Lesson 09 – Months, Seasons, Time


In the previous lesson, you learned how to talk about the days of the week. You also learned common time words such as the words for “tomorrow,” “weekend,” and “today.” This lesson will continue the theme of time and teach you how to say the months of the year as well as tell time in a general sense. Practice telling time in Japanese during your everyday life and this lesson will stick with you!

In this Lesson

–          Months of the year

–          How to tell time

–          Homework

–          Answer key


The table below gives you the Japanese words for the twelve months of the calendar year. These are really very easy if you already know your numbers!

English Hiragana Japanese
January いちがつ 一月
February にがつ 二月
March さんがつ 三月
April よんがつ 四月
May ごがつ 五月
June ろくがつ 六月
July しちがつ 七月
August はちがつ 八月
September くがつ 九月
October じゅうがつ 十月
November じゅういちがつ 十一月
December じゅうにがつ 十二月


From the chart above, it is easy to tell that each month is simply named by number plus the ending of がつ. がつ means “month.” The kanji for this is shown in the “Japanese” section of the table, along with the kanji for the numbers (which you should already know from Lesson 4)!

Seasons go along with months of the year, so check the table below for the translations of the seasons!

English Hiragana
Spring はる
Fall あき
Winter ふゆ
Summer なつ
The four seasons しき


How To Tell Time

Now, let’s move on to telling time in Japanese. The chart below details how to tell time when it is on the hour. Note that the table goes 1 through 12. The words for AM and PM are ごぜん and ごご respectively.

Arabic Numeral Japanese reading
1 一じ
2 二じ
3 三じ
4 四じ pronounced よじ
5 五じ
6 六じ
7 七じ
8 八じ
9 九じ pronounced くじ
10 十じ
11 十一じ
12 十二じ


Notice that the readings for time in Japanese are just the Japanese word for the number plus じ. If you want to say half past a certain time (meaning 3:30 instead of 3:00), you can simply add はん after じ. So, to say 3:00, it’s さんじ, but 3:30 is さんじはん.

You can also use the numbers you already know and ふん/ぷん to add minutes to the time. The ending ふん or ぷん means “minutes.” Depending on what number you are talking about, the word for “minute” fluctuates between ふん and ぷん. Look at the table below to learn which numbers take which ending.

English Hiragana
1 minute いっぷん
2 minutes にふん
3 minutes さんぷん
4 minutes よんぷん
5 minutes ごふん
6 minutes ろっぷん
7 minutes ななふん
8 minutes はちふん
9 minutes きゅうふん
10 minutes じゅっぷん

By looking at the charts above, you should be able to form any type of time in Japanese now! Study the charts until you become familiar with them, then try the exercises in the Homework section. First, here is a couple of examples.

2:17 pm = ごご二じ十七ふん

9:50 am = ごぜん九じ五十っぷん

*Note that there are two words for the numbers 4 and 7. 4 can be either よん or し. Usually for telling time, よん is shortened to よ and coupled with じ to form よじ. 7 can be either なな or しち. Usually for time, しち is used (しちじ). For minutes, you can use なな.

You can use the above method for telling times like 8:45, but you can also use another method. In English, you can say “a quarter ‘til 9” instead of 8:45. So, in Japanese you can either say 8:45 by saying 八じ四十五ふん, or you can say 九じ十五ふんまえ. This would be the equivalent of “a quarter ‘til 9.” Literally it would translate as “fifteen minutes before nine o’clock.” まえ means before.


Section 1: Look at the clocks below. Write out the time in Japanese. You do not need to include AM or PM.






Section 2: Translate the following times and short conversations into English or Japanese as needed.

  1. 10:00 AM
  2. 3:30 PM
  3. 12:45
  4. 8:28
  5. 11:56 PM
  6. 4:12 AM
  7. 9:08 AM
  8. 5:45 PM
  9. 7:17
  10. 2:37
  11. すみません、いまなんじですか。
  12. クラス はなんじですか。
    クラス はごぜん十じはんです。
  13. なんじにかえりますか。
  14. いま四じはんですか。
  15. ばんごはんはなんじですか。



Answer Key

Section 1:

  1. 十二じ
  2. 八じ
  3. 八じ四十五ふんor 九じ十五ふんまえ
  4. 七じはん
  5. 一じ十五ふん


Section 2:

  1. ごぜん十じ
  2. ごご三じはん
  3. 二十じ四十五ふん 一じ十五ふんまえ
  4. 八じ二十八ふん
  5. ごご十一じ五十六っぷん
  6. ごぜん四じ十二ふん
  7. ごぜん九じ八ふん
  8. 五じ四十五ふんor 六じ十五ふんまえ
  9. 七じ十七ふん
  10. 二じ三十七ふん
  11. Excuse me, what time is it now?
    It’s a quarter ‘til 10 PM.
  12. What time is class?
    Class is at 10:30 AM.
  13. What time are you returning?
    I’m returning at 3:15.
  14. Is it 4:30 now?
    No, it’s a quarter ‘til 4.
  15. What time is dinner?
    It’s at 6:30.

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