Showing Japanese Time
Expression in a sentence -
Free Japanese Lessons: 10

Sentence showing Japanese time expression can be formed using either Noun sentence or Verb sentence.

You will learn how to form sentences showing time and some required particles in this lesson.

Japanese Time Expression

So far I have not touched on Japanese verbs yet, but I will give some examples using simple verb sentences.

Please refer to Japanese lesson 18 and onwards for lessons on Japanese verbs and related topics.

You should first take a look at the sections on Japanese time and Japanese Day Month Week to familiarize with how to read time in Japanese.

Let's start with using Noun sentence to show Japanese time expression.

Japanese Time Expression using Noun Sentence

"What is the time now?" How to say it in Japanese? The simplest is to use the following Noun sentence expression...

Topic はいまなんじですか
Topic wa ima nanji desu ka

Meaning: What is the time now in Topic?

For example, you can say...

  • Question: にほんはいまなんじですか。
    nihon wa ima nanji desu ka
    Meaning: What is the time now in Japan?

    Answer: にほんはいまごごさんじです。
    nihon wa ima gogo sanji desu
    Meaning: It is 3pm now in Japan.

Japanese Time Expression using から (kara) and まで (made)

You can use the particles から (kara) and まで (made) to state the time frame from which an event occurs. You can use the following expressions...

Topic はなんじからですか
Topic wa nanji kara desu ka
Meaning: What is the starting time for Topic?

Topic はなんじまでですか
Topic wa nanji made desu ka
Meaning: What is the ending time for Topic?

Topic はなんじからなんじまでですか
Topic wa nanji kara nanji made desu ka
Meaning: What is the starting and ending time for Topic?

The above expressions are best used to ask for the operating time for supermarkets, banks, clinics or works, etc.

  • Question: ぎんこうはなんじからですか。
    ginkou wa nanji kara desu ka
    Meaning: What is the opening time for the bank?)

    Answer: ぎんこうはごぜんくじからです。
    ginkou wa gozen kuji kara desu
    Meaning: The bank opens at 9am.
  • Question: しごとはなんじまでですか。
    shigoto wa nanji made desu ka
    Meaning: What is the time that your work ends?

    Answer: しごとはごじまでです。
    shigoto wa goji made desu
    Meaning: My work ends at 5pm.
  • Question: スーパーはなんじからなんじまでですか。
    su-pa- wa nanji kara nanji made desu ka
    Meaning: What is the operating time for the supermarket?

    Answer: スーパーはごぜんじゅうじからごごじゅうじまでです。
    su-pa wa gozen juuji kara gogo juuji made desu
    Meaning: The supermarket opens at 10am and closes at 10pm.

If you want to ask about which day the bank is closed, use the following expression...

  • Question: ぎんこうのやすみのひはなんようびですか。
    ginkou no yasuminohi wa nanyoubi desu ka
    Meaning: What is the rest day for the bank?

    Answer: ぎんこうのやすみのひはどようびとにちようびです。
    ginkou no yasuminohi wa doyoubi to nichiyoubi desu
    Meaning: The rest days for the bank are Saturday and Sunday.

Similarly, to ask which month, you can say なんがつ (nangatsu).

Generally, if you want to ask when something will be happened without specifying hour, day or month, the question word is いつ (itsu). For example...

  • Question: やすみのひはいつですか。
    yasuminohi wa itsu desu ka
    Meaning: When is your rest day?

Japanese Time Expression using Verb Sentence

When using verb sentence to ask about starting or ending time, what time someone wake up or go to bed, use the following expressions...

Topic はなんじはじまりますか
Topic wa nanji ni hajimarimasu ka
Meaning: When does the Topic start?

Topic はなんじおわりますか
Topic wa nanji ni owarimasu ka
Meaning: When does the Topic end?

Topic はなんじおきますか
Topic wa nanji ni okimasu ka
Meaning: When does the Topic wake up?

Topic はなんじねますか
Topic wa nanji ni nemasu ka
Meaning: When does the Topic go to bed?

For example...

  • Question: じゅぎょうはなんじはじまりますか。
    jugyou wa nanji ni hajimarimasu ka
    Meaning: When is the lesson starts?
  • Question: じゅぎょうはなんじおわりますか。
    jugyou wa nanji ni owarimasu ka
    Meaning: When is the lesson ends?
  • Question: あなたはなんじおきますか。
    anata wa nanji ni okimasu ka
    Meaning: When do you wake up?
  • Question: あなたはなんじねますか。
    anata wa nanji ni nemasu ka
    Meaning: When do you go to bed?

Point to note is that when using verb sentence for Japanese time expression, you must use the particle に (ni).

However, there are certain time expressions where に (ni) is not required. See below (end of this page) for the lists.

Normally for verb sentence, the format is Object を Verb. However, the above 4 verbs...

  1. はじまります (hajimarimasu) - start
  2. おわります (owarimasu) - end
  3. おきます (okimasu) - wake up
  4. ねます (nemasu) - go to bed

... are some exceptions where the object is not required.

Typically a verb sentence with Japanese time expression will be...

Topic は Time Expression (に) Object を Verb

Let use some examples to show the above expression...

  • わたしはまいあさしちじ あさごはんをたべます。
    watashi wa maiasa shichiji ni asagohan wo tabemasu
    Meaning: I eat breakfast at 7am every morning.
  • わたしはまいにちコーヒーをさんばいのみます。
    watashi wa mainichi ko-hi- wo sanbai nomimasu
    Meaning: I drink 3 cups of coffee every day.
  • わたしはまいしゅうすいようび せんたくをします。
    watashi wa maishuu suiyoubi ni sentaku wo shimasu
    Meaning: I do my washing/laundry every Wednesday.
  • わたしはこんばんえいがをみます。
    watashi wa konban eiga wo mimasu
    Meaning: I am going to watch movie tonight.

You can also use the general question word いつ (itsu) to ask about timing with verb sentence instead of asking the specific time for the Japanese time expression...

  • Question: あなたはいつにほんへいきますか。
    anata wa itsu nihon e ikimasu ka
    Meaning: When do you go to Japan?

Or you can ask directly which month and which day with verb sentence...

  • Question: あなたはなんがつなんにち  にほんへいきますか。
    anata wa nangatsu nannichi ni nihon e ikimas ka
    Meaning: What is the date that you go to Japan?

    Answer: わたしははちがつふつか  にほんへいきます。
    watashi wa hachigatsu futsuka ni nihon e ikimasu
    Meaning: I go to Japan on 2nd of August.

The following 2 lists show those Japanese time expressions that require the particle に (ni) and those that do not require に (ni).

Japanese Time Expressions that Require に (ni) for Verb Sentence

Kanji Hiragana Romaji Meaning
1. ~年 ~ねん ~nen ~Year
2. ~月 ~がつ ~gatsu ~Month
3. 一日 ついたち tsuitachi 1st day of the month
4. ~日 ~か ~ka ~Day
5. ~日 ~にち ~nichi ~Day
6. ~曜日 ~ようび ~youbi ~Day of the Week
7. ~時 ~じ ~ji ~Hour
8. ~分 ~ふん ~fun ~Minute
9. 休みの日 やすみのひ yasuminohi Rest Day/Off Day
10. 昼休み ひるやすみ hiruyasumi Lunch Break
11. 夏休み なつやすみ natsuyasumi Summer Vacation
12. 冬休み ふゆやすみ fuyuyasumi Winter Vacation
13. 誕生日 たんじょうび tanjoubi Birthday

Japanese Time Expressions that DON'T Require に (ni) for Verb Sentence

Kanji Hiragana Romaji Meaning
1. 去年 きょねん kyonen Last Year
2. 今年 ことし kotoshi This Year
3. 来年 らいねん rainen Next Year
4. 先月 せんげつ sengetsu Last Month
5. 今月 こんげつ kongetsu This Month
6. 来月 らいげつ raigetsu Next Month
7. 先週 せんしゅう senshuu Last Week
8. 今週 こんしゅう konshuu This Week
9. 来週 らいしゅう raishuu Next Week
10. 一昨日 おととい ototoi The Day Before Yesterday
11. 昨日 きのう kinou Yesterday
12. 今日 きょう kyou Today
13. 明日 あした ashita Tomorrow
14. 明後日 あさって asatte The Day after Tomorrow
15. 昨夜 ゆうべ yuube Last Night
16. 今朝 けさ kesa This Morning
17. 今晩 こんばん konban Tonight
18. いま ima Now
19. 毎週 まいしゅう maishuu Every Week
20. 毎日 まいにち mainichi Every Day
21. 毎朝 まいあさ maiasa Every Morning
22. 毎晩 まいばん maiban Every Night
23. いつも itsumo Always
24. あさ asa Morning
25. よる yoru Night
26. はる haru Spring
27. なつ natsu Summer
28. あき aki Autumn
29. ふゆ fuyu Winter
30. むかし mukashi In the Past/In the Old Days
31. この前 このまえ konomae The Other Day/Recently
32. この間 このあいだ konoaida The Other Day/Recently
33. いつ itsu When

The above 2 lists of Japanese time expression are not exhaustive, but you should get the idea which are those that require に (ni).

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