how to check the (accurate) weather in Japanese

When I need to check the weather, there's a few things I can do... but I've found that some are less helpful than others. Of course, upon arriving in Japan, I still regularly checked MSN and for weather updates and temperatures. Although, I soon found these to be wrong more often than right, and thought about how else I could find more accurate weather reports.

Of course, I could just turn on the TV, but since I rarely watch TV and acquire most of my news via RSS, that wouldn't work too well. Especially if I needed a report right away. Up to this point, I often heard students and teachers around me throwing around "Yahoo."
When they asked me if I had ever heard of Yahoo, I nodded, thinking that Yahoo used to be big maybe 5-10 years ago and that I hardly use it anymore. Do I even remember my Yahoo password? Nonetheless, Yahoo Japan warranted a quick explore-through. Sure enough, it seemed as though people in Japan use Yahoo like many Americans now use Google. Even better, the weather was actually more accurate, and through subsequent checks, confirmed its superiority over MSN and other weather channels.

Aside from bookmarking your particular location through Yahoo Japan weather, here's a quick and easy way to get the weather report, fast.

1. Type your location in Japanese in your browser's search bar.  Example: I live in Shimada, so I typed "shimada" while my language setting was on "hiragana". I press the space bar and these kanji appear:島田. The first is the "shima" or "island," and the second is the "da" or "rice field." Yes, apparently I live in a bird's rice field... Anyway, I already know that these are the correct kanji, so I leave them as they are. Then I type one more word: "tenki" (てんき), meaning "weather." I press the space bar and 天気 appears. The first kanji is the "ten" or "heavens, sky." The second is "ki" or "air, atmosphere." So my search bar will have 島田天気 in it. I press return and here are the search results:

Most of these are fine to use (there's more below them too) but I always click on the first one which is Yahoo weather.

You'll notice this is all in Japanese, but it is a great and easy way to practice.

今日の天気 (きょうのてんき, kyou no tenki) - today's weather
気温 (きおん, kion) - temperature (on Japanese pages, always in Celsius)
湿度 (しつど, shitsudo) - humidity, the percentage
降水量 (こうすいりょう, kousuiryo) - precipitation, amount of rainfall
風向 (ふうこう, fuukou) - direction of wind
風速 (ふうそく, fuusoku) - wind speed, (m/s is meters per second)

The weather is broken up by the hours, just remember Japan is on "military time." 時 (ji) means hour or time.

If you scroll down, there is a box for tomorrow's weather 明日の天気 (ashita no tenki) as well as the weekly forecast 週間天気 (shuukan tenki). The highs and lows are listed under the weekly forecast, as well as the chance of rain.

To practice, try searching Tokyo's weather (or your own city, or anywhere else). 東京天気 (とうきょうてんき, toukyou tenki).

The other nice thing about this Yahoo weather (and I'm sure other Japanese weather sites) is that they have a cherry blossom forecast. The cherry blossoms are now blooming and working their way up from Southern Japan. I have yet to go out and enjoy them, as it has been rainy and cold around here lately... but, Yahoo says the weather is supposed to warm up around here this week. Hoping that it will be warm and clear when I visit Hakone this weekend for the first time. Even if Mt. Fuji decides to stay hidden, at the very least the cherry blossoms should be blooming. Here's hoping...

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Anonymous said...

We can get wheather forecasts in English at:
Please visit there.
(shimba003 2010/04/30 in Fujieda)

Ashley said...

Yes, it is possible to get weather forecasts in English - but they are not always accurate, and at least for those that want to try to look up the weather in Japanese, they can.

kalleboo said...

When I was in Japan I liked the mac program WhereWeather that put today's weather in the menubar or on your desktop. It uses as a source which I found as pretty accurate.

Ashley said...


cool, thanks for the tip!

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