Talking about hobbies is a great way to get to know someone when you first meet them! It’s also a good way to use and learn a lot of new verbs and interests in Japanese.


Talking about Hobbies in Japanese

“What’s your hobby?” / “What are your hobbies?”

趣味(しゅみ)は何(なに)?                 [Casual]
趣味(しゅみ)は何(なん)ですか?     [Polite]

(しゅみは) [noun] だ。              [Casual]
(しゅみは) [noun] です。          [Polite]

Note: You see lots of articles online saying 「わたしのしゅみは___です」, but this is a very “textbook” answer and sounds very wooden in Japanese. If someone has asked you what your hobby is, you don’t have to say 「わたしの」 because it’s already been established that you’re talking about you!

This is the same with 「しゅみは」. If someone directly asks you 「しゅみはなんですか?」then you don’t need to repeat 「しゅみは」because you both already know that’s what you’re talking about.


Common Hobbies (Nouns)

Hobbies in Japanese reading買い物(かいもの) – shopping
映画(えいが)- movies
本(ほん)- books
音楽(おんがく)- music
料理(りょうり)- cooking
ギター – guitar
ゲーム – games
水泳(すいえい)- swimming [noun]
読書(どくしょ)- reading [noun]
ゴルフ – golf
ヨガ – yoga
テニス – tennis
ハイキング – hiking
山登り(やまのぼり) – mountain climbing [noun]
コスプレ – cosplay
ダンス – dance
編み物(あみもの)- knitting
釣り(つり)- fishing [noun]


Let’s say you’ve just met someone for the first time. You want to be polite with them so you will probably use the more polite「です」.

A: しゅみはなんですか?

B: えっと。。。かいものですね。


But if you’ve met someone a few times and the two of you use casual language with one other the conversation will probably go along the lines of:

A: しゅみはなに?

B: しゅみ?ギターだね。


When you want to talk about a hobby which is a verb

Common Hobbies (Verbs)

走る(はしる)- running
歩く(あるく)OR 散歩(さんぽ)する – walking
友達に会う(ともだちにあう)- meeting friends
写真を撮る(しゃしんをとる)- taking photos
音楽を弾く(おんがくをひく)- playing music (an instrument)
旅行をする(りょこうをする)- travelling
ネットにのる – surfing the net
外食する(がいしょくする)- to eat out
テレビ・映画(えいが)を見る – to watch TV/movies
本(ほん)・マンガを読む(よむ)- to read books/manga
絵を描く(えをかく)- to draw/paint pictures
料理する(りょうりする)- to cook food (can also just say りょうり without する)
衣装を作る(いしょうをつくる)- to make costumes
コスプレする – to cosplay


If you want to say “I watch anime” you can’t just say 「アニメをみます」… well you can… but it just means “I watch anime”. It doesn’t sound natural and doesn’t flow given the context. So if someone asks you 「しゅみはなんですか?」 and you want to say “my hobby is watching anime”, you need to turn the verb into a noun and add です or だ to finish the sentence. (All sentences that finish in a noun end with です or だ!)


Verb plain form + こと* = turns a verb into a noun (a nominalizer) + です。

(しゅみは)アニメをみることです。- (My hobby is) watching anime.
(しゅみは)ほんをよむことです。- (My hobby is) reading books.
(しゅみは)りょうりをすることです。- (My hobby is) cooking.
(しゅみは)衣装(いしょう)を作る(つくる)ことです。- (My hobby is) making costumes.

*こと kind of means “the thing or event surrounding the verb”. As you can see, it doesn’t directly translate into English.

You can take this one step further and say “I like watching anime”. Again, you need to turn the verb into a noun, but in a slightly different way.


Verb plain form + の* = turns a verb into a noun (nominalizer) + が好き(すき)です

アニメをみるがすきです。I like watching anime.
ほんをよむがすきです。I like reading books.
りょうりをするがすきです。I like cooking.
いしょうをつくるがすきです。I like making costumes.

* の means “this specific verb”, again it doesn’t directly translate but does turn the verb into a noun.


You can say 「アニメをみることがすきですbut that sounds very wooden and unnatural.

However, cannot be used with です or だ! So you CANNOT say 「アニメをみるのです」X


You can, of course, say what you like rather than your hobbies. So…

アニメがすきです。- I like anime.
ほんがすきです。- I like books.
りょうりがすきです。- I like cooking.
コスプレがすきです。- I like cosplay.

(Remember to only use の with a verb!)
Also notice how I didn’t use the examples for “costumes”. If you just said 「いしょうがすきです」it would mean “I like costumes” not “I like making costumes”.


When you want to talk about more than 1 hobby


So let’s say you want to tell someone that you like watching anime, reading manga and walking. You would use the following grammar structure:

Verb (た form) たり、Verbたり している。 = I do [verb], and [verb], (and other things).

(Click here if you don’t know what た form is or how to make it.)

The normal form of the above grammar is たり、たりする, but because a hobby is something you do consistently you should turn the する into continuous form, which is している (casual) or しています (polite).

This grammar for also implies that you do/did other things besides what you’re telling the listener. But you don’t want to list off every single thing, which is why you’ll only mention 2-3 things.

A: しゅみはなんですか?

B: (しゅみは)アニメをみたり、マンガをよんだり、さんぽしたりしています


You can even combine the grammar to say something like “I like watching anime and reading manga”

あにめをみたり、マンガをよんだり する のがすきです


You can also ask someone (or be asked):
ひまなとき、何(なに)をしますか? – what do you do in your spare time?
休日(きゅうじつ)は何をしますか? – what do you do on your days off?

This is probably a lot more natural than asking “what is your hobby” and will more likely get a response like the above.


The above grammar can also be used to talk about what you did recently:
週末(しゅうまつ)は何(なに)をしましたか? – what did you do this weekend?

To which you can reply:
えいがみたり、かいものしたりしました。 – I saw a movie, went shopping (and did other things).

Notice how する is not in continuous form, but past tense? It’s because that’s what you did on the weekend.


I hope that helps you talk about your hobbies and understand others! Let me know what your hobbies are, or if you have any questions, or if I missed anything!