Japanese symbol for Ice

You need to be careful when you want to write the word “ice” as a Japanese word (using Chinese characters) 氷. It is almost identical to the character for water which looks like this 水. One tiny stroke present or absent here makes all the difference. 

Those seeking the symbol as a tattoo – beware!

How is the word for Ice in Japanese pronounced?

The Japanese kanji in the image above reads as こおりor “koori”.

The different ways Ice can be expressed in Japanese

If you’re looking for a Japanese character for “Ice”, there are only three ways on how you can actually write the word “Ice” in Japanese. This is through Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Below are the examples:

Hiragana: こおり

Katakana: アイス (commonly used for “icecream)


Hiragana: こおり

Simply put, Hiragana is one of the basic writings in the Japanese language, and こおり or Koori is how you spell it and pronounce it using this script. 

Katakana: アイス

While Katakana is a way of writing loan words in Japanese. There are two usages of the writing Katakana; for using loanwords(Words that exist in another language that does not exist in Japanese), and for giving emphasis on words, whether it’s a loanword or plain Japanese word. 

In this case, アイス or literally pronounced as Aisu written in Katakana, is a loanword and although it literally sounds like the English word “ice” it is usually used by Japnese people to mean “icecream”. 


Kanji(漢字) is the oldest way of writing words in Japanese language using Chinese characters. 

Most of the time, you can see this kanji in Japan during the summer. People selling kakigouri(かき氷) which means crushed or shaved ice during the season.

Words that include the kanji for ice?

結氷する(keppyou) – freezing(over), ice, frost

Sample sentences: この水を冷蔵庫にいれて結氷してください。

Put this water inside the refrigerator and freeze it please.


The river is frozen because it’s winter.


Put that water as it is and let it freeze please.

氷嚢(Hyounou) – Ice bag, ice pack 

Sample sentences: 氷嚢で冷やしてください。

Please coo ldown with an ice pack.

氷嚢 をください。

Ice Bag please

氷嚢 を持ってきてください。

Please bring an ice bag

氷山(Hyouzan) – Iceberg

Sample sentences: 北風は明らかに氷山から吹き出す。

A north wind blows, obviously off the icebergs.


Icebergs had been grounded on the beach.


It’s the tip of the iceberg.


What you see above the water is just the tip of the iceberg.

薄氷(Hakuhyou) – Thin Ice

Sample sentences: それを実験するのは薄氷を踏む思いだったよ

While I was at it, I felt as if I was walking on thin ice.


Careful of thin ice.


The pond was thinly coated with ice

Stroke order for writing the characters in the Japanese symbols for Ice.


Historical Forms of The Chinese Character For “Ice

So should you get “Ice” done as a tattoo in Japanese lettering?

It is possible to do Japanese character “Ice” as a tattoo without any misleading meanings. It can be generally used as a standalone character or with other characters. A series of characters with the character “Ice” are bound to have an “icy” meaning, such as “glacier” etc.

Elemental tattoos such as “earth”, “wind”, “fire” remain eternally popular. “Ice” is less popular than some of these, but certainly not uncommon.