Tell Time in Japanese – Hours, Minutes, and Times of Day

Have you ever wanted to be able to tell the time in Japanese?

Imagine you want to book a doctor’s appointment, or be on time for the JLPT – OK so you know how to say the dates, but you also need to know about specific times too!

Being a Japanese learner, you must understand the importance punctuality (try finding a train in Japan that’s late)!

Truthfully speaking, if you don’t want to be considered “late” for a meeting, you must reach the venue at least 10 minutes early!

To be on time, you need to be familiar with time in Japanese. Today, we are going to help you with just that.

Let’s get to learning!

telling time in Japanese

Telling Time in Japanese | Hours

Telling Time in Japanese | Minutes

Telling Time in Japanese | Seconds

Telling Time in Japanese | Hours Divided Into Minutes

Telling Time in Japanese | General Time of Day

Telling Time in Japanese | FAQ’s

Telling Time in Japanese | Hours

When speaking, the twelve-hour clock is more commonly used whereas when written, either the twelve-hour clock or the twenty-four-hour clock is used for telling time in Japanese.

For scheduling meetings and train timings, the twenty-four-hour clock is used. 

When using the twelve-hour clock, add 午前 (gozen) meaning “a.m.” or 午後 (gogo) meaning “p.m.”.

You must remember the numbers in Japanese too of course. You just have to add 時 (ji), meaning “hour” or “o’clock,” after the Japanese numbers.

Keep in mind that Arabic numerals are commonly used (0, 1, 2, 3 etc).

KanjiHiraganaRomajiMeaning
一時いちじichi-ji1 o’clock
二時にじni-ji2 o’clock
三時さんじsan-ji3 o’clock
四時よじyo-ji4 o’clock
五時ごじgo-ji5 o’clock
六時ろくじroku-ji6 o’clock
七時しちじshichi-ji7 o’clock
八時はちじhachi-ji8 o’clock
九時くじku-ji9 o’clock
十時じゅうじjū-ji10 o’clock
十一時じゅういちじjū ichi-ji11 o’clock
十二時じゅうにじjū ni-ji12 o’clock

COMMON MISTAKE | Pronouncing 4 o’clock and 9 o’clock as yon-ji and kyuu-ji instead of yo-ji and ku-ji

Here are some examples:

ExampleHiraganaRomajiMeaning
会議は10時からです。かいぎは10じからです。Kaigi wa jū-ji kara desu.   The meeting is at ten o’clock.
明日の朝7時に来てください。あしたのあさ7じにきてください。Ashita no asa shichi-ji ni kite kudasai.Please come at seven o’clock tomorrow morning.

Telling Time in Japanese | Minutes

The counter for minutes is 分, pronounced as fun or pun.

Just like in English, 分, meaning “minute” is always added after the numbers when telling minutes in Japanese. 

Minutes are usually written with Arabic numerals rather than Kanji.

KanjiHiraganaRomajiMeaning
一分いっぷんippun1 minute
二分にふんni-fun2 minutes
三分さんぷんsan-pun3 minutes
四分よんふんyon-fun4 minutes
五分ごふんgo-fun5 minutes
六分ろっぷんroppun6 minutes
七分ななふんnana-fun7 minutes
八分はっぷんhappun8 minutes
九分きゅうふんkyū-fun9 minutes
十分じゅっぷんjuppun10 minutes
二十分にじゅっぷんni-juppun20 minutes
三十分さんじゅっぷんsan-juppun30 minutes
四十分よんじゅっぷんyon-juppun40 minutes
五十分ごじゅっぷんgo-juppun50 minutes

Don’t get confused between the pronunciations of fun and pun!! You’ll notice they vary depending on the number.

Have a look at some examples:

ExampleHiraganaRomajiMeaning
地震は朝9時24分に起きました。じしんはあさ9じ24ふんにおきました。Jishin wa asa ku-ji ni-jū yon-fun ni okimashita. The earthquake occurred at 9:24 in the morning.
次の電車は午後4時47分に来ます。つぎのでんしゃはごご4じ47ふんにきます。Tsugi no densha wa gogo yo-ji yon-jū nana-fun ni kimasu.     The next train comes at 4:47 p.m.

Telling Time in Japanese | Seconds

The counter for seconds is 秒 (びょう), pronounced as byou.

This counter is added after the number as a suffix just like hours and minutes. You won’t come across it much, but you should know it.

Telling Time in Japanese | Hours Divided Into Minutes

Telling time with minutes in Japanese is quite simple and there are no special terms or phrases to express certain groups of minutes, except for 半 (han) meaning “half.”

If you want to express “thirty minutes past” in Japanese, just add 半 (han), meaning “half,” after “number +時 (ji).”

Unlike in English, there’s no particular word for “quarter” when telling time in Japanese. It‘s simply “fifteen minutes,” i.e. 15分 (jū go-fun).

10 minutes to the next hour, such as 7, is expressed as: 7時10分前 (shichi-ji juppun mae) in Japanese, which literally means “ten minutes before seven o’clock.”

ExampleHiraganaRomajiMeaning
飛行機は午後8時半に出発します。ひこうきはごご8じはんにしゅっぱつします。Hikōki wa gozen hachi-ji han ni shuppatsu shimasu. The airplane departs at 8:30 a.m.
今の時間は9時10分前です。いまのじかんは9じ10ぷんまえです。Ima no jikan wa ku-ji juppun mae desu.The current time is ten minutes before nine o’clock.

General Times of the Day in Japanese

What if you want to give a nonspecific or approximate time in Japanese?

Listed below is some basic vocabulary for describing time in Japanese based on the general time of day.

KanjiHiraganaReadingMeaning
あさasaMorning
ひるhiruAfternoon
よるyoruNight
早朝そうちょうsouchouEarly morning
日の出ひのでhinodeSunrise
正午しょうごshougoNoon
日中にっちゅうnicchuuMidday
夕方ゆうがたyuugataEarly evening
日没にちぼつnichibotsuSunset
深夜しんやshinyaMidnight

Take a look at some examples:

ExampleHiraganaRomajiMeaning
明日の夜8時に夕食を食べましょう。あしたのよる8じにゆうしょくをたべましょう。Ashita no yoru hachi-ji ni yūshoku o tabemashō.     Let’s have dinner at eight o’clock tomorrow evening.
私の飛行機は深夜12時3分に出発します。わたしのひこうきはしんや12じ3ぷんにしゅっぱつします。Watashi no hikōki wa shin’ya jū ni-ji san-pun ni shuppatsu shimasu.My plane departs at 12:03 midnight.
telling time in Japanese

You now know how to talk about time in Japanese!

If you are just starting on your Japanese learning journey, make sure to check out the following lessons: 

Don’t forget that we also offer a Free Trial for 3 hours of Japanese classes on our online platform Flexi Classes!

Japanese Calendar

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do you say the hour in Japanese?

You write the number and add 時・じ・ji.

For example 8’o Clock is 8時

How do you say seconds in Japanese?

The counter for seconds is 秒・びょう・byou.

How do you say morning?

朝・あさ・asa means morning in Japanese.

How do you say minutes in Japanese?

The counter for minutes is 分, pronounced as fun or pun.

For example 8時7分・8じ7ふん

How do you say 30 minutes past the hour?

If you want to express “thirty minutes past” in Japanese, just add 半 (han), meaning “half,” after “number +時 (ji).”

What is night in Japanese?

夜・よる・yoru means night in Japanese.

More Grammar

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  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi , Student Advisor

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