The world is covered in the necessary evil known in English as "time zones".

Time zone map

Given that, historically, it originated in England (some 300 or so years ago), the concept of a time zone was probably not brought into Japan for quite some time.

That said, RomajiDesu suggests 時間帯 for "time zone". However, given the English-based origin of the term, I tend to think that this may not properly refer to the same concept.

What is the proper Japanese term for a time zone? Is it 時間帯{じかんたい}? Is タイムゾーン is more appropriate? Or is there another term I should use?

  • 1
    I'm puzzled by the claim that "time zones" originated in England 300 years ago. Until the invention of the telegraph, it's not clear how time zones could even be considered; and there were certainly not different time zones within England. I don't see any reason to assume that this idea could only have arrived in Japan from England, rather than say China. Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 3:48
  • @BrianChandler Time zones started with the origination of GMT in England in the 1600s, if I recall correctly. I don't know if this is a term they used back then; it's probably more recent.
    – Cat
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 3:49
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    @Eric That's incorrect. GMT didn't initially have anything to do with timezones; GMT was created to find longitude at sea (you compare a standard time with local noon), but people still operated according to local solar time instead of having the same time over a huge area. Time zones came with railroads.
    – cpast
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 6:41
  • @cpast In my defense, I never claimed to be a beacon of historical truth. ;)
    – Cat
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


Both 時間帯 and タイムゾーン work, and both are very common ways to speak about time zones. But one thing you should know is that 時間帯 also describes the specific period of time in a day. Say, 朝の時間帯 means "the morning time" and used in this way it doesn't describes time zones.

In short, if it is clear your sentence is talking about time zones, you can use either, but the context is ambiguous, I recommend that you use タイムゾーン.

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