Top 20 Tricky Japanese Tongue Twisters That’ll Make You Tongue-Tied

Japanese Tongue Twisters

Are you up for a challenge to test your Japanese pronunciation? Try saying these hard Japanese tongue twisters fast!

Would you like to know how good your Japanese pronunciation is? I know a fun way to put your Japanese to the test: 早口言葉 (hayakuchi kotoba)!

There are 20 popular Japanese tongue twisters in this article, and I challenge you to read all of them fast without any mistakes! If you want to double the fun, gather your friends and try it together. I bet even your Japanese friends can’t do it without a pause.

Before we get to the fun part, let’s find out how tongue twisters can help you in learning Japanese.

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Why Should You Learn Japanese Tongue Twisters?

Japanese kid studying

Better Pronunciation

Studying tongue twisters is a great way to hone your pronunciation skill. If you struggle to pronounce a sound, you should find a tongue twister that focuses on that specific sound, then read it aloud again and again until perfection.

In the end, you can get used to producing that sound and can pronounce the words easily when speaking Japanese at a moderate pace. This strategy can improve your Japanese pronunciation significantly in the long run.

New Vocabulary

It’s also a fun way to learn new vocabulary. Even though they look challenging and you understand nothing literally at first. As you break the sentence into smaller parts like word by word, and look up the meaning, you see that some words are already stuck in your mind.

Because tongue twisters are ridiculously funny phrases, they create a memory in your mind. That’s why you’re likely to remember those words more easily than the ones you’ve learned through the flashcards technique.


What Is The Easiest Japanese Tongue Twister?

The easiest Japanese tongue twister I’ve heard so far is this one. You can say it effortlessly on the first try. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 😉

Romaji: Basu gasu bakuhatsu

Hiragana: ばすがすばくはつ。


Meaning: Bus gas explosion


What Is The Hardest Japanese Tongue Twister?

This one is the boss of all Japanese tongue twisters, you know. I can’t even read it in romaji form correctly. Well, congratulations if you read it correctly at once, but remember you have to say it fast as it’s a 早口言葉 (hayakuchi kotoba), which literally means “fast mouth words” in Japanese!

Romaji: Tōkyō tokkyo kyokakyoku kyokuchō kyō kyūkyo kyoka kyakka

Hiragana: とうきょう とっきょ きょかきょく きょくちょう きょう きゅうきょ きょか きゃっか。


Meaning: The Tokyo patent authorization bureau boss quickly denied the authorization today.


Tricky Japanese Tongue Twisters

Here are my favorite Japanese tongue twisters. Some of them are easier, and some are really challenging. Either way, remember to say a tongue twister as fast as possible. Let’s get started!

1. Tonari no kyaku wa yoku kaki kuu kyaku da

Kanji: 隣の客はよく 柿 食う 客 だ。

Hiragana: となり の きゃく は よく かき しょっかく だ。


Meaning: The customer next to me eats a lot of persimmons.

Emphasized sounds: く(ku), きゃ (kya), and か (ka).


2. Sumomo mo momo mo momo no uchi

Kanji: スモモも桃も桃のうち。

Hiragana: すももももも ももももも すもももももももものうち。


Meaning: Plums and peaches are both like peaches.

Emphasized sounds: も (mo). You better count those もs!

3. Katatatakiki

Kanji: 肩たたき機。

Hiragana: かたたたき き。


Meaning: Shoulder massage machine.

Emphasized sounds: た (ta)

4. Migime migi mimi migi mimi migi me

Kanji: 右目右耳 右耳右目。

Hiragana: みぎめみぎみみ みぎみみみぎめ。


Meaning: Right eye, right ear, right ear, right eye.

Emphasized sounds: み (mi), ぎ (gi). Try to understand all the words here!

5. Anoko mo konoko mo tomoko no ko

Kanji: あの子もこの子もとも子の子。

Hiragana: あのこもこのこもともこのこ。


Meaning: That child and this child are Tomoko’s children.

Emphasized sounds: も (mo),の (no), and こ (ko). Who is Tomoko’s child, again?

6. Toukyou tokkyo kyoka kyoku

Kanji: 東京特許許可局。

Hiragana: とうきょうとっきょきょかきょく。


Meaning: Tokyo patent permit office.

Emphasized sounds: きょ (kyo), きゃ (kya). I couldn’t catch up after the Tokyo…

Warm clothes

7. Atatakakunakattakara atatakai fuku o tsukatta

Kanji: 暖かくなったから、暖かい服を使った。

Hiragana: あたたかくなかったから、あたたかいふくをつかった。


Meaning: Because it wasn’t warm I used warm clothes.

Emphasized sounds: The heavily modified word atatakai (warm). Yep, the first long word right there was just “atatakai” once.

8. Uraniwa ni wa niwa, niwa ni wa niwa niwatori ga iru

Kanji: 裏庭 に は 二 羽 庭 に は 二 羽 鶏がいる。

Hiragana: うらにわにわにわにわにわにわにわとりがいる。


Meaning: There are two chickens in the backyard and two chickens in the front yard.

Emphasized sounds: に (ni), わ (wa). Sorry, come again? There are what in the backyard?

9. Torawo torunara torawo toru yori toriwo tore, toriwa otorini torawo tore

Kanji: トラをとるならトラをとるより鳥をとれ、鳥はおとりにトラをとれ。

Hiragana: とらをとるならとるとらをとるよりとりをとれ、とりはおとりにとらをとれ。


Meaning: Instead of catching the tiger, catch a bird and use the bird as bait to catch the tiger.

Emphasized sounds: る(ru), ら(ra). So, are we catching a bird or a tiger? Which one?

10. Nomu nara noru na, noru nara nomu na

Kanji: 飲むなら乗るな、乗るなら飲むな。

Hiragana: のおむならのるな、のるならのむな。


Meaning: If you drink don’t drive, if you drive don’t drink.

Emphasized sounds: の (no), む (mu). Do you drive if you drink?


11. Banana no nazo wa mada nazo na no da zo

Kanji: バナナの謎はまだ謎なのだぞ。

Hiragana: ばななのなぞは、まだなぞなのだぞ。


Meaning: The mystery of the banana is still a mystery.

Emphasized sounds: の (no), な (na)

12. Kaeru pyokopyoko mipyokopyoko awasete pyokopyoko mupyokopyoko

Kanji: 蛙ぴょこぴょこ三ぴょこぴょこ合わせてぴょこぴょこ六ぴょこぴょこ。

Hiragana: かえるぴょこぴょこみぴょこぴょこあわせてぴょこぴょこむぴょこぴょこ。


Meaning: The frogs jump, three times jump, together jump, six times jump.

Emphasized sounds: ぴょ (pyo). How many times does a frog jump? Pyopyopyo… Yeah, that’s right.

13. Namamugi namagome namatamago

Kanji: 生麦生米生卵。

Hiragana: なま むぎなまごめなまたまご。


Meaning: Raw wheat, raw rice, raw egg.

Emphasized sounds: な (na), ま (ma), む (mu)

14. Shanson kashu, shinshun shansonshu

Kanji: シャンソン歌手、新春シャンソンショー。

Hiragana: しゃんそんかしゅ、しんすんシャションシュー。


Meaning: Chanson singer, new year chanson show.

Emphasized sounds: し (shi), しゃ (sha),しゅ (shu). She is a shinger and she shings shongs.

15. Kono takegaki ni take tatekaketa no wa take tatekaketakattakara , take tatekaketa

Kanji: この竹垣に 竹 立て 掛け た のは 竹 立て 掛け た かったから、竹立て掛けた。

Hiragana: このたけがきにたけたてかけたのはたけたてかけたかったから、たけたてかけた。


Meaning: I laid this bamboo against the bamboo fence because I wanted to lay bamboo against it.

Emphasized sounds: か (ka), け (ke), かった (katta).


16. Kono sushi wa sukoshi su ga kiki sugita

Kanji: この寿司は少し酢が効きすぎた。

Hiragana: このすしはすこしすがききすぎた。


Meaning: This sushi has a bit too much vinegar

Emphasized sounds:す (su), し (shi).

17. Majutsushi majutsu shugyou chuu

Kanji: 魔術師魔術修業中。

Hiragana: まじゅつし まじゅつしゅぎょうちゅう。


Meaning: A magician is currently training in magic.

Emphasized sounds: じゅ(ju), しゅ (shu), ちゅ(chu).

18. Kono kugi wa hikinuki nikui kugi da

Kanji: この釘は、ひきぬきにくい釘だ。

Hiragana: このくぎは ひきぬきにくい くぎだ。


Meaning: This nail is a nail that is difficult to pull out.

Emphasized sounds: き (ki), く (ku).

So, how many of them could you say properly? If you have other tongue twisters that you keep on saying, share them with us in the comments section. I enjoy a good challenge!

If you want to learn Japanese in a fun way – although not a tongue twister itself – check out our language-learning app, Ling!


Level Up Your Japanese With Ling!

If you want to learn the Japanese language among the 60+ languages offered in the app, the Ling is here for you!

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Ling provides tonnes of Japanese vocabulary that you can learn at your own pace. Just grab your iOS or Android device right now and head to Google Play Store or Apple App Store to download it. Bit-sized lessons, puzzles, and AI chatbots to practice real-life conversations are just some of the interactive activities of Ling.

Many Japanese learners use Ling to improve their language skills, so why not join them? Download Ling, and get ready to speak Japanese soon!

Plus, don’t forget to visit our Japanese blog weekly to learn more about Japanese culture and language!

Until next time, じゃあまたね!

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