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Name Your Puppy: 82 Nature-Inspired Names From Japan

Jana worked in animal welfare with abused and unwanted pets. She loves sharing her hands-on experience regarding domestic and wild critters.

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Japan has a long tradition of appreciating nature, capturing its myriad manifestations in art, poetry and children's names. For the sake of this article, human names will be marked with the letters 'B' or 'G' to let you know which is traditionally male and female. In addition, the Japanese language holds many beautiful nature words that can be used as names for your new puppy. Such words will be followed by a 'T', for thing. The choices, in this regard, are truly endless. For the purpose of picking a dog name, this article features names and words that are short and somewhat clipped, because both help a puppy to learn his name. Happy name browsing!

Go Green

Due to their beauty, plants and flowers are popular choices.

Due to their beauty, plants and flowers are popular choices.

Plant Names

A huge number of Japanese names hail from foliage. Flowers, plants, trees, you name it. It's not really hard to see why. As far as beautiful botany is concerned, Japan is breathtaking. Do blossoms appeal to you? What about Sara, Sakura or Saki (all G)? Hana (G) is another name that generally means flower or bloom. If you like names that are a little more species-specific, consider the following:

  • Kiku (G) — chrysanthemum
  • Ran (G) — water lily
  • Shino (G) — bamboo stalk
  • Yuri (G) — lily
  • Ren (B) — lotus

Tree Names

Flowers are traditionally female names but trees go both ways. Several hold the rough meaning of 'great tree', including Daiki (B), Kazuki (B) and Ki (T). If branches are more your thing, Kimi (G), means just that. Natusuki (G) goes seasonal with 'summer tree' and Akari (G) means 'red pear tree', while Kaito (B) translates as 'between pear trees'. Sugi (G), means 'Cedar' and Matsu (B), 'Pine'.

Don't forget your edibles!

  • Hina (G) — green vegetables
  • Anzu (G) — apricot
  • Kuri (G) — chestnut
  • Nashi (T) — pear
  • Momo (T) — peach
  • Mikan (T) — tangerine
  • Kabu (T) — Japanese turnip
  • Ringo (B) — Apple

Creatures Big and Small

Needless to say, animal names are also hugely popular. Choices range from the graceful and mild to the powerful and mythical. Kaiba (B) and Kaida (G), both refer to a young dragon. If you just adore storks and your puppy has a lot of white, why not try Koko (G) or Tazu (G)? If your new pet has a gentle nature, consider Cho (G) meaning 'butterfly' or Shika (G), 'gentle deer'. However, if your female puppy is full of fire, try Tora (G) for 'tiger' and Washi (G) for 'eagle'.

Here are some more animal names and words:

  • Bigas (B) — badger
  • Kuma (B) — bear
  • Rekuda (T) — camel
  • Taka (T) — falcon
  • Neko (T) — cat
  • Shishi (T) — lion
  • Yaku (T) — yak
  • Panda (T) — panda
  • Sai (T) — rhinoceros
  • Kumo (T) — spider

Geography Has Its Place

There's nothing that says a pup is strong, sturdy or more nature orientated than being a mountain, river or ocean wave. Kai (T) means 'sea'. The shoreline or beach both reflect in the names Yoko (T), Hama (G) and Kishi (G). Oki (G) goes deeper and describes the middle of the ocean. Staying with water, a river is the meaning of Kawa (T), Taki (G) represents a waterfall and Seto (T) means 'strait'.

Mountains have an important place in Japanese art, culture and names. Feel free to hang one of these on your pup.

  • Reo (B) — at the top of the mountain
  • Santi (T) — hills
  • Isi (B) — rock
  • Saka (T) — hill or slope
  • Zen (T) — mountain

Finally, Tani and Dani (T) both mean 'valley', and if directions make your heart beat faster, Kita (G) stands for 'north'. Should you feel a little bit more whimsical, you can also name your pet after a wood fairy, or Sen (G).

Snow, Rain and Wind

Yukio is a good name for both male and female puppies and it means "snow."

Yukio is a good name for both male and female puppies and it means "snow."

Beautiful Weather Names

Let's look up at the sky and find our new pet's name there! How about Mika (G), with reference to a new moon? Or, moonlight, which is what Gekko (T) means. Another nighttime delight is Hoshi (T), or 'star'. During the day, there's always a beautiful rainbow somewhere in the world, or Niji (T). Riku (B) and Sora (B) respectively stands for 'wise sky' and 'summer sky'. Perhaps, you like clouds, which would make the name Kumo (T) a good choice. It refers to a single cloud, while more of them packing together offers you the name Kumori (T). Back on the ground, Ro (T), or 'dew' is another option.

Crabby weather is good for one thing — great Japanese words and names!

  • Nari (G) — thunder
  • Raiden (B) — god of thunder
  • Yukio (B) — snow
  • Ame (T) — rain
  • Kanu (T) — cold winter rain
  • Kaze (T) — wind

The Seasons

Even the word 'weather' in Japanese makes a cute name. Does your pup look like a Tenki (T)? In addition to the weather, all four seasons make suitable pet names.

  • Natsu (T) — summer
  • Aki (T) — autumn
  • Fuyu (T) — winter
  • Haru (T) — spring

© 2018 Jana Louise Smit