I’m counting on you! Learning to count in Japanese


Japanese is a fantastic language and if you are interest in studying it, learning to count should be a high priority for you!

Numbers in Japanese aren’t the hardest subject to grasp, but can be tricky to begin with! Don’t worry, with practice and revision, you’ll soon have it mastered!

Just in case you need a refresher on how to read Hiragana, you can refer back to my original post here!

Evernote Camera Roll 120140625 002833First things first, let’s learn the numbers 1 to 10


1 = Ichi/一/いち

2=  Ni/二/に

3= San/三/さん

4=  Yon/四/とん (Shi/四/し is another word for four, but it is used less, because Shi also means death, which is written as 死  in Kanji)

5=  Go/五/ご

6=  Roku/六/ろく

7=  Shichi/七/しち (Another word for seven is Nana/七/なな. I believe this is because, like the word for four, ‘shi’ is associated with the word ‘Shini/死に/しに’ meaning ‘death’)

8=  Hachi/八/はち

9=  Kyuu/九/きゅう (Nine can also be Ku/九/く, but this is also thought to be bad luck as Ku also means suffering 苦)

10= Ju/十/じゅ


Not too difficult, right? I actually found the Kanji for the numbers some of the easiest to learn. An easy way to revise them is to write the kanji when writing lists, in place of 1, 2, 3, 4, etc you can write 一、二、三、四、and so on. It’s a little more effort, but that practice will help you memorise the kanji!

That’s pretty much the hardest part of learning the numbers, as counting beyond ten is pretty simple.

For example, 11 is Juichi/十一/じゅいち (simply 10 and 1), 22 is nijuni/二十二/にじゅに (Which directly translates as “two ten two”, meaning two tens and two) and 51 is gojuichi/五十一/ごじゅいち (five ten one).

This information will now get you as from 1 to 99

Here I will list the words up to 10,000


100= hyaku                      1000= sen

200= nihyaku                  2000= nisen

300= sambyaku             3000= sanzen

400= yonhyaku              4000= yonsen

500= gohyaku                5000= gosen

600= roppyaku              6000= rokusen

700= nanahyaku           7000= nanasen

800= happyaku              8000= hassen

900= kyuhyaku              9000= kyusen

10,000= ichiman


Basically, these work the same as the other numbers. The way I think of it is that the numbers go from bigger to smaller. For example, 10,146 is ichimanhyakuyonjuroku/一万百四十六/いちまんひゃくよんじゅろく

It’s a mouthful, but it makes sense!


I hope you learnt something new and exciting in this piece. Next, I will write about the next aspect of counting in Japanese, which is counters! Keep learning and see you soon! Good luck!



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