How to Speak Japanese

How to Measure Length, Weight and Area in Japanese

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It is well-known that the Japanese counting system is very complicated because you have to change how to count depending on objects such as , ほん, and つ. When it comes to how to measure, that’s simpler but you need to know which units Japanese people use, such as yards and meters, and how to say them in Japanese. That’s what you will learn here.

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Japanese Measurement System for Length, Weight and Area

Japanese Basic Number System

Numbers Kanji Readings
1 いち
3 さん
4 よん / し
6 ろく
7 なな / ひち
8 はち
9 きゅう
10 じゅう

As you can see the above, 4 can either be 「よん」 or 「し」 and 7 can either be 「なな」 or 「しち」. It is said that the reason why there are 2 ways is to avoid misleading your listeners by ambiguous sounds such as 「いち」 Vs 「しち」. And also, 「し」 is the same sound as 「 (death)」. If you count 4 people as 「しにん」, it can be 「にん (dead person)」. Therefore, when you count people, 「し」is never used. Although there are some exceptional situations, people prefer to use 「よん」and 「なな」 in general.

How to Measure Length in Japanese

Numbers with Units Readings *Spoken Language
1 cm / m / km いっせんち / いちめーとる / いっきろ
2 cm / m / km にせんち / にめーとる / にきろ
3 cm / m / km さんせんち / さんめーとる / さんきろ
4 cm / m / km よんせんち / よんめーとる / よんきろ
5 cm / m / km ごせんち / ごめーとる / ごきろ
6 cm / m / km ろくせんち / ろくめーとる / ろっきろ
7 cm / m / km ななせんち / ななめーとる / ななきろ
8 cm / m / km はっせんち / はちめーとる / はっきろ
9 cm / m / km きゅうせんち / きゅうめーとる / きゅうきろ
10 cm / m / km じゅっせんち / じゅうめーとる / じゅっきろ

We use the metric system in Japan. As the chart indicates, when you use “cm” and “km” the めーとる is usually omitted. Also, contractions sometimes occur between numbers and units when the beginning sound of unit is an unvoiced sound.

Converter among Meter, Yard, and Feet

Meter Yard Feet
1 1.09 3.28

How to Measure Weight in Japanese

Numbers with Units Readings *Spoken Language
1 g / kg いちぐらむ / いっきろ
2 g / kg にぐらむ / にきろ
3 g / kg さんぐらむ / さんきろ
4 g / kg よんぐらむ / よんきろ
5 g / kg ごぐらむ / ごきろ
6 g / kg ろくぐらむ / ろっきろ
7 g / kg ななぐらむ / ななきろ
8 g / kg はちぐらむ / はっきろ
9 g / kg きゅうぐらむ / きゅうきろ
10 g / kg じゅうぐらむ / じゅっきろ

Pay attention to whether the beginning sound of the unit is an unvoiced sound such as [k], [s], [t], [h], and [p]. Once you get used to these contractions, you’ll have an easier time with counters.

Converter among Kilogram, Ounce, and Pound

Kilogram Ounce Pound
1 35.27 2.20

How to Measure Area in Japanese

Numbers with Units Readings *Spoken Language
1 m² / km² いちへいべい / いちきろへいべい
2 m² / km² にへいべい / にきろへいべい
3 m² / km² さんへいべい / さんきろへいべい
4 m² / km² よんへいべい / よんきろへいべい
5 m² / km² ごへいべい / ごきろへいべい
6 m² / km² ろくへいべい / ろっきろへいべい
7 m² / km² ななへいべい / ななへいべい
8 m² / km² はちへいべい / はっきろへいべい
9 m² / km² きゅうへいべい / きゅうきろへいべい
10 m² / km² じゅうへいべい / じゅっきろへいべい

Square meter and square kilometer are translated into Japanese as 「平方へいほうメートル」 and 「平方へいほうキロメートル」. However, there is another word 「平米へいべい」which is same as 「平方へいほうメートル」. In spoken Japanese, people prefer to use 「平米へいべい」 to 「平方へいほうメートル」 because it’s shorter. Moreover, there are Japanese unique measurement systems for area which are  (unfortunately) still often used in everyday life. They are as  follows.

Converter among Square Meter, Square Yard, Square Feet, じょう and つぼ

Square meter Square yard Square feet じょう つぼ
1 1.19 10.76 0.54 0.30


When it comes to measurements, we think that getting used to them makes a difference. If you have difficulty at first, you may want to utilize a converter application for the time being. In any case, please try to keep using the Japanese measurements.

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