Mastering Japanese: How to Say ‘When’ in Japanese Explained

If you are learning Japanese, understanding how to express the concept of ‘when’ is crucial. The word ‘when’ is used to refer to time, duration, and frequency and is used in various daily conversations, from discussing schedules to expressing past and future events.

In this article, we will explore different ways to say ‘when’ in Japanese, including time-related expressions, specific phrases for asking about time, and general concepts of timing. You will also learn useful vocabulary for expressing ‘when’ in various contexts, including how to say ‘when’ in Japanese and Japanese translations for ‘when’.

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced student, this article will help you master the concept of ‘when’ in Japanese and improve your communication skills. So, let’s get started!

Here’s what you can expect from this article:

  • Understanding the Japanese word for ‘when’
  • Ways to express ‘when’ in Japanese
  • Asking ‘when’ in Japanese
  • Common expressions using ‘when’ in Japanese
  • Practice exercises for using ‘when’ in Japanese
  • Mastering ‘when’ in Japanese: Tips and Strategies

Understanding the Japanese Word for ‘When’

If you’re learning Japanese, it’s essential to understand the word for ‘when.’ The word for ‘when’ in Japanese is ‘いつ’ (itsu), and it can be used in a variety of different contexts. Understanding this word and its usage is crucial for effective communication in Japanese.

When used in questions, ‘itsu’ is typically translated as ‘when,’ as in ‘When are you coming home?’ or ‘When did you arrive in Tokyo?’ In other cases, ‘itsu’ can be translated as ‘at what time,’ ‘on what day,’ or ‘during what period.’ Understanding the nuances of these translations can help you express yourself more clearly and accurately in Japanese.

Common Japanese Phrases Using ‘When’

Below are some common Japanese phrases that use the word ‘itsu’ for ‘when’ in different contexts:

Phrase Translation
いつですか? When is it?
いつからですか? From when?
いつまでにやらなければなりませんか? By when do I have to do it?
いつでも大丈夫です。 Whenever is fine.

As you can see, the word ‘itsu’ is used in various ways in Japanese. It’s important to study and practice these phrases to master the concept of ‘when’ in Japanese.

Ways to Express ‘When’ in Japanese

When it comes to expressing ‘when’ in Japanese, there are numerous ways to do so. From time-related expressions to specific phrases for asking about time, mastering these vocabulary terms will be crucial in order to communicate effectively in Japanese conversations.

Time-related Expressions

One common way to express ‘when’ in Japanese is through time-related expressions. These expressions can be used to ask about time, as well as specify when an event occurred. Some common time-related expressions include:

Japanese English
明日 Tomorrow
昨日 Yesterday
先週 Last week
来週 Next week

Specific Phrases for Asking About Time

To ask about time in Japanese, there are a variety of specific phrases you can use depending on the situation. Here are some examples:

Japanese English
今何時ですか? What time is it now?
明日の予定は何時からですか? What time does the schedule start tomorrow?
何時に会えますか? What time can we meet?

General Concepts of Timing

Beyond time-related expressions and specific phrases, there are also general concepts of timing that can be used to express ‘when’ in Japanese. Here are some examples:

Japanese English
いつでも Anytime
いつか Someday
今度 Next time
たまに Sometimes

By familiarizing yourself with these vocabulary terms, you’ll be able to express ‘when’ in Japanese with greater ease and clarity.

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Asking ‘When’ in Japanese

Now that you understand the different ways to express ‘when’ in Japanese, it’s time to learn how to ask about time and schedules. Here are some practical phrases:

English Japanese Phonetic
When? いつですか? itsu desu ka?
What time? 何時ですか? nani ji desu ka?
What day? 何曜日ですか? nanyoubi desu ka?
What date? 何日ですか? nannichi desu ka?
Can you tell me when? いつ教えていただけますか? itsu oshiete itadakemasu ka?

It’s important to remember that Japanese culture places a high value on politeness and respect, so be sure to use the appropriate level of formality based on the situation and the person you’re speaking with.

Practice these phrases with a language partner or tutor and pay attention to pronunciation and intonation. Asking for help with ‘when’ in Japanese will surely make your trip to Japan easier and more enjoyable.

Common Expressions Using ‘When’ in Japanese

Learning how to express ‘when’ in Japanese can help you understand important phrases and expressions that are commonly used in daily conversation. Here are some examples:

Expression Japanese Translation
When did you come to Japan? 日本にいつ来ましたか? (Nihon ni itsu kimashita ka?)
When is your birthday? お誕生日はいつですか? (Otanjoubi wa itsu desu ka?)
When I was young, I used to play baseball. 若い頃、野球をしていました。 (Wakai koro, yakyuu wo shite imashita.)
If it rains tomorrow, I will stay at home. 明日雨が降ったら、家にいます。 (Ashita ame ga futtara, ie ni imasu.)

As you can see, ‘when’ is used in a variety of ways in Japanese. Understanding these expressions can help you communicate effectively and express yourself accurately.

Practice Exercises for Using ‘When’ in Japanese

Now that you have learned the basics of expressing ‘when’ in Japanese, it’s time to put your skills to the test.

Here are some practice exercises to help you become more comfortable with using ‘when’ in Japanese:

Exercise Description
Translation Exercise Translate the following English phrases into Japanese:
‘When is your birthday?’
‘When did you arrive in Japan?’
‘When do you plan to leave Japan?’
Fill-in-the-Blank Questions Complete the following sentences with the correct word for ‘when’ in Japanese:
‘____ is your Japanese lesson?’
‘____ do you usually have breakfast?’
‘I will visit Kyoto ____ I have time.’
Role-Playing Situation Act out a conversation with a friend, asking about each other’s schedules for the week. Use different ways to express ‘when’ in Japanese and try to incorporate some of the common expressions you learned in section 5.

Remember to practice regularly to improve your proficiency in expressing ‘when’ in Japanese. The more you use it, the more natural it will become.

Mastering ‘When’ in Japanese: Tips and Strategies

Congratulations, you have learned about the various ways to say ‘when’ in Japanese and are well on your way to mastering this concept! Now that you have a good understanding of the different expressions and phrases related to ‘when’, there are a few tips and strategies that can help you fully integrate this into your language skills.

Tip 1: Practice, Practice, Practice

The key to mastering any language skill is to practice consistently and frequently. Make sure to practice expressing ‘when’ in Japanese on a regular basis, whether it be in conversation with a language partner or through writing exercises. This will help you to build your confidence and fluency with using these expressions and phrases.

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Tip 2: Immerse Yourself in the Language

One of the best ways to improve your language skills is to immerse yourself in the language and culture. This could mean watching Japanese movies or TV shows, listening to Japanese music, or even living in Japan. The more exposure you have to the language, the more natural it will become for you to express yourself using ‘when’ in Japanese.

Tip 3: Use Language Learning Resources

There are a variety of language learning resources available to help you improve your Japanese skills. This could include language learning apps, online courses, or language exchange programs. You can also find language learning communities online, where you can connect with other learners and practice your skills together.

Tip 4: Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes

Learning a new language is a process, and making mistakes is a natural part of that process. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes when practicing your ‘when’ expressions in Japanese. Instead, use your mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve your skills.

By following these tips and strategies, you will be well on your way to mastering the concept of ‘when’ in Japanese. Remember to practice consistently, immerse yourself in the language and culture, use language learning resources, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. With dedication and persistence, you will become a confident and fluent speaker of Japanese!


Q: How do I say ‘when’ in Japanese?

A: The word for ‘when’ in Japanese is “itsu” (いつ). It can be used to ask about time, schedule, or the occurrence of an event.

Q: What are some common phrases for expressing ‘when’ in Japanese?

A: Here are a few examples of phrases using ‘when’:
– いつですか (itsu desu ka) – When is it?
– いつ行きますか (itsu ikimasu ka) – When are you going?
– いつでも (itsu demo) – Anytime
– いつも (itsumo) – Always

Q: Are there different ways to express ‘when’ in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are multiple ways to express ‘when’ in Japanese. Apart from using the word “itsu,” you can also indicate time using specific time-related expressions, such as days of the week, months, or specific phrases for asking about time.

Q: How do I ask ‘when’ in Japanese?

A: To ask ‘when’ in Japanese, you can use phrases like “いつですか” (itsu desu ka) or “いつ行きますか” (itsu ikimasu ka), which mean “When is it?” or “When are you going?” respectively.

Q: What are some common expressions using ‘when’ in Japanese?

A: Common expressions using ‘when’ in Japanese include:
– いつもありがとうございます (itsumo arigatou gozaimasu) – Thank you always
– いつか行きたいです (itsuka ikitai desu) – I want to go someday
– もしもの時に (moshimo no toki ni) – In case of emergency

Q: Are there any practice exercises for using ‘when’ in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are practice exercises available to help you practice using ‘when’ in Japanese. These exercises may involve translation exercises, fill-in-the-blank questions, or role-playing situations.

Q: What are some tips and strategies for mastering ‘when’ in Japanese?

A: To master the concept of ‘when’ in Japanese, it is important to practice regularly and immerse yourself in the language. Using language learning apps, joining online communities, and participating in immersion programs can also be beneficial for further study and practice.

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