200 Stunning Japanese Last Names: for Your Little Samurai

Japanese last names take a bow, and Karate kick, Western names into the tall grass!

Japanese last names are wonderfully descriptive and are as diverse as their history, culture, and environment. From heavenly valleys to epic mountains, Japanese surnames reflect a strong bond with the natural world and ancient family clans.

The origins of many Japanese family names can be traced to the tribal Kabane system, which determined each clan’s political and social standing. While the system may have died out, the names still occur today.

Let’s examine 200 incredible Japanese last names to help you find alternatives to Western surnames or simply discover more about these amazing names.

200 Unbelievable Japanese Last Names

We bring you the coolest Japanese family names from the land of the rising sun.

  1. Abe – the former Japanese Prime Minister, meaning “peace.”
  2. Adachi – depending on the Kanji, it means “relax, quiet, rested, and peaceful.”
  3. Akagi – possibly a topographical name from Mount Red Castle, meaning “red tree.”
  4. Akamine – meaning “red” or “peak/summit,” depending on the Kanji characters used.
  5. Aki – for Japanese kids that “sparkle” or for babies born in “autumn.”
  6. Akiyama – a beautiful Eastern Japanese name meaning “autumn mountain.”
  7. Amano – a unique Southeastern Japanese name meaning “heavenly plain.”
  8. Amari – possibly a Hebrew name meaning “promised by God,” while in Japanese, it means “surplus, remainder.”
  9. Amaya – this pretty Japanese name has an equally enchanting meaning of “heavenly valley.”
  10. Ando – means “peaceful East” – Ando could also mean “peaceful wisteria,” with different Kanji characters.
  11. Anno – some Japanese last names are rare, like Anno, meaning “ah, oh, and alas.”
  12. Anzai – derived from the island of Okinawa, meaning “pacify the West.”
  13. Aoki – another rare Japanese surname starting with A, meaning “blue or green tree.”
  14. Arakawa – a classic Japanese topographical name meaning “wild river.”
  15. Araki – this badass Japanese name has multiple meanings, including “wood, tree, rude, and wild.”
  16. Arita – if your child grows up to “own a rice paddy,” this name is perfect.
  17. Asano – possibly a habitational name meaning “shallow plain.”
  18. Azuma – a simple name with the simple meaning of “East.”
  19. Baba – a common nickname globally, meaning “horse” in Japanese.
  20. Ban – this short and sweet name means “comrade” or “a cask of sake.”
  21. Bando – a common Western Japanese name meaning “East of the slope.”
  22. Chiba – derived from the powerful Taira clan, Chiba means “a thousand leaves.”
  23. Chinen – from the Ryūkyū islands in Southwest Japan, meaning “one thousand years.”
  24. Chino – a perfect name for smart kids, meaning “know and wisdom.”
  25. Date – from the Date clan controlling Northern Japan in the 16th-century, meaning “gallantry.”
  26. Doi – an uncommon surname outside Shikoku Island, meaning “earthen well.”
  27. Domen – this rare Japanese surname possibly means “surface of the earth.”
  28. Eguchi – a habitational name for Japanese families living near the “mouth of the river.”
  29. Enomoto – a celebrated Japanese Admiral, referring to “one who lives beneath the hackberry tree.”
  30. Eto – possibly means “sustained by love” or “river wisteria.”
  31. Fujii – connected to the Fujiwara clan, this common surname means “wisteria well.”
  32. Fujikawa – some Japanese surnames score well on the Kawaii scale, like Fujikawa, meaning “wisteria river.”
  33. Fujimoto – is a beautiful surname meaning “one who lives under the wisteria.”
  34. Fujita – another Japanese name meaning “wisteria” and “field, rice paddy.”
  35. Fujiwara – the greatest noble Japanese clan, meaning “wisteria plain.”
  36. Fukuda – another popular name in Ryūkyū islands, meaning “blessed rice paddy.”
  37. Fukuhara – this common placename and surname means “blessed plain.”
  38. Fukui – some Japanese family names have multiple meanings, like “deep, heighten, and intensify.”
  39. Fukumoto – from the Ryūkyū islands and Western Japan, meaning “blessed origin.”
  40. Fukushima – similar to Fukumoto, this classic Japanese surname means “blessed island.”
  41. Funai – depending on the Kanji characters, Funai means “seat of government” or “boat.”
  42. Furukawa – a traditional Japanese clan name meaning “old river.”
  43. Furutani – this surname has the cool meaning of “ancient or old valley.”
  44. Fuse – linked to Japanese royalty, this regal surname means “alms.”
  45. Gima – Japanese surnames are rarely as simple as Gima, meaning “ceremonial space.”
  46. Go – Japanese family names don’t come any shorter than Go, meaning “village.”
  47. Goda – meaning “connected rice paddies,” Goda has never been popular in Japan.
  48. Goto – a classic name for Fujiwara clan descendants meaning “later wisteria.”
  49. Goya – such a positive Japanese surname meaning “prosperous, happiness and good luck.”
  50. Hada – this surname is heavily linked to nature, meaning “feathers, rabbits and counter for birds.”
  51. Haga – is a variation of Hada with the same meanings.
  52. Hagiwara – is a popular name in Tokyo, meaning “bush, clover, and plain.”
  53. Hamamoto – a well-loved Western Japanese surname meaning “one who lives near the seashore.”
  54. Hamasaki – the sea theme continues with this classic Japanese name meaning “beach and seashore.”
  55. Handa – this simple Japanese surname means “half a rice paddy.”
  56. Hara – such a cute Kawaii name meaning “meadow, field, and wilderness.”
  57. Harada – similar to Hara, meaning “rice paddy on the plain.”
  58. Hashimoto – a descriptive habitational name meaning “one who lives near a bridge.”
  59. Hayashi – from the western edge of Japan, meaning “forest.”
  60. Hayashida – a name given to descendants of the Minamoto clan, meaning “forest rice paddy.”
  61. Higashi – a classic Japanese surname meaning “east.”
  62. Hirano – a common habitational or occupational name meaning “flat or peaceful field.”
  63. Hirayama – such a beautiful surname meaning “peaceful mountain.”
  64. Hironaka – is considered a noble name in Japanese society, meaning “wide center.”
  65. Honda – a popular Japanese car manufacturer whose name means “sling.”
  66. Hoshino – taken from the Shintō priests of the Atsuta Shrine, meaning “star field.”
  67. Ichikawa – part of the Taira clan lived in Ichikawa village, meaning “marketplace river.”
  68. Ida – this short Japanese habitational name means “rice paddy by the well.”
  69. Ide – similar to Ida, this habitational surname means “well, town, and hand.”
  70. Igarashi – originating from the Igarashi River, meaning “fifty storms.”
  71. Ikeda – a popular name found throughout Japan, meaning “rice paddy near the lake.”
  72. Ikehara – this surname is less popular outside the Ryūkyū islands, meaning “lake plain.”
  73. Imada – for descendants of the Taira clan, meaning “new rice paddy.”
  74. Imamura – is popular throughout Japan, meaning “new village.”
  75. Inouye – a topographic name meaning “above the well.”
  76. Ishibashi – the perfect Japanese name for someone living near a “stone bridge.”
  77. Ishida – descended from the samurai of Tosa, meaning “rocky rice paddy.”
  78. Ishihara – this badass Japanese surname means “stone field or plain.”
  79. Ishikawa – is probably a habitational name for a family living near a “rock river.”
  80. Ishimoto – found in Western Japan, Ishimoto means “one who lives near the rock.”
  81. Iwamoto – a habitational name for people living at the “base of the cliffs or rocks.”
  82. Iwasaki – this classic Japanese name means “stone cape.”
  83. Iwata – an occupational and habitational surname meaning “stony rice paddy.”
  84. Jin – is such a great Kawaii name because it means “tenderness.”
  85. Juba – this uncommon Japanese name means “ten places.”
  86. Kaba – a rare Japanese surname meaning “birch tree.”
  87. Kagawa – derived from the Taira clan, this surname means “fragrant river.”
  88. Kajiwara – another nautical Japanese surname meaning “sculling oar.”
  89. Kanai – possibly a habitational and occupational name meaning “gold well.”
  90. Kaneko – is linked closely to Kanai, meaning “gold, money, and metal.”
  91. Kanemoto – a habitational name for “one who lives near gold.”
  92. Kaneshiro – the gold theme continues with this descriptive surname meaning “golden castle.”
  93. Katayama – means “mountain on the side” and is a common place name in Japan.
  94. Kato – is more commonly used as a first name for boys, meaning “add wisteria.”
  95. Kawaguchi – the perfect family name for people living near the “mouth of the river.”
  96. Kawahara – a common Eastern Japanese surname meaning “river plain.”
  97. Kawai – possibly derived from the Japanese word Kawaii, meaning “cute or adorable.”
  98. Kawakami – a sweet family name that means “above the river.”
  99. Kawamura – found throughout Japan, this surname means “river village.”
  100. Kawasaki – a popular motorcycle manufacturer, meaning “river cape.”
  101. Kawashima – this Eastern Japanese name means “river island.”
  102. Kaya – a sweet Japanese surname meaning “good field” or “resting place,” also used as a girl’s first name.
  103. Kido – possibly meaning “wooden door” or “castle door.”
  104. Kikuchi – found mostly in Western Japan, this surname means “chrysanthemum pond.”
  105. Kimoto – another Western Japanese name meaning “one who lives beneath the trees.”
  106. Kishimoto – a habitational name for a family “living near the shore.”
  107. Kita – this short Japanese surname translates as “north.”
  108. Kitamura – a long form of Kita, meaning “North village.”
  109. Kobayashi – a popular surname in central Japan, meaning “small forest.”
  110. Kodama – the perfect Japanese surname for “newborn babes.”
  111. Koga – this imperial Japanese name has a rich heritage and means “old river.”
  112. Kojima – meaning “small island,” this cute Japanese surname is perfect for anime.
  113. Komatsu – a popular name on Shikoku Island, meaning “small pine tree.”
  114. Kondo – a quirky Japanese surname meaning “nearby wisteria.”
  115. Konishi – a habitational name from Konishisato in Kazusa, meaning “small west.”
  116. Koyama – this name fits families living near a “small mountain.”
  117. Kuba – in Japanese, Kuba means “long time” and “method.”
  118. Kudo – an occupational name descended from the Fujiwara clan, meaning “potter.”
  119. Kuramoto – another occupational name meaning “one who lives near the storehouse.”
  120. Kurata – meaning “granary and storehouse,” this surname is habitational and occupational.
  121. Kurihara – mainly found in the Tokyo area, meaning “chestnut plain.”
  122. Kurokawa – a habitational Japanese family name meaning “black river.”
  123. Kusomoto – this unusual Japanese surname means “camphor tree.”
  124. Machi – a positive Japanese surname meaning “true happiness.”
  125. Mae – possibly from a Buddhist sect, this short name means “true reality.”
  126. Maeda – this cute surname means “front rice paddy.”
  127. Maekawa – a Western Japanese name meaning “river in front.”
  128. Maruyama – a classic topographical name meaning “round mountain.”
  129. Masaki – good Japanese last names have positive meanings like “elegant, beginning, and shine.”
  130. Matsubara – a habitational name meaning “pine tree plain.”
  131. Matsuno – similar to Matsubara, this name means “pine tree field.”
  132. Matsui – following the “pine” theme, this Japanese surname means “pine tree well.”
  133. Matsumura – another entry for team “pine,” this name means “pine tree.”
  134. Matsushima – a variation of Matsumura with the same meaning.
  135. Mihara – a Western Japanese name meaning “three plains.”
  136. Miki – a short and simple Japanese surname meaning “tree.”
  137. Minami – this female Japanese name means “south.”
  138. Minamoto – the Minamoto clan is one of the most prominent in Japan, meaning “source, origin.”
  139. Mita – a common Eastern Japanese name meaning “three rice paddies.”
  140. Miyahira – a rare Japanese surname meaning “shrine.”
  141. Miyamoto – the perfect habitational name for “one who lives at the shrine.”
  142. Mochizuki – possibly means “full moon” and “wish and desire.”
  143. Morikawa – with links to the powerful Minamoto clan, meaning “forest river.”
  144. Morimoto – this classic Japanese surname means “forest” and “root and base.”
  145. Murata – this exclusive Japanese name means “village rice paddy.”
  146. Nagai – meaning “long well,” Nagai descends from the Saito family.
  147. Nagamine – this anime name means “long peak.”
  148. Nagasawa – this habitational name means “long swamp.”
  149. Naito – linked to the Northern Fujiwara clan, meaning “inner wisteria.”
  150. Nakashawa – this surname means “go-between, swamp, and relationship.”
  151. Nakata – a popular Western Japanese surname meaning “central rice paddy.”
  152. Nishi – this simple surname means “west.”
  153. Nishikawa – a name with samurai origins, meaning “Western river.”
  154. Noguchi – a popular surname on the Southeastern coast of Japan, meaning “entrance to the field.”
  155. Obara – this simple surname means “small plain.”
  156. Ogata – meaning “direction and beginning,” this habitational name hails from Ogatagō.
  157. Ogawa – a common place name in Japan, meaning “small river.”
  158. Okabe – is of noble descent, this Fujiwara clan surname means “hill section.”
  159. Okamoto – a habitational name meaning “one who lives at the base of a hill.”
  160. Omura – a habitational name meaning “large village.”
  161. Ono – a common place name throughout Japan, meaning “small field.”
  162. Osaki – descended from the Minamoto clan, this surname means “great cape.”
  163. Oshima – a habitational name for the many islands surrounding Japan, meaning “large island.”
  164. Otsuka – a name specific to North Japan, meaning “large tomb mound.”
  165. Ozawa – mostly found in Eastern Japan, this name means “small swamp.”
  166. Sada – in Arabic, Sada means “good fortune” and “pure one” in Japanese.
  167. Saeki – means “assistant and help” or “chief, count, and uncle.”
  168. Sakaguchi – the perfect Japanese name for someone “living at the mouth of a slope or hill.”
  169. Sakamoto – a possible habitational name meaning “slope” or “base and origin.”
  170. Sama – this honorific title meaning “Mr, Mrs, Miss, and Ms” could also mean “sky and heaven.”
  171. Sazama – this uncommon Japanese name possibly means “help” or “one who lives amid bamboo grass.”
  172. Shimada – found mainly in Eastern Japan, Shimada possibly means “island rice paddy.”
  173. Shimizu – a popular Japanese surname meaning “pure water.”
  174. Shinsato – the perfect Japanese name for inhabitants of a “new village.”
  175. Sugawara – this badass Japanese family name means “sedge plain, or meadow/field.”
  176. Sugita – descended from the Minamoto clan – Sugita means “cedar rice paddy.”
  177. Sugiyama – Sugi means “cedar,” and Yama means “mountain hill,” so combined, it means “cedar mountain.”
  178. Suzuki – a popular Japanese car manufacturer, meaning “bell tree.”
  179. Tabata – a classic habitational name for someone living on the “edge of a rice paddy.”
  180. Tagara – a simple name with an even simpler meaning of “rice field.”
  181. Taguchi – mainly found in Northeastern Japan, meaning “entrance to the rice paddies.”
  182. Taira – from the powerful Taira clan, meaning “capital of peace.”
  183. Takai – found in central Honshū, this pretty surname means “high well.”
  184. Takayama – this Western Japanese surname means “high mountains.”
  185. Takemoto – a habitational name for “one who lives near the bamboo.”
  186. Takeshita – the bamboo theme continues with this name meaning “one who lives beneaththe bamboo.”
  187. Taniguchi – descended from the Sasaki family of the Minamoto clan, meaning “mouth of the valley.”
  188. Uchida – a classic samurai surname, meaning “inner rice paddy.”
  189. Umemoto – another habitational Japanese name, meaning “one who lives near the plum tree.”
  190. Usui – referring to a mortar and pestle, meaning “mortar well.”
  191. Uyehara – is a common family name in Japan, meaning “upper plain.”
  192. Wada – this short Japanese surname means “harmonious rice paddy.”
  193. Yagi – a habitational name from a valley in Tajima, meaning “eight trees.”
  194. Yamada – commonly found along Japan’s Eastern seaboard, meaning “mountain rice paddy.”
  195. Yamesaki – possibly of samurai origin, meaning “mountain promontory.”
  196. Yokoyama – found throughout Japan, this traditional surname means “mountain to the side.”
  197. Yoshida – continuing the positive vibes, Yoshida means “lucky and good rice paddy.”
  198. Yoshikawa – this super-positive family name means “lucky or good river.”
  199. Yoshimoto – another upbeat entry, meaning “lucky and good origin.”
  200. Yoshina – possibly meaning “respectful,” others believe it means “beauty and virtuous.”

Japanese Last Names FAQs

What Are the Most Popular Japanese Last Names?

The most popular Japanese last names include Yokoyama, Suzuki, Kobayashi, Ishimoto, and Takai. Other well-loved examples like Yagi, Naito, Kawahara, and Hayashi are favored in particular regions of Japan.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark has always been fascinated by the stories behind names, their meanings, and the rich histories they carry. It's a curiosity that has grown into a full-fledged passion project, engaging him in the study of how names shape our identities and reflect our cultures. Since stepping away from his previous career, Mark has delved deeper into this fascinating realm. He spends his days unraveling these narratives and sharing his findings on Honey Name. He does all this amidst the tranquility of England's rivers and canals from his charming widebeam barge. His constant companions on this journey are his wife, Julie, and their adorable King Charles Cavalier, Eric.