Home Japanese Language How one can Inform Time in Japanese: Fundamental Numbers, Hours, Minutes and Extra

How one can Inform Time in Japanese: Fundamental Numbers, Hours, Minutes and Extra

How one can Inform Time in Japanese: Fundamental Numbers, Hours, Minutes and Extra


Telling time in Japanese is a crucial a part of any Japanese learner’s curriculum. 

All it is advisable to do is put in slightly effort to memorize these patterns and the Japanese vocabulary to fill them in, and also you’ll be effectively in your means!

Right here, you’ll get a step-by-step information—with solely three steps—to ace Japanese time-telling. 

You’ll study some primary numbers, find out how to say the hours and minutes and extra!


Step 1: Be taught the Japanese Numbers

Let’s get began by studying the ten most necessary numbers in Japanese.

Consider it or not, that’s all you’ll have to know with a purpose to inform time in Japanese—no have to overwhelm your self with studying find out how to rely into the a whole bunch or hundreds.

First, chances are you’ll be questioning why I haven’t put eleven and twelve on the listing, and that’s what I’ll clarify now.

Japanese makes use of a quantity stacking system, which needs to be very acquainted to these of you who already know an Asian language.

Bear in mind in elementary faculty while you have been studying place values? To be trustworthy, neither do I. However place worth is simply separating 325 into three a whole bunch, two tens and one 5.

That is precisely the way you rely in Japanese!

We’ll begin with a simple instance: 21. The quantity 21 is damaged up into two tens and one in Japanese, so you’d write it as two-ten-one. This appears like:

二十一 (にじゅういち) — 21

Acquired it? Attempt to translate these subsequent numbers into Japanese by yourself, then verify under to see for those who’re right:





Did you get them?

四十八 (よんじゅうはち) — 48

八十三 (はちじゅうさん) — 83

五十九 (ごじゅうきゅう) — 59

十九 (じゅうきゅう) — 19

You could be questioning about these various readings for 4, seven and 9 (seen within the unique listing of numbers one by ten above).

( or よん ) — 4

七 (しち or なな ) — seven

( or きゅう ) — 9

They’ve popped up once more within the numbers like 40 and 59 above, and may need thrown you for a loop.

The previous readings (し, しち and く) are used for extra easy counting in a collection of numbers, and infrequently in counters—together with time-telling counters, however extra on that within the third step.

The latter readings (よん, なな and きゅう) are those chosen for different issues like telling time and compound numerals (e.g., 40 is 四十 and skim as よんじゅう).

Step 2: Be taught Time-related Phrases

Okay, now to get to the actually timey half. Listed below are a bunch of phrases that you simply’ll have to know to inform the time.

All it is advisable to do is match within the numbers with the key phrases! Right here’s the phrase order they often present up in:

a.m./p.m. + hour + minute

午後九時四分 (ごごくじよんぷん) — 9:04 p.m.

a.m./p.m. + hour + half

午前五時半 (ごぜんごじはん) — 5:30 a.m.

Be sure you preserve the a.m./p.m. in entrance!

Additionally, it’s fully attainable to take out sections and never say the a.m./p.m. half, the identical means you do in English.

Step 3: Be taught the Counters

Right here comes the toughest a part of studying any language—studying the exceptions.

A counter is basically a phrase to explain a bunch of one thing. For instance in English, we’ve got “a flock of sheep,” “a bundle of sticks” or my private favourite, “an intrusion of cockroaches.” 

For time-telling, it’s as follows:

一時 (いちじ ) one hour / o’clock 七時 (しちじ ) seven hours / o’clock
二時 (にじ ) two hours / o’clock 八時 (はちじ ) eight hours / o’clock
三時 (さんじ ) three hours / o’clock 九時 (くじ ) 9 hours / o’clock
四時 (よじ ) 4 hours / o’clock 十時 (じゅうじ ) ten hours / o’clock
五時 (ごじ ) 5 hours / o’clock 十一時 (じゅういちじ  ) eleven hours / o’clock
六時 (ろくじ ) six hours / o’clock 十二時 (じゅうにじ ) twelve hours / o’clock


Notice that you simply’ll simply have to recollect 4, 7 and 9 as being exceptions as earlier than, sadly.

四時 (よじ not よんじ or しじ) — 4 hours / 4 o-clock

七時 (しちじ not ななじ) — seven hours / seven o’clock

九時 (くじ not きゅうじ) — 9 hours / 9 o’clock

Discover a extra attention-grabbing strategy to memorize these exceptions, like setting them as your telephone passcode, making a rhyme or creating an acronym.


一分 (いっぷん) one minute 六分 (ろっぷん) six minutes
二分  (にん) two minutes 七分 (ななん) seven minutes
三分 (さんん) three minutes 八分 (はっぷん) eight minutes
四分 (よんん) 4 minutes 九分 (きゅうん) 9 minutes
五分 (ごん) 5 minutes 十分 (じゅっぷん) ten minutes

This could be probably the most tough part. As you possibly can see, not solely have the quantity components been modified, however the minute components have been modified too!

Don’t worry, mnemonics are right here! Mnemonics are reminiscence units—neat methods that will help you bear in mind issues. Examples embody “Each Good Boy Deserves Fruit” for the treble music notes and counting your knuckles for the times in every month.

To recollect when minutes are learn as ぷん and once they’re learn as ふん, right here’s a superb one. Each P stands for ぷん, H for ふん:

Peter Has Purple Puppies, His Puppies Have Peter Happy Permanently


Fortunately for you, seconds don’t have any exceptions! It’s simply the quantity with (びょう, “second”) after it.

一秒 (いちびょう) — one second

九秒 (きゅうびょう) — 9 seconds

五十五秒 (ごじゅうごびょう) — 55 seconds

The Japanese Time Telling Problem

Prepared for one closing problem? Take a look at your self with this dialogue. Attempt to learn the next sentences and choose up on the given instances in Japanese:

田中: 山下さん、すみませんですが、今は何時ですか。
(たなか: やましたさん、すみませんが、いまはなんじですか。)
Tanaka: Mr. Yamashita, excuse me, what time is it proper now?

山下: ええと、午後一時半ですよ。
(やました: ええと、ごごいちじはんですよ。)
Yamashita: Um, it’s 1:30 p.m.

田中: ええ!会議は午前十一時四十五分でした!
(たなか: ええ!かいぎはごぜんじゅういちじよんじゅうごふんでした!)
Tanaka: Oh! My assembly was at 11:45 p.m.!

How did you do?


For all of the vocabulary on this lesson, I’ve made a Memrise course that will help you out! In case you haven’t heard of it but, Memrise is a superb digital flashcard program that actually helps with memorization.


In case you’d like to listen to how Japanese native audio system truly inform time, a language studying program comparable to FluentU can turn out to be useful.

FluentU makes use of genuine content material comparable to film clips, music movies and extra, all with interactive subtitles, flashcards and personalised quizzes. 


頑張ってください! (がんばってください!) — Good luck, do your greatest! Good luck in your Japanese journey. And don’t be late!