Counting in Japanese From 1 to 10000

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

Counting in Japanese From 1 to 10000

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

20二十にじゅう nijuu
21二十一にじゅういち nijuuichi
40四十よんじゅう yonjuu
70七十ななじゅう nanajuu
80八十はちじゅう hachijuu
90九十きゅうじゅう kyuujuu
98九十八きゅうじゅうはち kyuujuuhachi
100ひゃく hyaku
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!

Numbers in Japanese 1-100
Numbers in Japanese 1-100

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).

Count to 10,000 and beyond in 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 Japanese Hiragana?

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.

numbers in Japanese

Japanese Lucky Numbers

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).


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 List

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.

Japanese objects counters

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.

Japanese numbers kanji

Japanese counters for cars or bicycles

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.


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Diana Lăpușneanu - Linguist at Mondly Blog

Diana is a Linguist at Mondly by Pearson. Learning English as a second language early on fueled her lifelong passion for language learning, leading her to pursue a diverse array of languages as a hobby alongside her academic endeavors. With a Master’s Degree in advertising and a fascination for historical linguistics, she brings a unique perspective to her role, making language learning fun for readers worldwide.

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