The Master List of Core Japanese Vocabulary: 1000’s of Words to Learn!

My favorite Japanese word is tsundoku—the art of buying too many books and never actually reading them. I’m guilty of this! I enjoy having books, even if they never get read.

What I don’t enjoy is spending time and effort learning Japanese words that I’ll never actually use.

That’s where categorized and themed vocabulary lists come in handy.

Read on to acquire Japanese vocabulary that you’ll actually use—unlike all those books I have piled up on my bookshelf.


Core Japanese Vocabulary

Your core vocabulary sets the foundation for the rest of your language learning. These are the first words you should learn, and you’ll keep referring to them throughout your language learning journey.

In addition to everyday words like greetings and colors, Japan has very specific ways that it uses words. You’ll want to learn how to properly say “sorry” based on the occasion, the right way to refer to “you” without accidentally calling someone “darling” and more quirks unique to the Japanese language.

Common Japanese words





Important specific words








Easily confused words

Days and months vocab

Friends, family and home


Travel and survival Japanese



Food, drink and eating out


Nature-related Words






Anime and Manga

Professional and Academic Japanese Vocabulary

Whether you’re getting ready for the advanced JLPT or you’re interested in teaching or working in Japan, these advanced vocabulary words will get you through it!



Japanese Slang

Yo! How down are you with the lingo on the streets? Okay, sorry, I’ll stop. In all seriousness, your Japanese studies won’t be complete unless you learn some authentic Japanese slang.

From the streets to the internet, these Japanese slang words will add some color to your language knowledge.

More Fun Japanese Vocabulary

Make your vocab learning even more fun by studying some more unique words. You might enjoy stocking up on Japanese loanwords, basking in the beauty of the language or taking a step into the wonderful world of Japanese puns.

Japanese Loanwords



Fillers and sounds




Holidays in Japanese

Fun miscellaneous vocabulary






Use these vocab lists to find the most relevant Japanese vocabulary words for you. Then, add them to your mental library and use them often!

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