Days of the Week in Japanese – Your Complete Guide

We’ll be teaching everything you need to know about days of the week in Japanese.

You’ll definitely find it useful to learn the Japanese words for the days of the week, especially if you’re living in Japan or are interested in Japanese culture.

Days of the Week in Japanese


Japanese Days of the Week

You’d be surprised how often it pops up in conversation! Maybe you want to set up plans to hang with friends in Japan or make a reservation at a restaurant. Or perhaps you want to book a room in a hotel or double-check when the next meeting is at work. Knowing the days of the week in Japanese is essential for these situations!

Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll soon be able to progress to more advanced topics and be able to talk about past, current, or upcoming events in your life.

Let’s dive in!

Days of the Week in Japanese

Don’t worry if you can’t read Hiragana or Kanji yet. Head over to our handy guide, which will walk you through the basic essentials of the Japanese writing systems (Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji).

It really isn’t as hard as it looks! Check out our mnemonics below to help you remember the days of the week in no time.

Click the Japanese word to hear the correct pronunciation.

EnglishJapanese KanjiJapanese HiraganaRomaji

Did you notice a pattern? Just like in English, the word for each day of the week ends with dayようび(youbi). If you’re a beginner and you hear “youbi,” then you know that whoever is talking said something about a day of the week in Japanese.

Days in Japanese

The English word “day” is expressed with the Japanese wordようび (youbi/ yōbi). It comes from the Chinese character 曜日. The word ようび (youbi/ yōbi) is always attached to the words indicating the days of the week.

How to Remember the Days of the Week in Japanese

Even the most talented language learner would have a hard time learning new vocabulary from just looking at a list of words. But we’ve broken it down for you with a short explanation behind the meaning of each day to help you remember the days of the week.

Each day of the week is named after a combination of Chinese philosophies of yin-yang and the 5 Taoist elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water).

Monday in Japanese

Monday in Japanese is げつようび (getsuyoubi). It is written as 月曜日 in Kanji, which translates to “Moon Day” in English. This day’s name is pretty similar in English and Japanese, don’t you think?

The Chinese character (げつ/ getsu) means “moon,” as it represents the picture of a crescent moon. This is also the same character you’ll see with months in Japanese.

The character 曜日 (ようび/ youbi) means “day.” Putting both characters 月 and 曜日 gives you “moon day.”

You can also remember this word by thinking of Monday as the day that “gets” you up and ready for the week!

Japanese Getsu

Tuesday in Japanese

Tuesday in Japanese is かようび (kayoubi). It is written as 火曜日, which means “Fire Day” in English. To remember this day, think of Monday as your “warm-up day.” Once you’re all warmed up, you’re ready and fired up to go by Tuesday!

The Chinese character (か / ka) represents a picture of the flames of a burning fire with sparks. This philosophy gives the meaning “Fire Day” to 火曜日 (かようび / kayoubi).

Japanese Ka

Wednesday in Japanese

Wednesday in Japanese is すいようび  (suiyoubi). It is written as 水曜日, which means “Water Day”. You can remember this day by imagining you’re putting out Tuesday’s fire with water on Wednesday.

The Chinese character (すい / sui) looks like a picture of flowing water. This gives 水曜日 (すいようび / suiyoubi) the meaning “water day.”


Thursday in Japanese

Thursday is もくようび (mokuyoubi). It is written as 木曜日, which means “Wood Day.” You can remember this day as it “mocks” you with the weekend being so close!

The Chinese character (もく / moku) in 木曜日 (もくようび / mokuyoubi) is like a picture of a tree and they give us wood.

Japanese Moku

Friday in Japanese

Friday is きんようび (kinyoubi). It is written as 金曜日, which means “Gold Day.” This day is easy to remember since Friday is the golden day we all wait for every week!

The philosophy behind the Chinese character (きん / kin) in 金曜日 (きんようび / kinyoubi) is that there’s a metal hidden in the earth that shines upon discovery. This means gold or metal.

Japanese Kin

Saturday in Japanese

Saturday in Japanese is どようび  (doyoubi). It is written as 土曜日 in Kanji, which means “Ground Day.” Don’t go too crazy on Saturday, or your parents might “ground” you!

For the Japanese word for Saturday, the Chinese character (ど / do) in 土曜日 (どようび / doyoubi) signifies a picture of a mound of earth which was worshipped as the source of life in ancient times.

Japanese Do

Sunday in Japanese

Last but not least is Sunday! Sunday in Japanese is にちようび (nichiyoubi). It’s written as 日曜日 in Kanji, which translates to “Sun Day.” You’ll have no trouble memorizing this day since it’s identical to Sunday in English.

The Chinese character (にち / nichi) in 日曜日 (にちようび / nichiyoubi) means sun. Combine 日 (にち / nichi) with 曜日 (ようび/ youbi), which means “day” gives you “sun day.”

Japanese Nichi

Days of the week in Kanji

In Japanese, there are three writing systems used. In this section, you’ll learn about what are the days of the week in Kanji.


Days of the week in Hiragana

The days of the week in Japanese are mostly and usually written in Kanji. But as you start learning the language, you can learn the days of the week in Hiragana.

Below is the list of the days of the week in Hiragana.


How to remember the Japanese Days of the Week

Follow these simple steps to learn and remember the days of the week in Japanese:

  1. Get familiar with the pattern: element + day
  2. Try to remember the Kanji. You’ll often see the days of the week written in Kanji
  3. Once you’re familiar with each day of the week, change it up and say them in the reverse order
  4. When you’re confident with the reversal method, try saying the days randomly (of course, understand which day you’re saying!)
  5. Challenge yourself and learn to write them down in Hiragana or in Kanji

Useful Words Related to the Days of the Week

Of course, knowing the days of the week is essential for everyday Japanese, but you’ll often come across these words in daily conversation, too!

EnglishJapanese KanjiJapanese HiraganaRomaji
The day after tomorrow明後日あさってasatte
The day before yesterday一昨日おとといototoi
This week今週こんしゅうkonshuu
Next week来週らいしゅうraishuu
Last week先週せんしゅうsenshuu
The weekend週末しゅうまつshuumatsu
3-day weekend三連休さんれんきゅうsanrenkyuu

How do I write the day of the week in Japanese?

In everyday Japanese, it’s more common to just write the first kanji to refer to the day of the week. So for Monday, instead of writing down as 月曜日(getsuyoubi), you can just write the Kanji character 月.

Are Saturdays counted as workdays in Japan?

Saturdays are considered to be workdays in Japan, so if a national holiday falls on a Saturday, unfortunately, it DOES NOT get moved to a Monday.

How often are there national holidays in Japan?

The Japanese are notoriously hard workers and will often willingly work overtime – Crazy much? To combat this, the Japanese government created extra-national holidays alongside traditional holidays (such as Obon and Japanese New Year’s) and spaced them out so that there’s at least one per month. Hooray!

What to Learn Next?

So you’ve got the days of the week down? Great! Now, what’s next? We suggest moving forward and learning the Months of the year and Days in a Month (which are different from the Days of the Week). Keep going! You’ve got this!

    6 replies to "Days of the Week in Japanese – Your Complete Guide"

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