I recently bought some apples and the term was written in hiragana.


4 Answers 4


りんご can be written in kanji as 林檎. However, the second kanji is not a jōyō kanji, so the whole word is often written in kana.

The same happens with hundreds of other everyday items

  • みかん 蜜柑
  • しょうゆ 醤油
  • みそ 味噌
  • ろうそく 蝋燭
  • にんじん 人参
  • タンス 箪笥
  • ネジ 螺子
  • ...

In kanji りんご is 林檎, but as you may know 檎 is not a general-use kanji (常用漢字) thus it is not taught in school and is not supposed to appear in official writings. That is the reason why you will never see 林檎 in kanji outside of dictionaries or books that does not bother with 常用漢字.


A lot of words that have kanji are still written in kana, probably because people overall simply don't bother to learn all the kanji. There certainly isn't any need for it. As for the kanji, 林檎, I can't remember ever having seen it other than in dictionaries.

  • 3
    I have seen 林檎 used on packaging (and menus, etc.) and also on labels for trees in a public garden.
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 19, 2017 at 12:50

There is a lot of examples of words in Japanese that are written using kana alone, rather than Kanji, even though they could be written in Kanji. They are mostly words so common and used, that people just find it easier to use Hiragana (a classical example would be きょう (今日)which is almost always written in Hiragana. Ironically, the more you know Kanji, the more confusing it gets to read words in Hiragana if they could be written in Kanji you already know. 

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