December 21, 2023

Christmas Vocabulary in Japanese and Silent Night きよしこの夜

こんにちは!Today, we're going to embark on a festive journey through some Christmas Vocabulary in Japanese. Christmas, known as クリスマス in Japan, is celebrated in its own unique way.

Whether you're a beginner or an upper beginner, this lesson will help you understand and express the holiday spirit in Japanese. So, let's dive into the world of クリスマス with greetings, essential vocabulary, and some fun facts! 

Then, let's learn how to sing Silent Night in Japanese. It is called きよしこの(よる) which means, "This Holy Night."

Santa Anime Girl

How to say "Christmas" and "Silent Night" in Japanese




Silent Night

Christmas in Japan

Christmas in Japan, known as クリスマス, is a fascinating blend of Western traditions and Japanese culture. Although not a national holiday, it's celebrated with much enthusiasm and its own unique customs.

In Japan, Christmas is more of a commercial and romantic holiday than a religious one. Couples often go out for dinner and exchange gifts. Christmas Eve is considered the most romantic night of the year, akin to Valentine's Day in other countries. From Christmas illuminations to special holiday treats, the season is embraced with a distinctly Japanese flair.

Before we get into the language of クリスマス in Japan, let’s hit a few cultural items.

Christmas Culture in Japan

  • Commercial and Romantic Holiday: Unlike in the West, Christmas in Japan is not a religious holiday; instead, it's largely commercial and romantic. Couples treat it similarly to Valentine's Day, enjoying romantic dinners and exchanging gifts.
  • Christmas Eve: This is often more celebrated than Christmas Day itself. It's a time for romantic dates, special events, and family gatherings. Many young couples view Christmas Eve as the most romantic night of the year, akin to a second Valentine's Day.
  • KFC Christmas: Perhaps one of the most unique traditions is the custom of eating Kentucky Fried Chicken. Yes, you read that right. This tradition began in the 1970s due to a highly successful marketing campaign "Kentucky for Christmas!" (クリスマスにはケンタッキー!) and has persisted ever since. Families often order their buckets months in advance to avoid long lines.
  • Christmas Cake: Another popular tradition is eating Christmas cake, usually a sponge cake decorated with strawberries and whipped cream. It's a symbol of the season and is enjoyed by people of all ages.
  • Decorations and Illuminations: Cities and homes are adorned with Christmas lights and decorations. Spectacular illumination events are held throughout the country, turning parks and gardens into winter wonderlands.
  • Gift-Giving: While not as extensive as in Western cultures, exchanging gifts is common, especially among couples and families with children. It's also a time when corporations often give bonenkai (忘年会(ぼうねんかい), year-forgetting parties) and gifts to employees.

Now, let’s take a look at some Christmas related Japanese greetings and vocabulary.

Christmas Vocabulary in Japanese

Christmas Vocabulary in Japanese




meri- kurisumasu
Merry Christmas


meri kuri
Merry Christmas


yoi kurisumasu o!
Have a good Christmas


Christmas; holy birthday
[聖 (holy) + 誕 (be born; nativity) + 祭 (feast; festival; celebrate; ritual)]


Christmas; nativity
[降 (descend; fall; come down) + 誕 (be born; nativity) + 祭 (feast; festival; celebrate; ritual)]


hymn; sacred song; chant
[聖 (holy) + 歌 (song)]


kurisumasu kyaroru
Christmas carol


kurisumasu songu
Christmas carol (song)


holy night; Christmas Eve
[聖 (holy) + 夜 (night; evening)]


kurisumasu tsuri-
Christmas tree

賢者(けんじゃ)(おく)(もの )

kenja no okuri mono
gifts of the wise men
[賢 (intelligent; wise) + 者 (person; someone) + 贈り (presents; send; give to) + 物 (thing; object); this is also the title of O. Henry's short story, The Gift of the Magi]


[天 (heaven) + 使 (messenger)]






lights; illumination

Before we get to "Silent Night" in Japanese, how about a few phrases you can use in Japanese?


This year's Christmas tree is very beautiful, isn't it?



Did you receive a present from Santa Claus?


And lastly…


Are you ready for Christmas?


Now that we have studied a few important Christmas vocabulary in Japanese, let's learn how to sing (or say) Silent Night in Japanese.

Learn Silent Night in Japanese

Silent Night in Japanese







kiyoshi kono yoru

hoshi wa hikari

sukui no miko wa

mabune no naka ni


ito yasuku


  • きよし ((きよ)し) pure; clean [Classical form of (きよ)い, often used in old texts or lyrics]
  • この this
  • (よる) night [The phrase "きよしこの夜" is a direct reference to the title of the Christmas carol "Silent Night" in Japanese, translating literally to "This Pure Night" or more contextually as "Silent Night."]
  • (ほし) star
  • は as for (topic marker)
  • ひかり light; shine [from the verb (ひか)る, to shine or to glitter; this phrase means "The star shines" or "Star of light.”]
  • (すく)い salvation; rescue
  • 御子(みこ) (honorable) child; son [() is an honorific prefix; this phrase "(すく)いの御子(みこ)" refers to the "Savior's child" or "Child of salvation," referring to Jesus.]
  • まぶね crib; manger
  • なか inside; middle
  • に (target/location particle) [The phrase "まぶねのなかに" translates to "In the manger" or "Inside the crib," commonly found in narratives or texts related to the Nativity scene.]
  • ねむり sleep; slumber [noun form of (ねむ)る, to sleep]
  • たもう (archaic or poetic expression) to let; to allow; to have someone do something [The phrase "ねむりたもう" is a classical or poetic expression meaning "Let [someone] sleep" or "Is allowed to sleep."]
  • いと very; extremely [an archaic or literary form of "very," often seen in classical Japanese]
  • (やす)く peacefully; comfortably; easily [adverbial form of (やす)い, peaceful or cheap; the phrase "いと(やす)く" can be translated as "Very peacefully" or "Most comfortably," often used in literary or poetic contexts to describe a state of peace or comfort.]

Want another Christmas-related song in Japanese? See our lesson page on Kissin' Christmas by clicking here.

Sharing is caring!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Level up your Japanese!


For Total Beginners

Japanese for beginners - Beri-Beri Shoshinsha

This 15-book study guide + worksheets bundle is ON SALE. For just one-time payment only, you will get this bundle for a very low price plus you will get future contents for free (no additional charge).

Easy to follow and understand

This bundle is perfect for absolute beginners. It's thorough without being wordy, giving you exactly enough information to understand the concepts without overloading you with information. 

TheJapanShop.com Customer

Makoto+ Membership

You'll notice many TheJapanesePage.com lessons have bonus content for Makoto+ Members. Well, membership goes well beyond that. Members also get our monthly magazine for learners of Japanese (Beginners to Intermediates), weekly exclusive lessons, Podcast bonus content, and much more.