カップ: Counting Cups and Cup-units You can finally count your ever-growing collection of rare Cup Noodle

    So what kinds of cups can you count with カップ? Plastic cups? Mugs? Bra cups? World Cups?

    Let's start with a riddle: what do a rice cooker, a golfing green, and a bra have in common? That's right—they all have cups! The Japanese counter カップ (かっぷ) is a gairaigo, or loanword, from English. As you can probably guess, the original English word is "cup."

    The カップ counter counts a lot of different kinds of cups. Before we dip into them all, let's start by learning to pronounce it when it's paired with a number. Since カップ is a gairaigo counter, it can be counted using either the gairaigo or kango counting methods.

    First, the gairaigo:

    Numeral Japanese Reading 1
    1 ワンカップ わんかっぷ
    2 ツーカップ つーかっぷ
    3 スリーカップ すりーかっぷ
    4 フォーカップ ふぉーかっぷ
    5 ファイブカップ ふぁいぶかっぷ
    6 シックスカップ しっくすかっぷ
    7 セブンカップ せぶんかっぷ
    8 エイトカップ えいとかっぷ
    9 ナインカップ ないんかっぷ
    10 テンカップ てんかっぷ

    And now the kango:

    Numeral Japanese Reading 1
    1 一カップ いっかっぷ/いちかっぷ/ひとかっぷ
    2 二カップ にかっぷ/ふたかっぷ
    3 三カップ さんかっぷ
    4 四カップ よんかっぷ
    5 五カップ ごかっぷ
    6 六カップ ろっかっぷ/ろくかっぷ
    7 七カップ ななかっぷ
    8 八カップ はっかっぷ/はちかっぷ
    9 九カップ きゅうかっぷ
    10 十カップ じゅっかっぷ (じっかっぷ)
    11 十一カップ じゅういっかっぷ/じゅういちかっぷ
    12 十二カップ じゅうにかっぷ
    100 百カップ ひゃっかっぷ (ひゃくかっぷ)
    1,000 千カップ せんかっぷ
    10,000 一万カップ いちまんかっぷ
    How many 何カップ なんかっぷ

    Need a refresher on how a number or counter changes its pronunciation? Read our main guide on Japanese counters.

    Using the Japanese Counter カップ

    So what kinds of cups can you count with カップ? Plastic cups? Mugs? Bra cups? World Cups? If you said a cup of tea (ティー 1カップ) you'd actually be wrong. Sorry! You'd count that one with 杯.

    Unit Cups

    womens bra counted with japanese counter kappu

    The most common use of the counter カップ is the cup as a unit of measurement in cooking. Be careful, though, because "one cup" varies from country to country: in the US, for example, one cup is 240mL; Canada counts one cup as 250mL; in Japan, a cup is 200mL. Keep this in mind when you're using a Japanese recipe and it calls for 1 カップ of soy sauce!

    • 水を3カップ入れてください。
    • Pour in three cups of water.
    • レシピにはスープストック1.5カップって書いてるよ。
    • The recipe calls for a cup and a half of soup stock.

    Perhaps the most common "cup" you'll find in nearly every Japanese kitchen is the cup used to measure dry rice for a rice cooker: most cookers take one, two, or three. Be aware, though: this kind of cup refers to a 180mL cup, which isn't counted using カップ. Instead, rice-cooker cups are counted with the counter 合 (ごう).

    • お米を3合炊いた。
    • We cooked three cups of rice.

    Certain kinds of cups are the same in English, however, and do use the カップ counter: the cups in a bra. Do you need a bra that's one cup larger? Two cups smaller? You would use this counter!

    • このエクササイズで、ブラのサイズが2カップ上がったの。
    • With this exercise, I went up two cup sizes!
    • 出産後、ブラのカップ数が3カップもダウンした。
    • After giving birth, my bra size went down three cups.

    Actual Cups

    coffee mug counted with japanese counter kappu

    Although it's not common to count actual cups with カップ, you do usually count things that are packaged in cups—ice cream cups, snack cups (like じゃがりこ), or cup noodles.

    While you can also count actual cups, such as the ones you drink out of, with カップ too, it's more common to use 個 (こ) when referring to this kind of cup. Cooking and bras? Normal. Drinking cups? Not so much.

    The most common circumstance in which you'll hear カップ used to count drinking cups is when they're part of a set. You'll see what I mean in the examples below. (For the first three, think of "cups" more like "mugs.")

    • マグカップ、2カップセットで580円だって!
    • It says a set of two cups is ¥580!
    • マグカップ棚から3個とって。
    • Can you pass me three cups from the shelf?
    • シリコンカップ、5カップセットになってるのをアマゾンで買った。
    • I bought a set of five silicon cups on Amazon.
    • あの紙のカップケーキのカップって何枚残ってたっけ?
    • How many of those paper cupcake cups are left?
    • ゴルフのホールカップを20カップ注文した。
    • I ordered twenty golf hole cups.

    See how we snuck that last one in there? When counting the kind of "cup" you'll find in the middle of a putting green, you would use カップ!

    As we said, although it's not common to count actual cups with カップ, you do usually count things that are packaged in cups—ice cream cups, snack cups (like じゃがりこ), or cup noodles—using the counter カップ. You can count all of them with 個 (こ) too—it really just comes down to your preference.

    • 12カップもあったハーゲンダッツが、いつの間にか残り1カップになっている。
    • There were twelve Häagen-Dazs mini cups, but before I knew it there was only one left.
    • じゃがりこ4人で16カップも食べた。
    • Just the four of us ate sixteen cups of Jagariko!
    • 昼御飯にインスタントの饂飩を2カップ食べた。
    • I ate two cups of instant udon noodles for lunch.
    • デザートにジェラートを3カップ食べた。
    • I ate three cups of gelato for dessert.
    • 1カップに、約30粒のビーズが入っています。
    • There are about thirty beads in one cup.

    Although the counter カップ is an easy one at first glance, you'll notice some subtleties to it. If you ever find yourself cooking with Japanese recipes (it's fun to try!), it's a good counter to know. Don't forget that one Japanese cup is just 200mL! You'd hate to end up making something that's too salty or too sweet. I suppose if you mess up, you can just eat a dozen カップ of Häagen-Dazs! Or sit around writing silly Japanese counter riddles!

    When you're ready for more counting, check out some of the other in-depth Japanese counters articles we've written: , , and are good ones, we think.

    And if you're new to this whole counters thing, we recommend you learn the basics of Japanese counters, and then scroll though our massive study list of Japanese counters, which can take you to all the counters we've written about in-depth. Happy counting, cups or otherwise!

    1. Cells with multiple entries divided by a / indicate multiple pronunciations that are equally common. Cells with entries in parentheses indicate that the parenthesized word is an uncommon or archaic pronunciation. 2