In the previous post, we learned the Japanese numbers and counting system and now you may be wondering how to tell date and time in the Japanese language. This is exactly what we are going to find out today: Japanese date and time! But if you don’t know Japanese numbers yet, it would be better if you go through our previous post about Japanese numerals!
The structure of this post goes like this: days of the week, months, and years in the Japanese language. After we learn this related vocabulary, I will give you the sentence pattern and examples of telling the date. Once we dug into telling the date, we will go through telling the time in Japanese.
Alright, if you are ready, let’s get started!
Japanese Date And Time: Days Of The Week
I think it is kind of easy to memorize Japanese date and time especially the days of the week since they all end with yōbi. We also added some words at the end that could be useful, especially when telling the dates in a form of year/month/days of the week.
|Monday||月曜日||げつようび||getsu-yôb||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]げつようび[/Speechword]|
|Tuesday||火曜日||かようび||ka-yôbi||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]かようび[/Speechword]|
|Wednesday||水曜日||すいようび||sui-yôbi||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]すいようび[/Speechword]|
|Thursday||木曜日||もくようび||moku-yôbi||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]もくようび[/Speechword]|
|Friday||金曜日||きんようび||kin-yôbi||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]きんようび[/Speechword]|
|Saturday||土曜日||どようび||do-yôbi||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]どようび[/Speechword]|
|Sunday||日曜日||にちようび||nichi-yôbi||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]にちようび[/Speechword]|
|today||今日||きょう||kyō||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]きょう[/Speechword]|
|yesterday||昨日||きのう||kinō||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]きのう[/Speechword]|
|tomorrow||明日||あす||asu||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]あす[/Speechword]|
- 今日は何曜日ですか？ Kyō wa nanyōbi desu ka? (What day is it today?)
- 月曜日です。Getsuyōbi desu. (It’s Monday.)
What Are Japanese Months?
In Japanese, 月 (gatsu) means month. I can say that Japanese people used a basic system to name months. The rule is simple: name them with numbers in order until 12. So, first, write the number corresponding to that specific month, then add the kanji 月 gatsu. Let me give an example for January.
January is the first month of the year, so it is １月 (いち がつ) ichi-gatsu.
Now, let’s have a look at all of the other Japanese months here:
|January||１月||いち がつ||ichi-gatsu||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline][Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]あす[/Speechword][/Speechword]|
|February||2月||にがつ||ni-gatsu||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline][Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]あす[/Speechword][/Speechword]|
|March||3月||さんがつ||san-gatsu||[Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline][Speechword voice=”Japanese Female” isinline]あす[/Speechword][/Speechword]|
Days Of The Month In Japanese
Unfortunately, I can’t say that there is a specific order in this list, yet most of them end with nichi. Memorizing these days of the month will make you more fluent when identifying a specific date in the Japanese language.
Let’s learn more about Japanese date and time starting with the days of the month:
- １日 tsuitachi 1st
- ２日 futsuka 2nd
- ３日 mikka 3rd
- ４日 yokka 4th
- ５日 itsuka 5th
- ６日 muika 6th
- ７日 nanoka 7th
- ８日 yôka 8th
- ９日 kokonoka 9th
- １０日 tôka 10th
- １１日 jûichi-nichi 11th
- １２日 jûni-nichi 12th
- １３日 jûsan-nichi 13th
- １４日 jûyokka 14th
- １５日 jûgo-nichi 15th
- １６日 jûroku-nichi 16th
- １７日 jûshichi-nichi 17th
- １８日 jûhachi-nichi 18th
- １９日 jûku-nichi 19th
- ２０日 hatsuka 20th
- ２１日 nijûichi-nichi 21st
- ２２日 nijûni-nichi 22nd
- ２３日 nijûsan’-nichi 23rd
- ２４日 nijûyokka 24th
- ２５日 nijûgo-nichi 25th
- ２６日 nijûroku-nichi 26th
- ２７日 nijûshichi-nichi 27th
- ２８日 nijûhichi-nichi 28th
- ２９日 nijûku-nichi 29th
- ３０日 sanjû-nichi 30th
- ３１日 sanjûichi-nichi 31st
- 今日は何日ですか？ Kyō wa nan-nichi desu ka? (What is today’s date?)
- 今日は16日です。Kyō wa jūroku-nichi desu. (Today is the 16th.)
What Are Years In Japanese?
Japan has a different system for counting the years. Basically, the year starts over again from 1 at the beginning of each new reign along with the name of the era. For example, the 「平成」 era began in 1989, so, the year 2009 would be 平成２１年.
If you live in Japan, it is better to know the year based on the current era. Below are the eras going back about 100 years. There are also online converters or charts about years in the Japanese calendar. Here is the list of the last 5 years with eras in Japanese. Check out some of this vocabulary for Japanese date and time:
- 2018 平成３０年 year 30 of the Heisei era
- 2019 平成３１年 year 31 of the Heisei era (From January to April)
- 2019 令和１年 year 1 of the Reiwa era (From May to December)
- 2020 令和２年 year 2 of the Reiwa era
- 2021 令和３年 year 3 of the Reiwa era
- 2022 令和４年 year 4 of the Reiwa era
The date format in Japanese is year/month/day. Japanese words meaning “year, month, and day” are placed after the numbers. The weekday is usually abbreviated to a single character, like 水 instead of 水曜日 which means Wednesday, but may also be written in full with parenthesis. Here are all the possible date formats you may encounter in the Japanese language.
To express dates in written form you must use specific counters, so here are the Japanese counters for the day, month, and year.
- 年 ねん nen – year counter
- 月 がつ gatsu – month counter
- 日 にち nichi – day counter
- ２００９年１２月２４日 = 2009/12/24
- ２０１０年４月１日（木曜日）= Thursday, April 1st, 2010
- 昭和５６年１１月３０日 = 1981/11/30
It is vital to also know the Japanese calendar if you want to be familiar with Japanese date and time. In Japan, the commonly used calendar is the Japanese imperial calendar as well as the Gregorian calendar.
The Japanese imperial calendar is the one we talked about above. Basically, it is a calendar unique to Japan that is based on the reign of each emperor. The year starts over from 1 at the beginning of each new reign along with the name of the era. The new era begins when the current emperor accedes to the throne and if you are wondering, the current era is 令和 Reiwa which began in 2019.
The Gregorian calendar, on the other hand, is the calendar used by most of the world and it is based on a solar dating system.
How To Tell Time In Japanese?
Japanese commonly uses the 24-hour clock for all official listings, such as plane and train schedules. In order to adapt to the 24-hour system, you should keep on counting after 12 for every hour afternoon on the clock. Like, 1 pm would be 13, 2 pm is 14, and so on. Here are the Japanese hours up to 12.
|11 a.m.||午前11時||gozen jûichi-ji|
To express the time in Japanese, again, we need counters. Here are the counters that you can use when telling the time.
- 時 じ ji – hour counter
- 分 ふん fun – minute counter
- 午前 ごぜん gozen – AM
- 午後 ごご gogo – PM
- 半 はん han – half
- 今何時ですか？Ima nan-ji desu ka? (What time is it?)
- 11時15分です。Jūichi-ji jūgo-fun desu. (It’s 11:15.)
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