Hydrogen spark-ignition (SI) engines based on direct-injection (DI) promise significant advantages in terms of thermal efficiency and power output, as well as a means of overcoming problems related to knocking, backfiring, and pre-ignition. In a DI hydrogen engine, the fuel/air mixture is formed by injecting a jet of hydrogen into the air inside the combustion chamber. An Ar-ion laser beam was used as a light source to visualize the hydrogen jet in a constant-volume chamber. This allowed us to study the structure of the jet in addition to other physical processes resulting from hydrogen gas injection. Combustion experiments were conducted in a single-cylinder SI optical research engine equipped with a DI system to detect the early kernel growth assisted by the spark, as well as flame propagation. Various equivalence ratios and fuel injection timings were analyzed to identify the effects on combustion.