How to tell the date in Japanese Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

As I have mentioned in my last post, the basic counting in japanese is very important. Not only to tell the time but also to say the date. Let’s start with the days of the week: To learn the days of the week is quite simple. The days of the  week are named after an element (including the sun and the moon as an exception) and each of them ends with the word 曜日 (youbi).

Monday 月曜日 getsu-youbi 月means moon
Tuesday 火曜日 ka-youbi 火 means fire
Wednesday 水曜日 sui-youbi 水 means water
Thursday 木曜日 moku-youbi 木 means wood
Friday 金曜日 kin-youbi 金 means gold
Saturday 土曜日 do-youbi 土 means earth
Sunday 日曜日 nichi-youbi 日 means sun

As a child I learned the days of the week by repeating the elements “getsu-ka-sui-moku-kin-do-nichi” like a mantra.

To learn the months of the year you only have to follow a simple pattern: take the numbers 1-12 + 月 (gatsu / month).

January 一月 Ichi-gatsu July 七月 Shichi-gatsu
February 二月 Ni-gatsu August 八月 Hachi-gatsu
March 三月 San-gatsu September 九月 Ku-gatsu
April 四月 Shi-gatsu October 十月 Juu-gatsu
May 五月 Go-gatsu November 十一月 Juu-ichi-gatsu
June 六月 Roku-gatsu December 十二月 Juu-ni-gatsu

Unfortunately the days of the month are a little bit complicated as they have some irregularities.

1 Tsuitachi the 1st 16 Juuroku-nichi the 16th
2 Futsuka the 2nd 17 Juushichi-nichi the 17th
3 Mik-ka the 3rd 18 Juuhachi-nichi the 18th
4 Yok-ka the 4th 19 Juuku-nichi the 19th
5 Itsuka the 5th 20 Hatsuka the 20th
6 Muika the 6th 21 Nijuu-ichi-nichi the 21st
7 Nanoka the 7th 22 Nijuu-ni-nichi the 22nd
8 Youka the 8th 23 Nijuu-san-nichi the 23rd
9 Kokonoka the 9th 24 Nijuu-yok-ka the 24th
10 Touka the 10th 25 Nijuu-go-nichi the 25th
11 Juuichi-nichi the 11th 26 Nijuu-roku-nichi the 26th
12 Juuni-nichi the 12th 27 Nijuu-shichi-nichi the 27th
13 Juusan-nichi the 13th 28 Nijuu-hachi-nichi the 28th
14 Juuyok-ka the 14th 29 Nijuu-ku-nichi the 29th
15 Juugo-nichi the 15th 30 Sanjuu-nichi the 30th
  31 Sanjuu-ichi-nichi the 31st

Saying a date in Japanese is much like saying it in English: You just put the day of the month after the month itself. For instance, if today’s date were November 11, you would say: きょうはじゅういちがつじゅういちにちです (kyou wa juuichigatsu juuichinichi desu).

So I hope you guys have fun learning the dates 日付 (ひづけ)!

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About the Author: yuki

Although I was born and raised in Austria my parents luckily taught me japanese starting at a very early age. Since most of my relatives live in Japan I try to fly to Japan once in a year. I love reading and cooking and I also enjoy traveling.


  1. iji:

    where would I put the weekday? before everything?
    today is Sunday, August 17
    きょうは にちようび はちがつ じゅうしちにち です。

    by the way the sun and the moon are not an exception
    it’s either sun, moon, and the visible planets,
    or yin/yang and the five elements