Was practicing some conversations when I came across those two phrases. How would you answer something like:


with the Japanese equivalent of "it sounds familiar" or "it rings a bell"?

2 Answers 2


(Posting as an answer rather than a comment)

I think 「(名前くらいは)聞いたことがあるような」 may work, 'I feel as if I've heard of [the name] before'.


I think that a potential match for what you are looking for is the following:


The third or fourth definition linked is probably what you are looking for.

ピンと translates to 'intuitively', and of course 来る translates to 'come'. While the literal translation of to intuitively come doesn't quite have the same ring to the English idiom, it carries essentially the same meaning as to ring a bell in some but not all cases.

As @naruto has noted below, ピンと来る is a little bit stronger than 'i'm unsure, but that sounds familiar.' Rather, the Japanese implies a sudden and more complete understanding of the situation. It isn't as wishy-washy as 'it rings a bell'. There's definitely some overlap, but the phrases are not one to one.

So with the assumption that I know and am familiar with series in question, here's how I would answer the question.

Now that I hear it, it does ring a bell.

Here are a few more usage examples.

  • 2
    Does "It rings a bell" asked in this question imply "I don't remember/understand it well but I have at least heard of it"? Then ピンと来ます or ピンと来ました doesn't sound right to me (it means suddenly and fully understanding something).
    – naruto
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 2:18
  • It rings a bell isn't limited to that meaning, though your analysis in this case would be correct. To be concise it can mean 'sounds familiar', and it can also mean 'that resonates with me'. I agree that in the former, it may not make sense. However in the case of the latter meaning, I would assume it does does have connection to ピンと来る. I'll make modifications to reflect your input.
    – ajsmart
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 13:14

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