Mastering Japanese: How to Say Chicken in Japanese

If you’re looking to expand your Japanese vocabulary, learning how to say “chicken” in Japanese is a great place to start. Knowing the Japanese word for chicken and related vocabulary will not only help you order food at a Japanese restaurant, but also enhance your conversational ability.

By the end of this section, you will have a solid foundation in the basic Japanese terms related to chicken, as well as some alternative phrases to enrich your vocabulary. So, let’s dive in and start mastering Japanese!

Introduction to Japanese Food Vocabulary

Before we dive into the specifics of how to say “chicken” in Japanese, let’s first familiarize ourselves with some basic Japanese food vocabulary. Understanding common food terms in Japanese will help you navigate Japanese cuisine and engage in conversations about food more easily.

Japanese food vocabulary comprises words and phrases that describe various dishes, ingredients, and cooking methods. Some words may be familiar to you, while others might be entirely new. In any case, it’s always beneficial to learn new terminology and expand your language skills.

Some of the most common Japanese cuisine words include sushi, ramen, tempura, miso soup, and teriyaki. Additionally, Japanese dishes often feature ingredients such as rice, tofu, seaweed, and seafood. Learning these words will help you understand menus at Japanese restaurants and communicate your preferences effectively.

Furthermore, knowing Japanese food vocabulary will allow you to appreciate more fully the artistry and tradition that underlies Japanese cuisine. The terms often reflect the cultural significance of food in Japan and the deep respect for seasonal ingredients and balanced flavors.

So, whether you’re a beginner or an advanced learner of Japanese, taking the time to learn common food terms in Japanese will undoubtedly enhance your language skills and enrich your overall understanding of Japanese culture and cuisine.

Basic Japanese Terms for Chicken

When it comes to discussing chicken in Japanese, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the different cuts of chicken as well as popular chicken dishes. Here are some of the essential Japanese terms related to chicken:

Japanese TermTranslation
むねBreast meat
ももThigh meat
ささみTenderloin meat
手羽先Chicken wing tips
からあげJapanese-style fried chicken
照り焼きTeriyaki chicken

The term “にわとり” is the most basic and common way to refer to chicken in Japanese. However, it’s useful to know the various cuts of chicken, as they are often featured in different Japanese dishes. For example, “むね” is commonly used for grilled chicken skewers, while “からあげ” is a popular dish of bite-sized fried chicken pieces. “照り焼き” refers to chicken that has been glazed and grilled with a sweet soy sauce-based sauce.

How to Say “Chicken” in Japanese

If you want to learn how to say “chicken” in Japanese, you’re in the right place. The most common and straightforward way to say chicken in Japanese is “tori” (鶏). It’s a simple term that you can use in any context, whether talking about a whole chicken or a specific chicken dish.

When pronounced, “tori” sounds like “toh-ree.” The first syllable is stressed, so make sure to emphasize it when you say it aloud.


If you’re looking to expand your vocabulary beyond just “tori,” there are additional words and phrases to describe various aspects of chicken. For example, “momo” (もも) is the Japanese term for chicken thigh, while “sasami” (ささみ) refers to chicken tenderloin. “Karaage” (唐揚げ) is a popular Japanese dish made of bite-sized chicken that has been marinated in soy sauce and coated in potato starch before being deep-fried.

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ももChicken thigh“Moh-moh”
ささみChicken tenderloin“Sah-sah-mee”
唐揚げJapanese fried chicken“Kar-ah-ah-geh”

Now that you know the Japanese word for chicken, “tori,” and some additional vocabulary related to chicken, you can communicate more effectively about chicken in Japanese and explore Japanese cuisine with greater confidence.

Additional Words for Chicken in Japanese

Aside from the basic Japanese word for chicken, there are a variety of alternative terms you can use to describe different aspects of chicken.

Japanese TermTranslation
にわとりdomestic chicken
とりにくchicken meat
むねchicken breast
ももchicken leg
ささみchicken tenderloin
からあげJapanese-style fried chicken

By learning these additional words and phrases related to chicken, you can more accurately convey your thoughts and ideas in Japanese. Plus, it’s always helpful to have a broader vocabulary when discussing food and cooking.

Pronunciation Tips for Chicken in Japanese

Learning to pronounce Japanese words correctly is essential to communicating effectively. Here are some tips to help you pronounce “chicken” in Japanese correctly:

Japanese WordEnglish TransliterationPronunciation

The Japanese word for “chicken” is “tori.” It is pronounced with a long “o” sound and a soft “r” sound. To pronounce the “o” sound, position your mouth into an “o” shape and say “oh.”

Next, pronounce the “r” sound by lightly tapping the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. Be sure to keep your lips rounded while doing this. Try practicing this sound with the word “rare.”

Finally, combine the two sounds to say “tori” correctly. Remember to place the emphasis on the second syllable, “ree.”

Practice saying “tori” several times until you feel confident pronouncing the word correctly. With these tips, you’ll be able to say “chicken” in Japanese like a pro!

Cultural Significance of Chicken in Japanese Cuisine

In Japan, chicken has been an essential ingredient in many traditional dishes for centuries. It is a versatile meat that is easy to prepare and pairs well with a wide range of flavors. However, chicken also holds cultural significance in Japanese cuisine beyond just its taste and convenience.

One of the most well-known examples of the cultural significance of chicken in Japan is the annual Obon Festival. During this festival, families come together to honor and remember their ancestors, and it is customary to prepare a special meal that includes chicken. It is believed that the spirits of the ancestors return to the earthly world during the festival, and chicken is seen as a symbol of those spirits returning.

Chicken is also a popular ingredient in traditional Japanese hotpots, or nabe. These hotpots are particularly popular during the cold winter months and are typically served family-style. Sharing a nabe meal with loved ones is a way to foster community and connection, further highlighting the cultural significance of chicken in Japanese cuisine.

Regional Variations

Chicken is prepared and consumed differently in various regions of Japan. For example, Yakitori is a popular dish in Tokyo and other urban areas, while the Nagoya region is known for its Tebasaki chicken wings. In the Miyazaki Prefecture, the specialty dish is Chicken Nanban, which is a deep-fried chicken fillet served with tartar sauce and vinegar. Exploring these regional variations can provide insight into the unique cultural heritage of each area.

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Overall, chicken’s cultural significance in Japanese cuisine can be seen in the way it is used in traditional dishes, festivals, and everyday meals. Taking the time to learn about and appreciate these cultural traditions can further enhance your understanding and enjoyment of Japanese cuisine.

Expanding Your Japanese Vocabulary

Learning a few Japanese words is a great start, but to become proficient in the language, you must expand your vocabulary. Here are a few tips to help you improve your Japanese language skills and learn new words:

Create a List

To keep track of new words, create a list that you can refer to regularly. Write down words you come across while reading or listening to Japanese music or podcasts. This exercise will not only help you learn new words, but it will also help you recall them.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice is essential when it comes to learning a new language. Make it a habit to practice using new words in sentences to help you remember them. Additionally, practice your pronunciation to ensure you are speaking the language accurately.

Use Flashcards

Flashcards can be a helpful tool when learning new words. Write the Japanese word on one side and the English translation on the other side. Use the flashcards to test your knowledge and practice your recall of new words.

Watch Japanese TV Shows and Movies

Watching Japanese TV shows and movies can help you learn new words and improve your understanding of Japanese culture. Subtitles can also help you associate written words with spoken language and pronunciation.

Use Language Learning Apps

There are many language learning apps available that can help you expand your vocabulary and improve your language skills. Apps like Duolingo, Memrise, and Babbel offer fun and interactive ways to learn new words and phrases.

By using these tips to expand your Japanese vocabulary, you can continue to improve your language skills and have more in-depth conversations with native speakers.


Q: How do you say “chicken” in Japanese?

A: The word for “chicken” in Japanese is “tori” (鶏). There are also other words to describe chicken, such as “niwatori” (鶏) or “tamago” (卵) which specifically means chicken egg.

Q: Are there different cuts of chicken in Japanese cuisine?

A: Yes, Japanese cuisine uses various cuts of chicken. Some common ones include “momo” (もも) for thigh meat, “sasami” (ささみ) for chicken breast, and “kawa” (皮) for chicken skin.

Q: What are some popular chicken dishes in Japan?

A: Japan has a wide range of delicious chicken dishes. Some popular ones include “yakitori” (焼き鳥) which are grilled chicken skewers, “karaage” (唐揚げ) which is Japanese fried chicken, and “nihonkai no tori” (日本海の鳥) which is a regional dish made with chicken from the Nihonkai area.

Q: How should I pronounce the word for “chicken” in Japanese?

A: The pronunciation for “tori” (鶏) is “toh-ree” with a slight emphasis on the second syllable. Make sure to pronounce each syllable clearly and avoid rushing through the word.

Q: Are there any alternative terms for chicken in Japanese?

A: Yes, apart from “tori” (鶏), you can also use “kei” (鶏) or “chikin” (チキン) which is the English loanword for chicken commonly used in Japan.

Q: What is the cultural significance of chicken in Japanese cuisine?

A: Chicken holds cultural significance in Japanese cuisine. It is often served during special occasions and festivals, such as New Year’s celebrations and weddings. Additionally, chicken is a key ingredient in traditional dishes like “oyakodon” (親子丼) which is a chicken and egg rice bowl.

Q: How can I expand my Japanese vocabulary beyond just “chicken”?

A: To expand your Japanese vocabulary, immerse yourself in the language by watching Japanese TV shows or movies, reading books or manga in Japanese, and practicing conversations with native speakers. Utilize language learning apps and flashcards to learn new words and regularly review them for retention.

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