I was taught that generally numbers in Japanese should be read as:

123 => ひゃく にじゅう さん

However, I was wonder if there is any case where the numbers are read one-by-one, like:

123 => いち に さん

I was thinking maybe for license plate numbers and room numbers, but I am not sure which method would be appropriate. If both are used, is there a connotation to using one pronunciation over the other?


The first case is generally used for numbers representing quantity or amount like:

price, age, weight, distance, time

The second case is generally used for numbers representing identifier like:

phone numbers, license plate, room numbers

The difference between two cases is importance of number of digits, I think so.

Rarely, the second case is used for informing any numbers that is very important. For example, military affairs.


Room numbers for sure, another example I thought up of is phone numbers. Phone numbers are primarily spoken in just digits. PIN codes and the like are also spoken in just digits, sometimes people will use a word to help remember the digits. e.g. 8931 (は・く・さ・い)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.