How to say “best” in Japanese: Saikou, Ichiban & More.

say best in japanese

Want to be the best?

The best at Japanese?

But if you just want to say best in Japanese… you’ll want the word “saikou,” which kind of sounds like psycho.

Now, this guide covers 20+ ways to say best in Japanese.

So you can be the best…

…at knowing the best ways… to say best… in Japanese.

Let’s go.

1. 最高 (Saikou)

This is the most basic way of say best in Japanese.

You can use saikou for almost every situation where you want to communicate something is the best.

For example, you might say saikou, if you’re with some friends and having fun the best time!

2. 最悪 (Saiaku)

Now, a list of the words for “best” in Japanese wouldn’t be complete without…

…one way to say worst in Japanese — saiaku.

If something is the worst, you can use saiaku. Saiaku comprises the kanji character for “most” which is 最(sai) and 悪(aku), which means bad or evil.

3. 一番 (Ichiban)

Ichiban is an easy-to-understand way to say best in Japanese.

Ichi means “one” and ban is “number”.

Ichiban literally means “number one.”

If you like something the most you can say ichiban suki.

4. 世界一 (Seikai ichi)

Sekai ichi means “best in the world” in Japanese.

Sekai means word and ichi means one if you know your Japanese numbers.

And if you want to say, “you are the best in the world” in Japanese, you can say…

say best in the world in japanese

5. 最高の___ (Saikou no___)

You already know “saikou.”

Now, if you’re trying to describe something as “the best” you can use this phrase.

You can add any word that is the best in the blank.

For example, if you have the best ice cream you’ve ever had, you can say saikou no aisu kureemu which means “the best ice cream.”

6. ベスト (Besuto)

Besuto is the Katakana version of “best,” borrowed from English.

It can also be used when referring to “top” especially in a “best ten list”.

You might see Japanese people use this word in these kinds of lists

7. 最善 (Saizen)

Saizen can be used when you’re trying to convey your “best efforts” or “best way.”

Japanese people will use it in phrases like Saizen o tsukusu which means “to try my best effort.”

If you’re in the hospitality industry this could be the perfect word to describe your commitment to your customers. 

8. 最適 (Saiteki) 

This is another word for “best” that also means “optimal.”

For example, if you think a decision is the most optimal, you can say saiteki na sentaku which means “optimal decision.”

9. 最優秀 (Saiyuushuu)

Saiyuushuu means that someone or something is the most intelligent or brightest.

For example, it could be used in an award called saiyuushuu shou, which means award for the brightest.

If you are a valedictorian, you could be the school’s saiyuushuu.

10. 最上級 (Saijoukyuu) 

This means the highest level of quality.

For example, saijoukyuu could be applied to sound quality or the highest quality leather.

It is used with materials or easy-to-quantify goods for how high quality they are.

A high-quality meat could also be saijoukyuu

11. 最高級 (Saikoukyuu)

Saikoukyuu can mean “best” in the sense of how high class something is.

If an item is fancy or of a high class, it could be saikoukyuu.

Some examples could be a fine-dining restaurant or a five star hotel!

12. 最高峰 (Saikouhou)

This word means pinnacle or highest peak of something.

For example, if an artwork is the peak of the art world, it would be considered saikouhou.

It’s also possible to use it for physically high things like mountains.

You would use saikouhou to describe Mount Everest.

13. 最良 (Sairyou)

Another word that can be used almost interchangeably with saikou is sairyou.

You can use this word when you want to sound slightly more well-spoken or professional.

Saikou tends to have a more casual connotation.

14. 最高品質 (Saikou hinshitsu)

This phrase is used when you’re trying to describe a high quality physical item. For example, a high quality fruit would saikou hinshitsu. This a word you might see when you are trying to buy fresh groceries.

15. 最上 (Saijou)

This means the highest in Japanese which can be used as a word for “best”. It can be more like the level of something as opposed to the word saikou which simply means best without quantifying it..

16. 最優秀賞 (Saiyuushuushou)

This is the word for the most gifted award.

If you’re one of the best students in your class at school you might receive this kind of award.

17. 最高の選択 (Saikou no sentaku)

If you’re glad to have made the right choice, you might want to use this word. This means the “best choice”. If learning Japanese was the best choice you’ve made, you could use this phrase!

18. 最高の成果 (Saikou no seika)

This means that you’ve achieved the best success or outcome.

If you’ve been working very hard on something and the results are showing, you could use this word.

19. 最も優れた (Mottomo sugureta)

Another word for “best”, mottomo sugureta, gives the impression that it is the most outstanding.

You can use this word for people who are talented and you’d like to acknowledge them.

20. 最上の品 (Saijou no shina)

If an item is of high quality you can also use this word!

This means that something is of the highest quality. It usually involves physical items rather than people or concepts.

21. 最良の状態 (Sairyou no joutai)

This means that you are in the best condition and situation.

It can be used when you feel like you’re extremely prepared for what is to come in the future.

For example, if you’ve been training for a marathon for months, you could use this phrase to describe how you feel that you are in the best condition.

22. 最高のサービス (Saikou no saabisu)

Japan is known for its hospitality, and if you feel that they have provided you with excellent service, you can use this word.

It can be a way to compliment hotels or traditional Japanese inns that have gone out of their way to provide the ultimate customer service.

Back to You

Now you know how to say best in the world – saikou.

Sounds like psycho.

But you can also say “besuto” and “ichiban.”

Now, you tell me – which word do you remember most from reading this guide?

Leave me a comment because I read them all.

– The Main Lingua Junkie

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