The name is of Northern Sami origin, where Čohkkirasjávri means lake of assembly, as the area by the lake by which the village was founded was a Sami marketplace. The village got its first Finnish-speaking resident settlers in the 17th century, who changed the name into the more Finnish-sounding Jukkasjärvi, thereby removing its meaning, although järvi (jávri in Sami) still means lake in Finnish. This was also the name used by Swedish officials.
The village is a popular tourist accommodation during the winter months and is best known for its ice hotel. The wooden church is the oldest building in the village (built around 1607/1608) and is well known for its wooden carved altar piece triptych.