさに包まれたならきっと

(I’m) sure if (I) opened (the) curtains and were wrapped in (the) kindness of (the) quiet light filtering through (the) trees

かわいい  (Kawaii) — Cute; charming; lovable.

リンちゃんって呼び方すごくかわいいと思わない?

The name ‘Rin-chan’ is really cute, don’t you think?

元気  (Genki) — Healthy, lively, full of energy.

お父様とお母様はお元気なの?

Are your mother and your father doing well?

もったいない  (Mottainai) — A sense of regret over waste; expressing the idea of “what a waste!”

食べるのがもったいないくらいきれい。

It’s almost too wasteful to eat something so pretty.

物の哀れ  (Mono no Aware) — The bittersweetness of fleeting beauty; an awareness of the impermanence of things.

幽玄  (Yūgen) — A profound, mysterious sense of beauty; the subtle and deep awareness of the universe’s vastness.

沈黙  (Chinmoku) — Silence; quietness; a state of profound stillness.

沈黙が続いたイヤフォン

Earbuds filled with continued silence

花見  (Hanami) — The traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of cherry blossoms.

見て楽しむというお花見になったのは、奈良時代の宮中。

Sakura viewing became for pleasure in the imperial court during the Nara period.

森林浴  (Shinrin-Yoku) — Forest bathing; the practice of immersing oneself in the forest atmosphere for relaxation.

悟り  (Satori) — Sudden enlightenment; a moment of spiritual awakening.

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Now that you know how to say “cool” in Japanese, have fun and stay cool!

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