Learn Japanese Numbers In Just 10 Minutes! (2024)

Good news! Japanese numbers are easy peasy Japanesey. 🎌💯

Japanese people don’t always use the Japanese numbers. Like the rest of the world, they rely a lot on Arabic numerals for writing (lucky for us, Japanese disciples). However, this does not diminish the importance of learning how to count in Japanese. There are contexts, such as traditional ceremonies, where Japanese numbers are still written in kanji. Besides, you still need to learn how to say numbers in Japanese. Ready? Ichi, ni, san… go!

Basic Japanese Counting: Japanese Numbers 1-10

NumberSino-Japanese readingKanjiNative Japanese readingKanji
1いち (ichi)ひとつ (hitotsu)一つ
2に (ni)ふたつ (futatsu)二つ
3さん (san)みっつ (mittsu)三つ
4し、よん (shi, yon)よっつ (yottsu)四つ
5ご (go)いつつ (itsutsu)五つ
6ろく (roku)むっつ (muttsu)六つ
7しち、なな (shichi, nana)ななつ (nanatsu)七つ
8はち (hachi)やっつ (yattsu)八つ
9く、きゅう (ku, kyuu)ここのつ (kokonotsu)九つ
10じゅう (juu)とう (tou)
0れい、ゼロ、マル (rei, zero, maru)

Numbers in Japanese 1-10

This is how you count to 10 in Japanese using both Sino-Japanese and Native Japanese readings.

As you can see, the Japanese number system includes two sets of pronunciations (or readings): the Sino-Japanese readings (on’yomi or ‘On reading’), based on Chinese numerals, and the Native Japanese readings (kun’yomi or ‘Kun reading’), derived from Japanese yamato kotoba (native words). Since the Native Japanese reading is used only up to 10, the Sino-Japanese reading is the one you’ll use more often.

To distinguish which type of reading is used in written text, note that Native Japanese numbers all end in つ (tsu)—except for 10, which is とう (tou).

Do you need to hear the proper pronunciation of the Japanese numbers 1-10? Play this short video below. 👇

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Besides, if you learn to count to 10, the numbers in Japanese 1-100 will become a piece of cake! It’s easier than you’d expect.

Master Bigger Japanese Numbers 1-100


Numbers in Japanese 1-100

To get you started on the numbers in Japanese 1-100, we put together this table with the tens plus one example from each and every one. As you can see, you work a lot with the Japanese numbers 1-10. It’s magic how they add up! ✨

Not quite ready to add them up yourself? Don’t worry. We also created a Japanese numbers 1-100 chart that includes both kanji and hiragana. Besides that, we also added the romaji writing so you’ll know how to pronounce each number even if you are not familiar with the Japanese writing system. In other words, this chart has everything you need to learn how to count to 100 in Japanese!

Learn Japanese Numbers In Just 10 Minutes! (1)

Aren’t the Japanese numbers fascinating? Once you learn how to count to 10, counting to 100 is just a game of repeatedly compounding and adding. Here are a few examples to help you better understand the process of counting to 100 in Japanese:

  • 11 is 十一(juuichi)or 10 (juu) + 1 (ichi);
  • following the exact same rule, 12 is 十二 (juuni) or 10 (juu) + 2 (ni).

Once you change the prefix, the rule remains the same. All you need to do is count the 10s (two 10s, three 10s, four 10s and so on) and then add the next number:

  • if 20 is 二十 (nijuu) or 2 (ni) 10s (juu), then 21 is 二十一 (nijuuichi) or 2 (ni) 10s (juu) + 1 (ichi);
  • if 70 is 七十 (nanajuu) or 7 (nana) 10s (juu), then 76 is 七十六 (nanajuuroku) or 7 (nana) 10s (juu) + 6 (roku);
  • then 100 comes with a new word: 百 (hyaku).

Learn Japanese Numbers In Just 10 Minutes! (2)

Do you want to learn Japanese? 🗻

Get started with Mondly, the award-winning language app that makes learning Japanese a breeze.

Count to10,000and beyondin Japanese

101百一ひゃくいちhyaku ichi
hyaku yon-ju go
hyaku kyu-ju kyu
201二百一にひゃくいちnihyaku ichi
1,001千一せんいちsen ichi
1 million百万ひゃくまんhyakuman
10 million千万せんまんsenman

As you can see, the rule you learned for the first 100 Japanese numbers is still valid. To count further than 100 in Japanese, you just continue to stack numbers. Then, when you get to 1,000, hyaku becomes sen and so on.

How to count in JapaneseHiragana?

To count in Japanese Hiragana, you use specific symbols for each number, as follows:

  1. いち (ichi)
  2. に (ni)
  3. さん (san)
  4. よん or し (yon or shi)
  5. ご (go)
  6. ろく (roku)
  7. なな or しち (nana or shichi)
  8. はち (hachi)
  9. きゅう or く (kyū or ku)
  10. じゅう (juu)

For Japanese numbers 1-10, that’s easy. The problem arises with bigger numbers. Let’s look at a more complex number to help you see what we’re talking about. For instance: 👇

1289 is 1000 (sen) + 2 (ni)‌ 100s (hyaku) + 8 (hachi) 10s (ju) + 9 (kyuu), so:

  • 千二百八十九 in kanji
  • せんにひゃくはちじゅうきゅう in hiragana

As you advance to bigger and bigger numbers in Japanese, writing in hiragana can get quite long. This is why Japanese people generally use kanji or even Arabic numbers in writing. Especially when it comes to bigger numbers.

Learn Japanese Numbers In Just 10 Minutes! (3)


The two main Japanese lucky numbers are seven (なな, Nana) and eight (はち, Hachi). Given this, do you think the names of two of the most popular Japanese animal characters in the world were merely coincidental? We’re talking, of course, about the cat Nana from The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa and Hachi from Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Pamela S. Turner.

While the number 8 (八) is considered lucky in Japanese culture due to its shape (it resembles a fan), seven is deemed fortunate because of its significance in Buddhism and its connection to the Seven Gods of Luck (七福神).

Learn Japanese Numbers In Just 10 Minutes! (4)

On the other hand, you probably noticed that 4, 7, and 9 have two different readings each. As we, in the Western world, consider the number 13 to bring bad luck, the Japanese people consider the numbers 4 and 9 to be unlucky because し (shi – 4)) and く (ku – 9) sound the same as the words for “death” (死, shi) and “suffering, agony or torture” (苦, ku). Thus, Japanese people avoid using these unlucky numbers as much as possible. If you ever travel to Japan, pay close attention to the prices. Chances are you won’t see prices like 9.99 or 4.99 anywhere.


Japanese counters are specific words that you must add after a number when counting particular objects. If we were to adapt the concept of Japanese counters to English, we might say “two pieces of pie” instead of “two pies”. In this situation, the word “pieces” acts as the counter. Thus, depending on the objects you are counting, you need to choose the appropriate counter word.

For instance, for flat and thin objects, the counter word you need to use is まい (mai). Therefore, to say “three shirts”, you would say シャツさんまい (shatsu san mai), where shatsu means “shirts”, san is “three” and mai is the counter word.

There are over 500 counters in the Japanese language; however, not all are commonly used. Read on to discover the most frequently used counters.

Japanese counters for time

o clearly indicate that you are referring to seconds, minutes, hours, months, or years, you must use specific counters in Japanese. Seconds are expressed with ~秒 (byou), minutes with ~分 (fun or pun), hours with ~時 (ji), months with ~月 (getsu), and years with ~年 (nen).

Japanese counters for people

To count people in Japanese, use the counter ひとり (hitori) for one person, ふたり (futari) for two people, and ~人 (nin) for three or more people.


Long and thin objects, such as pencils, bottles, chopsticks, umbrellas, rivers, train tracks, or roads, have their own Japanese counter: ~本 (hon). When counting these objects, all numbers end in -hon, except for 3, which ends in –bon, and the numbers 1, 6, 8, and 10, which end in -pon. Although this might seem overwhelming initially, practice will help you master these exceptions more quickly.

To count small and round objects like apples or tennis balls, you must use the ~個 (ko) counter. Conversely, to count thin and flat objects (such as sheets of paper, plates, or articles of clothing), you should use the まい (mai) counter.

Japanese counters for animals

For small animals like insects, fish, dogs or cats, you need to use the counter ~匹 (hiki). For larger animals, such as elephants, the appropriate counter ~頭 (tou).

Japanese counters for food

To count sliced items (especially foods like meat), you can use the counter 切れ (kire). For parts of a meal or courses, use 品 (hin or pin). Meanwhile, for food portions, the counter 人前 (ninmae) is suitable.

Learn Japanese Numbers In Just 10 Minutes! (5)

Japanese counters for carsorbicycles

If you’re not overwhelmed yet, for cars, machines, and all types of household appliances, the counter ~台 (dai) is necessary.

Not ready to dive into Japanese counters yet? Then consider using the general-purpose counter based on the Native-Japanese reading (一つhitotsu , 二つ futatsu and so on). This system allows you to count almost any kind of object up to ten without worrying about using the incorrect counter.

Special Number Zero in Japanese

For zero in Japanese, the kanji is 零 (rei). However, it is more common to use and pronounce “zero” the same way as in English: ゼロ (zero). Alternatively, マル (maru), meaning “circle”, is used used similarly to how “oh” is used instead of “zero” in English when reading individual digits of a number.

A popular example where the Japanese use the マル (maru) reading is the 109 store in Tokyo. Rather than saying ひゃくきゅう in hiragana or 百九 in kanji (hyakukyuu), they refer to it as 一〇九 (ichi maru kyu), incorporating the “maru” for “zero”.

In conclusion, while the prevalence of Arabic numerals in Japan offers a familiar comfort to learners of the Japanese language, the significance of understanding and using Japanese numbers cannot be overstated. From their indispensable role in traditional ceremonies to the necessity of verbal communication, mastering the numbers in Japanese is a critical aspect of truly embracing the language and culture.

Before you go, make sure you check out these FAQs.

How to say numbers in Japanese?

To say numbers in Japanese, start by learning the numbers up to 10: ichi (1), ni (2), san (3), yon (4), go (5), roku (6), nana (7), hatchi (8), kyu (9) and juu (10). If you're not familiar with the Japanese writing system, you may have to rely heavily on the Romanized version (Romaji) to learn the correct pronunciation of each number. Once you've mastered the numbers 1-10 in Japanese, counting up to 100 becomes straightforward.

How to write Japanese numbers?

To write Japanese numbers, you can use the Kanji characters: 一 (1), 二 (2), 三 (3), 四 (4), 五 (5), 六 (6), 七 (7), 八 (8), 九 (9), and 十 (10). While hiragana can also be used for smaller numbers, it is less common for larger numbers as it can be more cumbersome. However, in many cases, Arabic numerals are widely used and accepted, even by Japanese people, for their simplicity and universality.



NJK World-Japan

Learn Japanese in just 10 minutes a day

Do you want to see the Japanese numbers in action and maybe even learn some Japanese phrases? Well, you’re in luck! With Mondly, the fastest way to speak languages, you can learn Japanese naturally with practical topics and authentic Japanese conversations recorded by fluent Japanese speakers.

Want more? With Mondly, you’ll get more every day! Quick Daily Lessons. 5 minutes a day. It’s so fun you’ll become addicted. The best part? You’ll speak Japanese fluently in no time!

Do you want to learn Japanese with Mondly in just 10 minutes a day?

Learn Japanese now

Learn Japanese Numbers In Just 10 Minutes! (2024)


How to pronounce 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 in Japanese? ›

Native Japanese counting: “hitotsu” (1), “futatsu” (2), “mittsu” (3), “yottsu” (4), “itsutsu” (5), “muttsu” (6), “nanatsu” (7), “yattsu” (8), “kokonotsu” (9), and “tou” (10). Sino-Japanese reading can be found in the table below under “English pronunciation.” It has two reading options for numbers 4, 7, and 9.

How to remember 1 10 in Japanese? ›

Here is how you count from 1 to 10 in Japanese:
  1. 1 = ichi(一). Say “ee-CHEE”
  2. 2 = ni(二). Say “nee”
  3. 3 = san(三). Say “sahn”
  4. 4 = shi/yon(四). Say “shee” or “yohn”
  5. 5 = go(五). Say “go”
  6. 6 = roku(六). Say “roh-KOO”
  7. 7 = nana/shichi(七). Say “NAH-nah” or “shee-CHEE”
  8. 8 = hachi(八). Say “hah-CHEE”
Aug 2, 2017

How do you remember Japanese numbers? ›

The pronunciation can be found in the brackets.
  1. 1- いち (itchy) 1 is pronounced “itchy”. ...
  2. 2- に (knee) 2 is pronounced “knee”. ...
  3. 3- さん (sun) 3 is pronounced like the word “son” or “sun. ...
  4. 4- し (shi) 4 is pronounced “she”. ...
  5. 5- ご (go) 5 is pronounced go. ...
  6. 6-ろく (roku) ...
  7. 7-なな (nana) ...
  8. 8-はち (hatchi)
Mar 26, 2021

Is 4 in Japanese Yon or Shi? ›

The number four (4) is called either “yon” or “shi” in Japanese. In the case of four you can say any of those. But for other words, like “death” (死)that is also pronounced “shi”, you can't change it for “yon”. In other words, “shi” and “yon” are both words that represents the number four.

How do you say 1 2 3 4 5 in Japanese? ›

When counting up (0 to 10)
  1. いち (ichi)
  2. に (ni)
  3. さん (san)
  4. し (shi)
  5. ご (go)
  6. ろく (roku)
  7. しち (shichi)
  8. はち (hachi)
May 28, 2022

What are the first 10 numbers in Japanese? ›

To say numbers in Japanese, start by learning the numbers up to 10: ichi (1), ni (2), san (3), yon (4), go (5), roku (6), nana (7), hatchi (8), kyu (9) and juu (10).

What is 10000 in Japanese? ›

10,000: ichi-man 「1万」 100,000: juu-man 「10万」

Is it Shichi or Nana? ›

Oh, yeah...Japanese has multiple words for the same number! Seven can be either "nana" or "shichi", for example.

Is 3 a lucky number in Japan? ›

It is known that Japanese tend to be superstitious. There are certain things or circ*mstances that are uniquely explained sometimes through superstitious beliefs. One of those things are the concept about Lucky Numbers! Did you know that the number 3 is considered as one of the lucky numbers in Japan?

Are Japanese numbers hard? ›

Counting can become a stumbling block for many people learning Japanese, especially when they discover that counting is much more complex than just ichi, ni, and san. This complexity is because Japanese has a complex set of words, known as "counters," used to count different objects and concepts.

What does 11 look like in Japanese? ›

So 11 in Japanese is “10-1”, or juu-ichi / じゅういち.

How to pronounce 1 to 10 in Japanese? ›

When counting up (0 to 10)
  1. いち (ichi)
  2. に (ni)
  3. さん (san)
  4. し (shi)
  5. ご (go)
  6. ろく (roku)
  7. しち (shichi)
  8. はち (hachi)
May 28, 2022

How do you pronounce the number 10 in Japanese? ›

Ten (10) is 十 (juu, pronounced "joo").

How do you say 1 to 10 in karate? ›

So, "Ichi" is like "each" in English. "Ni" like "knee," "San" is three, "Shi" is four, "Go" is five, "Roku" — often pronounced "Roak" — is six. Seven's a little difficult, it's "Shichi" — shichi, often pronounced "sheech." If you're lazy you pronounce it "seech." "Hachi" is eight, "Ku" is 9 and "Ju" is 10.

What are the 10 numbers in Japanese? ›

To say numbers in Japanese, start by learning the numbers up to 10: ichi (1), ni (2), san (3), yon (4), go (5), roku (6), nana (7), hatchi (8), kyu (9) and juu (10).

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rubie Ullrich

Last Updated:

Views: 5783

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rubie Ullrich

Birthday: 1998-02-02

Address: 743 Stoltenberg Center, Genovevaville, NJ 59925-3119

Phone: +2202978377583

Job: Administration Engineer

Hobby: Surfing, Sailing, Listening to music, Web surfing, Kitesurfing, Geocaching, Backpacking

Introduction: My name is Rubie Ullrich, I am a enthusiastic, perfect, tender, vivacious, talented, famous, delightful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.