The 31 most used counter words in Japanese [with examples]

japanese counter words list jlptmatome.com Mamechishiki Blog

I have been living in Japan for 5 years and for a long time I have been struggling counting properly things in Japanese.

Many times I was mistaking about simple things such as counting trains as we count cars or counting birds as we count domestic pets. Because, yes, there is a difference between these categories of animals !

So I decided to sum up the most used counters that you could need in your daily life here and to bring up some explanations about each of them.

Louis
Louis

By the way, do you know how to count chicken ? ;p

Counting things

Any object (until 10) – つ

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一つひとつhitotsuOne
二つふたつfutatsuTwo
三つみっつmittsuThree
四つよっつyottsuFour
五ついつつitsutsuFive
六つむっつmuttsuSix
七つななつnanatsuSeven
八つやっつyattsuEight
九つここのつkokonotsuNine
とおtooTen
Example
  • [Japanese]
    石が2つあります。
  • [Romaji]
    ishi ga futatsu arimasu.
  • [Meaning]
    There are two stones.

Objects with boundaries – 個

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一個いっこikkoOne
二個にこnikoTwo
三個さんこsankoThree
四個よんこyonkoFour
五個ごこgokoFive
六個ろっこrokkoSix
七個ななこnanakoSeven
八個はっこhakkoEight
九個きゅうこkyuukoNine
十個じゅっこjukkoTen
十一個じゅういっこjuuikkoEleven
二十個にじゅっこnijukkoTwenty
三十個さんじゅっこsanjukkoThirty
百個ひゃっこhyakkoHundred
Example
  • [Japanese]
    チョコが4個残っています。
  • [Romaji]
    choko ga yonko nokotteimasu.
  • [Meaning]
    There are 4 chocolates left.

Counting people

Number of people – 人

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一人ひとりhitoriOne person
二人ふたりfutariTwo people
三人さんにんsanninThree people
四人よにんyoninFour people
五人ごにんgoninFive people
六人ろくにんrokuninSix people
七人しちにんshichininSeven people
八人はちにんhachininEight people
九人きゅうにんkyuuninNine people
十人じゅうにんjuuninTen people
十一人じゅういちにんjuuichininEleven people
二十人にじゅうにんnijuuninTwenty people
三十人さんじゅうにんsanjuuninThirty people
百人ひゃくにんhyakuninA hundred people
Example
  • [Japanese]
    この教室に入ったら、あなたを待っている先生が8人います。
  • [Romaji]
    kono kyoushitsu ni haittara, anata wo matteiru sensei ga hachinin imasu.
  • [Meaning]
    If you enter this classroom, 8 professors are waiting for you.

Groups of people – 組

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一組ひとくみhitokumiOne group of people
二組ふたくみfutakumiTwo groups of people
三組さんくみsankumiThree groups of people
四組よんくみyonkumiFour groups of people
五組ごくみgokumiFive groups of people
六組ろっくみrokkumiSix groups of people
七組ななくみnanakumiSeven groups of people
八組はちくみhachikumiEight groups of people
九組きゅうくみkyukumiNine groups of people
十組じゅっくみjukkumiTen groups of people
Example
  • [Japanese]
    今日、人数が多いから、2人1組で人を分けようと思った。合計で10組になるかな。どう思う?
  • [Romaji]
    kyou, ninzuu ga ooi kara, futari hitokumi de hito wo wakeyou to omotta. goukei de jukkumi ni naru kana. dou omou ?
  • [Meaning]
    As there are lots of people today, I was thinking about separating people into groups of two people each. It would represents 10 groups in total. What do you think about it ?

People’s age – 歳

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一歳いっさいissaiOne year old
二歳にさいnisaiTwo years old
三歳さんさいsansaiThree years old
四歳よんさいyonsaiFour years old
五歳ごさいgosaiFive years old
六歳ろくさいrokusaiSix years old
七歳ななさいnanasaiSeven years old
八歳はっさいhassaiEight years old
九歳きゅうさいkyuusaiNine years old
十歳じゅっさいjussaiTen years old
十一歳じゅういっさいjuuissaiEleven years old
二十歳はたちhatachiTwenty years old
三十歳さんじゅっさいsanjussaiThirty years old
Example
  • [Japanese]
    今年は息子が二十歳になります。
  • [Romaji]
    kotoshi wa musuko ga hatachi ni narimasu.
  • [Meaning]
    My son will turn 20 this year.

Counting food & drinks

Number of dishes – 品

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一品ひとしなhitoshinaOne dish
二品ふたしなfutashinaTwo dishes
三品さんしなsanshinaThree dishes
四品よんしなyonshinaFour dishes
五品ごしなgoshinaFive dishes
六品ろくしなrokushinaSix dishes
七品ななしなnanashinaSeven dishes
八品はっしなhasshinaEight dishes
九品きゅうしなkyuushinaNine dishes
十品じゅっしなjusshinaTen dishes
Example
  • [Japanese]
    メニューから3品までお選びいただけます。
  • [Romaji]
    menyuu kara sanshina made oerabi itadakemasu.
  • [Meaning]
    You can choose up to 3 dishes from the menu.

Number of people a dish is cooked for – 人前

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一人前いちにんまえichininmaeFor one person
二人前ににんまえnininmaeFor two people
三人前さんにんまえsanninmaeFor three people
四人前よにんまえyoninmaeFor four people
Example
  • [Japanese]
    このミートソースのラベルのところに「3人前」って書いてあったのでちょうどいいね。
  • [Romaji]
    kono miito soosu no raberu no tokoro ni “sanninmae” tte kaiteatta node choudo ii ne.
  • [Meaning]
    It was written “For three people” on this meat sauce’s package, just what we need, right ?

Number of portions of food – 食分

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一食分いっしょくぶんisshokubunOne portion of a dish
二食分にしょくぶんnishokubunTwo portions of a dish
三食分さんしょくぶんsanshokubunThree portions of a dish
四食分よんしょくぶんyonshokubunFour portions of a dish
Example
  • [Japanese]
    カレーライスを作るたびに、いつも四食分ぐらいの量で作っている。
  • [Romaji]
    karee raisu wo tsukuru tabini, itsumo yonshokubun gurai no ryou de tsukutteiru.
  • [Meaning]
    Every time I cook some curry rice, I always prepare it for about four portions.

Number of cups and glasses – 杯

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一杯いっぱいippaiOne glass
二杯にはいnihaiTwo glasses
三杯さんばいsanbaiThree glasses
四杯よんはいyonhaiFour glasses
五杯ごはいgohaiFive glasses
六杯ろっぱいroppaiSix glasses
七杯ななはいnanahaiSeven glasses
八杯はっぱいhappaiEight glasses
九杯きゅうはいkyuuhaiNine glasses
十杯じゅっぱいjuppaiTen glasses
Example
  • [Japanese]
    白ワインを2杯ください!
  • [Romaji]
    shiro wain wo nihai kudasai !
  • [Meaning]
    Two glasses of white whine, please !

Counting transportations & machines

Number of cars or big electronic device – 台

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一台いちだいichidaiOne machine
二台にだいnidaiTwo machines
三台さんだいsandaiThree machines
四台よんだいyondaiFour machines
五台ごだいgodaiFive machines
六台ろくだいrokudaiSix machines
七台ななだいnanadaiSeven machines
八台はちだいhachidaiEight machines
九台きゅうだいkyuudaiNine machines
十台じゅうだいjuudaiTen machines
Example
  • [Japanese]
    車を2台持っています。
  • [Romaji]
    kuruma wo nidai motteimasu.
  • [Meaning]
    I have two cars.

Number of trains – 本

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一本いっぽんipponOne train
二本にほんnihonTwo trains
三本さんぼんsanbonThree trains
Example
  • [Japanese]
    2本目の電車に乗れば、間に合うかもしれない!
  • [Romaji]
    nihonme no densha ni noreba, ma ni au kamoshirenai!
  • [Meaning]
    If I take the second train I may be on time !

Street numbering – 丁目

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一丁目いっちょうめicchoumeStreet 1
二丁目にちょうめnichoumeStreet 2
三丁目さんちょうめsanchoumeStreet 3
四丁目よんちょうめyonchoumeStreet 4
五丁目ごちょうめgochoumeStreet 5
六丁目ろっちょうめrocchoumeStreet 6
七丁目ななちょうめnanachoumeStreet 7
八丁目はっちょうめhacchoumeStreet 8
九丁目きゅうちょうめkyuuchoumeStreet 9
十丁目じゅうちょうめjuuchoumeStreet 10
Example
  • [Japanese]
    田中さんを連れていきたいお店は二丁目にあります。
  • [Romaji]
    Tanaka-san wo tsurete ikitai omise ha nichoume ni arimasu.
  • [Meaning]
    The shop where I want to bring Mr. Tanaka to is at Street 2.

Counting clothes

Number of t-shirts, shirts, trousers – 着

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一着いっちゃくicchakuOne clothe
二着にちゃくnichakuTwo clothes
三着さんちゃくsanchakuThree clothes
四着よんちゃくyonchakuFour clothes
五着ごちゃくgochakuFive clothes
Example
  • [Japanese]
    今日雨だから、念のためTシャツを二着持ってきた。
  • [Romaji]
    kyou ame da kara, nen no tame Tshatsu wo nichaku motte kita.
  • [Meaning]
    Today is rainy so I brought two t-shirts with me just in cast.

Number of pairs of shoes or socks – 足

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一足いっそくissokuOne pair
二足にそくnisokuTwo pairs
三足さんそくsansokuThree pairs
四足よんそくyonsokuFour pairs
五足ごそくgosokuFive pairs
Example
  • [Japanese]
    靴下が三足のセットで売っていました。
  • [Romaji]
    kutsushita ga sansoku no setto de utte imashita.
  • [Meaning]
    Socks were sold as a set of three pairs.

Counting buildings

Floor number – 階

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一階いっかいikkaiFloor 1
二階にかいnikaiFloor 2
三階さんかいsankaiFloor 3
四階よんかいyonkaiFloor 4
五階ごかいgokaiFloor 5
六階ろっかいrokkaiFloor 6
七階ななかいnanakaiFloor 7
八階はっかいhakkaiiFloor 8
九階きゅうかいkyuukaiFloor 9
十階じゅっかいjukkaiFloor 10
Example
  • [Japanese]
    私の会社がこのビルの三階にあります。
  • [Romaji]
    watashi no kaisha ga kono biru no sankai ni arimasu.
  • [Meaning]
    My company is at the third floor of this building.

Apartment number – 号室

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
1号室いちごうしつichigoushitsuRoom/Apt. 1
2号室にごうしつnigoushitsuRoom/Apt. 2
3号室さんごうしつsangoushitsuRoom/Apt. 3
Example
  • [Japanese]
    私の部屋は1号室です。
  • [Romaji]
    watashi no heya wa ichigoushitsu desu.
  • [Meaning]
    My place is Room 1.

Dimensions (square meters) – 平米

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
1平米いちへいべいichiheibei1m2
10平米じゅっへいべいjuhheibei10m2
30平米さんじゅっへいべいsanjuhheibei30m2
100平米ひゃくへいべいhyakuheibei100m2
Example
  • [Japanese]
    このアパートの面積は30平米ぐらいです。広いですね。
  • [Romaji]
    kono apaato no menseki wa sanjuhheibei gurai desu. hiroi desu ne.
  • [Meaning]
    The area of this apartment is as about 30m2. It’s spacious, isn’t it.

Dimensions (Japanese traditional tatami mats scale) – 畳

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
1畳いちじょうichijou1 “jou” meter (arr. 1.8m2)
6畳ろくじょうrokujou6 “jou” meter
10畳じゅうじょうjuujou10 “jou” meter
Example
  • [Japanese]
    このアパートの面積は6畳です。狭いですね。
  • [Romaji]
    kono apaato no menseki ha rokujou desu. semai desu ne.
  • [Meaning]
    The area of this apartment is as about 6 “jou” meter large. It’s small, isn’t it.

Number of restaurants/bars ones went so far – 軒

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一軒いっけんikkenOne shop
二軒にけんnikenTwo shops
三軒さんけんsankenThree shops
四軒よんけんyonkenFour shops
Example
  • [Japanese]
    一軒目は楽しかったけど、その後行った二軒目の方が雰囲気がよかったと思う。
  • [Romaji]
    ikkenme ha tanoshikatta kedo, sono ato itta nikenme no hou ga fun’iki ga yokatta to omou.
  • [Meaning]
    I think the first bar was fun but the second one we went after had a better atmosphere.

Counting animals

Number of birds – 羽

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一羽いちわichiwaOne bird
二羽にわniwaTwo birds
三羽さんわsanwaThree birds
四羽よんわyonwaFour birds
五羽ごわgowaFive birds
六羽ろくわrokuwaSix birds
七羽ななわnanawaSeven birds
八羽はちわhachiwaEight birds
九羽きゅうわkyuuwaNine birds
十羽じゅうわjuuwaTen birds
Example
  • [Japanese]
    鳥が2羽います。
  • [Romaji]
    tori ga niwa imasu.
  • [Meaning]
    There are two birds.

Number of domestic pets or small animals – 匹

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一匹いっぴきippikiOne animal
二匹にひきnihikiTwo animals
三匹さんびきsanbikiThree animals
四匹よんひきyonhikiFour animals
五匹ごひきgohikiFive animals
六匹ろっぴきroppikiSix animals
七匹ななひきnanahikiSeven animals
八匹はっぴきhappikiEight animals
九匹きゅうひきkyuuhikiNine animals
十匹じゅうびきjuubikiTen animals
Example
  • [Japanese]
    犬を5匹飼っている。
  • [Romaji]
    inu wo gohiki katte iru.
  • [Meaning]
    I have 5 dogs.

Number of big animals – 頭

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一頭いっとうittouOne (big) animal
二頭にとうnitouTwo (big) animals
三頭さんとうsantouThree (big) animals
四頭よんとうyontouFour (big) animals
五頭ごとうgotouFive (big) animals
六頭ろくとうrokutouSix (big) animals
七頭ななとうnanatouSeven (big) animals
八頭はっとうhattouEight (big) animals
九頭きゅうとうkyuutouNine (big) animals
十頭じゅっとうjuttouTen (big) animals
Example
  • [Japanese]
    クジラを一頭でも発見できればラッキーだね。
  • [Romaji]
    kujira wo ittou demo hakken dekireba rakkii da ne.
  • [Meaning]
    We will be lucky if we manage to see even one whale.

Frequency and order

Number of time an action was repeated – 回

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一回いっかいikkaiOnce
二回にかいnikaiTwice
三回さんかいsankaiThree times
四回よんかいyonkaiFour times
五回ごかいgokaiFive times
六回ろっかいrokkaiSix times
七回ななかいnanakaiSeven times
八回はっかいhakkaiEight times
九回きゅうかいkyuukaiNine times
十回じゅっかいjukkaiTen times
Example
  • [Japanese]
    飛行機に乗るのが2回目だからまだ慣れていない。
  • [Romaji]
    hikouki ni noru no ga nikai me dakara mada narete inai.
  • [Meaning]
    It is my second time I take the plane so I am not used to it yet.

Number of time an action was repeated (formal) – 度

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一度いちどichidoOnce
二度にどnidoTwice
三度さんどsandoThree times
四度よんどyondoFour times
五度ごどgodoFive times
六度ろくどrokudoSix times
七度ななどnanadoSeven times
八度はちどhachidoEight times
九度きゅうどkyuudoNine times
十度じゅうどjuudoTen times
Example
  • [Japanese]
    二度とやらないでください。
  • [Romaji]
    ni do to yaranaide kudasai.
  • [Meaning]
    Please do not do this twice.

Waiting / Queuing number – 番

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一番いちばんichibanFirst
二番にばんnibanSecond
三番さんばんsanbanThird
四番よんばんyonbanFourth
五番ごばんgobanFifth
六番ろくばんrokubanSixth
七番ななばんnanabanSeventh
八番はちばんhachibanEighth
九番きゅうばんkyuubanNinth
十番じゅうばんjuubanTenth
Example
  • [Japanese]
    私は7番目です。
  • [Romaji]
    watashi ha nanaban me desu.
  • [Meaning]
    I am seventh.

Number of lining queues – 列

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一列いちれつichiretsuOne queue
二列にれつniretsuTwo queues
三列さんれつsanretsuThree queues
Example
  • [Japanese]
    2列でお並びください。
  • [Romaji]
    niretsu de onarabi kudasai.
  • [Meaning]
    Please line up in two rows.

Counting paper-based things

Number of paper sheet – 枚

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一枚いちまいichimaiOne sheet
二枚にまいnimaiTwo sheets
三枚さんまいsanmaiThree sheets
四枚よんまいyonmaiFour sheets
五枚ごまいgomaiFive sheets
六枚ろくまいrokumaiSix sheets
七枚ななまいnanamaiSeven sheets
八枚はちまいhachimaiEight sheets
九枚きゅうまいkyuumaiNine sheets
十枚じゅうまいjuumaiTen sheets
Example
  • [Japanese]
    テスト表を2枚もらったけど、一枚で十分じゃない?。
  • [Romaji]
    tesuto hou wo nimai moratta kedo, ichimai de juubun ja nai ?
  • [Meaning]
    I received two test sheets but, isn’t it enough with only one ?

Number of page – ページ

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
1ページいちぺーじichipeejiPage 1
2ページにぺーじnipeejiPage 2
3ページさんぺーじsanpeejiPage 3
10ページじゅっぺーじjuppeejiPage 10
30ページさんじゅっぺーじsanjuppeejiPage 30
Example
  • [Japanese]
    この本、明日までに読まないといけないけど、俺2ページしか読んでいない。やばくない?
  • [Romaji]
    kono hon, ashita made ni yomanai to ikenai kedo, ore 2 peeji shika yondeinai. yabakunai ?
  • [Meaning]
    This book, I have to read it for tomorrow but I read only two pages. Isn’t it crazy ?

Number of books – 冊

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一冊いっさつissatsuOne book
二冊にさつnisatsuTwo books
三冊さんさつsansatsuThree books
四冊よんさつyonsatsuFour books
五冊ごさつgosatsuFive books
六冊ろくさつrokusatsuSix books
七冊ななさつnanasatsuSeven books
八冊はちさつhachisatsuEight books
九冊きゅうさつkyuusatsuNine books
十冊じゅっさつjussatsuTen books
Example
  • [Japanese]
    教科書を7冊持っているけど、要らない。
  • [Romaji]
    kyoukasho wo nana satsu motte iru kedo, iranai.
  • [Meaning]
    I have seven school manuals but I don’t need it.

Number of specimens – 通

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一通いっつうittsuOne specimen
二通につうnitsuuTwo specimens
三通さんつうsantsuuThree specimens
Example
  • [Japanese]
    この資料を二通ご発行いただけますか?
  • [Romaji]
    kono shiryou wo nitsuu gohakkou itadakemasu ka ?
  • [Meaning]
    Could you generate two specimens of this document, please ?

Number of copies (of a book) – 部

漢字ひらがなRomajiMeaning
一部いちぶichibuOne copy
二部にぶnibuTwo copies
十部じゅうぶjuubuTen copies
百部ひゃくぶhyakubuA hundred copies
1万部いちまんぶichimanbuTen thousand copies
Example
  • [Japanese]
    この本は1万部売れた。
  • [Romaji]
    kono hon ha ichimanbu ureta.
  • [Meaning]
    10 thousand copies of this book was sold.

Many other counters exist. In total, there are more than 500 of them !

This list represents the most used, so if you need to learn counters when coming to Japan, this page would definitely be the one you want to bookmark.

Louis
Louis

If you want to practice, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own examples and let’s review it together ! 🙂

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