Japanese Language Blog

How to tell time in Japanese? Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Culture, Grammar


Everyday, we are constantly watching what time it is.  I find myself constantly making sure if I have enough time before my next meeting or conference call. Luckily these days, our phone is a big help with customizable tone, it will alert you 15 minutes before your event takes place.

In today’s blog, I would like to go over from the basics to somewhat tricky part of telling time in Japanese. Telling time in Japanese is pretty simple, once you follow the basic rule, you will get it just like that. So, Read on~.



Let’s first start off with this question… What time is it?

Ima nanjii desuka? – 今、何時ですか?(いま、なんじですか?)

This is probably one of the 100 must know Japanese phrases.


Answering what time its~


1 o’clock – Ichi Ji  (1 時)

2 o’clock – Ni Ji (2 時)

3 o’clock – San Ji (3 時)

4 o’clock – Yo Ji (4 時)

5 o’clock – Go Ji (5 時)

6 o’clock – Roku Ji (6 時)

7 o’clock – Hichi Ji or Shichi Ji (7 時)

8 o’clock – Hachi Ji (8 時)

9 o’clock -Ku Ji (9 時)

10 o’clock – Ju- Ji (10 時)

11 o’clock – Ju-ichi Ji (11 時)

12 o’clock – Ju-ni Ji (12 時)


If you are answering “It’s 2 o’clock.” to someone, you would say “Ni ji desu.” simply add “desu” at the end.


So, how would you say, 12:30 or 1:30?

1:30 – Ichi Ji han  (1 時半)

2:30 – Ni Ji han (2 時半)

3:30 – San Ji han (3 時半)

4:40 – Yo Ji han (4 時半)

5:30 ~Go Ji han (5 時半)


Pretty simple, just add “han” for half an hour.. So, “It’s 3:30.” will be “San ji han desu.”


What about the time in between? 2:22 or 2:45 or 5:12 etc… Well, for these, you will need to know how to count the numbers between 1 to 59 in Japanese.  Let’s review them here.  These numbers are slightly different when applying to telling time. Read carefully, the third column is about adding “end” to telling time. In English, it will be “minute” part. Notice depending on the numbers, it changes from “fun” to “pun”.


1 i pun
2 ni fun
3 san fun
4 shi fun
5 go fun
6 ro pun
7 nana fun
8 ha pun
9 kyu fun
10 jyu pun
11 jyui pun
12 jyuni fun
13 jyusan fun
14 jyushi fun
15 jyugo fun
16 jyuro pun
17 jyunana fun
18 jyuha pun
19 jyukyu fun
20 nijyu pun
21 nijyui pun
22 nijyu ni fun
23 nijyu san fun
24 nijyu yon fun
25 nijyu go fun
26 nijyu ro pun
27 nijyu nana fun
28 nijyu ha pun
29 nijyu kyu fun
30 sanjyu pun
31 sanjyu i pun
32 sanjyu ni fun
33 sanjyu san fun
34 sanjyu yon fun
35 sanjyu go fun
36 sanjyu ro pun
37 sanjyu nana fun
38 sanjyu ha pun
39 sanjyu kyu fun
40 yonjyu pun
41 yonjyu i pun
42 yonjyu ni fun
43 yonjyu san fun
44 yonjyu yon fun
45 yonjyu go fun
46 yonjyu ro pun
47 yonjyu nana fun
48 yonjyu ha pun
49 yonjyu kyu fun
50 gojyu pun
51 gojyu i pun
52 gojyu ni fun
53 gojyu san fun
54 gojyu yon fun
55 gojyu go fun
56 gojyu ro pun
57 gojyu nana fun
58 gojyu ha pun
59 gojyu  kyu fun

So, “It is 2:15”, will be “Ni ji jyu go fun desu.”  Got it?

Hope you learned the basics of how to tell time in Japanese today.  Keep up with your learning!

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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.


  1. Samantha Cook:

    At the top, you start losing the o’clock hours, but you say ひちじ, instead of しちじ

    • keiko:

      @Samantha Cook 7 can be actually either Hichi, or Shichi. So, either way will be fine, it is sort of your preference. Thanks!

  2. Zuneku Daitou:

    You made a typo with 7 o’clock. You wrote HICHIJI instead of shichiji.
    Maybe check this whole blog post for errors?

    • keiko:

      @Zuneku Daitou Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. You are right, Shichiji will be correct also, but we also say, Hichi for 7. Either way will be fine.:)