There are a lot of topics on forums in what case Japanese people use 24-hour clock format. But I have never seen how it should be pronounced. It's not hard to say something like 8:05. This is common and sounds like 「はちじ ごふん」, but how will it be if I want to read 15:40 or 19:20 etc. I didn't hear anything like 「じゅうごじ よんじゅっぷん」 and I'm confused how it should be read.

Is it usual for Japanese people to translate 24 format into 12, or are there any edge cases they would use 24 strictly?

  • 1
    "I didn't hear anything like" doesn't mean it isn't said, so... can you elaborate on what circumstances you're talking about where you didn't hear this?
    – virgil9306
    Mar 1, 2017 at 10:07
  • 1
    @virgil9306 I have never heard anything similar in films or audiobooks, that's why I would like to ask how it should be read. I just wanted to ensure there wasn't any specific rules. Mar 1, 2017 at 11:01
  • 3
    An interesting note, if a place stays open past midnight, it will often just keep counting up. I've seen bars, karaoke boxes, etc. that will say something like 25:00閉店 or 26:00閉店 (1:00am and 2:00am, resp.)
    – istrasci
    Mar 1, 2017 at 15:55
  • 2
    25:00 etc. are also commonly used for late-night TV schedules. Mar 1, 2017 at 23:12

1 Answer 1


You can read the time of day in 24-hour format using the pronunciation for the numbers 13–24 as for the numbers 1–10 followed by 時【じ】, e.g.

15:40 = 15時40分 = じゅうごじ よんじゅっぷん
19:20 = 19時20分 = じゅうじ にじゅっぷん

In particular, exceptions to the usual readings are the same

4時 = じ  → 14時 = じゅうじ,  24時 = にじゅう
7時 = しちじ → 17時 = じゅうしち
9時 = じ  → 19時 = じゅう

The same applies for higher numbers, e.g.

34時間 = さんじゅうよじかん.

For 0 you use 零【れい】, so

0:15 = 0時15分 = れいじじゅうごふん

  • 2
    What about 0:00, 0:30, 0:55, etc.?
    – Christer
    Mar 1, 2017 at 12:46
  • 2
    @Christer See the update. 0:00 becomes (午前)零時.
    – Earthliŋ
    Mar 1, 2017 at 13:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .