Utsukushii vs. Kirei: What’s the Difference in Meaning?

Utsukushii (うつくしい/美しい) is the Japanese word for beautiful in English, and Kirei (きれい/綺麗) is a synonym for it, as you may already know.

While the former expression is used more in writing these days, the latter Kirei is used more in speaking.

Utsukushii vs. Kirei

Utsukushii vs Kirei

As Kirei can also mean neat, tidy, or clean, depending on the situation and the context, it is essentially the beauty to the eye.

On the other hand, whatever has the Utsukushii nature appeals more profoundly and can captivate your heart. 

And that is how Utsukushii differs fundamentally from Kirei.

These two words now can refer to the same beautiful woman.

But strictly, Kirei would be the word for pretty or nice-looking, while Utsukushii would be just for that person.

(Reference Page: Nihongo Center )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.