What's the real difference between 天気 and 天候? In at least one of my dictionaries, 天候 just redirects to 天気.

I've always thought (read: "felt") that 天候 is the general "concept" of weather, or even climate

秋の天候 - "the [type of] weather in the fall"; 北海道の天候 - "the climate of Hokkaido"

whereas 天気 seems to be the actual tangible weather.

明日の天気は雨です - "Tomorrow (the actual weather) will be rain"; 天気予報 - "weather (not climate) forecast"


EDIT: After looking a bit more through the different definitions, it seems that 気候 is more closely related to "climate" than 天候.


1 Answer 1


Daijisen's got you covered. The usage note under 天気 says that 天気 refers to the atmospheric conditions over a short period of time (two or three days at most), while 天候 is for describing those conditions over a period of several to several tens of days. And of course 天気 can be used in the sense of "good weather", which is a connotation 天候 does not have.

  • heys thanks for the cool answer =D btw regarding the 天気 meaning "good weather", does it mean that we can shorten "今日いいてんきな~" to "今日天気な~" (and it wouldn't sound weird)?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 16:13
  • @Pacerier: I think that will depend on who you ask. Browsing through Google, 今日は天気ですね works for some people, but others think it sounds strange (perhaps because 天気 is more often used to refer to the current atmospheric conditions). One of the examples Daijisen gives is 今度の日曜日、天気だったら山登りに行こう。 ("This Sunday, if the weather's good, let's go mountain climbing."), so if you use it in a context where you can tell the difference, like 天気だったら or 天気になったら, you should be fine. There's another word, 晴天 (せいてん), which always means "good weather", so that's an option if you want to avoid confusion. Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 16:33
  • ok cool i'l keep that in mind =)
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 28, 2011 at 16:43
  • 3
    When I lived in Osaka, my friends all said that although correct, no one uses 晴天 and that it sounded really 教科書っぽい. They said just stick to いい天気.
    – istrasci
    Commented Jun 29, 2011 at 15:09

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