You may not have known this, but Japanese children, like any other children, like to play games together. Here are a few phrases to get your inner child a-playing in Japanese.

いっしょにあそぼ! Let’s Play – Japanese Phrases for Children

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issho ni asobo!
Let’s play together.

あそぼ should have a う at the end, but it is often dropped in speech, making it a shorter sound.


nani shite asobu?
What do you want to play?

Literally, “what-do-play,” this is a common way for kids to start play.


nanika shiyou yo
Let’s do something.

When nothing seems to be happening, this is the question to ask the gang. The final よ is for emphasis.


asobi ni ikou
Let’s go play.

When suggesting to go to the park or pool, this is the phrase to use. The に is used to show the reason (to play) for going (ikou)


​Pay attention to me!

From 構う kamau meaning “to mind” “to care about” or “to be concerned for”


  • かくれんぼ kakure​nbo -- hide and go seek
  • 鬼ごっこ oni gokko -- tag
  • フルーツバスケット furu-tsu basuketto -- Fruit basket turnover (game) Learn more here.
  • なわとび nawatobi -- jump rope
  • かけっこ kakkeko -- race; sprint
  • じゃんけん janken -- Rock, paper, scissors
  • けん玉 kendama -- kendama; ball and cup. See here.
Playing in Japanese
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