Sandwich With Lots Of Fruits

Fruits in Japanese: 30 Essential Fruit Names, From the Classics to the Uniquely Japanese

If you want to give both your brain and your mouth something to chew on as a Japanese learner, I’ve got the perfect solution.

You should learn your fruits in Japanese (and eat them too)!

Fruits ( くだもの ) play a big role in Japanese cuisine, and Japan is home to some very interesting fruits that are hard to find elsewhere.

In this post, I’ll go over the Japanese names of very popular fruits, plus introduce you to a few unique tasty produce that are especially loved by Japanese natives!


Common Fruit Names in Japanese

As you go through the list, you’ll see that the names of Japanese fruits can be written using hiragana, katakana or kanji. Remember that katakana is mainly used for foreign words—in this case, fruits that weren’t originally native to Japan.

While the kanji for each fruit is good to know, don’t worry too much about it! You’ll encounter fruit names more often in hiragana or katakana.

りんご — Apple

Katakana: リンゴ
Kanji: 林檎

あんず — Apricot

Katakana: アンズ

バナナ — Banana

ブルーベリー — Blueberry

さくらんぼ — Cherry

Katakana: サクランボ
Kanji: 桜桃 or 桜ん坊

You may also say チェリー .

ココナッツ — Coconut

ぶどう — Grape

Katakana: ブドウ
Kanji: 葡萄

キウイ — Kiwi

レモン — Lemon

Kanji: 檸檬

びわ — Loquat

Katakana: ビワ
Kanji: 枇杷

マンゴー — Mango

メロン — Melon

オレンジ — Orange

もも — Peach

Katakana: モモ

なし — Pear

Katakana: ナシ

かき — Persimmon

Katakana: カキ

パイナップル — Pineapple

きいちご — Raspberry

Katakana: キイチゴ
Kanji: 木苺

Another word for raspberry is ラズベリー .

いちご — Strawberry

Katakana: イチゴ

すいか — Watermelon

Katakana: スイカ
Kanji: 西瓜

These are some of the most common fruits in Japan, so you’re bound to hear about them a lot if you keep learning Japanese. 

To remember these fruit names more quickly, you’ll need two important strategies: flashcards and context. For instance, you can look up any of these fruit names on FluentU’s dictionary and turn them into multimedia flashcards with a click—audio, graphics and example videos and sentences included.

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Of course, for the full sensory experience, remember these Japanese words and maybe even say them out loud the next time you bite into these fruits.

Unique Fruits from Japan

Here comes the fun part—let’s go over a few of the special fruits that are well-known by Japanese natives but may be completely new to you!

Most of these do have native Japanese names and assigned kanji characters, but again, I recommend that you focus first on the hiragana and katakana spellings.  

ふゆうがき — Fuyu Persimmon

fuyu persimmons

Kanji: 富有柿

Did you know that the persimmon is Japan’s national fruit? And for good reason too: There are a variety of different Japanese-bred persimmons, and all of them are delicious.

The Fuyu persimmon is one of the most popular. It’s a “non-astringent” type that’s small and firm with a surprisingly spice-like flavor. I’d rank it as my favorite persimmon—not just because it’s so yummy, but also because you can eat it whole, like an apple.

なし — Japanese Nashi Pear

japanese nashi pears

Katakana: ナシ

なし is the general term for a pear, but regular pears in Japan are quite different from what you may be familiar with. The nashi pear is round with a yellowish to brownish skin, and it’s wonderfully crunchy, juicy and refreshing.

Although I love my Western Bartlett and Bosch pears, sometimes a nashi pear just does a better (and sweeter) job at quenching thirst!

デコポン — Dekopon Citrus

dekopon citrus fruits

Oranges are a big deal in Japan, and the dekopon citrus is one specimen grown on Japanese soil that’s gaining traction in other countries too. It’s aptly known as “sumo mandarin” because its shape resembles a sumo wrestler’s head and portly belly.

Dekopon citrus might look odd, but it’s absolutely delicious. I personally like oranges that are “face-wrinkling sour,” but I greatly appreciate how the dekopon balances tartness with a bright sweetness.

あけび — Akebi

japanese akebi fruit

Katakana: アケビ
Kanji: 木通

I’ve never eaten the akebi fruit, but I already love it for how weird it is. Known also as “chocolate vine fruit,” it has vivid purple skin that reminds me of a Japanese sweet potato, but its white, seed-flecked pulp vaguely brings to mind a dragonfruit.

The taste is said to be rather mild, but all parts of the fruit can be eaten in different ways—for example, the skin is commonly fried.

すだち   Sudachi

sudachi fruits

Katakana: スダチ
Kanji: 酢橘

The sudachi is a green citrus fruit that is predictably sour, but also slightly savory. For this reason, it’s used like a lemon or lime. Its zest and juice can be sprinkled atop a variety of dishes, such as salads or noodles.

I normally use lemon juice when I need a bit more punch to my veggie bowls, but I think I may try out a sudachi next time.

うんしゅうみかん — Unshiu (Satsuma) Mandarin

unshia (satsuma) mandarins

Katakana: ウンシュウミカン
Kanji: 温州蜜柑

The Satsuma mandarin is actually one of the citruses that were cross-bred to create the dekopon citrus. It tastes delicious, but unfortunately, it’s rather difficult to find fresh in markets outside of Japan.

What I love the most about this fruit is that it doesn’t take a lot of effort to eat—the peel slips off like paper, and there are no seeds to spit out.

うめ — Ume

japanese ume fruits

Katakana: ウメ
Kanji: 梅

The Japanese plum known as ume has a distinct explosive sourness so potent that the fruit usually isn’t eaten raw. It’s typically fermented or pickled into umeboshi, but let me tell you, even that doesn’t really put a dent in its tartness.

I’ve experienced the fascinating tang of ume in different foods, from riceballs to wine, and all I can say is that it’s not a fruit for the weak. Don’t let that stop you from trying it, though!

きょほうぶどう — Kyoho Grapes

kyoho grapes

Kanji: 巨峰葡萄

Western grapes are known for being mildly sour, and they’re firm enough that they pop in your mouth when chewed. Kyoho grapes are quite different—they’re very sweet with little to no sourness, and their delicate skins slip off easily.

They aren’t the cheapest fruits around, but because they’re just that good, I always make sure to get a few boxes of them during the summer and early fall.

ゆうばりメロン — Yubari Melon

yubari melon

Kanji: 夕張メロン

Also known as “Yubari king” melon, this fruit is said to be the best-tasting cantaloupe in Japan, and consequently, the most expensive fruit in the world (with a price that can reach up to five million yen). They are only grown in the Yubari region located in Hokkaido, so they’re very exclusive.

They’re one of the well-known “gift fruits,” and are packaged expensively—sometimes in a wooden box with beautiful wrapping paper & ribbons.

I love cantaloupes dearly, but I’ve accepted the fact that I probably won’t be graced too often by the royal presence of this esteemed melon.

はつこいのかおり — “Scent of First Love” Strawberry

White Strawberry (scent of first love strawberry)

Kanji: 初恋の香り

Naturally, the fragrance of burgeoning love would be associated with the very romantic strawberry. This dainty fruit was bred to be pale pink to nearly white, but its taste isn’t much different from a regular strawberry’s.

It’s considered an expensive luxury fruit that you can buy as a gift for your special someone. I probably wouldn’t be able to afford a box of these myself, but I’d certainly love to be on the receiving end and eat a few.


If your hunger to learn has been sated, why not satisfy your actual hunger as well?

Take a trip to a Japanese market and pick up some of the fruits mentioned here! They’ll likely have labels with their Japanese names, so practice reading those as well.

And One More Thing...

If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.

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FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:


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All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.


And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


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