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Counting in Japanese | How to Count Things in Japanese with charts

Counting in Japanese can be a bit complicated.

Just like “a cup of tea” in English, when counting things in Japanese, counter words by each category are usually used.

First of all, let’s learn to count numbers, 1 to 10 in Japanese!
Please refer to this article for how to count numbers over 11 in Japanese.

Once you can count 1 to 10 using each counter words, you can count any numbers based on that.

Here are some easy-to-learn charts for counting things in Japanese!
Hope you enjoy 😀

How to count 1 to 10 in Japanese

This is the basic. If you don’t know how to count 1 to 10 in Japanese yet, let’s master this first.

Counting numbers in Japanese
# Hiragana Pronunciation
1 いち ichi
2 ni
3 さん san
4 or よん si or yon
5 go
6 ろく roku
7 しち or なな shichi or nana
8 はち hachi
9 きゅう or kyuu or ku
10 じゅう jyuu

Some numbers have 2 different ways to count.
To count over 11, please refer to this article!

Now let’s learn to count each category of things in Japanese with following chart.

How to count things in Japanese

Depends on what you count, counter words are decided.
(助数詞じょすうし/counter words).

When counting in Japanese, basically you just add a counter word after the number and read it as it is.

However, please note that there are some exceptions to the reading depending on the numbers to be combined. They are marked in orange.

There are some charts below to count 1 to 10 in various categories.
When counting 11 or more things, please say the ones digit in the same way as when counting 1 to 9 in each categories.

1. Counting things, ages and numbers

When shopping in Japan, how to count in Japanese is must to learn!

Give me 3 of them.
それを3つ(3ください。
(Sore wo mit-tsu(san-ko) kudasai)
# Things (つ) Things(
1 ひと
hito-tsu
1個いっこ
ik-ko
2 ふた
futa-tsu
2個にこ
ni-ko
3 みっ
mit-tsu
3個さんこ
san-ko
4 よっ
yot-tsu
4個よんこ
yon-ko
5 いつ
itsu-tsu
5個ごこ
go-ko
6 むっ
mut-tsu
6個ろっこ
rok-ko
7 なな
nana-tsu
7個ななこ
nana-ko
8 やっ
yat-tsu
8個はっこ
hak-ko
9 ここの
kokono-tsu
9個きゅうこ
kyuu-ko
10 とう 
too
10個じゅっこ
jyuk-ko
? いくつ(ですか)?
ikutsu (desuka)?
何個なんこ(ですか)?
nanko (desuka)?
# Age(さい or さい Turn, order(ばん
1 1歳いっさい
is-sai
ばん
ichi-ban  
2 さい
ni-sai
ばん
ni-ban
3 さい
san-sai
ばん
san-ban
4 さい
yon-sai
ばん
yon-ban
5 さい
go-sai
ばん
go-ban
6 さい
roku-sai

roku-ban
7 さい
nana-sai
ばん
nana-ban
8 8歳はっさい
has-sai
ばん
hachi-ban
9 さい
kyu-usai
さい
kyuu-ban
10 10歳じゅっさい
jyus-sai
10ばん
jyuu-ban
? ・(お)いくつ(ですか)?
oikutsudesuka?
何歳なんさいですか?
nan-sai (desuka)?
何番なんばんですか?
nan-ban-desuka?

The first counter words on the chart above Things(つ) can used for counting only 1 to 10. After 11, you just have to use 個(ko) to count things.

2. Counting people, animals, fish, bugs and birds

# People(にん Small animals,
fish and bugs (ひき
1人ひとり 
hito-ri ※
1匹いっぴき
ippiki
2人ふたり
futa-ri ※
ひき
ni-hiki
にん
san-nin
びき
san-biki
4人よにん
yo-nin
ひき
yon-hiki
にん
go-nin
ひき
go-hiki
にん
roku-nin
6匹ろっぴき
rop-piki
にん
nana-nin
ひき
nana-hiki
にん
hachi-nin
8匹はっぴき
hap-piki
にん
kyuu-nin
ひき
kyuu-hiki
10 10にん
jyuu-nin
10匹じゅっぴき
jyup-piki
? 何人なんにん(ですか)?
nan-nin (desuka)?
 何匹なんびき(ですか)?
nan-biki (desuka)?
# Large animals (とう Birds (
とう
it-too

ichi-wa
とう
ni-too

ni-wa
とう
san-too

san-wa
とう
yon-too

yon-wa
とう
go-too

go-wa
とう
roku-too

roku-wa
とう
nana-too

nana-wa
とう
hachi-too

hachi-wa
とう
kyuu-too

kyuu-wa
10 10頭じゅっとう
jyut-too
10
jyuu-wa
?  何頭なんとう(ですか)?
nan-too (desuka)?
 何羽なんわ(ですか)?
nan-wa (desuka)?

1人ひとり(hitori) and 2人ふたり(futari).
These are special way to count only 1 and 2 persons.
You won’t say 11人(jyuu-hitori) or 12人(jyuu-futari).

When counting people more than 11, you can say them like 11にん(jyuu-ichi-nin), 12にん(jyuu-ni-nin), 31にん(san-jyuu-ichi-nin) and 92にん(kyuu-jyuu-ni-nin).

We use ひき(hiki) for small animals like cats, dogs, rats and monkeys.
Using とう(too) for large animals like lions, bears, deer, crocodiles and whales.

3. Counting number of times, books and thin or slim & tall objects

# Number of times(かい Books (さつ
1回 いっかい
ik-kai
1冊 いっさつ
is-satsu
回 かい
ni-kai
さつ
ni-satsu
かい
san-kai
冊 さつ
san-satsu
かい
yon-kai
さつ
yon-satsu
かい
go-kai
冊 さつ
go-satsu
6回ろっかい
rok-kai
冊 さつ
roku-satsu
かい
nana-kai
冊 さつ
nana-satsu
8回はっかい
hak-kai
8冊はっさつ
has-satsu
回 かい
kyuu-kai
冊 さつ
kyuu-satsu
10 10回  じゅっかい
jyuk-kai
10さつ
jyus-satsu
? 何回なんかい(ですか)?
nan-kai (desuka)?
 何冊なんさつ(ですか)?
nan-satsu (desuka)?
# Thin things like paper, towel, shirts, dish (まい Slim & tall things like pencil, rope,  tree  (ほん
まい
ichi-mai
1本いっぽん
ip-pon
まい
ni-mai
2本
ni-hon
3枚
san-mai
3本
san-bon
4枚
yon-mai
4本
yon-hon
5枚
go-mai
5本
go-hon
6枚
roku-mai
6本
rop-pon
7枚
nana-mai
7本
nana-hon
8枚
hachi-mai
8本
hachi-hon
9枚
kyuu-mai
9本
kyuu-hon
10 10枚
jyuu-mai
10本
jyup-pon
 何枚(ですか)?
nan-mai (desuka)?
 何本(ですか)?
nan-hon (desuka)?

When you go to a place like a museum or an amusement park in Japan, you will need a ticket to buy.

Give me 2 tickets, please.
チケット2枚にまいください。
(chiketto ni-mai kudasai)

4. Counting vehicles, equipment, drinks and Floors

# Vehicles and bikes, small equipment(だい Airplanes and large equipment (
1台
ichi-dai
1機
ik-ki
2台
ni-dai
2機
ni-ki
3台
san-dai
3機
san-ki
4台
yon-dai
4機
yon-ki
5台
go-dai
5機
go-ki
6台
roku-dai
6機
rok-ki
7台
nana-dai
7機
nana-ki
8台
hachi-dai
8機
hak-ki
9台
kyuu-dai
9機
kyuu-ki
10 10台
jyuu-dai
10機
jyuk-ki
? 何台なんだい(ですか)?
nan-dai (desuka)?
 何機なんき(ですか)?
nan-ki (desuka)?
# Grass or cup of drinks and foods (はい Floors (かい
1杯いっぱい 
ip-pai
1階いっかい
ik-kai
はい
ni-hai
かい
ni-kai
ばい
san-bai
がい
san-gai
はい
yon-hai
かい
yon-kai
はい
go-hai
かい
go-kai
6杯ろっぱい
rop-pai
6階ろっかい
rok-kai
はい
nana-hai
かい
nana-kai
8杯はっぱい
hap-pai
8階はっかい
hak-kai
はい
kyuu-hai
かい
kyuu-kai
10 10杯じゅっぱい
jyup-pai
10階じゅっかい
jyuk-kai
?  何杯なんばい(ですか)?
nan-bai (desuka)?
 何階なんかい(ですか)?
nan-kai (desuka)?

If you go to restaurant in Japan, probably you would like to order this!

Give me a grass of draft beer!
なまビール一杯いっぱいください!
(Nama biiru ippai kudasai)

5. Counting days, weeks, months and years

For example, for 3 days in Japanese is 3日間(mik-kakan), but for 30 days is 30日間(san-jyuu nichi-kan). You can just put nichi-kan after the number over 10 and read it as it is. Please refer the following chart for number 1 to 10.
You can do the same thing for weeks, months and years.

# for XX Days
日間にちかん
for XX Weeks
(しゅうかん
にち 
ichi-nichi
1週間いっしゅうかん
is-shuukan
2日間ふつかかん
futsu-kakan
週間しゅうかん
ni-shuukan
3日間みっかかん
mik-kakan
週間しゅうかん
san-shuukan
4日間よっかかん
yok-kakan
週間しゅうかん
yon-shuukan
5日間いつかかん
itsu-kakan
週間しゅうかん
go-shuukan
6日間むいかかん
mui-kakan
週間しゅうかん
roku-shuukan
7日間なのかかん
nano-kakan
週間しゅうかん
nana-shuukan
8日間ようかかん
yoo-kakan
8週間はっしゅうかん
has-shuukan
9日間ここのかかん
kokono-kakan
週間しゅうかん
kyuu-shuukan
10 10日間とうかかん
too-kakan
10週間じゅっしゅうかん
jyus-shuukan
? 何日間なんにちかん(ですか)?
nan-nichi-kan(desuka)?
 何週間なんしゅうかん(ですか)?
nan-shuu-kan (desuka)?
# for XX Months
(ヵ月かげつかん
for XX Years
(ねんかん
1ヵ月間  いっかげつかん
ik-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん 
ichi-nenkan
ヵ月間かげつかん
ni-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん
ni-nenkan
ヵ月間かげつかん
san-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん
san-nenkan
ヵ月間 かげつかん
yon-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん
yo-nenkan
ヵ月間かげつかん
go-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん
go-nenkan
6ヵ月間 ろっかげつかん
rok-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん
roku-nenkan
ヵ月間 かげつかん
nana-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん
nana-nenkan
8ヵ月間 はっかげつかん
hak-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん 
hachi-nenkan
ヵ月間かげつかん
kyuu-kagetsukan
年間ねんかん
kyuu-nenkan
10 10ヵ月間 じゅっかげつかん
jyuk-kagetsukan
10年間ねんかん
jyuu-nenkan
?  何か月間なんかげつかん(ですか)?
nan-kagetsu-kan (desuka)?
 何年間なんねんかん(ですか)?
nan-nen-kan (desuka)?

The following question can be used as well.

・How long?
どのくらいですか?(dono kurai desuka)

・How long does it takes?
どのくらいかかりますか? (dono kurai kakari masuka)

Today’s Summary

Counting numbers in Japanese are easy!
All you need to do is to learn how to count 1 to 9 first, then learning the word for each digit(place) Just like in English, you can read out the number of each digit in order from the largest one. 

Counting things in Japanese can be a little difficult until you get used to the counter words for each category of things.
Especially counting 1 to 10 things can be a bit tricky, but when counting things from 11, basically you just say with the counter words behind the numbers.

Number+the counter words
ex.)
23(ni-jyuu-san) + 個(ko) = 23個(ni-jyuu-san ko)
10(jyuu) + 年間(nen-kan)= 10年間(jyuu-nen-kan)

Hope this article and the charts above will help you to learn Japanese numbers! If you have any questions regarding this article, please give me a comment!

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