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Japanese Words for Sports and Physical Activities

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Learning a language encompasses many aspects, including the vocabulary related to hobbies and daily activities. Sports and physical activities are common topics of conversation, and knowing related terms in Japanese can be incredibly useful. Here is a list of Japanese words for sports and physical activities, along with their definitions and example sentences.

スポーツ (Supōtsu)
This is a loanword from English, and it means “sports” in general. It can refer to any physical activity that involves competition or skill.

(I often play sports with my friends on holidays.)

サッカー (Sakkā)
Another loanword, this time for “soccer” or what is known as “football” outside of the United States.

(My older brother plays soccer every weekend.)

野球 (Yakyū)
This is the term for “baseball,” a sport that is immensely popular in Japan.

(In Japan, high school baseball is very popular in the summer.)

バスケットボール (Basukettobōru)
The word for “basketball,” commonly abbreviated as バスケ (Basuke).

(She’s on a basketball team.)

水泳 (Suiei)
This word means “swimming.” It encompasses all types of swimming activities.

(I start every day with swimming in the morning.)

テニス (Tenisu)
“Tenisu” is how the Japanese say “tennis.”

(My younger brother is good at tennis and often wins in tournaments.)

ランニング (Ranningu)
Derived from English, this word means “running,” as both a leisure activity and a sport.

(I heard that running is good for health, so I started doing it.)

ジョギング (Jogingu)
Closely related to running, “jogging” specifies a slower or more leisurely pace.

(My daily routine is to go jogging in the park every morning.)

ゴルフ (Gorufu)
This is the Japanese term for “golf.”

(My father always goes to play golf on weekends.)

登山 (Tozan)
The Japanese word for “mountain climbing” or “hiking.”

(There are many beautiful mountains suitable for mountain climbing in Japan.)

相撲 (Sumō)
Sumo is a traditional Japanese sport involving wrestlers who try to force each other out of a circular ring.

(If you come to Japan, you should definitely see sumo.)

バドミントン (Badominton)
This is the word for “badminton,” a racquet sport played using a shuttlecock.

(He is nationally famous for badminton.)

体操 (Taisō)
“Exercise” or “gymnastics” in Japanese. It covers both general exercise routines and competitive gymnastics.

(I participate in radio exercises every morning.)

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