Japanese Days of the Week and Months

japanese days of the weekJapan, like so many countries around the world, uses the Gregorian calendar to track the days, weeks, months, and years. Of course, it’s gone through some variations and systems over its many centuries-long history, but modern day Japan uses the same system for telling days of the week as the majority of the world. In this guide, we’ll go over names for the following in Japanese: days of the week, months, and other useful time-related vocabulary. This will include both the romaji variations and English translations, plus the original kanji and hiragana.

For more on the various Japanese syllabaries and writing systems, check out this guide on hiragana and katakana. Or, see here for a comprehensive list of Japanese vocabulary.

Japanese Days of the Week

The naming system for the Japanese days of the week is an interesting one, which borrows from the Chinese idea of the “seven luminaries.” This refers to the five planets, plus the Sun and the moon, as observed by the ancient Chinese.

Each name of the day can be broken down into three symbols in kanji, the first being the actual name of the day, derived from an earthly element, the second being a character representing the concept of “days of the week” (or, in Mandarin Chinese, “luminary”), and the third and final symbol representing the word “sun” or, more applicable in this context, “day.” Seem complicated? Just know that like all words, the names of Japanese days of the week is fixed in a very interesting etymological history. So what are these symbols we’re talking about, anyway?

Sunday: The first day of the week, named after the sun.

  • Kanji – 日曜日
  • Hiragana – にちようび
  • Romaji – nichiyōbi

Monday: The second day of the week, named after the moon.

  • Kanji – 月曜日
  • Hiragana – げつようび
  • Romaji – getsuyōbi

Tuesday: The third day of the week, named after the element of fire.

  • Kanji – 火曜日
  • Hiragana – かようび
  • Romaji – kayōbi

Wednesday: The fourth day of the week, named after the element of water.

  • Kanji – 水曜日
  • Hiragana – すいようび
  • Romaji – suiyōbi

Thursday: The fifth day of the week, named after the element of wood.

  • Kanji – 木曜日
  • Hiragana – もくようび
  • Romaji – mokuyōbi

Friday: The sixth day of the week, named after the element of gold.

  • Kanji – 金曜日
  • Hiragana – きんようび
  • Romaji – kin’yōbi

Saturday: The seventh day of the week, named after the earth.

  • Kanji – 土曜日
  • Hiragana – どようび
  • Romaji – doyōbi

Japanese Days of the Month

Below, you’ll find a list of names for months in Japan, according to the Gregorian calendar, plus the words used to refer to specific, numerical days of the month. Before we begin, though, let’s take a quick look at how to count to twelve in Japanese:

  1. ichi / 一
  2. ni / 二
  3. san / 三
  4. shi / 四
  5. go / 五
  6. roku / 六
  7. shichi / 七
  8. hachi / 八
  9. kyū / 九
  10.  ju / 十
  11.  jū ichi / 十一
  12.  jū ni / 十二

You can learn more basic Japanese like the list above in this course on Japanese for beginners. In the meantime, check the list of Japanese month names below, and see if you notice a pattern.

January

  • Kanji – 一月
  • Hiragana – いちがつ
  • Romaji – ichigatsu

February

  • Kanji – 二月
  • Hiragana – にがつ
  • Romaji – nigatsu

March

  • Kanji – 三月
  • Hiragana – さんがつ
  • Romaji – sangatsu

April

  • Kanji – 四月
  • Hiragana – しがつ
  • Romaji – shigatsu

May

  • Kanji – 五月
  • Hiragana – ごがつ
  • Romaji – gogatsu

June

  • Kanji – 六月
  • Hiragana – ろくがつ
  • Romaji – rokugatsu

July

  • Kanji – 七月
  • Hiragana – しちがつ
  • Romaji – shichigatsu

August

  • Kanji – 八月
  • Hiragana – はちがつ
  • Romaji – hachigatsu

September

  • Kanji – 九月
  • Hiragana – くがつ
  • Romaji – kūgatsu

October

  • Kanji – 十月
  • Hiragana – じゅうがつ
  • Romaji – jūgatsu

November

  • Kanji – 十一月
  • Hiragana – じゅういちがつ
  • Romaji – jūichigatsu

December

  • Kanji – 十二月
  • Hiragana – じゅうにがつ
  • Romaji – jūnigatsu

Notice anything interesting? Yep! The names of the twelve months in Japanese is literally just named by number. January, the first month, is ichigatsu, meaning “one month,” or “month one.” The kanji symbol attached to the end of each name (月) means “month” according to the lunar calendar. It can also mean “moon.” So if you’re struggling to remember the name of a month, just remember how to count to twelve in Japanese, and stick a gatsu at the end! Ichigatsu, nigatsu, sangatsu, and so on. Consider taking this course on the kanji syllabary for more on how certain symbols can hold different meanings.

Days of the Month

  1. tsuitachi / 一日
  2. futsuka / 二日
  3. mikka / 三日
  4. yokka / 四日
  5. itsuka / 五日
  6. muika / 六日
  7. nanoka / 七日
  8. yōka / 八日
  9. kokonoka / 九日
  10. tōka / 十日
  11. jūichi-nichi / 十一日
  12. jūni-nichi / 十二日
  13. jūsan-nichi / 十三日
  14. jūyon-nichi / 十四日
  15. jūgo-nichi / 十五日
  16. jūroku-nichi / 十六日
  17. jūshichi-nichi / 十七日
  18. jūhachi-nichi / 十八日
  19. jūku-nichi / 十九日
  20. hatsuka / 二十日
  21. nijūichi-nichi / 二十一日
  22. nijūni-nichi / 二十二日
  23. nijūsan-nichi / 二十三日
  24. nijūyon-nichi / 二十四日
  25. nijūgo-nichi / 二十五日
  26. nijūroku-nichi / 二十六日
  27. nijūshichi-nichi / 二十七日
  28. nijūhachi-nichi / 二十八日
  29. nijūku-nichi / 二十九日
  30. sanjū-nichi / 三十日
  31. sanjūichi-nichi / 三十一日

Want more Japanese language lessons? Check out this course on casual Japanese for absolute beginners, or go a few steps further with this course on mastering conversational Japanese.