Is read as "toki" or "ji"? Duolingo and Google Translate don't seem to be in agreement.

2 Answers 2


When following a number 時 is read 'ji'. It is pronounced 'toki' when it refers to a point in time, in which case it will often take a relative clause that simply means 'when...' (literally 'the time when...').

When you are looking for a word rather than a whole sentence, you are better off with dictionaries, for instance https://jisho.org/search/時


時 (as with the vast majority of kanji) has multiple readings. It can be read as both じ and とき (and どき) depending on which word it appears in. It also has exceptional readings as in the word 時計 where 時 is read as と. [Edit: See comments for clarification on that word]

The very broad rule of thumb for kanji (with many exceptions) is that when they appear in compound words the on-yomi is used, and when they appear alone or attached to kana the kun-yomi is used. In the case of 時, the on-yomi is ジ and the kun-yomi is とき:

五時{ごじ} (compound word = on-yomi)

若{わか}い時{とき} (appears alone / attached to kana = kun-yomi)

But that is a gross simplification of what it is a highly complex writing system. I recommend that you read a basic text which explains the fundamentals of kanji. It will help to understand the readings.

  • 1
    More precisely, the compound 時計 as a whole is read とけい.
    – user1478
    Feb 16, 2019 at 14:57
  • 2
    @snailboat thanks - I always assumed that because the on-yomi of 計 is ケイ that the ト was an irregular reading of 時. Didn't realize that 時計 was actually 熟字訓. Seems like it's quite an unusual example of 熟字訓 in that case, as the standard reading of one character is preserved. Maybe 吹雪 is another example of this.
    – kandyman
    Feb 16, 2019 at 16:44

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