I've found several words in the book, which means evening. What's the difference among them?

I've found only this information:

夕 - 5pm to 7pm
晩 - 7pm to 10pm
夜 - 10pm onwards (night, late evening)

But not sure, is it true and what's the difference among 夕方 and 夕べ and the others?

  • 1
    As far as I know, 夕方 is used to convey early evening of any day, but 夕べ means specifically yesterdays's evening.
    – jarmanso7
    Apr 17, 2019 at 11:00
  • 1
    I honestly do not know what the difference is based on my experience, but according to this answer, japanese.stackexchange.com/a/29008/32952, 昨夜 is more formal than 夕べ.
    – jarmanso7
    Apr 17, 2019 at 11:16
  • 1
    As for 夕, 晩 and 夜, I've heard that the difference between 夕 and 晩 is related to whether the sun has settled or not, and 夜 is simply night, not evening. But I am very unsure of this so we'd better to wait for somene's else answer on this.
    – jarmanso7
    Apr 17, 2019 at 11:23
  • 1
    @jarmanso7 thanks anyway. Will collect all the information in one.
    – user33366
    Apr 17, 2019 at 11:31
  • 1
    FYI, 夕べ originally meant evening of any day (cf., German morgen “morning, tomorrow”). You can still see usages with the original meaning in event names like “音楽の夕べ.” Apr 22, 2019 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


From a Japanese Dictionary:

日が沈んで夜になろうとする時。夕暮れ。夕方。ゆうべ。「朝に夕に故郷を思う」 https://kotobank.jp/word/%E5%A4%95-546992

夕 means the time when the sun sets. But, 夕 is not used in modern Japanese. It is only seen in classical texts.


日の暮れがた。日の沈むころ。 https://kotobank.jp/word/%E5%A4%95%E6%96%B9-650419

夕方 also means sun setting time, but 夕方 is used in modern Japanese.

Note that 夕方 has antonym: 明け方. 明け方 means sun rising time.

This word has many meanings:

  1. 夕暮れ。夕方。
  2. 夜。
  3. 晩飯。 https://kotobank.jp/word/%E6%99%A9-605993
  1. says 晩 is 夕方, but 2. says 晩 is night.

And so, 晩 (3. means 晩 is dinner) is used to express a wider span of time.


  1. 日の暮れるころ。夕方。「秋の夕べ」
  2. 何かの催し物が行われる夜。「音楽の夕べ」
  3. きのうの夜。さくや。昨晩。「夕べは飲み明かした」「夕べ地震があった」 https://kotobank.jp/word/%E5%A4%95%E3%81%B9-651184
  1. says 夕べ is 夕方. 2. says A night with some event. 3. says Last night.

I think 2. is the most common usage and 3. is not used very often because the other word 昨晩's pronunciation is the same. However, because 夕べ also means 夕方, 昨晩 is preferred.

Note that 昨晩 has two ways of reading it: yube (same as 夕べ) and sakuban.


夕方 and 夕 are almost the same, but 夕 is used only in a literary style. 晩 means a later time.

  • Thank you very much! And for the links to the dictionary
    – user33366
    May 10, 2019 at 11:14
  • Pretty good but you missed 夜 Nov 3, 2022 at 4:29

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