Lesson 04: Basic Numbers



In this lesson, you will be introduced to numbers. We use numbers for so many things, such as telling ages, telling time, counting, and pricing. Japanese often uses the Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3…) when writing ages, dates, and prices, but it is still helpful to understand how to write Japanese numbers in kanji (as well as pronounce them in Japanese, even when they are written in the Arabic style).


In this lesson

– Japanese numbers 0-100

– Telling your age

– Telling your phone number

– Homework and answer key


Japanese Numbers 0-100


Look at the table below. This table will teach you how to write Japanese numbers 0 through 30. After you have the pattern down, you will be able to figure out numbers 31-99 on your own. 100 is also listed in this table since it is the first number that breaks the pattern.


Number Kanji Hiragana/Katakana
0 N/A ゼロ
1 いち
3 さん
4 よん
6 ろく
7 なな
8 はち
9 きゅう
10 じゅう
11 十一 じゅういち
12 十二 じゅうに
13 十三 じゅうさん
14 十四 じゅうよん
15 十五 じゅうご
16 十六 じゅうろく
17 十七 じゅうなな
18 十八 じゅうはち
19 十九 じゅうきゅう
20 二十 にじゅう
21 二十一 にじゅういち
22 二十二 にじゅうに
23 二十三 にじゅうさん
24 二十四 にじゅうよん
25 二十五 にじゅうご
26 二十六 にじゅうろく
27 二十七 にじゅうなな
28 二十八 にじゅうはち
29 二十九 にじゅうきゅう
30 三十 さんじゅう
100 ひゃく


As you can see, the pattern is fairly simple. In order to make two digit numbers that are in the teens, you simple place the character for TEN in front of the other numbers. Once you get to 20, you place the character for TWO and TEN in front of the other digit. The same goes for 30, 40, 50, and all the way up to the 90s. Once you get to 100, the number changes.


It is good to know the numbers 0-100, but you should also be able to recognize symbols of higher numbers too. For now, don’t worry about being able to make every number with these kinds of symbols. Just look at the image below so you can become familiar with the kanji.



How to Say Your Age


Look at the conversation below to learn how to tell someone your age.







A: Tanaka-san, how old are you?

B: I am 36 years old. How old are you?

A: I am 18 years old.


In order to tell someone your age, you simply take that number as you would normally say it in Japanese and add さい after it. The exception to this rule is the number 20. This age is special in Japan, so it has a different name. If you want to say “I’m 20 years old,” you have to say “わたしははたちです.”


How to Give Your Phone Number

The Japanese word for phone is でんわ. The phrase that means phone number is でんわばんごう. If you want to ask someone for his or her phone number, you would say でんわばんごうはなんばんですか。


When you tell someone your number, you should say each number individually. Where there is a dash in the phone number, you would say の. This lesson will use a random American phone number as an example. Keep in mind that Japanese phone numbers are structured differently than Western ones. Look at this conversation to see how to ask for and give telephone numbers.






A:五五五の九二三のゼロ九八七です。 (ごごごのきゅうにさんのゼロきゅうはちなな)

B: 五五五の九二三のゼロ九八七ですか。





A: Tanaka-san, what is your phone number?

B: It is 555-385-8759.

A: 555-385-8759? Thank you!

B: Yes. What is your phone number?

A: It is 555-923-0987.

B: 555-923-0987?

A: Yes, that is correct.

B: Got it.



Section 1: The pictures below are all of dice. Write the number being shown (add the dice together and write the number in Japanese!)


Section 2: Write out the following phone numbers in Japanese as you would say it to someone.

  1. 384-573-9488
  2. 239-991-0283
  3. 834-556-7829


Section 3: Answer the following questions. If you do not know the answer to one of them or do not have the family members that the questions ask about, make up a number. Check your answers by looking within the lesson, since this section can’t be in the answer key.








Answer Key

Section 1:

  1.  十
  2.  五
  3.  十一
  4.  十五
  5.  七


Section 2:

  1. 三八四の五七三の九四八八
  2. 二三九の九九一のゼロ二八三
  3. 八三四の五五六の七八二九

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