Flexibility in signal transmission is essential for high-level brain function. This flexibility is achieved through strict spatial and temporal control of gene expression in neurons. Given the key regulatory roles of a variety of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) in neurons, studying neuron-specific ncRNAs provides an important basis for understanding molecular principles of brain function. This approach will have wide use in understanding the pathogenesis of brain diseases and in the development of therapeutic agents in the future. Brain cytoplasmic RNAs (BC RNAs) are a leading paradigm for research on neuronal ncRNAs. Since the first confirmation of brain-specific expression of BC RNAs in 1982, their investigation has been an area of active research. In this review, we summarize key studies on the characteristics and functions of BC RNAs in neurons.