Lesson 4: Date and Time



It should be enough if you memorize 1-10 and know how to count 1-100.

You can download and print out the list of numbers. Just look up the list when you have a difficulty with bigger numbers.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 ichi, ni, san, yon, go, roku, nana, hachi, kyū,

11-19: jū ichi (10+1), jū ni (10+2), jū san (10+3)...

20-99: ni-jū (2x10), ni-jū ichi (2x10+1), ni-jū ni (2x10+2)...

zero: 0 / hyaku: 100 / sen: 1,000 / man: 10,000


Basically, you can read any numbers in this way. But there are some irregular pronunciations. For example, 300 is san-byaku (not san-hyaku), 600 is rop-pyaku (not roku-hyaku).

See Numbers page for more details.


Basically, you use "ji" for hours and "fun" for minutes.

For example, 1:25 is ichi-ji ni-jū go-fun.

But there are irregular pronunciations.

For hours, some numbers are pronounced differently.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (o'clock)

For minutes, some numbers are pronounced differently and "fun" becomes "pun" in many cases.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (minutes past)

11-19, jū ip-pun, jū ni-fun, jū san-pun, jū yon-pun...

20-59, ni-jup-pun, ni-jū ip-pun, ni-jū ni-fun... san-jup-pun...

ima: now

nan-ji: what time?

gozen: a.m. / gogo: p.m.

asagohan: breakfast

han: half past

kara: from / made: to (till)

shōgo: noon

now, what time?


breakfast what time?

from 7:30 to 9:00.

check-out what time?



Basically, you use "gatsu" for months and "nichi" for days.

For example, January 25th is ichi-gatsu ni-jū go-nichi.

But there are irregular pronunciations...

For months, some numbers are pronounced differently.

Jan., Feb., Mar.,

Apr., May, Jun.,

Jul., Aug., Sep.,

Oct., Nov., Dec.

For days, 1st to 10th and 20th are quite different from the usual way. Other days are more straight forward.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (day)

tanjōbi: birthday

nan-nen: what year? / nan-gatsu: what month? / nan-nichi: what day?

kekkonshiki: wedding

tsugi no: next

orinpikku: olympics

birthday when?

May 23rd.

departure which day?


wedding which month?


next olympics what year?


Days of the week
Mon., Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., Sat., Sun.
yesterday, today, tomorrow
last week, this week, next week

yōbi: day of the week

nan-yōbi: which day of the week?

no: of

yasumi: day-off

to: and

today which day?


tomorrow which day?


next Friday what date?


day-off which day?

Saturdays and Sundays.


minutes: "fun(kan)" or "pun(kan)". 5 minutes is go-fun or go-funkan.

hours: "jikan". 2 hours is ni-jikan.

days: "ka(kan)" or "nichi(kan)". 3 days is mikka or mikkakan.

weeks: "shūkan". 2 weeks is ni-shukan.

months: "kagetsu(kan)". 4 months is yon-kagetsu or yon-kagetsukan.

years: "nen(kan)". 6 years is roku-nen or roku-nenkan.

1 min., 2 hrs., 3 days, 4 wks, 5 months, 6 years

donokurai: how much (time)

kakarimasu (kakaru): to take

yaku: about / kurai: about

ni imasu (iru): be at, be in

How long does it take?

About 2 weeks.

to Kyoto how many hours?

about 3 hours.

how many days be in Japan?

18 days.

I read books everyday.

Present tense = verb + masu, masuka?, masen

mai: every

mai-nichi: every day / mai-shū: every week

mai-asa: every morning / mai-ban: every night

yomi masu (yomu): to read

mi masu (miru): to watc, to see

oki masu (okiru): to wake up, to get up

ne masu (neru): to sleep, to go to bed

o: comes after the object of the verbs (read, watch, etc.)

ni: at

every Friday watch movies
every morning, at 7 get up
every night, at what time go to bed?
I went to Kyoto.

Past tense = verb + mashita, mashitaka?, masendeshita

Future tense = same as the present tense

iki masu (iku): to go

ai masu (au): to meet

tabe masu (taberu): to eat

ki masu (kuru): to come

e: to - comes after the object of the verb go.

to: with - comes after the object of the verb meet.

kesa: this morning / konya: tonight

hirugohan: lunch

ga: comes after the subject of the verb come.

this morning met her?
lunch did not eat

tonight friend will come

Yesterday was rain.

Sentenses with the verb "be".

Present & Future: desu, desuka?, dewaarimasen

Past: deshita, deshitaka?, dewaarimasendeshita

-mae: before / -go: after

hare: / kumori: cloudy / ame: rain

han-toshi: half year

tabun: probably

2 hrs before was
half year before office worker was not
after 2 days will be probably cloudy
I studied Japanese.

shi masu (suru): do

The verb suru is usually used solely. And in this case, the particle "o" comes after the object.

For example, benkyō o shimasu.: I do study.

But sometimes, a noun together with suru functions as a verb.

For example, benkyō shimasu.: I study.

benkyō (study) suru: to study

ryokō (travel) suru: to travel

sōji (cleaning) suru: to clean

sengetsu: last month / kongetsu: this month / raigetsu: next month

kyonen: last year / kotoshi: this year / rainen: next year

ajia: Asia

heya: room

sakkā: soccor

last year, Asia traveled
last month, didn't clean the room
next month, with friend will play soccor

Basic Rules

Counting System

Japanese counting system is complex and has a lot of irregular pronunciations. It can take some time to master all of them.

But to be practical, you just need to know the following.

Master how to count 1 to 100. (You just need to memorise 1-10.)

Know the basic principles. For example, time is "ji" and "fun", date is "gatsu" and "nichi", etc.

In addition, days of the week and dates (1st to 10th) would be good to know.

People will understand when you say roku-fun (not roppun) or ni-nichi (not futsuka).

Page Top

Basic Japanese Course

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10