350 Japanese Counters Grouped by Usefulness Divided into 2 Absolutely Must-Know, 17 Must-Know, 47 Common, and so on

    In our main Japanese counters article, you learned what counters are and how to use them. You also learned that around 500 counters exist, though not all of them are in common (or even uncommon) use. We took this list and reduced the number to 350, then categorized them by how useful they are.

    Although this Japanese counters list is extremely thorough, you don't have to learn everything here. You can get away with memorizing anywhere between two, nineteen, or sixty-six counters, depending on what your goals are. Here's how we broke things down:

    Absolutely Must-Know Counters: 2
    Must-Know Counters: 17
    Common Counters: 47
    Somewhat Common Counters: 205
    Rare But Interesting Counters: 22
    Gairaigo Counters: 57

    One more note is that some of the "counters" in here are actually "units" having to do with time, weight, speed, etc. But, since those units work grammatically the same as counters and mostly follow the same reading rules, we included them on our counters list. Plus, they're all counting something, technically, be it days, hours, minutes, etc.


    Prerequisite: You'll want to make sure you know how to read hiragana. If you get to the gairaigo counters, you'll need to know how to read katakana as well. There will also be times we mention the "kango/wago/gairaigo counting method." You can learn all three Japanese numbering systems in our Counting in Japanese article. Knowing the kanji for the numbers will help too. In our example sentences and explanations, we equally use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3) and Japanese kanji (一, 二, 三), since both are quite common in Japanese.


    around 500 counters exist, though not all of them are in common (or even uncommon) use.

    As this is a reference guide, we highly recommend you CTRL/CMD+F to find the counter you're looking for. If we have an individual (and more thorough) separate article for the counter, there will be a link to take you there. We recommend reading those individual counters articles when you can, as they go into much greater detail than we're able to here. In this article, we just give you an overview of each counter without going too deep.

    To assist you in your studies more, we've also created a complimentary spreadsheet that contains all of the counters in this article plus how to count with them. To download it, just sign up for our email list. We'll use it to notify you about new Japanese language articles, Japanese resources, article giveaways (such as this one), as well as any sales and new product releases.

    2 Absolutely Must-Know Japanese Counters

    There are only two absolutely must-know Japanese counters. They are 〜つ and 個 (こ). Why only these two? In a way, they're magical. They can be used to count just about anything. If you are lazy, or if you don't know the correct counter for something, you can just use these and it will (probably) make sense.

    The 〜つ Counter

    I've listed 〜つ as a counter, but actually it's just the original wago (Japanese) form of counting. If you don't know what wago counting is (it's not ichi, ni, san), check out our How To Count In Japanese guide.

    Probably thanks to the fact that this "counter" is just numbers, it can be used to count just about anything in Japanese. Things with shape, things without shape, abstract things, number order, little kids' ages, thoughts, ideas, and pretty much everything else. It's extremely versatile and helpful for when you don't know the specific counter for something.

    Counts: just about everything.

    • ミカンが3つあります。
    • There are three oranges.
    • コウちゃんはまだ2つだもんね。
    • Kō-chan is still two years old, right?
    • ビール4つと水1つ、それから枝豆5つください。
    • Can we get four beers, one water, and five edamame, please.
    • まだ6つしかアイディアを思いついていません。
    • I only came up with six ideas.

    Although the explanation "it can count anything" is pretty right on the money (and self-explanatory), you can read more about the counter 〜つ here.

    The 個 (こ) Counter

    It's important to compare the counter 個 with 〜つ to understand its limitations.

    個 is just the kango, a.k.a. Chinese version of 〜つ. Like 〜つ, you can count almost anything with this counter, though it's slightly less versatile. Think of it this way: if the thing you're counting has a boundary to it, you can use 個. If it doesn't have a distinct boundary, or it's too abstract, it's an age, or it's related to number order, it's more common to use 〜つ.

    Counts: pretty much anything with a distinct shape or boundary.

    • りんごが7個あります。
    • There are seven apples.
    • おでこにニキビが3個もできた。
    • I got three pimples on my forehead.

    It's important to compare the counter 個 with 〜つ to understand its limitations (it's only almost as flexible as 〜つ), so I'd recommend you read our article on the counter 個.

    17 Must-Know Japanese Counters

    Congratulations! You've walked through the "Absolutely Must-Know Counters" group only to find yourself in the very similar "Must-Know Counters" group. We'll be covering seventeen Japanese counters in this section. The first eight follow regular pronunciation rules (本, 枚, 匹, 頭, 羽, 冊, 台, 分, 年 and 回), the other seven (日, 人, 月, 時, 時間, 階, and 歳) don't. For more information on pronunciation rules when counting with counters, look for our table in the big Japanese counters guide.

    本 (ほん)

    number two pencil on bkue background

    Usually, the 本 counter is taught as the counter for "stick-shaped or long" things. That covers most of its use, but 本 can actually count seven different categories of things, which we broke down in great detail in our 本 counter guide.

    Counts: pens, pencils, asparagus, soba, darts, firewood, trees, bamboo, cords, threads, dumplings, water wells, injections, folding fans, eels, tails, nail clippers, icicles, fishing rods, film, chimneys, tenugui, trains, sashes, telephone poles, cylindrical batteries, bottles, tires, ribbons, cacti, soda cans, and much, much more.

    • ペンを1本貸してくれませんか?
    • Could you lend me one of your pens?
    • この袋にはニンジンが6本入っています。
    • There are six carrots in this bag.
    • コウイチの竹刀を3本プレゼントします。
    • We'll give away three of Koichi's bamboo swords.

    枚 (まい)

    The main thing that 〜枚 does is count flat things. With that, you'll be fine most of the time. This counter counts a really wide variety of things. Like 本, it is quite versatile considering it's a pretty specific counter. We wrote about the four categories of the counter 枚 in our 枚 counter article.

    Counts: paper, photos, rafts, bath mats, shells, playing cards, credit cards, t-shirts, pants, other clothes, dust cloths, walls, a single serving of soba, a single serving of gyoza, and much, much more.

    • 100枚の折り紙が必要です。
    • I need 100 pieces of origami paper.
    • トーフグのステッカーを10枚買った。
    • I bought ten Tofugu stickers.

    匹 (ひき)

    red cat with blue markings

    The counter 〜匹 is used to count small or medium-sized animals. If you can pick the animal, fish, bird, or insect up, you can probably count it with 匹. For larger animals, 頭 (とう) is the more common counter, though for some reason Godzilla is still counted with 匹. Curious why? Read our article on the Japanese counter 匹 for a much more thorough explanation.

    Counts: dogs, cats, monkeys, fish, prawns, shrimps, lobsters, wolves, rabbits (unless they're counted with 羽), mosquitoes, shellfish, deer, worms, caterpillars, silkworms, earthworms, frogs, snails, crabs, tortoises, turtles, octopuses, animals, insects, dragonflies, sea otters, ogres, monsters, naughty children, animal-like people, etc.

    • 犬を1匹と猫を2匹飼っています。
    • We have one dog and two cats.
    • この池には3匹のカメがいます。
    • There are three turtles in this pond.

    頭 (とう)

    As we mentioned in the 匹 section, 頭 is generally used for large-sized animals. If you can't pick the animal up, chances are you could count it with 頭. That being said, there are some exceptions where 頭 is used for smaller animals, and 匹 gets used for bigger ones (like Godzilla). For more details and information on exceptions, read our article on the 頭 counter.

    Counts: cows, horses, livestock, elephants, gorillas, whales, camels, tigers, "professional" animals, insects on display, animals for sale, etc.

    • クリスマスにサンタクロースから牛を8頭もらった。
    • Santa gave me eight cows on Christmas Day.
    • この動物園には、象が2頭います。
    • In this zoo, there are two elephants.

    羽 (わ)

    blue rabbit with red ears

    The counter 羽 is used to count birds. 羽 by itself means wings, though you shouldn't use it to count insects. The only weird thing: you can count rabbits with 羽 as well! Learn all about this counter in the in-depth article we wrote about the counter 羽.

    Counts: chickens, ostriches, peacocks, penguins, other birds, also rabbits, origami cranes, etc.

    • 庭には2羽ニワトリがいます。
    • In the yard, there are two chickens.
    • あそこに鷹が3羽いるのが見えますか?
    • Can you see three hawks over there?

    冊 (さつ)

    The counter 冊 is used to count books. From the kanji, you can see it looks just like a book from the side. Don't confuse this with the counter 本 which, ironically, is not used to count books (even though the word 本 means "book"). This is a pretty straightforward counter, but you can still learn more by reading the in-depth article we wrote about it.

    Counts: books, book collections, albums, notebooks, memo pads, musical scores, catalogs, magazines, dictionaries, publications, documents, booklets, etc.

    • コウイチは毎日7冊本を読みます。
    • Koichi reads seven books every day.
    • この図書館には、マンガが25冊あります。
    • There are twenty-five manga books in this library.

    台 (だい)

    red car with blue tires

    台 is used to count a variety of fairly unrelated things, making it somewhat less straightforward than your average counter. It is used to count platforms you can stand or put things on, machines, cars, large instruments, and more. Check out our 台 counter article to learn more.

    Counts: playground slides, beds, tables, couches, harps, pianos, cellos, cars, trucks, motors, washing machines, dryers, ovens, air conditioners, microwaves, cellular phones, keyboards, and more.

    • ベンはベンツを9台もっています。
    • Ben owns nine Mercedes Benz cars.
    • リビングルームにグランドピアノが1台あります。
    • There is one grand piano in the living room.

    分 (ふん)

    分 is technically a unit for minutes, but it looks and smells like a counter (it follows all the same grammatical and reading rules). For each 分 you count, another minute has been counted. To read more about this counter/unit, check out our in-depth article all about 分.

    Counts: minutes (time/degree)

    • ごめん!1分遅刻しそう。
    • Sorry! I'll be a minute late.
    • 今ちょうど4時44分になったところです。
    • It's just turned 4:44 right now.

    日 (か/にち)

    This is the counter for days. There's nothing particularly complicated about it, but the readings can be tricky because they are a mixture of wago and kango. You can learn all about it in our deep-dive article about the counter 日.

    Counts: days, specific days of the month

    • この記事を読むのに10日かかった。
    • It took me ten days to read this article.
    • 来月の3日って何してる?
    • What are you up to on the third day of next month?

    年 (ねん)

    1年には365日ある。
    There are 365 days in a year.

    The 年 counter is used to count years (one year, two years, three years, etc.), but it can also be an ordinal number (first, second, third) for someone's grade in school. For example, 1年 is grade one, 2年 is grade two, etc. That means the first year of high school/college/university would be 1年, and a person who is in their first year is an 一年生 (いちねんせい), or "first-year student." Unlike some of the other time-related Japanese counters, 年 just uses kango for its counting method. We cover all this in-depth in our giant article about the Japanese counter 年.

    Counts: years, grades

    • 1年には365日ある。
    • There are 365 days in a year.
    • 今、大学一年生です。
    • I'm in the first year of university now.

    回 (かい)

    回 is used to count the number of times something happens, or frequency. It's often translated to "times" because 1回 is "one time," 100回 is "one hundred times." This isn't a multiplier, though. If you ate dinner 2回, you just ate dinner twice, you didn't eat twice as much dinner, necessarily. You can read much more about the Japanese counter 回 in our in-depth article.

    Counts: the number of times something happens, chances, opportunities, revolutions, etc.

    • 日本には何回行ったことがありますか?
    • How many times have you been to Japan?
    • 百回以上ありますね。
    • Over a hundred times, I guess.

    人 (り/にん)

    woman in a striped shirt

    The kanji 人 means "person." The counter 人 follows suit by counting numbers of people. Beyond people, it can also count things we treat like people, such as fairies, elves, and even your pets, if you treat them like family. It goes much deeper than that, and you can learn more in the article we wrote about the 人 counter.

    It's also important to note that the first two people (一人、二人) get counted using the wago counting method. Three people and up (三人) are just counted in kango.

    Counts: humans, people, angels, mermaids, Doraemon, humanoids, pets that are like family, etc.

    • 1人は怖いから嫌だよ!
    • I don't want to be alone because I'll be scared.
    • 教室には天使が7人座っていた。
    • There were seven angels sitting in the classroom.

    月 (つき/がつ)

    月 is a counter used to count the number of months ("10 months" is 10ヶ月) as well as identify the calendar month ("October" is 10月). Depending on what you're counting or how it's used, the way it gets read (つき vs げつ vs がつ) changes, so be aware of that. To read up on this counter, check out our full deep-dive into 月.

    Counts: months, calendar months

    • あと1月でお正月だね。
    • It will be the New Year in one month.
    • 僕の誕生日は1月1日です。
    • My birthday is January first.

    時 (じ)

    Like 分 (minutes), this is not technically a counter, but instead a unit for hours. Usually, 時 is translated to "o'clock" as in "twelve o'clock." There are some pronunciation exceptions you will need to consider too. This "counter" is extremely common and useful, so ideally you'll need to memorize the numbers 1–24 (you know, the number of hours that are in a day). Read all about the Japanese counter 時 in our deep-dive article.

    Counts: o'clock

    • 今何時ですか?
    • What time is it?
    • 3時です。
    • It is three o'clock.
    • 14時56分です。
    • It's 2:56 p.m.

    時間 (じかん)

    alarm clock with two bells on top

    By itself the word 時間 means "time." As a counter, 時間 will count number of hours, as in "three hours" or "twenty-four hours." You can learn way more about this counter in our in-depth 時間 article.

    Counts: hours

    • トーフグの昼休みは3時間もある。
    • Tofugu has a three-hour lunch break.
    • 二時間後に会いましょう。
    • Let's meet up in two hours.

    階 (かい)

    The 階 counter counts building floors. Which floor would you like to go up to? The 100th floor (100階) or the 3rd floor (3階)? Or why don't you just forget all that and come on up to 42階 instead?

    Take your knowledge of 階 to the next level (or floor) by reading our in-depth write-up about it.

    Counts: a building's floors

    • 私の部屋は12階にあります。
    • My room is on the twelfth floor.
    • この家は3階建てです。
    • This is a three-story house.

    歳 (さい)

    The 歳 counter is used to count age. This works for people, animals, and more. Note that there is another (simpler) kanji for the same thing, which is 才. Technically they both make sense, but 歳 is more correct, if you're able to use it.

    Counts: age in years

    • コウイチのお婆ちゃんって今何歳?
    • How old is Koichi's grandma now?
    • 369歳だよ。
    • She is 369 years old.

    47 Common Japanese Counters

    This section covers the counters we deemed as quite "common" or "useful." Although they aren't part of the absolutely must-know list, they will enhance the quality of your day-to-day Japanese language life. They are still "common," after all. Some are going to be everyday use, while others are less common but important to know for formal or specific situations. At some point, you'll need to learn all of these if you're serious about becoming fluent in Japanese.

    円 (えん)

    japanese five yen coin

    This is the unit for the Japanese currency, the yen. You'd use this to count an amount of yen.

    Counts: yen

    • 100円しか持っていません。
    • I only have ¥100.
    • このジャケット、1万3千900円だって。
    • It says this jacket is ¥13,900.

    箇月(かげつ)

    箇月 is the counter for the number of months. As in, "for three months" or "in three months." More often, you'll see the hiragana か or a small ヵ or ヶ instead of the kanji 箇, which is actually just an archaic version of the counter 個!.

    Counts: number of months

    • 日本語を3ヶ月勉強しました。
    • I studied Japanese for three months.
    • 1か月後にアメリカに帰ります。
    • I'm going back to America in one month.

    箇国 (かこく)

    箇国 is used to count the number of individual countries. If you're just generally counting countries, just the counter 国 will be fine. 箇国 emphasizes that they are individual and different. The kanji 箇 is often written with the hiragana か or a small ヵ or ヶ.

    Counts: individual countries

    • 今まで16ヵ国に行ったことがあります。
    • I've been to sixteen different countries.
    • 先月ここで日米2ヵ国会議が開かれました。
    • The Japan-US bilateral meeting was held here last month.

    箇所 (かしょ)

    This counter is used to count places, spots, points, passages, etc. Basically any kind of place. The kanji 箇 is often written with the hiragana か or a small ヵ or ヶ.

    Counts: places, spots, points, passages, parts, typos, water supply points, movie theaters, shopping malls, toilets, mosquito bites, scars, broken parts of something, parts that need to be fixed, changed parts, dangerous areas, etc.

    • ここに1ヶ所スペルミスがあるよ。
    • There is a typo right here.
    • 4か所も蚊に刺された。
    • I got four mosquito bites.
    • この地域にはガソリンスタンドが3箇所あります。
    • There are three gas stations in this area.

    缶 (かん)

    cola can with a straw

    This word means can (as in an aluminum can). Its reading is (coincidentally) "kan," and it can be used to count cans. The first two cans can be counted with either wago or kango numbers. "One can" is 1缶, read as either いっかん or ひとかん. "Two cans" is 2缶, read as either にかん or ふたかん. From three cans and up you use the kango counting method. When a can is empty—or when it's a garbage can—you'll generally want to use the counter 個 instead of 缶.

    Counts: soda cans, beer cans, tuna cans, bean cans, milk cans, spray cans, paint cans, tea leaves in tins, etc.

    • ツナ缶5缶とコーラ12缶を買った。
    • I bought five cans of tuna and twelve cans of cola.
    • アールグレーを3缶ください。
    • Can I have three cans of Earl Grey tea?

    巻 (かん)

    ワンピースを32巻買い揃えた。
    I bought thirty-two volumes of One Piece.

    This is used to count volumes of a series of books, videotapes, cassette tapes, etc. It can also be used as an ordinal number suffix to show which item in a series it is. For example, ハリーポッターの13巻目 is "the thirteenth Harry Potter book in the series."

    Counts: volumes of books, cassette tapes, videotapes, DVDs, etc. that are in a series, and scrolls.

    • ワンピースを32巻買い揃えた。
    • I bought thirty-two volumes of One Piece.
    • ワンピースの33巻を貸してくれない?
    • Can you lend me the thirty-third volume of One Piece?

    曲 (きょく)

    The word 曲 just means song. When used as a counter, it can count the number of songs.

    Counts: songs, music

    • 5曲しか歌わなかった。
    • I only sang five songs.
    • このリストの2曲目に入っている曲、すごく好きかも。
    • I think I really like the second song on this list.

    切れ (きれ)

    slice of yakiniku meat

    切る means "to cut." The counter 切れ is used to count cut/sliced things (especially foods). You'll see this used to count slices of sashimi or filets of meat, for example.

    Counts: sliced pieces of fish (including sashimi), slices of meat, mochi (rice cakes), slices of bread, slices of cake, slices of pizza, slices of okonomiyaki, cuts of cheese, etc.

    • 刺し身、3切れしか残ってないの?
    • Are there only three pieces of sashimi left?
    • パンと1切れとケーキ2切れじゃ足りないよ。
    • One piece of bread and two pieces of cake aren't enough for me.

    口 (くち)

    口 by itself means "mouth." When used as a counter, it counts "bites." This is the main use case for this counter, but there are other meanings as well. Things like a set price of a contribution, submissions to a contest, bank accounts, and a "share" of insurance.

    Counts: bites (e.g., "one bite of chicken"), sips (e.g., "one sip of strawberry milk"), swords, suspended temple bells, submissions to win a prize, the set price of a contribution, a set donation amount, shares of insurance

    • 1口飲ませて!
    • Let me have a sip!
    • 3口しか食べてないのにお腹がいっぱいになってしまった。
    • I only had three bites but it made me full.

    組 (くみ)

    The 組 counter is used to count a set, a group, or a pair of something. Quite commonly, you'll see it used to categorize classrooms too. One class will be named 4組 (fourth class group), another 8組 (eighth class group). If you're watching Japanese TV or reading Japanese manga, and someone's going to school, this will surely show up!

    Counts: a couple of lovers, a couple of groups, a pair of earrings, a pair of gloves or mittens, a set of playing cards, a set of futon bedding, a set of stacked food boxes, a jacket and pants suit set, as an ordinal number suffix for a classroom number, etc.

    • この番組からカップルが3組誕生した。
    • This show created three couples.
    • 2組のコウイチくんって知ってる?
    • Do you know Koichi-kun from Class 2?

    件 (けん)

    The word 件 means "a matter" or "a case." As a counter, it counts those "matters" and "cases." The definition is a bit vague, but that's because it covers a lot of categories. Check out the "counts" list for more details.

    Counts: proposals, suggestions, legislative bills, agenda items, projects, plans, crimes, incidents, scandals, complaints, objections, contracts, agreements, emails, financing, loans, troubles, bankruptcies, page views, Internet access numbers, voice mail messages, etc.

    • 先週、この町で殺人事件が2件も起きたそうです。
    • Apparently there were two murders in this town last week.
    • この記事には10万件のアクセスがあった。
    • This article got 100,000 views.

    軒 (けん)

    yellow house with red roof

    The kanji itself means "eaves" (i.e., "eaves of a house"). As a counter it's used to count houses, buildings, shops, restaurants, farms, factories, and so on. It can also be used to count mailing addresses. If, for example, we sent WaniKani stickers to 100 people/addresses, we would say we sent stickers to 100軒.

    Counts: houses, shops, restaurants, warehouses, factories, farms, households, recipients, apartment buildings, apartments, hermitages, tenements, etc.

    • この地域にはカレー屋さんが5軒もある。
    • There are five curry restaurants in this area.
    • UFOが墜落して、4軒が全壊した。
    • A UFO crashed and four houses were completely destroyed.

    語 (ご)

    This counter is used to count words. For example, if this article has 30,000 words, you could say 30,000語. Alternatively, you can use the gairaigo counter ワード, though I think 語 is more common.

    Counts: words

    • 480語以上、500語以内でエッセイを書きなさい。
    • Write an essay with 480 to 500 words.
    • 新しい単語を20語覚えました。
    • I remembered twenty new words.

    校 (こう)

    校 is used to count the number of schools. It can also be used to count the number of proofreading (校正) corrections.

    Counts: schools, elementary schools, pre-schools, junior high schools, secondary schools, private schools, public schools, high schools, colleges, universities, cram schools, proofreading corrections, etc.

    • 3校合同で遠足に行った。
    • Three schools went on a school trip together.
    • ここに決める前に、7校の塾に見学に行きました。
    • Before deciding on this one, I went to see seven other cram schools.

    皿 (さら)

    plate of japanese curry

    皿 means "dish" or "plate," referring to dishes or plates of food. For empty plates, you can still use 皿, but the counter 枚 will be more common for this. If you want to count individual pieces of food on the plate, you'll want to use 品 (しな). You can use 皿 to count laboratory dishes as well (like the ones that grow bacteria). For one and two plates, use the wago reading (ひとさら、ふたさら). Three can be either (みさら or さんさら). From four on up, just use kango.

    Counts: plates, dishes, lab dishes, food on a plate/dish, one serving of soba (usually cold), etc.

    • ボロネーゼパスタを1皿注文した。
    • I ordered a Spaghetti Bolognese.
    • 皿そば3皿で1人前になります。
    • Three plates of sara soba noodles is considered to be one portion.

    試合 (しあい)

    The word 試合 means "game" (generally referring to a sports game). This counter counts these games. You'll especially see this counter used for Japanese sports—foreign sports may use the gairaigo counter ゲーム instead.

    Counts: games, matches

    • マイケルは4試合連続でホームランを打った。
    • Michael hit home runs in four consecutive games.
    • 2試合目に強豪チームと当たるんです。
    • We will play against a powerful team in the second game.

    品 (しな/ひん)

    品 is used to count items, products, or dishes of food. In situations where it's pronounced しな, you'll want to use the wago counting method for one (一品/ひとしな) and two (二品/ふたしな). After that it's all kango. When pronounced as ひん, this counter just uses the kango counting method right from the start.

    Counts: dishes of food, a meal's course dish, items, products

    • 前菜は3品ご用意しております。
    • We prepared three dishes for the appetizer.
    • フリマで手作りのブローチを30品出品した。
    • I displayed thirty handmade brooches at the flea market.

    社 (しゃ)

    The 社 counter is used to count companies (会社) or temples (神社).

    Counts: companies, publishers, newspaper companies, shrines etc.

    • 4社から内定をもらった。
    • I got a promise of employment from four companies.
    • 100社以上に電話をかけたが、全部にノーと言われた。
    • I called over 100 companies, but all of them said "no."

    種類(しゅるい)

    種類 means "variety," "kind," "type," etc., and the counter version is used to count those "kinds" of things.

    Counts: kinds, varieties, types

    • 7種類のスパイスを混ぜました。
    • I mixed seven different kinds of spices.
    • 人の口臭には約10種類の臭いがあるらしい。
    • I read that a human has around ten different kinds of smells for their bad breath.

    週 (しゅう)

    1週間ずっと風邪で寝込んでいた。
    I had a cold and was in bed all week.

    週 is used to count weeks. Most of the time, you'll want to add the suffix 間 (かん) which changes "week" to "for __ weeks." For example, 2週間 would mean "for two weeks," and 5週間 would mean "for five weeks."

    If you add the ordinal number suffix 目 to 週 it identifies which week you're talking about. 3週目 means "the third week," and 1週目 means "the first week." Alternatively, you could add the ordinal number prefix 第 (だい). 第1週 would mean "the first week" as well.

    Counts: weeks

    • 1週間ずっと風邪で寝込んでいた。
    • I had a cold and was in bed all week.
    • 7月の3週目にポートランドに行く予定です。
    • I'm planning to go to Portland in the third week of July.

    周 (しゅう)

    周 is used to count rounds. By that I mean circuits around a track, laps, revolutions, etc. Check out 回り/廻り/周り (all まわり) for something similar.

    Counts: the number of times you go around something, circuits, rounds, laps, rounds of golf, instances of traveling around something/somewhere, courses, revolutions etc.

    • 公園を1周して帰ろう。
    • Let's walk around the park and then go home.
    • 4周目でハチに刺された。
    • On the fourth lap I was stung by a bee.

    色 (しょく/いろ)

    rainbow of red blue and yellow

    The kanji/vocabulary of 色 means "color." The counter version just counts number of colors. A rainbow, for example, consists of seven colors. That would be 七色 (なないろ or ななしょく). Although the number of colors in a rainbow can be read two ways, generally when you count colors you'll just use the kango readings: いっしょく, にしょく, さんしょく, etc.

    Counts: colors

    • 7色の虹が空にかかっている。
    • There is a seven-colored rainbow in the sky.
    • 母に12色入り色鉛筆と4色ボールペンを買ってもらった。
    • My mom bought me a set of twelve colored pencils and one four-color pen.

    席 (せき)

    席 means "seat," and the counter version just counts seats. In addition to this, it can be used to count meetings or entertainment performances and rankings in a competition or contest. I've heard people pronounce the first two 席s as ひとせき and ふたせき, but it's more correct to use the kango counting method for all of them.

    Counts: seats, parties, banquets, performances, Rakugo performances, drinking parties, meetings, as an ordinal number suffix for ranking in a competition/contest, etc.

    • 空席は残り8席となっております。
    • There are only eight available seats left.
    • 余興に落語の席を一席設けた。
    • I put on a Rakugo performance for entertainment.

    戦 (せん)

    This kanji refers to a war, a battle, or a match. The counter version counts matches, fights, battles, or even sports game matches.

    Counts: skirmishes in a war, sports fights, martial arts fights, real fights, matches, video game matches, sports games, games, board game matches, Chess matches, Shōgi matches, etc.

    • 結果は5戦3勝2敗でした。
    • The result was three wins and two losses in five games.
    • 4戦目でやっとクッパを倒した。
    • I finally beat Bowser on the fourth try.

    足 (そく)

    two red boots counted with japanese counter soku

    This kanji means foot/leg. As a counter it counts pairs of shoes, slippers, sandals, boots, socks, and so on. Basically things you put on your feet and legs.

    Counts: shoes, socks, stockings, slippers, zōri (Japanese sandals), tabi (Japanese socks), geta (wooden Japanese shoes), clogs, roller skates, rollerblades, ice skates, flip flops, boots, rain boots, sheets of dried squid, etc.

    • 靴下3足で500円だって。
    • It says three pairs of socks for ¥500.
    • パンプスは1足も持っていません。
    • I don't have even one pair of pumps.

    束 (たば)

    束 means "a bunch," or "a bundle." Use wago for one and two bunches, either kango or wago for three bunches, and kango for four bunches and up. There's also another Japanese counter for bundles, 把 (わ), but that's for smaller bundles that can be held with one hand. The 把 counter is becoming uncommon and archaic, though.

    Counts: bundles of asparagus, soba noodles, firewood, scallions, green onions, ropes, konbu, noodles, incense sticks, papers, bills, bouquets, sets of newspapers or origami cranes, etc.

    • スーパーでアスパラを3束買いました。
    • I bought three bundles of asparagus at the grocery store.
    • 公園に今日の朝刊10束が捨てられていた。
    • There were ten bundles of today's morning paper dumped in the park.

    玉 (たま)

    eight silver pachinko balls

    玉 means ball, bead, and even testicles. As a counter it's used to count round things, such as tomatoes, peaches, heads of lettuce, cabbage, and of course, testicles. It can also be used to count tangled balls of string, and other "ball-shaped" things, even if they're not ball-shaped when taken apart. For example, a ball of yarn could be counted with 玉. Or even a portion of noodles. Instead of 玉, though, it's probably more common to use the general counter 個. One exception to this is pachinko balls, which are pretty much always counted with 玉, no matter what.

    For one or two balls, use the wago counting method (ひとたま, ふたたま). After that, it's all kango all the way.

    Counts: ball-shaped things; round fruit such as peaches, melons, watermelons, tomatoes, and persimmons; round vegetables such as onions, cabbage, lettuce, and even Chinese cabbage (despite it not being super round); balls of noodles such as yakisoba, udon, soba, ramen, and konnyaku noodles; balls of yarn, balls of wire, pachinko balls, etc.

    • 今日はトマト1玉21円ですって。
    • One tomato is ¥21 today.
    • アヤのテレビの前には、赤色の毛玉が5玉飾られています。
    • Five knitted wool balls were displayed in front of Aya's TV.

    段 (だん)

    This counter can count a variety of things, including stairs, steps, shelves, the number of drawers, layers, floors of a bunk bed, stages of a rocket, ranks in martial arts, paragraphs, and even columns. What do these things have in common? Despite being totally different, they also all have pretty distinct layers/levels to them, and they're organized vertically (for the most part).

    Counts: steps of stairs, shelves (when multiple shelves are installed vertically), cake tiers, bunk bed levels, drawers (when multiple drawers are installed vertically), stages such as rocket stages, martial arts ranks, Japanese calligraphy ranks, paragraphs, columns, etc.

    • 階段を2段飛ばしで上った。
    • I ran up the stairs, two at a time.
    • 2段ベッドの上の段に寝ているのがうちの息子です。
    • The boy who is sleeping in the top bunk is our son.

    着 (ちゃく)

    red shirt with a white stripe

    This counter is used to count clothes—one coat, ten skirts, etc. But, it is also the ordinal number suffix for first place, second place, etc., in a race. This is because the word 着く means "to arrive." First place is the first to arrive, right? Anyways, as a regular counter, it's just about clothes.

    Counts: clothes or garments such as overcoats, coats, cloaks, kimono, yukata, suits, raincoats, dresses, skirts, jackets, swimsuits, costumes, robes, suits of armor, etc. It's also the ordinal number suffix for first, second, third, etc., place in a race.

    • コートを4着持っています。
    • I have four coats.
    • 徒競走で1着になった。
    • I got first place in the footrace.

    通 (つう)

    通 can count quite a few things, but they generally fall into the categories "messages" and "official documents." Under messages, you get things like emails, letters, comments, telegrams, faxes, answering machine messages, job applications, and survey responses. Under official documents, you have things like bills, reports, licenses, passports, or bankbooks.

    Counts: written postcards, greeting cards, letters, mail, memos, notes, wills, telegrams, fax messages, written contracts, emails, job applications, sealed documents, official papers, bills, witness reports, work invoices, survey answer responses, driver's licenses, passports, bankbooks, school report cards, etc.

    • 未読のメールが1000通もある。
    • There are 1,000 unread emails.
    • トーフグオフィスにコウイチへのラブレターが1通届いた。
    • A love letter to Koichi arrived at the Tofugu office.

    粒 (つぶ)

    slender jar filled with beans

    The 粒 counter is used to count small, round things—usually quite small. Think in terms of little things you can pile up and collect in a jar or other container.

    Counts: manila clams, beans, peas, candy drops, umeboshi, teardrops, raindrops, water drops, caviar, fish roe balls, pills, tablets, grains of rice, other grains, raisins, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, grains of sand, rubies, small stones, pebbles, sea salt grains, seeds, almonds, other nuts, etc.

    • コウイチのデスクの下に小豆が3粒落ちていた。
    • There were three adzuki beans underneath Koichi's desk.
    • 私にも飴玉1粒ちょうだい。
    • Give me a candy drop too.

    点 (てん)

    高級時計5点が盗まれた。
    We had 5 high-end watches stolen.

    This word means "dot" or "point." As a counter it's used to count items, scores, dots, points, fulcrums, and any kind of artwork including paintings, sculptures, literature, and even films. When counting scores, 点 can be applicable to the score of a sports game as well as your score on a test.

    Counts: dots, points, fulcrums; items and products such as accessories, curtains, furniture, vases, pottery, cloth, stuffed animals, and rings; artwork such as carvings, pictures, paintings, drawings, portraits, novels and other literature; test scores, sports game scores, eye drops, etc.

    • 高級時計5点が盗まれた。
    • We had five high-end watches stolen.
    • テストの点は95点でした。
    • My exam score was nintey-five.

    度 (ど/たび)

    The 度 counter has eight different use categories, but the most common one is "number of times." It can also be used to count a degree angle, as well as degrees of temperature. Depending on what you use it for, 度 can be read as either ど or たび. The numbering system can either be wago or kango, depending on the number and what you're counting: it's kango for ど and wago for たび, but たび is only used to count up to the number three in modern Japanese.

    Counts: the number of times something happens, chances, opportunities, experiences, series of actions, divided actions, degrees, temperature, etc.

    • 1度2人で話をしませんか?
    • Why don't we set a time for us to talk alone?
    • 熱が39度ある。
    • My temperature is thirty-nine degrees.

    杯 (はい)

    beer in a glass counter with japanese counter hai

    杯 is used to count liquids in cups or bowls. That means you can count things like bowls of soup, mugs of coffee, glasses of juice, measuring spoons of vanilla, measuring cups of chicken broth, and so on. In addition, you can use 杯 to count squid, cuttlefish, crabs, and sometimes octopuses. 杯 can also count ships, battleships, racing yachts, and other boats, but this usage isn't so common.

    Counts: bowls of rice, donburi, soba, ramen, udon, stew, curry, ochazuke, and so on; cups/glasses/mugs of milk, water, beer, whiskey, cocktails, juice, tea, coffee, and other drinks; octopuses, squid, crabs, various ships, etc.

    • ジュースを9杯もおかわりした。
    • I refilled my juice nine times.
    • お茶碗1杯のご飯でお腹がいっぱいになった。
    • I got full from one bowl of rice.

    泊 (はく)

    泊 is used to count overnight stays or rentals. If you ever stay at a hotel, this will be a useful counter for you to know!

    Counts: number of overnight stays, number of overnights, number of overnight rentals

    • 3泊4日で東京旅行に行ってきた。
    • I went on a three-night and four-day trip to Tokyo.
    • このホテルは、1泊49000円です。
    • This hotel costs ¥49,000 per night.

    箱 (はこ)

    cardboard box with tape

    This word means "box," and the counter version is used to count boxes. Pretty much any kind is fine. Boxes of diapers, sponge cake, snacks, tea leaves, etc. The only exception to this is small disposable wooden/cardboard boxes filled with sweets, a meal, or bento. These are counted with 折 (おり). When counting with 箱, use wago or kango for one and two. Sometimes use wago for three boxes, but mostly stick with kango. From four and above, use the kango counting method.

    Counts: cardboard boxes, wooden boxes, lunchboxes, boxes, boxes, boxes

    • コストコでオムツを3箱買った。
    • I bought three boxes of diapers at Costco.
    • 1箱買うと、2箱目が無料になります。
    • If you buy one box, the second box is free.

    発 (はつ)

    発 counts bullets, bullet marks, explosives, fireworks, shots fired (including farts), and a lot more. There are even more details to learn in our full article on this counter.

    Counts: bullets, bullet marks, explosives, fireworks, shots fired, farts, punches, kicks, bombs, cannons, missiles, rockets, tennis shots, kendo attacks, baseball hits, home runs, sex, jokes, etc.

    • コウイチにオナラを9発かまされた。
    • Koichi shot nine farts at me.
    • ムカついたので、ジャガイモを1発殴ってやった。
    • I was annoyed, so I punched the potatoes.

    番 (ばん)

    番 is an ordinal number suffix to show one's order, turn, or rank. If you're number one, you're 一番. It is common for 番 to be combined with another ordinal number suffix, 目 (め): 一番目, 二番目, etc. This shows the "first" and "second" (and so on) of something. The number fourteen bus, for example, would be 14番目.

    Counts: turns, orders, rank, numbers, Go/Shōgi/Chess matches, sumo matches, Noh theaters, verses of a song, etc.

    • マミの成績はいつもクラスで2番です。
    • Mami always get second place test results in the class.
    • 3番の歌詞がどうしても思い出せない。
    • I can't remember how the third verse of the song goes.

    秒 (びょう)

    秒 is a unit of time used for seconds. It also can be used for angles, latitude, and longitude. The reading is all kango.

    Counts: seconds as a unit of time, angles, latitude, longitude

    • ビエトは19秒息を止めていた。
    • Viet didn't breathe for nineteen seconds.
    • こんな問題1秒で解けるよ。
    • I can solve this problem in one second.

    便 (びん)

    便 is used to count the number of flights, boats shipping out, long-distance buses, etc. over a period of time. It can also be used as an ordinal number suffix for delivery or transportation. If you're referring to a flight number, for example, you could use this ordinal number suffix.

    Counts: flights, ships shipping out, long-distance bus trips, deliveries, instances of transportation, flight numbers, bus numbers, etc.

    • ここから日本へのフライトは1日1便しかない。
    • There is only one flight per day from here to Japan.
    • 僕たちが乗る飛行機の便名はAC567便だよ。
    • The number of our flight is AC567.
    • もう1便は行ってしまったので、第2便での配達になります。
    • The first delivery crew left already, so it'll be delivered with the second crew.

    袋 (ふくろ)

    袋 means bag, sack, or pouch. As a counter it counts those things. For one or two bags, use the wago counting scheme (ひとふくろ, ふたふくろ). After that use kango.

    Counts: bags, sacks, pouches, plastic bags, paper bags, shopping bags, garbage bags, etc. These bags can be filled with anything too: candy, snacks, rice, spinach, flowers, whatever.

    • 1人でポテチを2袋も食べちゃった。
    • I ate two bags of potato chips all by myself.
    • 7袋あれば足りるかなあ。
    • I wonder if seven bags will be enough?

    部屋 (へや)

    この家には寝室が3部屋あります。
    There are three bedrooms in this house.

    部屋 means "room," and as a counter it counts rooms. For example, if you wanted to count the number of bathrooms in your house, you could use this. For one, two, and sometimes three rooms, use the wago counting method. Beyond that use kango.

    Counts: all rooms, like back rooms, closets, storage rooms, hotel rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, etc.

    • この家には寝室が3部屋あります。
    • There are three bedrooms in this house.
    • その日は残り2部屋しか空きがありません。
    • We only have two rooms left on that day.

    歩 (ほ)

    The kanji 歩 means "walk." As a counter, 歩 counts steps. This can refer to both physical steps while you're walking as well as less physical steps of progress in a project, etc.

    Counts: steps taken while walking, steps of progress in your work, steps of progress in your education/learning, etc.

    • 猛暑で、10歩歩いただけで汗だくになった。
    • It was so hot that I was drenched in sweat after only ten steps.
    • もう3歩ほど後ろに下がってもらえますか?
    • Can you take about three more steps backward?
    • プロジェクトはようやく一歩前進した。
    • The project finally moved one step forward.

    名 (めい)

    名 is a counter for counting people that's more polite than the other person counter, 人. Another difference is that 名 can't be used as an ordinal number suffix like 人 can, so don't try to count the first, second, third (etc.) person. With this one, all you can do is count the number of people.

    Counts: number of people

    • 何名様ですか? かしこまりした。5名様ですね。
    • For how many people? Understood. Five people, right?
    • 4名で予約をしたいんですが。
    • I want to make a reservation for four people.

    文字 (もじ)

    japanese counter moji written in kanji

    文字 means "letters" or "characters," and it's used to count such things. You might use it to count morae (like syllables) in a haiku, but you wouldn't use it to count words in an article. For that, use the counter 字 instead, which also counts blank spaces. That being said, it's common to just use 文字 for this. Twitter's character count is written as140文字 instead of 字, so it's common enough where nobody would notice it's technically incorrect.

    Counts: letters, characters, morae in poetry

    • 俳句は五文字、七文字、五文字で書かないといけません。
    • You need to write haiku with a five-seven-five syllable count.
    • 今の気持ちを三文字で表してください。
    • Express your current mood with three letters/characters.
    • ツイッターの文字制限って140字だっけ?
    • Was Twitter's character limit 140 letters?
    • 400字以内でコウイチへのラブレターを書きなさい。
    • Write a love letter to Koichi within 400 letters.

    問 (もん)

    問 is used to count questions or problems in a test, exam, quiz, textbook, etc. It can also be used with the ordinal number prefix 第 to indicate question number. For example, the third question on a quiz would be 第3問. You can do the same thing with the ordinal number suffix 目. The hundredth question would be 100問目.

    Counts: questions and problems in a quiz, test, exam, textbook, worksheet, etc.

    • 10問中9問不正解だった。
    • I was incorrect on nine out of ten questions.
    • 3問目を間違えた。
    • I got the third question wrong.

    話 (わ)

    television screen showing naruto

    This kanji means "story" or "talk," and as a counter it's used to count stories. This can apply even to drama episodes on TV, as in "three episodes (stories) of Seinfeld." Add the ordinal number suffix 目 or the ordinal number prefix 第 to indicate which story/episode you're talking about. The third story/episode is 第三話 or 三話目, for example.

    Counts: stories, episodes, drama episodes, manga chapters, anime episodes, narratives, myths, folk stories, folk tales, legends, etc.

    • ドラマを10話一気にみた。
    • I watched ten episodes of a drama in one stretch.
    • このアニメは3話目から面白くなってくるんだよ。
    • This anime started getting interesting from the third episode.

    40 Somewhat-Common Japanese Counters

    What follows is a list (and a few examples) of forty somewhat-common Japanese counters. Although you won't come across these counters quite as often as the ones we've written about in detail, most Japanese speakers will know them and know how to use them. Since you'll come across them eventually, it's not a bad idea to learn them ASAP.

    案 (あん)

    The 案 counter counts plans, ideas, projects, and strategies. While you can also use the 〜つ counter to count these things, you'll probably hear 案 used more often in business situations. Count all 案 numbers with kango.

    Counts: plans, ideas, projects, schemes, design ideas, strategies, plots, proposals, suggestions, concepts, bills, program ideas, trap ideas, etc.

    • 新しいトーフグのステッカーのアイディアを10案提出した。
    • I submitted ten new Tofugu sticker design ideas.
    • この2案のプロジェクト案が特に素晴らしいと思います。
    • I think these two project ideas are especially excellent.

    位 (い)

    位 is an ordinal number suffix that's used for classes, grades, ranks, decimal places, and orders (as in the result of a competition or race—this is actually its most common use case). You can also append the ordinal number prefix 第 onto it, as long as you note that it won't take the ordinal number suffix 目. Technically, it can also count the souls and ghosts of the deceased, though that's not common at all.

    Counts: ranks, classes, grades, orders, decimal places, souls, ghosts, etc.

    • 漢字コンテストで1位になった。
    • I got first place in the kanji contest.
    • 小数点第一位の数字を答えよ。
    • Answer to the first decimal place.

    院 (いん)

    The counter 院 counts organizations or institutions whose names end with 院, including hospitals (病院/びょういん), temples or mosques (寺院/じいん), government houses like 上院/じょういん (Upper House) or 下院/かいん (Lower House), etc. One exception is 美容院 (びよういん), beauty salons. Because they're shops, they're counted with 軒 (けん).

    Counts: hospitals, doctor's offices, clinics, temples, mosques, government houses, etc.

    • 9院で院内感染が発生している。
    • The hospital-acquired infection has appeared in nine hospitals.
    • 京都には何院の寺院がありますか?
    • How many temples are there in Kyoto?

    駅 (えき)

    japanese train at train station

    The word 駅 means "station," as in a train station. As a counter, it counts train and bus stations. For the first two of either of those, use the wago counting method: 一駅 is ひとえき, 二駅 is ふたえき. After that, use the kango. You can also use the general counter 〜つ to count stations, especially when you're speaking.

    Counts: train stations, bus stations

    • あと3駅で終着駅です。
    • The terminal station is after three stations.
    • 運動のために、1駅走った。
    • I ran one station's distance for exercise.

    枝 (えだ)

    The word 枝 means "branches," and as a counter, it's used to count branches too. It's most often used for branches with flowers, fruit, or elegant leaves on them. For bare branches, you can use the long stick Japanese counter 本 (ほん), and for one and two, count with the wago counting method. For the rest, use kango.

    Counts: branches with flowers, fruit, leaves

    • とても美しい桜の花ですね。1枝分けてもらえませんか?
    • Such beautiful cherry blossoms. May I take a branch?
    • 2枝に実が成っているね。
    • There's fruit on the two branches.

    園 (えん)

    昨年は、3園の動物園が閉園した。
    Last year, three zoos were closed.

    Institutions that end with 園 or 園地 (えんち), such as zoos (動物園/どうぶつえん), botanical gardens (植物園/しょくぶつえん), theme parks (遊園地/ゆうえんち), gardens (庭園/ていえん), farms (農園/のうえん), orchards (果樹園/かじゅえん), kindergartens (幼稚園/ようちえん), or nursery schools/preschools (保育園/ほいくえん) all use the same counter. You'll see 園 mostly used in writing. When counting schools that use 学園 (がくえん), use either 学園 (がくえん) or 校 (こう) instead of just 園.

    Counts: zoos, botanical gardens, theme parks, farms, orchards, kindergartens, nursery schools, preschools, etc.

    • この区には保育園が7園ある。
    • There are seven daycare centers in this ward.
    • 昨年は、3園の動物園が閉園した。
    • Last year, three zoos were closed.

    折/折り (おり)

    You can count folded items with 折 or 折り; the two versions are interchangeable. It begins with wago: one fold is 一折 (ひとおり), two folds is 二折 (ふたおり), and three folds is 三折 (either みおり or さんおり). After that, it's all kango. 折/折り is also used to count folded boxes that (usually) contain foods or sweets.

    Counts: folds, ekiben, bento in folded boxes, folded paper cranes, boxes of cakes, boxes of sweets, etc.

    • ここをこういう風に2折りしてください。
    • Please fold here twice like this.
    • デパートで菓子折りを3折り買ってきてください。
    • Can you go buy three boxes of sweets at the department store?

    音 (おん)

    musical notes on a red background

    This counter is used to count sounds, such as syllables and/or musical notes.

    Counts: syllables, musical notes, musical scales, etc.

    • まずは平仮名50音を覚えましょう。
    • You should memorize the fifty hiragana syllables first.
    • この飴を舐めると、低い声が3音出なくなる代わりに、高い声が3音出るようになります。
    • If you suck on this candy, your voice will lose three low notes and gain three high notes.

    課 (か)

    This counter has two use cases. The first is counting sections of a company or organization, and the second is counting lessons. In Japan, it's not that common—you'll mainly see it in textbooks for Japanese learners.

    Counts: company/organization sections, departments, divisions, police divisions, office teams, lessons, etc.

    • 営業部は3課に分かれています。
    • The sales department is divided into three divisions.
    • 2課の課長、すごくタイプかも。
    • The chief of Division Two is really my type.

    海 (かい)

    The 海 kanji means "sea" or "ocean." As a counter, it counts seas, as in "seven seas" (and we don't mean the movie theater in SpongeBob SquarePants).

    Counts: seas, oceans

    • 世界の7海の名前を言えますか?
    • Can you name seven seas in the world?
    • どうやらこの惑星には全部で12海の海洋があるようだ。
    • It seems there are twelve oceans on this planet.

    階級 (かいきゅう)

    The word 階級 means class, rank, or grade. As a counter, 階級 counts those things, and can also be used as an ordinal number suffix.

    Counts: ranks, grades, classes

    • アメリカ軍には13階級もあるんですよ。
    • There are thirteen ranks in the US Army.
    • コウイチはボクシングの大会で5階級を制覇した。
    • Koichi won five different weight classes at the boxing tournament.

    回線 (かいせん)

    The word 回線 means an electrical circuit or phone/Internet lines, as well as their connections. It's also used for counting such things.

    Counts: electrical circuits, phone lines, Internet lines, optical communication lines, TV circuits, cable TV circuits, Internet connections, etc.

    • 嵐で、この町の電話回線が4回線壊れた。
    • Because of the storm, four phone lines got broken in this town.
    • どうしてネットを2回線も契約してるの?
    • Why do you have two different Internet contracts?

    画 (かく)

    kanji with three strokes and numbers by each stroke

    The counter 画 is used to count kanji strokes. It can also be used to count divisions of land, lots, blocks, etc.

    Counts: kanji strokes, plots of land, divisions of land, blocks of land, etc.

    • 「豆」という漢字の画数は7画です。
    • The kanji 豆 has seven strokes.
    • この1画に豆腐屋さんができる予定です。
    • A tofu shop will be opening on this block.

    片 (かけ)

    ニンニク2片と生姜2片を入れてください。
    Put in two cloves of garlic and two pieces of ginger.

    The 片 counter is used to count broken-up, random pieces of something. In cooking, for example, it's common to use 片 to count cloves of garlic or "fingers" of ginger. And, while small pieces of bread would be counted with 片, slices of bread would not. (Keep reading, though…) As with many Japanese counters, use the wago reading for one and two, wago/kango for three, and kango for the rest.

    Counts: garlic cloves, "fingers" of ginger, pieces of bread, apple pieces, etc.

    • ニンニク2片と生姜2片を入れてください。
    • Put in two cloves of garlic and two pieces of ginger.
    • 白雪姫は、りんごを1片かじると眠り込んでしまった。
    • After Snow White had a bite of the apple, she fell asleep.

    欠片 (かけら)

    Like 片, this counter is used to count pieces of something. In this case, however, it's more for random, broken-off pieces. Using the example above, you would use 欠片 to count bread slices. Like 片, count one and two with the wago counting method, three with either wago or kango, and higher with kango only.

    Counts: shards of glass, slices of bread, garlic cloves, pieces of ginger, pieces of anything, etc.

    • 1欠片の勇気を振り絞った。
    • I mustered up a slice of courage.
    • 壊れたガラスを2欠片拾った。
    • I picked up two shards of broken glass.

    籠 (かご)

    The word 籠 means basket, and its counter counts baskets and/or piles of whatever is inside a basket (like a basketful of oranges). Use the wago counting method for one, two, and sometimes three; kango for three and higher.

    Counts: baskets, baskets of something, bird cages, etc.

    • みかん1籠298円なの?じゃあ、3籠ください。
    • Is a basket of oranges ¥298? If so, I'd like three baskets, please.
    • 鳥籠を3籠アマゾンで注文した。
    • I ordered three bird cages from Amazon.

    塊 (かたまり)

    red ball with striped spikes

    Have you ever wondered, "What does 'katamari' from Katamari Damacy mean?" You've come to the right place! "Katamari" means "ball," "lump," or "mass," which is exactly what the Prince is rolling up. The kanji 塊 means a lump, ball, or mass of something, and the counter version is used to count those things. Use the wago counting method for one and two lumps, then kango for any above that. (And, since you're curious, "damacy" means "soul" or "spirit.")

    Counts: balls, masses, lumps or chunks of meat, clouds, people, dirt, cheese, fish, etc.

    • 突然漁師からマグロ2塊をもらった。
    • A fisherman suddenly gave me two blocks of tuna.
    • ここのラーメンには、1塊のチャーシューがのっています。
    • This shop's ramen comes with a block of chāshū.

    河川 (かせん)

    Although the word 河川 means "river," and the counter version counts rivers as well, it's a bit formal. For regular or casual situations, it's okay to use 本 to count rivers.

    Counts: rivers

    • 台風で2河川が氾濫しそうになっている。
    • Due to the typhoon, two rivers are getting close to overflowing.
    • 3河川に新たに水位計が設置された。
    • New water gauges were installed in three rivers.

    画素 (がそ)

    画素 is a unit for pixels and a counter for them too. You can use the gairaigo counter ピクセル as well, but 画素 is more common in Japanese.

    Counts: pixels

    • この写真は、200万画素のコンデジで撮ったものです。
    • I took this photo with a 2,000,000 pixel compact digital camera.
    • 1995年のデジカメは、1画素1万円ぐらいした気がする。
    • I feel like digital cameras from 1995 cost ¥10,000 per pixel.

    方 (かた)

    You already know that 人 is used to count people. 方 does too, but in a more polite way: in an office setting, for example. For one, two, and three people, you'll want to attach the prefix 御 (お). For four or more people, you don't need to attach 御. Use wago for one person and two people, kango for three and above. Keep in mind that if you use 方 for four or more people, it will sound strange—for that, it's okay to revert to 人. You can also refer to a group of people of an unknown number using 方—a group of sensei (teachers), for example, could be せんせい方.

    Counts: people (formal)

    • 受付にお約束の御2方がお見えです。
    • There are two people in reception who have an appointment.
    • 後からもう御1方いらっしゃるそうです。
    • One person will join later.

    株 (かぶ)

    tree with deep roots

    The 株 counter counts plants with roots, tree stumps, clusters of mushrooms, and shares of stock in a company. Use the wago counting method for one and two, then kango from three on up.

    Counts: plants with roots, tree stumps, clusters of mushrooms, seedlings, stocks, stock certificates, etc.

    • 猛暑でキュウリが2株枯れてしまった。
    • Because of the excessive heat, two of the cucumber plants died.
    • トーフグの株を3株買いたいんですが。
    • I want to buy three shares of Tofugu stock.

    冠 (かん)

    This kanji means "crown," and you use it to count wins or titles. For example, a Triple Crown winner would be a 三冠王 (さんかんおう)—a "three-crown king."

    Counts: wins, victories, championships, crowns, etc.

    • あと1冠で3冠王達成だぞ!
    • After one more win, we'll be the Triple Crown winner!
    • あの王様は、王冠を4冠も持っている。
    • That king possesses four crowns.

    貫 (かん)

    1貫は3.75kgです。
    One kan is 3.75 kg.

    貫 is the Japanese counter for pieces of nigiri sushi. 貫 was originally an old Japanese unit for weight—3.75 kg, about the average weight of a newborn baby—as well as a unit for money: 1000文 was equal to 1貫 in the Edo period, and 10銭 equalled 1貫 in the Meiji period. Historical dramas and old texts aside, in modern times, you'll see 貫 used for 🍣 .

    Counts: sushi, nigiri, archaic units of weight and money

    • マグロの寿司を3貫ください。
    • Three pieces of maguro sushi, please.
    • 1貫は3.75kgです。
    • One kan is 3.75 kg.

    館 (かん)

    This counts institutions ending with 館, such as art galleries or art museums (美術館), libraries (図書館), museums (博物館), or aquariums (水族館). You'll especially see it used in writing.

    Counts: art galleries, art museums, libraries, museums, aquariums, photo studios, etc.

    • この村には図書館が1館もない。
    • There isn't even one library in this village!
    • 4館の美術館が1館に統合された。
    • Four art museums were integrated into one.

    基 (き)

    The counter 基 has six usage categories, all of which have to do with counting installed things that are big or hard to move. From torii gates to airplane engines, wind power generators, gondolas, sprinklers, ancient tombs, and a whole lot more. Learn more about this counter in our in-depth article.

    Counts: pyramids, ancient tombs, tombstones, gravestones, coffins, moai statues, torii gates, gates, mikoshi, butsudan, pagodas, stupas, buildings of a Buddhist temple, towers, stone lanterns, street lights, traffic lights, lighthouses, benches, sprinklers, playground equipment, public toilets, the remains of a house, oil tanks, gas tanks, turrets, launch pads, pillars, bridge piers, dams, nuclear reactors, wind power generators, airships, airplanes, helicopters, satellites, blimps, jets, hot air balloons, airplane engines, gondolas, chimneys, fireplaces, air conditioners, bridges, kotatsu, fish fins, elevators, escalators, sculptures, etc.

    • ガスタンク4基が爆発した。
    • Four gas tanks exploded.
    • ここでは原発5基が稼働している。
    • Five nuclear power plants are running here.

    機 (き)

    blue airline jet on red background

    機 is generally associated with air transportation and is used to count things like airplanes, helicopters, and even guided missiles. Another similar counter, 台, is more associated with ground transportation.

    Counts: airplanes, airships, jets, blimps, hot air balloons, helicopters, guided missiles, airplane crew, etc.

    • トーフグはジェット機を2機持っている。
    • Tofugu owns two jets.
    • コウイチのヘリコプターが1機故障した。
    • One of Koichi's helicopters got broken.

    期 (き)

    期 is a fairly formal counter used to enumerate terms and periods. For example, the term length of a US President is four years and up to two terms (2期).

    Counts: school terms, terms of office, terms of service, stages, phases, sessions (as in a parliamentary cycle), etc.

    • アヤはアメリカの大統領を2期務めた。
    • Aya served two terms as President of the United States.
    • 大抵の日本の学校は3学期制を採用している。
    • Most Japanese schools use the three-term system.

    客 (きゃく)

    The counter 客 is used to count things you use only on special occasions—when you have guests (お客様/おきゃくさま) visiting, for example. Think of it like "bringing out the good china for your mother-in-law." Be aware that 客 isn't just used for plates and cups; it can count fancy cushions and any other special items brought out for visitors.

    Counts: special bowls, cups, wine glasses, soup bowls, zabuton, any other special items brought out for guests

    • お客様用のティーカップ5客セットをアマゾンで買った。
    • I bought a set of five teacups on Amazon for guests.
    • 座布団を4客出しておいて。
    • Can you put out four zabuton cushions?

    脚 (きゃく)

    yellow table on teal background

    The kanji 脚 means "leg" or "foot." As a counter, one of the things 脚 can be used to count are pieces of furniture with long-ish legs, including chairs, tables, and so on. (Short-legged furniture, like beds or couches, are generally counted using .) But, 脚 can count long-legged non-furniture items as well: wine glasses, horseshoes, and… legs. In Japanese, a three-legged race is 二人三脚—literally, "two people three legs."

    Counts: chairs, tables, desks, wine glasses, horseshoes, legs, etc.

    • 倉庫にはパイプ椅子が50脚しまってある。
    • There are fifty steel chairs in the storehouse.
    • この公園にはベンチが1脚もない。
    • There isn't even one bench in this park.

    級 (きゅう)

    級 can be a counter or an ordinal number suffix. It's used for grades, classes (referring to levels/ranks), or ranks. Ever done any Japanese martial arts with a series of "kyū" ranks? Those are 級s. Similarly, levels of the JLPT test (1–5) are 級s as well. The counter can also be used to count a couple of other (very) random things listed below…

    Counts: ranks, grades, classes, stone steps, decapitated heads

    • JLPT4級に合格しました。
    • I passed JLPT level 4.
    • コウイチは1級のバイオリン奏者だ。
    • Koichi is a first-class violinist.

    球 (きゅう)

    ピッチャー第1球投げました。
    The pitcher threw the first ball.

    Besides light bulbs and flower bulbs, 球 is used to count baseball pitches and certain other actions and equipment in ball-oriented games. And while it's used a lot in sports, 球 becomes a little more formal in other contexts. Combining it with the ordinal number prefix 第 or the ordinal number suffix 目 allows you to count the numbers of baseball pitches, as in: "This is the thirtieth pitch he's thrown."

    Counts: baseball pitches, light bulbs, flower bulbs, golf balls, soccer balls, tennis balls, tennis shots, ping pong shots, volleyballs, volleyball shots, etc.

    • ピッチャー第1球投げました。
    • The pitcher threw the first ball.
    • 毎朝テニスコートで50球打ち込んでから仕事に行きます。
    • I go to work after smacking fifty shots at the tennis court every morning.

    行 (ぎょう)

    The word 行 refers to a line of writing or a verse in a poem. As a counter, it counts them as well. Easy!

    Counts: lines of writing, lines in a notebook, lines of a manuscript, verses of a poem, etc.

    • 感想を4行でまとめなさい。
    • Sum up your review in four lines.
    • 12行の詩を書いた。
    • I wrote a poem with twelve verses.

    局 (きょく)

    The Japanese counter 局 is used to count matches of certain games: shōgi (Japanese chess), go, or sugoroku, which is similar to backgammon. Additionally, 局 can count broadcast stations and post offices.

    Counts: shōgi, go, and sugoroku matches, broadcasting stations, post offices, etc.

    • 将棋で1局勝負をした。
    • We had one shōgi match.
    • 日本には何局郵便局がありますか?
    • How many post offices are there in Japan?

    斤 (きん)

    loaf of bread

    Long ago, 斤 was a unit of measurement that equaled 600 grams. Later, in the Meiji period, that unit became 454 grams, which happens to be one pound. Loaves of bread at the time weighed about 454 grams, although Japanese bread now tends to weigh about 300 grams. Even though the Japanese version has been losing weight, 斤 can be used for counting it and other loaves of bread.

    Counts: loaves of (regular) bread

    • パン屋さんで食パン1斤買ってきて。
    • Can you go get a loaf of bread at the bakery?
    • 冷凍庫にライ麦食パンが2斤入っています。
    • There are two loaves of rye bread in the freezer.

    金 (きん)

    結婚指輪は24金です。
    The wedding ring is 24k gold.

    The 金 counter means karat, i.e., the measure of the purity of gold. Eighteen karats—or 18K, as written in English—would be 18金 in Japanese. Don't confuse this counter with the similar word, 金 (also きん), which means "gold," or お金 (おかね), which means "money."

    Counts: karats of gold

    • これはジャマルのお気に入りの18金のネックレスです。
    • This is the eighteen-karat gold necklace that Jamal really likes.
    • 結婚指輪は24金です。
    • The wedding ring is twenty-four-karat gold.

    句 (く)

    This counter is used for counting haiku, phrases, expressions, or passages of writing.

    Counts: haiku, expressions, passages of writing, words, phrases, etc.

    • トーフグメンバーがそれぞれ俳句を1句詠みます。
    • Tofugu members will make one haiku each.
    • 面白い日本語の語句を10句リストアップしてください。
    • Please list ten interesting Japanese words or phrases.

    区 (く)

    If you've ever seen a Japanese address written out, there's a good chance it had a 区 somewhere in it. That's because as a word, 区 means ward, zone, or constituency. 区 can also refer to a segment of a race, which, if you think about it, is actually a "zone" of a race. When used as a counter, 区 counts all those things.

    Counts: plots of land, wards, zones, constituencies, segments of a race

    • 東京には23区の区があります。
    • There are twenty-three wards in Tokyo.
    • 駅伝で第2区のランナーに選ばれました。
    • I was picked as the second runner for an ekiden road relay.

    区画 (くかく)

    Similar to 区, the word 区画 refers to a division, plot or lot of land, or a block. As a counter, it also counts those things.

    Counts: plots of land, divisions of land, a block, etc.

    • 出店料は1区画当たり1500円です。
    • The fee for the food stand is ¥1,500 per lot.
    • トーフグのオフィスを建てるために3区画を買いました。
    • We bought three plots of land to build the Tofugu office.

    串 (くし)

    three skewers of fried japanese kushikatsu

    As a word, 串 means "skewer," and as a counter it counts food that comes on skewers. Use the wago readings for one and two skewers, kango or wago for three, and straight kango for all the rest. (When there's no food skewered on them, skewers are normally counted with the long-and-skinny-thing Japanese counter 本.)

    Counts: skewered foods, skewered meats, skewered vegetables, any kind of food on skewers

    • ネギマ5串ください。
    • Can I get five chicken and scallion skewers?
    • このみたらし団子、4串で472kcalだって。
    • This mitarashi dango is 472 kcal for four skewers.

    癖 (くせ)

    The word 癖 means "habit" or "peculiarity," and you can count those kinds of things using it as well. Generally you'll see 癖 used idiomatically. Use wago readings for one and two, kango or wago for three, and straight kango for the rest, except in the case of certain idioms. You'll see a few in the examples below.

    Counts: habits, peculiarities, one's ways

    • あのお客さん、1癖あって苦手なんだ。
    • That customer has some kind of peculiarity, and I'm not a big fan.
    • コウイチは1癖も2癖もある。
    • Koichi is a very difficult person to deal with.
    • 「なくて7癖、あって48癖」という諺がある。
    • There is a saying that goes, "Everyone has at minimum seven—and at most forty-eight—peculiarities."
    • 「人に7癖、我が身に8癖」という諺もありますよ。
    • There is also a saying that goes, "If you think someone has seven peculiarities, you should think you have eight." (Everyone has their peculiarities, and you are not the exception.)

    軍 (ぐん)

    <! Inline 1: two little plastic green army men>

    The kanji 軍 refers to army troops. As a counter, 軍 used to count them too, though in recent years it has expanded to include other similar kinds of groups. For example, 軍 is used as an ordinal number suffix to refer to levels in organized sports: a varsity team would be 一軍, while a junior varsity or a "farm" team would be 二軍. It makes sense if you think about it, since sports teams have a lot of similarities to military troops.

    Counts: army groups, groups of troops, sports team levels, baseball team levels, etc.

    敵国の3軍がこちらへ向かっているそうだ。
    I hear three enemy army troops are headed our way.

    2軍から1軍に昇進した。
    I was promoted from the farm team to the main team.

    景 (けい)

    景 is used to count scenic views described in writing, as well as scenes in a play. For example, "Act II, Scene III" would be 第二幕第三景. These days, however, using 景 to count scenes is really only used in traditional Japanese performances such as kabuki and noh—for modern plays, use 場.

    Counts: views, scenic views, scenery, scenes in a kabuki/noh/opera

    日本3景といえばどことどことどこですか?
    Where are the three best views in Japan?

    世界のロマンチックな景色100景を集めた写真集を出版した。
    I published a photo book of a hundred romantic scenic views of the world.

    桁 (けた)

    The word 桁 refers to a digit or decimal place in a number, as in "the third decimal place of pi."

    Counts: digits, decimal places

    円周率、36桁まで言えるんだ。
    I can list pi up to thirty-six decimal places!

    ジャマールの貯金は6桁あるらしいぜ。
    Apparently, Jamal's savings is in the six digits.

    鍵 (けん)

    <! Inline 2: a computer keyboard>

    鍵 is used to count keys on a keyboard, whether a computer's or a musical instrument's.⌨️ 🎹

    Counts: keyboard keys, piano keys, keytar keys, computer keys keyboard, etc.

    このピアノ、3鍵壊れてるんだよね。
    This piano has three broken keys.

    パソコンのキーボードのキーを6鍵取り外して掃除した。
    I took six keys off of my computer keyboard and cleaned them.

    限 (げん)

    3限目が休講になった。
    My third period class was canceled.

    限 is used as an ordinal number suffix to count college and university periods. If you're attending (or planning to attend) school in Japan, you'll hear this one a lot. (For counting middle or high school periods, use 時間 instead.)

    限 can be combined with another ordinal number suffix, 目, to say things like 1限目 ("the first period"), 2限目 ("the second period"), and so on. (For middle and high school, you can also use the counter 時限/じげん alone or with 目 here to make 1時限目, 2時限目, …)

    Counts: college class periods, university class periods

    月曜日は1限しか授業がありません。
    I only have first period on Mondays.

    3限目が休講になった。
    My third period class was canceled.

    戸 (こ)

    The word 戸 means "door." What has doors? Buildings! This counter is used to count residential houses or apartment units. If you're counting buildings in general, regardless of whether or not they're home to the people inside, use the counter 軒 (けん) instead.

    Counts: houses, homes, houses for sale, houses for rent, houses to be constructed, apartment units, etc.

    新築マンションが12戸売りに出されている。
    Twelve new apartment units are for sale.

    強風に煽られ、10戸が延焼した。
    Fanned by strong winds, the fire spread to ten other houses.

    行 (こう)

    <! Inline 3: a sign that says "The Tofugu Group">

    行 is used to count banks (銀行/ぎんこう) as institutions. To count branches of a single bank, use 店 (てん) or 店舗 (てんぽ) instead.

    行 also counts other things. For example, 一行 used to refer to a group of twenty soldiers, and while this usage isn't as common as it used to be, you'll still hear it used when counting groups or parties of people. 観光客一行 (かんこうきゃくいっこう), for example, is used to count parties of tourists.

    Similarly, you may see hotels and ryokan with welcome signs that make use of 行 to indicate groups of people—something like トーフグ御一行様 (とーふぐごいっこうさま): "The Tofugu Group."

    Counts: banks, groups of people, parties of people

    その年は、5行の銀行が倒産した。
    That year five banks went bankrupt.

    トーフグ御1行様がご到着です。
    The Tofugu party has arrived.

    項 (こう)

    The counter 項 is used to count the clauses in an article or legal document. It can be combined with the ordinal number prefix 第 to indicate 第一項 ("the first clause"), 第二項 ("the second clause"), and so on, or the ordinal number suffix 目 to say the same things. 項 can also be used to count terms in a mathematical equation.

    Counts: clauses of an article, clauses of a legal document, articles of a constitution, articles of a legal document, sections of a chapter, paragraphs of a chapter, terms of a math equation, etc.

    この約款には128項もの条項が書かれていた。
    This article had a hundred and twenty-eight clauses.

    今日学校で2項定理を習った。
    I learned the binomial theorem at school today.

    号 (ごう)

    号 is an ordinal number suffix used for room numbers, train numbers, magazine volume numbers, and many other ordinal numbers. Inexplicably, it's also a unit for canvas sizes.

    Counts: room numbers, train numbers, magazine volume numbers, magazine issue numbers, home run numbers, canvas sizes, etc.

    新幹線のひかり493号に乗りました。
    I rode on the Shinkansen Hikari 493.

    私の好きなキャラは、鉄人28号です。
    The character I like is Iron Man No. 28.

    合 (ごう)

    <! Inline 4: a rice cooker>

    As a unit of measurement, 合 is equal to about 0.18 liters, or about 1/10th of a 升 (しょう), and you can use it to count cups of rice. When a rice cooker or recipe calls for "a cup of rice," it might be asking for one of these instead of a standard "cup." 合 is also used for counting the stages of a mountain trail: the first stage, or first 1/10th of the path, would be 1合. You can count other things using 合, but these are the most common.

    Counts: 0.18 liter "cups" of rice, 1/10th stages of a hiking trail

    毎朝ご飯を3合炊きます。
    We cook three cups of rice every morning.

    富士山の5合目までは車で登れます。
    You can climb to the halfway point of Mt. Fuji trail by car.

    声 (こえ/せい)

    The word 声 means "voice." As a counter, 声 is used to count the number of times you "have a word with someone," as well as the number of times someone or something cries or calls out. This counter uses the wago counting scheme for one and two, but three and above are rare, so focus on ひとこえ and ふたこえ. 声 is part of an idiom worth learning too: もう一声, which means "a little more of a discount." It's handy when you want to barter!

    声 (せい) is also used to count the number of sounds, noises, or words that come out of something—usually a mouth. The せい version is counted with kango.

    Counts: utterances, having a word with someone, crying out, calling out, sounds, noises, words, etc.

    1声かけてくれれば良かったのに。
    You should have said something to me.

    お兄ちゃん、もう1声か2声安くしてよ。
    Can you give me a little more of a discount, mister?

    久しぶりにあったのに第一声がそれかよ。
    We haven't seen each other in so long and the first thing you say is that?!

    遠くの方から、汽車の汽笛が一声聞こえてきた。
    I could hear the lone whistle of a locomotive from far away.

    国 (こく)

    <! Inline 5: an outline of Australia>

    A holdover from classical Japanese, 国 is used for counting countries. It's mostly used in older titles and for idioms. You may also see 箇国 or ヶ国, which are used when the speaker or writer is emphasizing a single country.

    Counts: countries

    三国協定が結ばれたのはいつですか?
    When was the Triple Entente concluded?

    人に使われる人間ではなく、一国一城の主になりたいんです。
    Rather than being used by someone, I'd like to be the king of my own castle.

    言 (こと)

    私はいつも1言多い。
    I'm always saying one word too many.

    The kanji 言 means "say," and as a counter it's used to count words you say or write. For one or two words, use the wago counting method. For three, either is fine. Four and above should be kango. Most of the time you won't hear more than 一言 or 二言, though.

    Counts: words you say, greeting words, instruction words, messages of condolences, memorial words, oaths, notes, short messages, postscripts, catchphrases, mottos, etc.

    私はいつも1言多い。
    I'm always saying one word too many.

    コウイチは2言目には「気合いだ!」と言う。
    Every other sentence Koichi says is, "Psych yourself up!"

    齣 (こま)

    The 齣 counter is usually written in katakana as コマ, and it's used for counting the scenes in a play or movie. It's also used to count the number of classes, lessons, or lectures you have in college or university. Use wago for one and two, kango for three and above.

    Counts: scenes of a play/movie/drama, classes, lessons, lectures, etc.

    明日は3コマ講義をしなくてはいけないから、準備で忙しい。
    I have to do three lectures tomorrow, so I'm busy with my prep.

    1齣のドラマの撮影に3時間もかかった。
    It took three hours just to shoot one scene of the drama.

    作 (さく)

    <! Inline 6: a book>

    This Japanese counter is used to count works of art (作品/さくひん), which extends to film and literature. To specify if it's the first, second, etc. work, just add the ordinal number prefix 第 or the ordinal number suffix 目. (You can also use the word 作品 to count artworks as well.)

    Counts: works of art, novels, movies, films, etc.

    今までに仕上げた作品は3作です。
    So far, I've made three works of art.

    第一作目からベストセラーになるなんて、すごいですね。
    It's amazing that your first work became a bestseller.

    柵/冊 (さく)

    Strips of fish ready to be sliced into sashimi or sushi are counted using this counter. The same goes for the strips of fish, on display at restaurants, that haven't yet been sliced into bite-sized pieces.

    Young people have started using 柵 to count blocks of seats in stadiums and concert halls. In this context, 柵 usually indicates the seats closest to the stage or field where, back in the day, there was once a fence or divider. (柵 means "fence.")

    While both the kanji 柵 or 冊 can be used, 柵 is technically more correct. Writing さく in hiragana is common too—just make sure to use the wago counting method for one and two and kango for three or more.

    Counts: strips or blocks of fish, rows of a stadium, rows of a concert hall, rows of an auditorium, etc.

    今日は鯛が1柵も無いんですよ。
    We don't have any blocks of sea bream today.

    2柵目の席をゲットした。
    I got a seat in the second row from the front!

    刺し (さし)

    刺す means "to stab" or "to thrust." The counter version counts stabs—whether whatever is getting stabbed is being stung by bees, pierced with spears, or happens to be bites of food spiked onto skewers. 🍢

    Counts: stabs, stings, thrusts, pierces, pricks, bites, something(s) on a skewer

    その海賊は、悪魔を1刺しで死に追いやった。
    That pirate put the demon down with a single thrust.

    目刺しを3刺し食べました。
    I ate three sardine skewers.

    匙 (さじ)

    <! Inline 7: a spoon>

    匙 means "spoon," and the counter version is used to count the amount a spoon will hold. 大匙 (おおさじ)—literally "big spoon"—is a tablespoon. 小匙 (こさじ)—"little spoon"—is a teaspoon. Be careful, though: like "cups" (合), the amount a spoon can hold may vary from county to country. Use wago for counting one and two, either wago or kango for three, and kango for four and above.

    (Also, be aware that although 匙 is still in use, the counter 杯 (はい) is more commonly used for spoonfuls these days.)

    Counts: spoonfuls

    砂糖は1匙でいいですか?
    Is just one spoonful of sugar okay?

    今日の離乳食のメニューは、お粥3匙、にんじん2匙、かぼちゃ1匙としらす1匙です。
    Today's baby food menu is three spoons of rice porridge, two spoons of carrot puree, one spoon of squash puree, and one spoon of sardine paste.

    莢 (さや)

    The word 莢 means "pod," "hull," or "the shell of a pea." The counter version counts them all. While it's more common to use the general counter 〜つ or , you'll still see 莢 used. When counting with 莢, use wago for one and two, kango or wago for three, and kango for four and above.

    Counts: pea shells, pea pods, pea hulls, peanuts with shells, shelled foods, etc.

    ビエトはビールのおつまみに、枝豆を167莢も食べた。
    Viet ate a hundred and sixty-seven edamame with his beer!

    今日はインゲン40莢とオクラ4莢を収穫しました。
    I harvested forty green beans and four okra today.

    紙 (し)

    The kanji 紙 means "paper," and its counter version is used to count newspapers and other things like paper that come in flat sheets 枚 (まい).

    Counts: newspapers

    トーフグは新聞を3紙購読している。
    Tofugu subscribes to three newspapers.

    スポーツ新聞5紙をコンビニでゲットした。
    I got five sports newspapers at a convenience store.

    歯 (し)

    <! Inline 8: a tooth>

    The kanji 歯 means "tooth," and this counter is used to count teeth. In day-to-day life, it's more common to count teeth using the counter 本, but if you're visiting the dentist, she might prefer the official tooth-counter 歯!

    Counts: teeth

    あの患者さんは、交通事故で4歯を欠損しているんですよ。
    That patient lost four teeth in a car accident.

    インプラント費用は1歯につき32万円です。
    Implants cost ¥320,000 per tooth.

    誌 (し)

    This Japanese counter is used to count magazines (雑誌/ざっし) or tabloids.

    Counts: magazines, tabloids

    この歯医者には、いつも週刊誌が4誌置いてある。
    This dentist always carries four different weekly magazines.

    今年、その出版社からは二誌が発売される。
    Two magazines will be released by the publisher this year.

    字 (じ)

    The word 字 means "letter" or "character" (of a language). As a counter, it counts the same things.

    Counts: letters, characters

    400字詰め原稿用紙を100枚買ってきて!
    Can you go buy a hundred sheets of four-hundred-character manuscript paper?

    50字以内で理由を述べよ。
    State your reason in fifty characters or less.

    次 (じ)

    1次試験に合格した。
    I passed the first of the exams.

    An ordinal number suffix usually combined with the ordinal number prefix 第 (だい), 次 expresses the order of events. For example, 第一次世界大戦 (だいいちじせかいたいせん) is the First World War, and 第二次世界大戦 (だいにじせかいたいせん) is the Second World War. For anything that has a specific sequence, 次 indicates where in that sequence it happened. This includes events, affairs, occurrences, and incidents.

    Counts: order of events, order of affairs, order of occurrences, order of incidents, etc.

    これは第2次世界大戦の時の写真です。
    These are photos from World War II.

    1次試験に合格した。
    I passed the first of the exams.

    児 (じ)

    <! Inline 9: a little kid>

    The counter 児 is used to count children in relation to their parents, which means something like 三児の母 (さんじのはは), "a mother of three children." And although the person using the counter doesn't have to be a parent, they do have to be someone's child.

    Counts: children, kids

    これでも一応2児の母なんで。
    I may not look like it, but I'm a mother of two.

    ワニカニって、3児のシングルファザーだったんですね。
    WaniKani was a single father of three, huh?

    軸 (じく)

    As a word, 軸 means "axis" or "axle." As a counter, it's used for counting scrolls, rolls, and yarn balls—in other words, things that unwind from a central axis. 軸 can also be used to count the favored horse to win a horse race, probably because horses run in a loop around a central axis. When counting with 軸, one and two are read with wago and the rest with kango.

    Counts: scrolls, rolled sheets, hanging scrolls, yarn rolls, axis, the favorite horse

    トーフグの掛け軸を2軸作ってみました。
    I made two Tofugu hanging scrolls.

    この3軸で勝負しようと思ってるんだ。
    I'm thinking of betting on these three favorite horses.

    次元 (じげん)

    <! Inline 10: an anime girl>

    This counter counts dimensions: 2D, 3D, 4D, etc. In this context, you'll use the kango counting scheme. 次元 can also be used to count different "levels" of a person, as in "I'm an entire level above you." When used this way, employ the wago readings for one and two, kango for the rest.

    Counts: dimensions, levels of a person

    2次元の女の子しか好きになれないんです。
    I can only get myself to like 2D girls (anime/manga girls).

    3次元の人には興味ないんです。
    I have no interest in 3D people (real people).

    コウイチ先輩は、一次元上の存在って感じがする。
    It feels like Koichi-senpai is a level above us.

    室 (しつ)

    This kanji means "room," and is used to count them as well. Simple!

    Counts: rooms

    ダブルベッドの部屋を3室予約したいんですが。
    I'd like to book three double-bed rooms.

    トーフグのオフィスには、VIPルームが1室ある。
    There is one VIP room in the Tofugu office.

    者 (しゃ)

    The kanji 者 means "someone." As a counter, it's used to count the number of people involved or concerned with something. Its use is objective and official: a parent-teacher-student conference is 三者面談 (さんしゃめんだん). For example: a system of three-way communication is 三者間伝達のシステム. It's also used to count the batters or base-runners in a baseball game.

    Counts: people concerned, people involved, baserunners, batters, etc.

    明日は社長との2者面談があります。
    I have a one-on-one meeting with the president tomorrow.

    この回は、3者凡退に終わった。
    This inning, the batters went down one-two-three.

    種 (しゅ)

    The word 種 refers to a "type," "kind," or "variety" of something, and counts those things as well.

    Counts: type, kind, variety

    5種のチーズの盛り合わせを頼んだよ。
    I ordered a five-cheese plate.

    ステッカー3種セットで5ドルです。
    It's $5 for a three-sticker set.

    種目(しゅもく)

    <! Inline 11: a pommel horse>

    The word 種目 both means and counts events during sporting competitions. In gymnastics, for example, each category that uses an apparatus such as a pommel horse, rings, etc., would count as 1種目.

    Counts: sports competition events, apparatus rotations (gymnastics), categorized lines (insurance), lines, items, descriptions, etc.

    スポーツ競技会で、5種目の競技に出場した。
    In the sports competition, I participated in five different events.

    2種目とも自己ベストが出て嬉しい。
    I'm happy I got personal bests at both events.

    重 (じゅう)

    重 is used to count things that overlap with one another, including overlapped layers and repetitive actions. It's usually translated as "double-," "triple-," etc. For example: 二重生活 is a "double life," 二重顎 is a "double chin," and 二重国籍 is "dual citizenship." To count layers that don't overlap, we usually use the counter 層 (そう).

    Counts: overlapping things, jubako (stacking) boxes, overlapping layers, repetitive actions, multistoried pagodas, lines, meanings, life, lock, wrapping, payment, eye vision, chin, nationalities, checks (as in double-check), etc.

    一緒に5重の塔を見に行きませんか?
    Do you wanna go see the five-story pagoda with me?

    見て!2重の虹が出てる。
    Look! There's a double rainbow.

    周年 (しゅうねん)

    周年 is used to count the number of years that have passed since a certain date. We call them anniversaries!

    Counts: yearly anniversaries

    今年で100周年です。
    This year is the one-hundredth anniversary.

    1周年おめでとうございます!
    Congratulations on your first anniversary!

    巡 (じゅん)

    <! Inline 12: a circular track>

    The counter 巡 is used to count rounds, which includes physical rounds such as walking, running, or touring in a loop around a location, as well as sequential order, such as a team's batting order in a baseball game.

    Counts: rounds, loops, tours, cycles, laps, revolutions, rounds of order

    ポートランドを一巡した。
    I took a circular tour of Portland.

    公園を三巡したが、ポチは見つからなかった。
    We did three laps around the park, but we couldn't find Pochi.

    もうすぐ打順が一巡する。
    They will bat in the first inning soon.

    女 (じょ)

    1男2女を授かった。
    We had one boy and two girls.

    Although the kanji means "woman," when used as a counter, 女 counts daughters. It's read entirely with kango, except for two, which is read じ.

    女 can also be an ordinal number suffix, in which case "one" is replaced with 長 (ちょう) to make 長女 (ちょうじょ) and indicate "first daughter." Similarly, "two" is replaced with 次 (じ) to make 次女 (じじょ) and indicate "second daughter." The rest stay as they are.

    Counts: daughters

    1男2女を授かった。
    We had one boy and two girls.

    長女は12歳、次女は10歳です。
    Our first daughter is twelve years old, and our second is ten.

    升 (しょう)

    升 is an old Japanese unit of measurement for 枡 (ます), which refers to a cube-shaped box used for measuring rice, drinking sake, etc.

    A 升 indicates 1.8 liters, which is ten times more than 1合 (ごう). 1合 of rice becomes two bowls of cooked rice. If you cooked 1升 of rice, that would be a lot of rice—twenty servings, more or less! Thus 升 is what is now called "party size." The same goes for sake: those little tokkuri bottles usually hold one or two 合, while a 1升 bottle is huge—1.8L! These 1升 measurements can be counted using 一升升 or 一升枡 (いっしょうます).

    Counts: mochi, sake bottles, rice, sake, shochu, etc.

    1升瓶を2本も飲んだの!?
    Did you drink two one-shō bottles of sake!?

    米を3升炊いた。
    I cooked three shō of rice.

    床 (しょう)

    床 is used to count beds or cots in hospitals. It's also used for the fake gums in false teeth, so if you're back at the dentist again and want to purchase a set, the cost may be listed per 一床!

    Counts: hospital beds, clinic beds, cots, rafts, false teeth

    この病院には今3床しか空きがありません。
    This hospital has only three available beds at the moment.

    この機械を使えば、ベッド1床が2—3秒で出来上がります。
    Using this machine, one bed can be created in just two to three seconds.

    城 (じょう)

    <! Inline 13: a castle>

    This kanji means "castle," and it’s used for counting castles and palaces.

    Counts: castles, palaces

    この国にある1029城は、全てトーフグのものだ。
    All 1,029 castles in this country are Tofugu's.

    私もその2城に行ったことがあります。
    I've been to those two castles before too.

    畳 (じょう)

    This kanji means "tatami." It’s used to count tatami mats.

    Counts: tatami, tatami mats

    この部屋の広さって、10畳ぐらいですか?
    The size of this room is… what, about ten tatami mats?

    2畳半の部屋でメガネ失くしたんだけど天才かな?
    I managed to lose my glasses in a two-and-a-half tatami room. Am I genius or what?

    錠 (じょう)

    <! Inline 14: some pills>

    錠 is used for counting pills and tablets. If you receive pill or tablet medicines in Japan, make sure to check how many 錠 it recommends you take per day (一日). Only take the recommended dose! Pills such as supplements that aren't considered medicine are normally counted using 粒 (つぶ) instead.

    Counts: pill medicine, tablet medicine, capsule medicine

    このカプセルを寝る前に2錠飲んでください。
    Please take two capsules before bed.

    胃薬3錠どこかに落としたっぽい。
    I seem to have lost three of my stomach pills somewhere.

    親等 (しんとう)

    親等 is used to count the degrees of relation or kinship between relatives. In Japan, you and your spouse are considered 0親等, your parents and children are 1親等, your siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren are 2親等, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, great-grandparents and great-grandchildren are 3親等, first cousins are 4親等, and on from there.

    Why are degrees of relation so important? Simple. It's how the police count when they do a background check on you for (say) that job you really wanted. They verify up to the third degree (3親等), so hopefully your great-grandpappy wasn't a shoplifter!

    Counts: degrees of relation between relatives

    1親等の親族って、通常は誰のことを指すんですか?
    Which relatives are generally considered to be in the first degree of kinship?

    兄弟姉妹は2親等です。
    Siblings are in the second degree of kinship.

    図 (ず)

    This word means a diagram, illustration (figure), chart, or graph, and counts them when they appear in writing. This is common for textbooks or on tests, but in conversation, the general counters and are used more often.

    Counts: diagrams, figure illustrations, charts, graphs, sketches, etc.

    次の3図を見て問題に答えなさい。
    Take a look at the following three diagrams and answer the question.

    第2図は、くしゃみの回数の推移を示しています。
    Fig. 2 shows changes in the frequency of sneezes.

    掬い (すくい)

    <! Inline 15: a ladle>

    The word 掬う (すくう) means "to scoop," "to spoon," or "to ladle," and 掬い is the noun version used to count these actions. 掬い is usually written in hiragana, though you may see the kanji from time to time. One and two are read using wago, three can be wago or kango, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: scoops, spoons, ladles

    味噌汁を2掬いお椀に入れてくれた。
    She poured two ladles of miso soup into my bowl.

    エビフライひとすくい298円ですよー。
    One scoop of fried shrimp is ¥298.

    筋 (すじ)

    筋 can mean "line," "stripe, "streak," "crease," "crack," "wrinkle," or "avenue." 筋 is used to count all of those things—and there are a lot of them. One and two are read using wago, three can be wago or kango, and the rest are kango. This counter is usually written in hiragana or katakana, but you'll see them all used eventually, since it's a pretty common counter.

    Counts: straight roads, rays of hope, streaks of sweat, streaks of tears, kimono belts, kimono sashes, straight ropes, straight lights from beacons, straight lights from signal fires, streaks of clouds, smoke plumes, arrows, spears, clear streams, wrinkles, creases, cracks, scratches, hair, loose hair, etc.

    1筋の希望が見えてきたぞ。
    I'm starting to see a single ray of hope.

    車に3スジの傷がついてしまった。
    My car got three scratches.

    刷/刷り (すり)

    これは第12刷ですね。
    This is the twelfth printing.

    This is used to count specific printings or pressings of printed materials, including novels, encyclopedias, and the like. Combine it with the ordinal number prefix 第 to specify the exact impression or printing of a book. One and two are read using wago, three can be wago or kango, and the rest are kango.

    If you want to count the number of copies made of a specific printing, use 部 (ぶ).

    Counts: printings, pressings, impressions

    この小説の第3版は、既に第5刷も刷られている。
    The third edition of this novel is in its fifth printing already.

    これは第12刷ですね。
    This is the twelfth printing.

    世 (せい)

    世 is used to count generations. Elizabeth I, for example, is エリザベス一世. A second-generation Japanese American is 日系アメリカ人二世. If you want to count an entire generation of people, it’s preferable to use 世代 (せだい) instead.

    Counts: generations

    私は日系ブラジル人3世です。
    I'm a third-generation Japanese Brazilian.

    トーフグ2世のイラストを描いてください。
    Draw an illustration of Tofugu the second.

    隻 (せき)

    <! Inline 16: a big cruise ship>

    隻 is used for counting big ships. Small boats use 艘 (そう).

    Counts: big ships, battleships, vessels, one folding screen, arrows (archaic), birds (archaic), fish (archaic), etc.

    港に3隻の船が停泊していた。
    There were three ships anchored in the port.

    日本の海上で漁船2隻が衝突したらしい。
    Apparently, two fishing vessels collided with each other on the Sea of Japan.

    世帯 (せたい)

    The word 世帯 means (and is also used to count) households.

    Counts: households, families

    このマンションには、65世帯が住んでいます。
    Sixty-five families live in this apartment building.

    2世帯住宅を建てました。
    I built a two-family house.

    節 (せつ)

    This word means (and is used to count) passages, sections, paragraphs, and clauses. "Passages" refers to writing as well as to passages of music.

    Counts: passages, sections, paragraphs, verses, clauses, musical passages, periods (sports), etc.

    聖書の3節をみんなで暗証した。
    We recited three passages from the Bible together.

    2節目で首位のチームと2位のチームと対戦することになる。
    We will have to play against the top- and second-ranked teams in the second period.

    説 (せつ)

    説 means (and counts) views, theories, and rumors.

    Counts: views, theories, tumors, explanations, opinions, differing opinions, differing views, etc.

    1説によると、コウイチは豆腐も河豚も食べられないそうだよ。
    According to one rumor, Koichi can eat neither tofu nor fugu.

    それについては2説あります。
    As for that, there are two theories.

    選 (せん)

    This kanji means "selection" or "choice," and it's used to count things that are selected, picked, or chosen.

    Counts: selections, choices, things that are picked or chosen, etc.

    トーフグは、面白いウェブサイト100選に選ばれた。
    Tofugu was picked as one of the 100 interesting websites.

    美味しい納豆3選をご紹介します。
    We're going to introduce our three choices of delicious natto.

    膳 (ぜん)

    <! Inline 17: a pair of chopsticks>

    This kanji is used to count bowls of food and pairs of chopsticks. It's specifically the counter of choice for bowls of rice—bowls of other kinds of food can also be counted with 杯 (はい), but 膳 is more polite. Similarly, counting chopsticks with 膳 is the "correct," polite way to do it.

    Counts: chopsticks (as utensils), bowls of rice, bowls of meat, wood that's not yet processed into lumber, etc.

    お箸を5膳テーブルに並べておいて。
    Can you set five pairs of chopsticks on the table?

    ご飯を1膳おかわりした。
    I got one more bowl of rice.

    層 (そう)

    This one is used to count layers.

    Counts: layers, cake layers, building floors, pagoda floors, stupa floors, etc.

    葡萄の3層ゼリーを作りました。
    I made three-layered grape jelly.

    2層カーボンのチェックを1冊注文しました。
    I ordered a booklet of double-layered carbon checks.

    槽 (そう)

    This is used to count bathtubs (浴槽/よくそう), water and fish tanks (水槽/すいそう), and washing machine tubs (洗濯槽/せんたくそう), all of which end in the kanji 槽!

    Counts: bathtubs, water tanks, fish tanks, washing machine tubs

    水槽を3槽買ってきました。
    I bought three fish tanks.

    浴槽の掃除、6槽のうちまだ1槽しか終わってません。
    As for cleaning the bathtubs, I've only finished one of the six so far.

    艘 (そう)

    <! Inline 18: a little sailboat>

    This kanji is used to count boats. If you want to count ships (which are bigger), use 隻 (せき).

    Counts: boats, kayaks, bamboo-leaf boats, sailboats, yachts, etc.

    公園の池には9艘のボートが浮かんでいた。
    Nine boats were floating on the pond in the park.

    コウイチはヨットを2艘持っていると言っていたが、折り紙で作ったヨットだった。
    Koichi said he owned two yachts, but they were origami ones.

    則 (そく)

    This is an ordinal number suffix used to count rules. It's usually combined with the ordinal number prefix 第. 4則 is normally read as よんそく, but when you use it for the four basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, etc.), the pronunciation will be しそく.

    Counts: rules

    社員規則集の第7則は読みましたか?
    Did you read the seventh rule of the employee rulebook?

    今日学校で4則演算を習いました。
    I learned four arithmetic operations at school today.

    速 (そく)

    This is an ordinal number suffix for vehicle and bicycle gears (used to express, for example, shifting into fourth gear).

    Counts: vehicle gears, bicycle gears

    ギアを2速に切り替えた。
    I shifted into second gear.

    雪道なのに3速で100キロで走行するなんて危ないよ!
    It's dangerous to drive at 100km/h in third gear on a snowy road!

    揃い (そろい)

    写真撮影時の雨具1そろいが欲しいな。
    I want a set of rain gear for the photo shoot.

    The word 揃う (そろう) means "to be complete." This counter, which is the noun version, means "a set of matching items" (because they're complete). It's used to count sets of items with two or more matching pieces. The wago readings are used for one through three, and four can be wago as well, but it's usually kango.

    Counts: chopsticks, futon sets, bedding sets, suits, tea sets, utensil sets, biwa (Japanese lutes), etc.

    同じ食器のセット、2揃いも買ってどうするの?
    Why are you buying two complete sets of the same tableware?

    写真撮影時の雨具1そろいが欲しいな。
    I want a set of rain gear for the photo shoot.

    尊 (そん)

    <! Inline 19: a Jizo statue>

    This is used to count Buddhist and Jizō statues.

    Counts: Buddhist statues, Jizō statues, large statues of Buddha (大仏/だいぶつ)

    本堂には、仏様が3尊祀られていた。
    There were three statues of Buddha enshrined in the main temple.

    1尊のお地蔵様から毛が生えているぞ!
    There's hair coming out of one of the Jizō statues!

    打 (だ)

    This is used to count hits in baseball (that actually hit the ball), strokes in golf, and swings in tennis and table tennis.

    Counts: hits in baseball, golf strokes, tennis swings, table tennis swings, punches, hits, etc.

    ゴルフで1打罰を食らってしまった。
    I got a one-stroke penalty in golf.

    あの2打目は痛そうだな。
    That second punch looked painful.

    体 (たい)

    <! Inline 20: a barbie doll>

    This one's used to count dolls, statues, and unidentified deceased bodies.

    Counts: statues, large statues of Buddha (大仏/だいぶつ), unidentified corpses, carvings, horse pictures, earthen/clay figures, dolls, puppets, plush toys, stuffed animals, Buddhist statues, Jizō statues, Moai statues, objects in which deities or spirits reside, wax models, snowmen, chromosomes, typefaces, styles of handwriting

    コウイチはバービー人形を6体持っている。
    Koichi has six Barbie dolls.

    こんなところに石像3体あったっけ?
    Were there three stone statues here?

    隊 (たい)

    This is used to count corps, units, parties, troops, and so on. Groups of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts that go on expeditions are all included in this counter's uses.

    Counts: troops, corps, units, parties, expedition teams, medical corps, hospital units, etc.

    44隊の探検隊がこのジャングルで行方不明になった。
    Forty-four expedition teams went missing in this jungle.

    自衛隊が2隊派遣された。
    Two troops from the Japanese Self-Defense Force have been dispatched.

    代 (だい)

    This counter is used for generations (of about thirty years), decades, lifetimes, eras, reigns, and so on. It's also used to count how many decades old a person is. For example, someone in their twenties would be in their 20代.

    Counts: generations, lifetimes, specific decades, eras, reigns

    コウイチは1代でトーフグをここまで成長させた。
    Koichi grew Tofugu this much in his lifetime.

    二十代の頃は、お酒ばっかり飲んでいたなあ。
    I was drinking a lot in my twenties.

    60年代の音楽が好きなんです。
    I like 60s music.

    題 (だい)

    題 is used to count titles, problems, and questions on a test. It can be combined with the ordinal number prefix 代 and the ordinal number suffix 目 to refer to specific problems or questions.

    Counts: titles, problems, questions, separate rakugo stories

    難しい問題が3題も出題された。
    There were three difficult questions.

    1日2題ずつ問題を解くようにしています。
    I try solving two questions a day.

    新しい映画のために100題以上もタイトルを考えたのに、どれも監督には気に入ってもらえなかった。
    I came up with more than a hundred titles for the new movie, but the director didn’t like any of them.

    卓 (たく)

    <! Inline 21: a restaurant-style table>

    You use this one to count tables, especially those in a restaurant or diner.

    Counts: tables, desks, Mahjong tables, dining tables, etc.

    このダイナーにはテーブルが3卓しかない。
    This diner only has three tables.

    ボードゲームの参加者、5卓募集しています。
    We are accepting board game entrants for five tables.

    樽 (たる)

    This counter is for barrels and kegs. The wago reading is used for one and two, though two can be kango as well.

    Counts: barrels and kegs

    トーフグのオフィスにはビール樽が5樽常備してあるって本当ですか?
    Is it true that there are always five beer kegs at the Tofugu office?

    ワイン樽を2樽買った。
    I bought two wine barrels.

    弾 (だん)

    <! Inline 22: a bullet>

    This is used to count bullets. It’s also used to count commercial events and campaigns (that come out quickly, one after another, like gunshots). It's common to combine this counter with the ordinal number prefix 第 for when you want to refer to a specific event, like "the first event of this series."

    Counts: bullets, events, projects, plans, ideas, etc.

    その銃には1弾も弾は入ってないはずだ。
    That gun isn't supposed to have any bullets in it.

    トーフグのプレゼントキャンペーン第2弾でステッカーが当たった。
    I won a sticker in the second round of Tofugu's free gift promotions.

    団 (だん)

    This kanji is used to count groups, troops, and bodies of people.

    Counts: orchestras, travelers, students, fellowships, troops, theatrical troupes, acting troupes, etc.

    運悪く、観光客の1団と出くわしてしまった。
    Unfortunately, I ran into a group of tourists.

    ガールスカウト東京第8団に所属しています。
    I belong to Girl Scout Troop 8 in Tokyo.

    単位 (たんい)

    This word is used to count academic credits.

    Counts: academic credits

    卒業にはあと4単位必要だ。
    I need four more credits to graduate.

    テスト期間中にインフルエンザにかかって、今期20単位落とした。
    I got the flu during exams, and I lost twenty credits for this term.

    段階 (だんかい)

    This word means "steps"—not stairsteps, but stages or phases.

    Counts: steps, stages, phases, plans, negotiations, processes, procedures, productions, levels, etc.

    このプロジェクトを達成するには、2段階のフェーズがあります。
    There are two phases to accomplishing this project.

    カレーの辛さは、3段階の辛さから選べます。
    You can pick your curry's hotness from three levels.

    MT車には、普通は5段階のギヤがあります。
    Manual cars usually have five gear speeds.

    段落 (だんらく)

    This is used to count paragraphs and stages of tasks. It can be combined with the ordinal number prefix 第 or the suffix 目 to specify which paragraph or stage is being referenced.

    Counts: paragraphs, stages of tasks

    この段落、2段落に分けた方がいいんじゃない?
    Wouldn't it be better to separate this paragraph in two?

    仕事が1段落したら、電話するよ。
    I'll call you when I finish the task I'm working on.

    この2段落目にある、豆腐河豚という漢字の読み方を教えてください。
    Can you teach me how to read the kanji 豆腐河豚 in the second paragraph?

    丁 (ちょう)

    <! Inline 23: a block of tofu>

    This counter is used for six different categories of things. The most common of these is tofu, but there are so many, we wrote an entire article about them! To read more, check out our in-depth guide to the counter 丁 (coming soon).

    Counts: tofu, koyadofu, ganmodoki, hanpen, konnyaku, tuna, orders of ramen, orders of soba, lively actions, games, matches, kitchen knives, scissors, etc.

    帰りにお豆腐屋さんでお豆腐1丁を買って帰ってきて。
    Can you buy a block of tofu at the tofu store on your way back?

    はいよ!ラーメン1丁、お待ちどおさま!
    Here is your ramen, sorry for the wait!

    挺 (ちょう)

    ビエトはデスクの引き出しから銃を1挺取り出した。
    Viet took a gun out of his desk drawer.

    This counter is used to count four different categories of things. The most common are kitchen knives and guns, so make sure to remember those. To learn more, read our full article about the counter 挺 (coming soon).

    Counts: kitchen knives, carving knives, axes, saws, chisels, scissors, ice axes, sickles, files, wrenches, nail clippers, spears, lances, oars, spades, hoes, guns, pistols, rifles, guitars, shamisen, violins, palanquins, portable shrines, rickshaws, ink sticks, candles, abacuses, etc.

    包丁3挺がスーツケースに入っています。
    There are three kitchen knives in the suitcase.

    ビエトはデスクの引き出しから銃を1挺取り出した。
    Viet took a gun out of his desk drawer.

    対 (つい)

    This kanji can mean "opposite," "equal," or "compare," and it's used to count pairs.

    Counts: stilts, pairs of hanging scrolls, earrings, pairs of flower offerings, pairs of rice balls, etc.

    天使から1対の翼をプレゼントしてもらったんだ。
    An angel gave me a pair of wings.

    ペアグラスを2対買って、1対は両親にプレゼントした。
    I bought two sets of glasses and gave one pair to my parents.

    掴み (つかみ)

    The verb 掴む (つかむ) means "to grab." 掴み is the noun version, and it's used to count grabbable portions. It's usually translated to "handfuls" in English. The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are normally in kango.

    Counts: handfuls of things

    パセリ1掴みってどれぐらいの量かな。
    I wonder how much a handful of parsley is.

    しめじを2つかみとベーコンをたくさん用意してください。
    Prepare two handfuls of shimeji mushrooms and a lot of bacon.

    包み (つつみ)

    <! Inline 24: a money envelope>

    The verb 包む (つつむ) means "to wrap." 包み is the noun version, and it's used to count wrapped things. Paper money (bills) "wrapped" in envelopes also count. One or two wrapped things will be counted with the wago readings, then the rest will use kango.

    Counts: wrapped gifts, wrapped sweets, envelopes of money, individual packages, etc.

    お土産に、お茶菓子14包みを用意しています。
    I prepared fourteen wrapped tea treats as souvenirs.

    朝ごはんにクッキーを2包み食べた。
    I ate two (individual) packs of cookies for breakfast.

    綴/綴り (つづり)

    This is used to count sets of papers connected together. This includes small booklets of coupons, pages with multiple discount tickets, or meal vouchers that come attached to one another. 一綴り can be used to count any number of connected items in one packet, as long as they come attached. One or two sets will be counted with the wago readings, three can be either, then the rest use kango.

    Counts: sets of coupons, sets of discount tickets, sets of meal vouchers, sets of stamps, etc.

    毎月社員に食券2綴りが配布されます。
    Workers get two sets of meal coupons every month.

    郵便局で切手を1綴買ってきた。
    I bought a set of stamps at the post office.

    坪 (つぼ)

    This is a Japanese unit of land size. 一坪 (ひとつぼ) is about 3.31 square meters. In English, these units are usually left untranslated, and referred to as just "tsubo." One or two tsubo are read using wago, three plots can be wago or kango, and the rest are (you guessed it) kango.

    Counts: 3.31 square meters of land

    33坪の土地を買いました。
    I bought thirty-three tsubo of land.

    ジャマルは5坪の立ち飲み屋をオープンした。
    Jamal opened a five-tsubo standing bar.

    壺 (つぼ)

    <! Inline 25: a nice big pot, like the ones from zelda>

    This word means "pot," "jar," or "vase," but it refers to a specific type of Japanese jar. If you do an image search, make sure to set your language to Japanese, because Chinese 壺 are a bit different, but you'll get a good idea of what these count. This counter is only used to count these traditionally-shaped containers, so its usage is falling out of favor, but it's still used in museums and older texts. The wago readings are used for one or two pots, three can be either, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: tsubo jars of sea urchin, tsubo jars of umeboshi, tsubo vases full of flowers, tsubo jars, tsubo pots, etc.

    母が梅干し3壺を日本から送ってくれました。
    My mom sent me three tsubo jars of umeboshi from Japan.

    今日はゼルダの伝説で19壺割った。
    I smashed nineteen pots in The Legend of Zelda today.

    摘み (つまみ)

    This is used to count pinches of something. It's written in hiragana (without the kanji) fairly often. The wago readings are used for one and two pinches, but the rest are kango.

    Counts: pinches of salt, pinches of spices, pinches of katsuobushi, pinches of sesame seeds, etc.

    仕上げに塩を1摘み入れてください。
    Finish it off with a pinch of salt.

    白ごまを2つまみかけたら出来上がりです。
    Sprinkle on two pinches of white sesame seeds and it's done!

    手 (て)

    This one counts martial arts techniques (技/わざ), shogi moves, sumo tricks, hands in card games, general means, ways, and tricks, as well as groups of people.

    二手 can be read as ふたて when it's used to refer to two ways, groups, or people, so watch out for that.

    Counts: martial arts techniques, shogi moves, hands (in card games), sumo techniques, means, ways, tricks, traditional dance moves, groups, people in charge, etc.

    2手に分かれて追いかけよう。
    Let's split up into two groups and chase after them.

    将棋をする時は、常に5手先まで考えるようにしている。
    When I play shogi, I always try to think five moves ahead.

    艇 (てい)

    This is used to count boats, yachts, and sailing boats specifically made for and used in races.

    Counts: racing boats, racing yachts, racing sailboats, etc.

    競艇で、5艇立てレースに出場しました。
    I participated in a five-boat race.

    潜水艇の模型を4艇持っています。
    I have four model submarines.

    滴 (てき)

    <! Inline 26: an IV dripping>

    You count drops or drips of liquid with this one. Anything from drops of sweat to drips in an IV.

    Counts: drops, drips

    水筒にはもう1滴の水も残っていなかった。
    There was no water left in my water bottle, not even a single drop.

    寝る前にラベンダーオイルを枕に2、3滴ふりかけます。
    I put two to three drops of lavender oil onto my pillow before bed.

    店 (てん)

    This is used to count shops, restaurants, and branches or chains of companies. You can also use two other counters, 軒 (けん) and 店舗 (てんぽ), for shops and restaurants, but 軒 is not used for branches.

    Counts: shops, stores, restaurants, diners, cafes, branches, chains, store locations, etc.

    トーフグはポートランドで豆腐屋を5店経営している。
    Tofugu is running five tofu shops in Portland.

    3店レコード屋を回って3店目でようやく見つけたんです。
    I went to three record stores and finally found this at the third one.

    店舗 (てんぽ)

    Like the previous counter, this is used to count shops, restaurants, and branches or chains of companies. You can use two other Japanese counters, 店 (てん) and 軒 (けん), for shops and restaurants, but 軒 is not used for branches.

    Counts: shops, stores, restaurants, diners, cafes, branches, chains, store locations, etc.

    この店は、東京で22店舗展開するドーナツ屋チェーンです。
    This shop is a donut chain that has twenty-two locations in Tokyo.

    至近距離にスタバが6店舗もある。
    There are six Starbucks locations close to one another.

    斗 (と)

    This is a unit of measurement that is about 18.04 liters. It counts all the traditional items that used to be measured into units of 斗.

    Counts: 18.04 liters of kerosene, paraffin oil, oil, sake, rice, etc.

    ネットで1斗缶のペンキを買った。
    I bought a one-to (eighteen-liter) drum of paint online.

    特賞の2斗の米が当たった。
    I won the grand prize, which was two to (about 36 liters) of rice.

    灯 (とう)

    <! Inline 27: a street light/lamp>

    This is used to count lights and light-related objects, like street lights.

    Counts: electric lights, gas lamps, street lamps or lights, lighthouse lights, mercury lamps, lightbulbs, heaters, etc.

    新しい街灯が7灯設置された。
    Seven new street lights have been installed.

    丸2灯ライトが可愛くてこの車に決めたんです。
    I decided on this car because of how cute the two round lights were.

    投 (とう)

    投 counts throwing actions in sports, like pitching or throwing in baseball, and casting a line in fishing. It can also be combined with the ordinal number suffix 目 to count specific throws.

    Counts: pitches, bowls, casts (in fishing), javelin throws, shot put throws, discus throws, etc.

    全部で3投することができます。
    You get three throws total.

    2投目はうまくいった。
    The second throw went well.

    島 (とう)

    This counter counts islands, especially in writing.

    Counts: islands

    この近くには、離島が8島あります。
    There are eight isolated islands around here.

    ハワイ7島コンプした。
    I completed my visit to all seven of the Hawaiian islands.

    盗 (とう)

    This is used to count steals (of bases) in baseball. 1盗, 2盗, and 3盗 are used to refer to stealing first base, second base, and third base, respectively. 本盗 (ほんとう) is used when counting stolen runs (to home base).

    Counts: stolen bases

    あの選手は、1試合で合計7盗した。
    That player stole seven bases in one game.

    初回で2盗、3盗に成功したのはエモいな。
    Stealing second and third base in the first inning is breathtaking.

    塔 (とう)

    <! Inline 28: Tokyo tower>

    This kanji is used to count towers, especially in writing. It can also be combined with the ordinal number suffix 目 to count specific towers.

    Counts: towers, steeples, tall monuments, pagodas, stupas, etc.

    落雷で電波塔が3塔倒れてしまった。
    Three radio towers fell due to the lightning.

    ドミノタワー1塔目完成した。
    I completed the first domino tower.

    棟 (とう/むね)

    火事で家屋が7棟全焼した。
    Seven houses were completely burned down by the fire.

    棟 counts buildings and houses. It's also used to count buildings that humans do not live in, like garages, detached storehouses, and sheds. The kanji can be read either as とう or むね, but they're both about equally common. When the reading is とう, it uses the kango readings. When the reading is むね, one and two are wago and the rest are kango.

    Counts: buildings, houses, tenements, warehouses, factories, garages, storehouses, outhouses, huts, sheds, etc.

    火事で家屋が7棟全焼した。
    Seven houses were completely burned down by the fire.

    ミサイル開発施設を2棟建設する予定です。
    We're planning to build two facilities for missile development.

    湯 (とう/ゆ)

    This is used for hot springs and hot spring resorts. The kanji can be read as either とう or ゆ, but とう is more common.

    Counts: hot springs, hot spring resorts, onsen

    トーフグには日本の秘湯10湯の記事があります。
    Tofugu has an article about 10 Secret Onsen in Japan.

    2湯目は、とうふぐ湯の足湯です。
    The second hot spring I tried was the Tofugu-Yu foot bath.

    等 (とう)

    This is an ordinal number suffix for orders, classes, and grades.

    Counts: prize numbers, places in a race, engineer ranks, officer ranks, train carriage classes, passenger classes, star magnitudes, etc.

    1等の賞品は、トーフグの縫いぐるみです。
    The prize for first place is a stuffed Tofugu doll.

    2等車の寝心地はどうだった?
    How was sleeping in the economy cabin (railroad car)?

    堂 (どう)

    <! Inline 29: a temple>

    This is used to count buildings with names that end in 堂, like chapels (礼拝堂), temples (お堂), and halls (〜堂).

    Counts: chapels, temples, shrines, halls, lecture halls, auditoriums, assembly halls, churches, cathedrals, etc.

    この建物には、礼拝堂が3堂あります。
    In this building, there are three chapels.

    お堂が1堂取り壊されることになった。
    One of the temples will be demolished.

    通り (とおり)

    This is used to count ways, methods, and procedures. One, two, and three ways can be read with wago or kango, but four and up are kango.

    Counts: ways, methods, procedures

    日本語を短期間で習得するには、2通りの方法があります。
    There are two ways to master Japanese in a short period of time.

    このTシャツは5通りに着回しできる優れモノです。
    This t-shirt is a handy item that can be coordinated in five ways.

    度数 (どすう)

    度数 is used to count the credit amounts on telephone cards, the strength of glasses or contact prescriptions, angles, and degrees of temperature.

    Counts: phone card credit or usage amounts, TV card credit or usage amounts, strengths of prescriptions, angle degrees, temperature in degrees

    懐かしい! 50度数のテレホンカードだ。
    Oh dear, that's the good old fifty-message phone card.

    -3.50度数のコンタクトレンズを使っています。
    I'm using -3.50 contact lenses.

    鍋 (なべ)

    <! Inline 30: a nabe pot>

    This word means nabe pot, and it's used to count the pots themselves and the dishes served in them. One and two nabe are read with wago, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: nabe pots, nabe

    あのお相撲さんは、ちゃんこ鍋1鍋を一人で全部平らげた。
    That sumo wrestler ate up a whole nabe pot of chanko by himself.

    辛いのと辛くないの、2鍋作ったよ。
    I made two pots of nabe, one spicy and one not spicy.

    男 (なん)

    This kanji means "man," but it's used to count sons. They're read using the kango readings, but two is an exception—instead of に, it's read as じ. It can also be used as an ordinal number suffix, but one and two become 長男 (ちょうなん) and 次男 (じなん).

    Counts: sons

    2男2女の子供を持つことが夢なんです。
    My dream is to have two sons and two daughters.

    長男の名前はコウイチで、次男の名前はビエトです。
    My first son's name is Koichi and my second's name is Viet.

    握り (にぎり)

    This word means "grip" or "handle," and it's used to count handfuls of various things. One and two handfuls are read with wago, and the rest are kango, but it's very rare to see people use it for three or more handfuls these days anyway. You only have two hands, after all.

    Counts: handfuls of things

    袋には2握りの米しか残っていません。
    We only have two handfuls of rice left.

    ほんの1握りの人しか成功しない。
    Only a handful of people succeed.

    波 (は)

    <! Inline 31: a wave in the ocean>

    波 counts all waves, from tangible tsunami waves to invisible radio waves. It's also used to count air raids, as well as groups flocking to a location, like a protest or demonstration. It can be combined with the ordinal number prefix 第 to specify which wave you're referring to.

    Counts: waves, tsunamis, ripples, radio waves, radio signals, air raids, student demonstrations, mass demonstrations, protests, crowds, etc.

    これは第1波の津波です。
    This is the first wave of the tsunami.

    この電波塔からは、28波の電波が送られている。
    This radio tower broadcasts twenty-eight different signals.

    派 (は)

    This is used to count groups, parties, schools, factions, denominations, and sects.

    Counts: factions, denominations, groups, literature groups, schools of poets, political parties, Buddhist sects, etc.

    トーフグの社員は2派に分裂して対立している。
    The Tofugu employees split up into two factions and are fighting each other.

    優柔不断なので中々1派に絞れません。
    I'm indecisive, so I'm having trouble narrowing it down to one party.

    倍 (ばい)

    This kanji means "twice," "double," or "a number of times," and it's used to count multiples of something.

    Counts: multiples of a particular thing, sizes, numbers, competition ratios, magnifications, etc.

    マミはマイケルの3倍の量のベーコンを食べる。
    Mami eats triple the amount of bacon Michael does.

    日本人は私よりも100倍多くの日本語を知っている。
    Japanese people know a hundred times more Japanese words than I do.

    拍 (はく)

    This word means "to clap" your hands, so it's used to count beats and time in music, as well as mora (similar to a syllable in English, but not quite the same).

    Counts: beats, musical time, morae

    これは2拍3連符です。
    This is a quarter note triplet.

    「オーストラリ」アは7拍です。
    "Australia" has seven morae.

    刷毛 (はけ)

    <! Inline 32: a brush painting a stroke of color>

    刷毛 means "brush," and it's used to count brush strokes, especially those in painting. The wago readings are used for one and two, but the rest are kango.

    Counts: strokes, paintbrush strokes

    お好み焼きソースを2刷毛塗った。
    I smeared on two strokes of okonomiyaki sauce.

    アヤはひと刷毛でサッと色を付けた。
    Aya quickly added a stroke of paint.

    馬身 (ばしん)

    Together these kanji literally mean "horse body," so this is used to count lengths of horse bodies (from nose to tail). Specific, but useful for horse racing.

    Counts: horse lengths

    トーフグは日本ダービーで3馬身差で2位に敗れた。
    Tofugu lost by three lengths and got second place in the Japanese Derby.

    1馬身は約2.4mです。
    One horse length is about 2.4m.

    腹 (はら)

    筋子を1腹使いました。
    I used one sack of salted salmon roe.

    This kanji means "belly," and it's used to count things that live inside bellies. This includes sacks of raw fish and clutches (ie., one birth's worth) of bird or reptile eggs. It's also used to count jars like kame (瓶) or tsubo (壺), whose middle part (belly) expands outward (like a beer belly). The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either, and kango are used for the rest.

    Counts: sacks of roe, sacks of soft roe (milt), sea urchin, clutches of crocodile eggs, etc.

    親戚から明太子5腹をもらった。
    I got five sacks of spicy cod roe from a relative.

    筋子を1腹使いました。
    I used one sack of salted salmon roe.

    針 (はり)

    This word means "needle," and it's used to count stitches (especially surgical stitches). Doctors might use a different reading for 針, which is しん with kango numbers, but it's generally read as はり with the wago readings for one and two, and three can be either. The rest are kango, though.

    Counts: seams, stitches, sutures

    おでこを13針縫いました。
    I got twelve stitches in my forehead.

    4針縫ったところで糸が切れてしまった。
    The string snapped when I got to four stitches.

    張/張り (はり)

    <! Inline 33: a tent>

    The verb 張る means "to spread out," and this is the noun version, so it counts things that can be spread out. This includes tents, mosquito nets, and stage curtains. The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: tents, stage curtains, banners, mosquito nets, paper lanterns, instrument strings, bowstrings, bows, tent-style pavilions or gazebos, traditional Japanese umbrellas, bamboo screens, etc.

    被災地にテント65張りが設置された。
    Sixty-five tents have been set up at the disaster area.

    ビエトが弓を2張持ってオフィスにやって来たのでびっくりした。
    I was surprised when Viet showed up at the office with two bows.

    犯 (はん)

    This is used to count criminal records and jail records.

    Counts: criminal records, jail records, prison records

    あいつは前科6犯のヤクザだぞ。
    He's a yakuza who's committed six crimes already.

    マミはベーコンを盗み食いした前科が3犯ある。
    Mami has three counts of eating pilfered bites of bacon on her record.

    判 (はん)

    You count sheets of ISO 216 paper (the international standard) with this one, including books and magazines that are size A4版, B5版, and the like. This is the standard paper size in Japan, so this is a really useful counter to learn.

    Counts: ISO 216 paper

    A4判のコピー用紙はありますか?
    Do you have A4 size copy papers?

    B3判のPDFはこちらからダウンロードできます。
    You can download B3-sized PDFs here.

    版 (はん)

    This is used to count editions, impressions, printings, and magazine issues.

    Counts: editions, impressions, printings, issues, etc.

    この教科書の第4版を持っています。
    I have the fourth edition of this textbook.

    第3版が出るのは半年後とかになりそうです。
    It seems the third edition will be published in about half a year.

    班 (はん)

    班 is used to count groups and squads.

    Counts: groups, squads

    5班に別れて教室の掃除をしました。
    We were divided into five groups, and we cleaned the classroom.

    めっちゃ3班に入りたかった!
    I really wanted to be in Group 3!

    斑 (はん)

    <! Inline 34: a dalmatian with spots>

    This is used to count the spots, speckles, and even dappled light on an animal's fur, especially in written Japanese.

    Counts: cat and dog spots, leopard spots, speckles on an egg, etc.

    3斑の斑点がある犬を探しています。
    I'm looking for a dog with three spots.

    黄色い斑点が5斑付いた葉が目についた。
    A leaf with five yellow spots caught my eye.

    晩 (ばん)

    晩 counts nights. It's read with the wago readings until three, and the rest are kango, but you'll usually only hear it counting up to three nights, so it's unlikely you'll need to know any more than that. To add to that, 三晩 is usually only used for its idiomatic usage in the phrase 三日三晩 (みっかみばん), which means three days and three nights.

    Counts: nights, all-nighters, full nights (of sleep)

    1晩寝たらすっきりした。
    I feel much better after a full night of sleep.

    2晩ぐらいなら徹夜でもなんとかなる。
    If it's just two nights, I can stay up.

    番手 (ばんて)

    This is an ordinal number suffix for turns, orders, or ranks. It's also used for units of yarn, thread size, and thread count, which are less common use cases.

    Counts: turns, sports players' turns, performances, thread count, yarn, thread, etc.

    僕の出番は2番手だよ。
    I'm the second one on.

    14番手の糸が切れてしまった。
    We ran out of No. 14 yarn.

    尾 (び)

    <! Inline 35: a fish with fins and a tail>

    This is used to count fish, and crustaceans with fins or tails. Fish that are fishing targets or that have been caught and are for sale at the market are counted by fishermen and fish store employees with this counter. Fish for sale at pet stores are also counted this way, but usually by the seller, not the buyer. For other fish and crustaceans, it's more common to count them with 匹 (ひき).

    Counts: fish, shrimp, prawns, crabs (for eating), crayfish, lobsters, etc.

    今日はエビを20尾仕入れてきたよ。
    We got in twenty shrimp today.

    今日は1尾も釣れなかった。
    I couldn't even catch one fish today.

    筆 (ひつ)

    This means "writing brush," and it's used to count signatures, messages, books, writing brush strokes, and calligraphy. It's also used to count registered divisions of land, but that's a legal use case you won't see often.

    Counts: signatures, messages, books, writing brush strokes, calligraphy, calligraphy strokes, plots of land, divisions of land, etc.

    ここに一筆お願いします。
    Can you put your signature here?

    この三筆箋、すごく可愛い!
    This three-line letter paper is so cute.

    俵 (ひょう)

    This is used to count straw bags or sacks for rice. These 俵 (たわら) were also used to store things like charcoal, salt, corn, and cotton, so these days, you can see them used to count those as well.

    Counts: straw bags or sacks of rice, salt, etc.

    抽選で米俵3俵が当たった。
    I won two straw sacks of rice from the raffle.

    とうもろこし2俵も買ってどうするの!?
    What on earth would you do with these two straw sacks of corn?!

    拍子 (ひょうし)

    拍子 is used to count musical time and beats.

    Counts: musical time, beats

    この曲のテンポは4拍子です。
    This song's tempo has four beats.

    タンゴは2拍子の明るい曲です。
    Tango is an up-tempo style of music with two beats.

    瓶 (びん)

    <! Inline 36: an empty glass bottle>

    This is used to count glass bottles, glass jars, flagons, decanters, phials, and vials. The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are read with kango. These things can also be counted with the counter 本 (ほん), and I personally use 本 for them, but you'll see this one as well.

    Counts: glass bottles, glass jars, thermoses, phials, vials, decanters, flagons, etc.

    瓶ビール4瓶も空けたの!?
    Did you empty four beer bottles?

    さくらんぼジャムが2瓶できました。
    I made two jars of cherry jam.

    品目 (ひんもく)

    This word is used to count items, types of products, varieties of dishes, meals, and types or numbers of ingredients.

    Be careful not to mix up 品目 with the counter 品 attached to the ordinal number suffix 目 (しなめ). If you see 四品目はラーメン and it means "the fourth dish is ramen," it's よんしなめ. However, if it means "ramen with four ingredients," it's よんひんもく. The reading is entirely dependent on the context, so try to pay close attention when using these two counters.

    Counts: items, varieties of dishes, numbers of ingredients, types of products, meals, exhibits, etc.

    一日32品目摂るように心がけています。
    I'm trying to ingest thirty-two different ingredients per day.

    今日は7品目しか食べられなかった。
    I only ate seven different ingredients today.

    分 (ぶ)

    熱が39度6分まで上がってきている。
    My temperature's gone up to 39.6℃.

    分 counts ten percent units as well as degrees. It's a unit of body temperature (one-tenth or one degree), one percent of a bank rate or interest rate, a traditional Japanese unit of length of about 0.303cm (one-tenth of 寸/すん), tabi socks or shoes of 0.21cm (one-tenth of 1文 もん), a traditional Japanese weight unit of 0.375g (one-tenth of 1匁/もんめ), and a unit of Edo period money (one-fourth of gold 1両/りょう or one-tenth of silver 1匁/もんめ).

    Counts: degrees of a flower blossoming, body temperature, bank rates, interest rates, etc.

    昨日桜を見に行ったけどまだ5分咲きでした。
    I went to see the cherry blossoms yesterday, but they were still only half-bloomed.

    熱が39度6分まで上がってきている。
    My temperature's gone up to 39.6℃.

    部 (ぶ)

    <! Inline 37: a stack of copies of one book or magazine>

    This is used to count parts or groups of something that's been divided up into smaller units, and copies or sets of books and documents.

    Counts: copies (of books, magazines, documents), company divisions and departments, parts of a play, daytime vs nighttime performances of a play, parts of a report, musical groups, books in a series, plays in a series, etc.

    このチラシ、122部コピーしておきました。
    I made 122 copies of this flyer.

    今どき本なんて5万部売れればいい方だよ。
    Nowadays, it's good enough if a book sells fifty thousand copies.

    封 (ふう)

    You count envelopes of money and sealed letters in envelopes with 封. This counter is becoming archaic, except for its usage in the word 金一封 (きんいっぷう), which means money in a sealed envelope.

    Counts: (sealed) envelopes of official letters, (sealed) envelopes of (paper) money, sealed wills, etc.

    ビエトから金1封と書いた封筒を渡された。
    Viet gave me an envelope that says "sealed money."

    役所から封書が3封送られてきた。
    The public office sent me three official letters.

    服 (ふく)

    This is used to count doses of medicine, poison, or drugs. Rest, which is good for you, can also be counted with it. And sips or bowls of tea, which can be medicinal, as well as puffs of cigarettes, which can be bad for you, are also counted with it. You can also use 一服する to say you're taking a rest.

    Counts: sips of tea, doses, bowls of matcha, puffs or tokes of a cigarette, rest, etc.

    ちょっと1服してから行くよ。
    I'm gonna go after I have a smoke.

    毒を2服盛ったのに死ななかったんだぜ。
    I gave him two doses of the poison, but he didn't die.

    房 (ふさ)

    <! Inline 38: a bunch of grapes>

    Bunches, clusters, tassels, tufts, and fringes are counted with 房. The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either wago or kango, and the rest are all read with kango.

    Counts: grape bunches, tufts of feathers, curtain fringes, sweater fringes, wisteria flower bunches, banana bunches, orange or tangerine segments, etc.

    クリステンのニット帽には、ピンク色の房が2房ついていた。
    There were two bunches of pink fringe on Kristen's knit cap.

    袋には、5房の葡萄が入っていた。
    There were five bunches of grapes in the bag.

    節 (ふし)

    This is used to count bamboo joints, tree knots, parts of poems, melodies of (traditional) songs, etc. The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either wago or kango, and the rest are all read with kango.

    Counts: bamboo joints, tree knots, melodies of traditional songs, stages of life, seasons, quarter tuna strips, katsuobushi, etc.

    3節の竹を使ってお箸を作りました。
    I made chopsticks using bamboo with three joints (three-joint lengths of bamboo).

    おじいちゃん、あの歌を1節歌ってよ。
    Grandpa, sing me a part of that traditional song!

    仏 (ぶつ)

    This kanji means Buddha, and it's used count statues of Buddha.

    Counts: Buddhas, Amitābha, Buddha statues

    あなたは三仏に守られています。
    You are protected by three Buddhas.

    仏様が様々な姿形をしていますが、実は1仏なのかもしれませんよ。
    Buddhas appear in various different forms, but they may actually just be the one Buddha.

    筆 (ふで)

    <! Inline 39: a calligraphy brush>

    This word means "writing brush," "painting brush," or "Japanese calligraphy brush," and it's used to count strokes in a painting or in calligraphy. It's also used to count the action of putting ink or paint on a brush. The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either wago or kango, and the rest are all read with kango.

    Counts: brush strokes, putting ink or paint on a brush

    1筆書きで書いたんですか?
    Did you write this in one stroke?

    漢字の画数を無視して、口とかは1筆、山とかは2筆で書いちゃう。
    I ignore kanji strokes and just write 口 in one stroke and 山 in two strokes.

    舟 (ふね)

    This word is used to count boats and food in boat-shaped serving dishes. Sashimi on those fancy wooden boats at sushi restaurants can be counted with this! The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: boats, sashimi on boats, takoyaki on boats, etc.

    刺し身を4舟頼んでおいたよ。
    I ordered four boats of sashimi.

    たこ焼き1舟98円って安くない?
    Isn't ¥98 for one boat of takoyaki cheap?

    振り (ふり)

    <! Inline 40: a dog tail wagging>

    The word 振る (ふる) means "to swing," "to sprinkle," "to shake," or "to wag." 振り is the noun version of this verb, so it counts swings, sprinkles, shakes and more. The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: sword swings, golf swings, bat swings, sprinkles of spice, drizzles of sauce, tail wags, shakes of a cocktail, shakes of a bottle or can, etc.

    ジャマルは1振りでスイカを叩き割った。
    Jamal smashed a watermelon in one swing.

    スープにこしょうを3振り振りかけた。
    I sprinkled pepper into the soup three times.

    文 (ぶん)

    This word is used to count sentences, which is convenient since it also means "sentence."

    Counts: sentences

    毎日5文暗記するようにしている。
    I try to memorize five sentences every day.

    最後の1文がよく理解できなかった。
    I couldn't really understand the last sentence.

    文節 (ぶんせつ)

    This one's used to count the smallest units of words in a sentence that still make sense. These are called either phrases or clauses in English.

    Counts: phrases, clauses, small sentence units

    この文は、4文節に分けることができます。
    This sentence can be divided into four phrases.

    喋り出し2文節目で何を言おうとしたか忘れた。
    I forgot what I wanted to say in the second clause.

    辺 (へん)

    <! Inline 41: a triangle>

    This is used to count sides of polygons like triangles, squares, pentagons, etc. It's also used to count various edges and borders, like the edges of a table or the borders on a tatami mattress.

    Counts: sides of polygons, edges of tables, borders of tatami mattresses, height, length or width measurements, borders of a carpet or rug, etc.

    三角形の辺は3辺です。
    A triangle has three sides.

    この2辺の長さはそれぞれ18cmです。
    These two sides are each eighteen centimeters long.

    遍 (へん)

    This Japanese counter is used to count actions, deeds, and experiences. Unlike 度 (ど) and 回 (かい), 遍 (へん) emphasizes the number of times something's being counted. It's often used to express frustration with a repetitive action.

    Counts: the number of times something happens, actions, deeds, experiences, etc.

    何遍も同じこと言わさないでよ。
    Don't make me say the same things over and over again.

    1遍にたくさん言われても覚えられないよ。
    I can't remember what you're saying if you all talk at once.

    編/篇 (へん)

    This is used to count poems, pieces of writing, and other smaller units within the world of writing.

    Counts: poems, pieces of writing or poetry, essays, novels, parts of stories, volumes, academic papers, etc.

    このEブックには、トーフグの短編が1029編収録されています。
    This ebook contains 1,029 of Tofugu's short stories.

    トーフグ三姉妹シリーズの第2編、めっちゃ感動した。
    The second book in Tofugu's Three Sisters series really moved me.

    弁 (べん)

    <! Inline 42: the head of a flower with its petals attached>

    弁 counts petals that are still attached to a flower. If you want to get technical, it's the petals that are still attached to the calyx (sepals), not loose, individual petals.

    Counts: petals (with calyx or sepals)

    折り紙で5弁の花を折りました。
    I made a five-petal origami flower.

    とても良い香りのする大きな6弁花が咲いていた。
    There were some big, wonderful-smelling, six-petaled flowers in bloom.

    包 (ほう)

    こっちに14包入りのやつが売ってるよ。
    There's one with fourteen bags for sale here.

    This one is used to count something that's wrapped, but the only common usage is counting granulated medicine wrapped in folding paper or a paper bag. This can be any medicine that's powdered or granulated, and an entire bag is 1包.

    Counts: bags of granulated or powdered medicine

    こっちに14包入りのやつが売ってるよ。
    There's one with fourteen bags for sale here.

    6包x5袋で合計30包入です。
    This comes with five bags that have six individual bags in them each, so it'll be thirty individual bags total.

    峰 (ほう/みね)

    <! Inline 43: a mountain peak>

    This kanji means "mountain peak," "mountain top," and "summit," and it's used to count pointed or steep mountains. When it's read as ほう, the readings use kango. When it's read as みね, the wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: steep mountains, pointed mountains

    京都の東側に聳える山々は、東山36峰として知られています。
    The mountains that rise above Kyoto's east side are known as the "36 East Mountain Peaks."

    これは3峰チャレンジの時に撮った写真です。
    These are photos that I took for the Three-Peak Challenge.

    報 (ほう)

    This is used to count reports, news, and information.

    Counts: news, reports, information, updates, etc.

    その1報に、誰もが驚きを隠せませんでした。
    The news shocked everyone.

    第2報はまだか?
    Has the second report come yet?

    間 (ま)

    This word was originally used to count the spaces divided by folding screens (byōbu). These days, it's used to count the number of rooms in apartments and houses (usually Japanese-style ones). The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: rooms, tatami rooms

    3畳1間のアパートに住んでいます。
    I live in an apartment with one three-mat room.

    子供の頃に暮らしていた家は、6畳と4畳の2間しかなかった。
    The house I lived in when I was a kid only had one six-mat room and one four-mat room.

    巻/巻き (まき)

    <! Inline 44: an arm with a big white bandage wrapped around it>

    The verb 巻く (まく) means "to roll," and 巻 is the noun version. It's used to count how many times something has been rolled, wrapped or coiled around another thing. The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: wraps of a scarf, bandages on a body part, hair curls, clock winds, rope coils, fishing line reels, rolls of tape, rolls of kitchen twine, etc.

    マフラーを首に2巻きして外に出た。
    I wrapped the scarf around my neck twice and went outside.

    予備の釣り糸なら1巻あるよ。
    I have one extra roll of fishing line.

    幕 (まく)

    幕 is used to count acts of a play or performance. It's also used to count particularly memorable moments from real life. The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: acts, memorable moments

    そのお芝居は、3幕で構成されていた。
    That play was made up of three acts.

    4幕中はずっと泣くのを我慢して踊っていた。
    I was dancing while keeping myself from crying during the fourth act.

    升/枡 (ます)

    <! Inline 45: a piece of manuscript paper with the boxes on it>

    This is used to count the squares on manuscript paper and in writing notebooks. It's also used to count things held in masu cups, which are a type of square wooden measuring cup. There are a few different sizes of masu cups, so they can't be counted as their own measured unit. Instead, they're counted with this! The wago readings are used for one and two, though they can all be counted with kango, so it depends on the person.

    Counts: squares or boxes on paper, blank spaces, masu cups

    子供の頃、100升計算が得意でした。
    When I was a kid, I was good at 10-by-10 grid calculations.

    (This is a method of learning through repetition conceived by Kageyama Hideo, which involves carrying out calculations using 10-by-10 grids of numbers.)

    答えを書き込むマスは5マスです。
    There are five blanks for you to fill in the answer.

    回り・廻り・周り (まわり)

    This counter counts the number of times something has gone around something else, and rounds—but only rounds of one to three, and they use the wago readings. For rounds of four or more, we use the counter 周 (しゅう). There's a lot more to learn about these, so read our article on the 回り counter (coming soon).

    Counts: the number of times something goes around something else, rounds, circuits, laps, etc.

    もう一度校内を1周りしたが、見つからなかった。
    I went around the school one more time, but I couldn't find it.

    なんか食べすぎて2回りぐらい大きくなった気がする。
    I ate so much, I feel like my body doubled in size.

    目 (め)

    This word means "eyes," but it's used to count words that use 目 in their name, not physical eyeballs. Use it to count seams, sutures, and stitches (縫い目/ぬいめ), mesh (網目/あみめ), knitting stitches (編み目/あみめ), squares on manuscript paper (升目/ますめ), and the pips on dice (サイコロの目/さいころのめ). 一目 also has an idiomatic usage of "one glance" or "one look." The wago readings are used for one and two, and are usually the only two used.

    目 can be used as an ordinal number suffix after the general counter 〜つ. For example, 一つ目 is "the first one," 二つ目 is "the second one," and so on.

    Counts: seams, sutures, stitches, mesh, manuscript squares, notebook squares, pips, looks, glances, etc.

    今日は編み物で1目落としてしまった時の対処方法をみなさんにお教えます。
    Today, I'm gonna teach you how to pick up a dropped stitch in knitting.

    サイコロには全部で6目ある。
    There are six pips on a die.

    面 (めん)

    <! Inline 46: a mask>

    This word can mean many things, but the most common (and important for counting) meaning is faces and surfaces. It's used to count the faces of cubes and other geometric shapes. It's also used to count masks, which have a different type of face. Read our in-depth article about the counter 面 (coming soon) to learn about everything it can count. To learn more about this counter, check out our in-depth article.

    Counts: surfaces of shapes, newspaper pages, monitors, digital signs, game boards, video game stages, sports fields, rinks or rings, fields, masks, abacuses, binoculars, inkstones, traditional instruments, folding fans, framed paintings, etc.

    立方体には何面ありますか? 6面です。
    How many faces does a cube have? Six faces.

    スーパーマリオの1面を1時間でクリアした。
    I cleared the first stage of Super Mario in an hour.

    盛/盛り (もり)

    The verb 盛る (もる) means "to heap," "to pile," "to serve food," and "to fill up a plate with food." 盛り is the noun version, and it's used to count heaps or piles, usually of food. The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: bowls of oranges, offering bowls and plates, full baskets of fruit, etc.

    柿1盛り498円かぁ。悩むなあ。
    A pile of Japanese persimmons for ¥498, huh? I wonder if I should get them.

    2盛り目はダークチョコアイスです。
    The second cup is dark chocolate ice cream.

    夜 (や/よ)

    This is used to count nights. Normally, it's read with kango using the や reading for 夜, but one and two nights can also be counted with the wago readings. When that happens, 夜 becomes よ.

    It's also used to count nights in the lunar calendar, which resulted in the idiom 十五夜 (じゅうごや), which means "a full moon night."

    Counts: nights

    トイ・ストーリー・シリーズを、2夜連続でお届けします。
    We're going to air the Toy Story series two nights in a row.

    強風で、1夜で桜の花が全て散ってしまった。
    The strong winds caused all of the cherry blossoms to fall in a single night.

    山 (やま)

    <! Inline 47: a mountain of cucumbers>

    The counter 山 counts mountains. It's also used to count things that resemble mountains when piled up, like fruits and vegetables, or packages of items in a grocery store.

    There are two idiomatic usages for this counter that use 一山 (ひとやま), or "one mountain." The first can be written as either 山当てる (ひとやまあてる) or 一山儲ける (ひとやまもうける), and means "to make a killing" (literally, to win a mountain). The second is 一山越える (ひとやまこえる), which means "to get over a hard or difficult period" (literally, to climb over a mountain).

    The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: mountains, piles, mounds, etc.

    今日は胡瓜1山99円、お買い得ですよー。
    A mountain of cucumbers is ¥99 today. It's a really good deal.

    トンネルで2山越えるんですよ。
    We're gonna pass through two mountains via tunnel.

    翼 (よく)

    This is used to count wings, or to count birds in a more poetic way. It can also be used to count roles, spots, or posts, as seen in the idiom 一翼を担う (いちよくをになう), meaning "to take a role."

    Counts: bird wings, airplane wings, birds, roles, spots, posts

    トーフグの1翼を担う存在になりたいんです。
    I want to be someone who takes on a role in Tofugu.

    その飛行機の2翼は、とても汚れていた。
    The two wings of the airplane were very dirty.

    装い (よそい)

    もう1装いお願いします。
    Can you add one more scoop, please?

    The verb 装う has two possible readings and meanings. The first is よそう, which means "to serve something into a place or dish." The second is よそおう, which means "to dress oneself." The counter 装い is used to count both servings (よそい) and sets of clothes, costumes, or furniture (よそおい). It's much more commonly used to count servings of food (よそい), however, so it's really the only one most people need to be familiar with.

    The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are quite rare. It's also normal to see this written in hiragana, without kanji.

    Counts: ladles of miso soup, scoops of a meal, servings of rice, etc.

    もう1装いお願いします。
    Can you add one more scoop, please?

    2よそいずつで足りるかな?
    Do you think two servings each will be enough?

    両 (りょう)

    <! Inline 48: a train car>

    This kanji originally meant "pairs," so it's used to count pairs of clothes, like pairs of socks, for example. Later, it began to be used to count things with pairs of wheels on both sides (台/だい). It began with horse-pulled carriages, carts, and wagons. These days it's mostly used to count train cars.

    It can also be used with the ordinal number suffix 目 to count specific cars on a train. For example, 一両目 is the first car, 二両目 is the second car, and so on.

    両 also used to be a currency unit back in the Edo period. Have you seen a lucky cat holding a big coin? Many of the coins say 千万両 or 百万両, and that is this 両 currency. One 両 is valued at ¥40,000, which is about $400, so 千万両 (ten million ryo) would be four billion dollars!

    Counts: train cars, railroad cars, horse carriages, horse carts, horse wagons, old units of money, etc.

    この電車は7両編成ですよ。
    This train has seven passenger cars.

    この電車の1両目に乗ってます。
    I'm on the first car of this train.

    輪 (りん)

    輪 is used to count circles, rings, hoops, wheels, flowers (because the petals make a circle), and crowns of flowers. In Japanese, the Olympics are called 五輪 (こりん) because of the five Olympic rings.

    Counts: circles, rings, hoops, wheels, flowers, flower crowns

    ダリンは1輪車に乗って通勤している。
    Darin comes to work by unicycle.

    アヤが描いた6輪の百合の花はとても美しい。
    The six lilies Aya drew are beautiful.

    塁 (るい)

    This is used to count baseball bases. It can be added to the counter for hits, 打 (だ), to say things like 一塁だ (いちるいだ) for one-base hits or singles and 二塁打 (にるいだ) for two-base hits or doubles, and so on.

    You can also use the gairaigo counter ベース for general base counting.

    Counts: baseball bases

    ベースボールには全部で4塁ある。
    Baseball has four bases total.

    3塁まで思いっきり走った。
    I ran toward third base as fast as I could.

    礼 (れい)

    <! Inline 49: a person bowing>

    礼 counts bows and acts of bowing.

    Counts: bows, nods

    どうして今2礼したんですか?
    Why did you just bow twice?

    出雲大社では、2礼2拍手1礼ではなく2礼4拍手1礼だよ。
    At Izumo Taisha, you don't do "two bows, two claps, one bow," instead you do "two bows, four claps, one bow."

    嶺 (れい/りょう)

    This is used to count mountain ranges and mountain peaks in succession.

    Counts: mountain ranges, series of mountain peaks

    夏休みに五嶺山脈に行ってきました。
    I went to the Nanling Mountains during summer vacation.

    三嶺は3嶺あるのでそう名付けられた。
    Mt. Miune was named after its three peaks.

    列 (れつ)

    This counter is used to count lines or queues of people. It can also be used to count rows of things in lines.

    Counts: lines, queues, armies in file, rows of seats, etc.

    カナエの机の上には、88体のコウイチ人形が8列に並べられていた。
    On Kanae's desk, there were eighty-eight Koichi dolls arranged in eight lines.

    2列に並んでお待ち下さい。
    Please wait in two lines.

    連 (れん)

    <! Inline 50: a pearl necklace>

    This is used to count similarly-shaped items strung together or in rows—for example, a string of pearls or prayer beads. More recently, it's been used to count shots taken in gacha games. Some other less common usages include reams, stanzas, and 500 square meters of cellophane.

    Counts: pearl necklaces, prayer beads, dried konbu, katsuobushi, dried octopus, sausage links, oranges or tofu stacks on top of one another, gacha rolls, etc.

    今年は真珠の3連ネックレスが流行ってるらしいよ。
    Apparently three-strand pearl necklaces are trendy this year.

    10連ガチャが1回無料なんだって。
    It says you get ten gacha rolls for free.

    浪 (ろう)

    浪 is used to count the number of years a person has been studying to pass college or university entrance exams—but only after they failed the first time.

    Counts: years spent studying and preparing for entrance exams after failing

    東京大学を目指して3浪しています。
    I've been studying for Tokyo University for the last three years (since failing the first time).

    2浪目に突入した。
    I went into my second year of exam prep (after failing the first exam).

    路線 (ろせん)

    路線 counts train lines and bus routes.

    Counts: train lines, bus routes

    台風の影響で4路線のダイヤが乱れております。
    Train services on four lines are not running on schedule due to the typhoon.

    バスの路線、2路線のうち1路線が廃止になるみたい。
    Apparently, one of the two bus routes is being discontinued.

    把 (わ)

    This is used to count bundles and bunches that can be carried by hand. It's also used for units of fifty-one arrows in traditional Japanese archery performances, but that's a pretty uncommon usage these days.

    Counts: bunches of greens, bunches of noodles, bundles of firewood, bundles of sticks and branches, bundles of incense sticks, etc.

    実家から素麺が30把送られてきた。
    My parents sent me thirty bunches of somen noodles.

    ニラ1把丸ごと使っちゃった。
    I used up an entire bunch of Chinese chives.

    枠 (わく)

    <! Inline 51: a window frame>

    The counter 枠 counts frames, borders or boxes on paper, and job positions. It can also be used to count gates in horse racing (which originally grew from the job position meaning). The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango. If you're counting horse gates, however, the kango readings are used for all of them.

    Counts: frames, window frames, boxes on paper, borders on paper, horse racing gates, job positions, positions, time slots, etc.

    競馬の枠は通常8枠まであります。
    There are usually eight horse racing gates.

    残り1枠ですがまだ空きがります。
    There is still one time slot available, but it's the only one left.

    椀 (わん)

    うちはお茶碗が6椀あるよ。
    We have six rice bowls.

    This is used to count meals in bowls, though it's becoming archaic. These days we usually count bowls with 杯 (はい), but some people and some traditional restaurants still use 椀 (わん). The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: soup in bowls, meals in bowls, rice in bowls

    すぐにお吸い物を1椀ご用意させて頂きますね。
    We're going to prepare one bowl of suimono soup as soon as possible.

    うちはお茶碗が6椀あるよ。
    We have six rice bowls.

    22 Rare But Interesting Counters

    The following counters are not common, but they are interesting, and some of them are used in beautiful expressions. While you probably don't exactly need to remember them, they are nice. Rare counters like these are also sometimes used in Japanese trivia quizzes, so if you're into those, you may want to pay closer attention.

    握 (あく)

    握 is used to count handfuls of sand, powder, rice, etc. While it isn't very common to use it as a counter, it is in a beautiful expression that is used in literature.「一握の砂 (いちあくのすな)」(A Handful of Sand) is a very famous collection of tanka poems by Ishikawa Takuboku, for example.

    Counts: handfuls

    ワニカニは漢字が苦手だった私に1握の希望を抱かせてくれた。
    WaniKani was able to give a handful of hope to someone like me who didn't like kanji.

    重 (え)

    <! Inline 52: a cherry blossom with many layers of petals>

    This counter used to count things that overlapped (doubled, tripled, etc.), but that usage has become archaic, and it is currently just used idiomatically. Some common examples of this include: 二重まぶた (ふたえまぶた) "double eyelids," 八重桜 (やえざくら) "double cherry blossoms," and 幾重にも (いくえにも) "repeatedly, over and over."

    This is a particularly beautiful traditional expression. The 八重 (eight layers) of 八重桜 invokes a magnificent cherry tree overflowing with blossoms, each with many layers of petals.

    These expressions usually use one, two, or eight, and they're all read with the wago readings.

    Counts: eyelid layers, cherry blossom petal layers, kimono layers

    生まれた時は1重瞼でしたが、成長するにつれて自然と2重瞼になったんです。
    I was born with single eyelids, but they naturally became double eyelids as I grew up.

    重ね (かさね)

    This one is similar to 重 (え), but it's used to count the actual number of times something overlaps and creates layers, and it isn't just used idiomatically. That being said, its usage is limited to: clothes; 重箱 (じゅうばこ), multi-tiered lacquered boxes with a lid, usually used to transport cooked foods over short distances; 鏡餅 (かがみもち), round, mirror-shaped rice cakes used as an offering at the household altar at New Years; as well as bedding and bedclothes.

    It's normally only used for one to three using the wago readings. For general use, we use the counter 重 (じゅう) when something overlaps and 層 (そう) for layers.

    Counts: layers of kagami mochi, tree rings, layers of piled futon, layers of jubako boxes, layers of zabuton cushions, layers of bedding, etc.

    お正月、トーフグのオフィスには1029重ねの鏡餅が飾られる。
    On New Years, 1,029 layers of mirror-shaped mochi are placed at the Tofugu office.

    果/菓 (か)

    <! Inline 53: an eggplant>

    This is used to count fruit. And while people usually count fruit with the general counters 〜つ and 個 (こ), this is a more traditional, poetic way to count them. For example, 白桃一果 (はくとういっか) is a slice of white peach.

    Counts: peaches, Asian pears, apples, persimmons, eggplants, etc.

    茄子を育てる時は、1枝1果法か1枝2果法を取るのが良い。
    When growing eggplants, you should only keep one or two fruits on a single branch.

    角 (かく)

    角 is used to count horns and antlers. For example, a unicorn is 一角獣 (いっかくっじゅう), which literally means "one-horned beast." It's also used as a unit of Chinese money (one-tenth of a yuan).

    Counts: horns, antlers, official documents, official papers

    トーフグオフィスで1角獣と2角獣の対決が始まるぞ!
    The fight between the unicorn and the bicorn is about to start at the Tofugu office!

    騎 (き)

    This is used to count knights and warriors on horseback. It can be used to count horses without riders, as well.

    Counts: warriors on horseback, horses

    トーフグ軍が、1万5000騎の大群を引き連れてやって来た。
    The Tofugu army was accompanied by 15,000 warriors on horseback.

    掬 (きく)

    掬 counts handfuls of liquid. While it's no longer common, it's another lovely expression that's used in literature. For example, the phrase 一掬の涙 (いっきくのなみだ) can either mean a little or a lot of tears, depending on your idea of a "handful."

    Counts: handfuls of tears, handfuls of water, handfuls of other liquids

    私のアイスクリームを盗み食いして太った父には、1掬の同情心も湧かなかった。
    I didn't feel even a handful of sympathy for my dad, who gained weight from eating my ice cream on the sly.

    橋 (きょう)

    <! Inline 54: a bridge>

    This is used to count bridges in written language. It's also used to count rainbows in a more poetic way. After all, what are rainbows, but bridges of the sky?

    Counts: bridges, rainbows

    雨上がりの空には、1橋の虹が架かっていた。
    In the sky, after the rain, there was a rainbow.

    雫 (しずく)

    The counter 雫 is used to count drops or drips. A single tear is usually written as 一雫の涙 (ひとしずくのなみだ). This isn't as rare as the others in this section, because it's used quite often in song lyrics. The wago readings are used for one and two, and usually you don't hear people singing about more than that.

    Counts: drops of rain, water drops, tear drops, etc.

    涙が1雫、2雫と零れ落ちてきた。
    My tears fell, one drop after another.

    帖(じょう)

    You use this one to count piles or bundles of thin things, like paper and nori seaweed sheets. This one is tricky, though—the actual number depends on what is being counted. For example, if you're counting 海苔 (のり), nori seaweed, 一帖 means ten sheets. If you're counting 半紙 (はんし), traditional writing paper, 一帖 means twenty sheets. And, if you're counting 美濃紙 (みのがみ), which is 半紙 made in the Mino region (美濃/みの), 一帖 means forty-eight sheets!

    Counts: photo albums, notebooks, sets of ten nori seaweed sheets, Japanese manuscript paper, folding screens, sets of twenty hanshi sheets, sets of forty-eight minogami sheets

    押入れの中から、4帖の古ぼけた写真帳が出てきた。
    Four timeworn photo albums came out of the closet.

    石 (せき)

    <! inline 55: a stone>

    This is used to count stones, but it's more common to use the general Japanese counter 個 (こ) these days. While you can still use it to count stones, it's more commonly used for its idiomatic meaning. For example, 一石を投じる (いっせきをとうじる) means "to bring up a problem" or "to stir up controversy." There's also 一石二鳥 (いっせきにちょう), which means "to kill two birds with one stone."

    Counts: stones, pebbles, small rocks

    自転車通勤にしたら痩せたしガス代も減ったし1石2鳥だ。
    Switching to commuting by bicycle killed two birds with one stone; I lost weight and my gas bill went down.

    年/歳 (とせ)

    コウイチ殿と離別してから二年の月日が流れた。
    Two years have passed since I separated from Lord Koichi.

    This is a poetic way to count years or ages. While it's rare, the way you read it is interesting. We use the wago readings like this: 三年 (みとせ), 千歳 (ちとせ), etc. The most common usage, however, is 千歳飴 (ちとせあめ), which is a long stick of red and white candy that we eat to celebrate the 七五三 (しちごさん) festival. It represents hope for a long life, which is why it's called "thousand year candy."

    Counts: years, ages

    コウイチ殿と離別してから二年の月日が流れた。
    Two years have passed since I separated from Lord Koichi.

    旒/流/流れ (ながれ)

    This is used to count rivers, streams, flags, banners, floats, and things that align vertically like the kanji 川 (river), like written lines. Some people in certain regions count futon mattresses with 流れ as well, though it's usually when they're lined up together in a room (and look like 川). The wago readings are used for one, two, and three, and the rest aren't used very often, if at all.

    Counts: flags, banners, streamers, floats, battle flags, written lines, rivers, streams, futon mattresses

    3流れの幟が悠々となびいていた。
    Three streamers were waving leisurely.

    片/枚 (ひら)

    <! inline 56: a snowflake>

    You count small, thin, flat things that can flutter in the air with this, including petals, confetti, and snowflakes. It was originally a counter like 枚 (まい), and it counted paper, leaves, tatami mats, straw mats, and so on, but this usage has become archaic. The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: petals, confetti, snowflakes, etc.

    1片の桜の花びらが、どこからともなく舞い落ちてきた。
    A cherry petal lightly fluttered down from somewhere.

    口 (ふり)

    This kanji primarily means "mouth," but it also means "to swing down a sword and cut something open." Because of that, it's used to count swords and knives. The counters 振り (じふり) and 口 (くち) can also be used to count them. The wago readings are used for one and two, three can be either, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: swords, katana, knives, kitchen knives, etc.

    ビエト親分は23口の刀を巨大金庫に隠している。
    Boss Viet is hiding twenty-three katana in his enormous vaults.

    瓶 (へい/かめ)

    When read as へい, this is used to count earthenware pots, jars or vases. It's also used to count traditional Japanese flower arrangements (ikebana). It's read with the kango readings.

    When read as かめ, this is used to count earthenware pots, jars or vases that hold food, like umeboshi, miso, and syrups. In this case, the wago readings are used for one, two, and three, and the rest are kango.

    Counts: earthenware pots, earthenware jars, earthenware vases, flowers in vases, water in jars, ikebana, etc.

    その部屋には、生け花32瓶が展示されていた。
    Thirty-two ikebana flower arrangements were displayed in the room.

    祖母の寝室には、いつも梅干しが一瓶置いてあった。
    There was always an earthenware jar of umeboshi in my grandma's bedroom.

    別 (べつ)

    This is a literary expression used to count separations, partings, or goodbyes.

    Counts: separations, partings, goodbyes

    1別で以来ですが、いかがお過ごしでしたか。
    How have you been since that goodbye?

    片 (へん)

    片 is used to count fragments, broken pieces, and small or negligible things. It's also used to count small pieces of paper, broken pieces of things, sections, or petals. Unlike 切れ (きれ), which is used to count nicely sliced pieces of things, 片 (へん) is used to count things in random shapes.

    It can also be used to count papers that no longer hold value. This includes used mail stamps, used train tickets, losing horse racing tickets, losing lottery tickets, and so on.

    Counts: petals, pieces of paper, pieces of broken glass, ripped pieces of origami, used stamps, used tickets, losing tickets, etc.

    3片の紙くずが髪についていた。
    There were three pieces of scrap paper in my hair.

    舗 (ほ)

    <! inline 57: a folded map>

    This is used to count papers that are usually folded, but are unfolded when used, like maps. In fact, it's used mostly when counting maps!

    Counts: folded maps, folded documents, etc.

    日本の地図を集めるのが趣味で、100舗以上持っているんです。
    My hobby is to collect Japanese maps, and I have over a hundred of them.

    門 (もん)

    門 counts doors and gates, as well as things that decorate doors and gates. This includes kadomatsu New Years decorations, which are made from pine branches, bamboo sticks, and plum sprigs. They're set up on either side of front doors and gates. This kanji also means "narrow opening," so it can be used to count cannons and other types of heavy artillery.

    Counts: kadomatsu, gates, tower gates, cannons, artillery, bazookas, etc.

    本当にビエトはバズーカ砲を9門も持っているのかな。
    I wonder if Viet truly owns nine bazookas.

    葉 (よう)

    This is used to count leaves and small, thin, flat things that are not folded. This is usually used in very literal expressions.

    Counts: leaves, postcards, bookmarks, business cards, photographs, cards, book pages, notebook pages, dust, small boats, light boats, etc.

    1葉の葉書と2葉のステッカーがトーフグから送られてきた。
    Tofugu sent me one postcard and two stickers.

    旒/流 (りゅう)

    <! Inline 58: a flag>

    This kanji means "flow" or "stream," and it's used to count floats, banners, and flags.

    Counts: flags, banners, floats, streamers, standards, etc.

    遠くに100旒以上の軍旗が見えた。
    I could see over a hundred standards in the distance.

    鱗 (りん)

    This is used to count fish scales. It's also a fancy and elegant way to count fish.

    Counts: fish scales, fish

    3鱗の真っ赤な鯉が池の中を泳ぎ回っていた。
    Three crimson carp were swimming around the pond.

    57 New Gairaigo Counters

    Japanese people have borrowed many words from other languages, and they continue to add new words every day! This includes new counters and units from overseas.

    With these new counters, the numbers are usually read with either the gairaigo (English counting) method of ワン, ツー, and スリー, or the kango readings. For gairaigo, usually only one through three are read this way, and the rest will use the kango readings. Ten is the highest a counter will go using gairaigo readings. And while it's rare, there are some situations where you'll see borrowed counters counted with wago as well.

    If you remember back to our main article on Japanese counters, Japanese doesn't account for singular or plural (which is why there are counters). That means that even though you may count something just like you would in English, the counter does not go from singular to plural. For example, one item is ワンアイテム but two items is ツーアイテム. This also works in the other direction with the counter for feet (units). Feet in Japanese is フィート (not foot), so one foot is 1フィート.

    While this list covers fifty-seven gairaigo counters, there are a lot more used every day. For example, words used on social media like retweet (リツイート), like (いいね), favorite (お気に入り), and so on, all work as counters, but they are not included in this list. I'm sure there are others that were outside the scope of this article as well.

    Luckily, since these counters came from English, and you presumably also speak and read that, picking up gairaigo counters should be much easier than the rest!

    アイテム (item)

    This is used to count items or products. While it's usually read with kango, the gairaigo counting method can be used for one through three as well.

    Counts: fashion items, stable items, etc.

    2019サマーファッション「必須の3アイテム」
    2019 Summer Fashion "3 Must-Have Items"

    アクセス (access)

    <! Inline 59: a pageview counter a la early 2000s internet>

    アクセス counts access numbers, especially online page views and hits. It's usually read with kango, but it could be read with gairago, though it's not common.

    Counts: access numbers, hits, page views

    もう1年もブログをしてるのに、まだ1日10アクセスぐらいしかない。
    I've been blogging for a year now, but I still only get about ten hits a day.

    イニング (inning)

    This is used to count innings in baseball. It's usually read with the gairaigo readings, but kango is used sometimes too.

    Counts: baseball innings

    今日はマイケルは7イニングを投げました。
    Today, Michael pitched seven innings.

    インチ (inch)

    インチ is used to count inches.

    Counts: inches

    あと3インチ背が高かったら世界が変わっていたかもしれない。
    If I was three inches taller, I bet my world would change.

    エーカー (acre)

    エーカー counts acres.

    Counts: acres

    サイロスの親友の家の敷地は5エーカーあります。
    Cyrus's best friend's property is five acres.

    オンス (ounce)

    This is used to count—you guessed it—ounces.

    Counts: ounces

    一日にトマトジュースを8オンス飲みます。
    I drink eight ounces of tomato juice a day.

    カートン (carton)

    <! Inline 60: a carton of cigarettes>

    This is used to count cartons, but usually only paper box cartons. For milk cartons, it's more common to use パック (pack) in Japanese. One through three are usually read with the gairaigo readings, and the rest are usually kango, but both can be used for any of them.

    Counts: cartons

    免税店で煙草を3カートン買った。
    I bought three cartons of cigarettes at a duty-free shop.

    カット (cut)

    このケーキ、3カットください。
    Can I have three pieces of this cake, please?

    This counter has three different usages. The most common is to count things that are cut into pieces, like watermelon and cake. The other usages are common too, so check out our full article about the カット counter (coming soon) to learn more. You can use any of the three reading methods with it!

    Counts: pieces of fruit, pieces of cake, cuts of film, movie scenes, small illustrations, etc.

    このケーキ、3カットください。
    Can I have three pieces of this cake, please?

    カップ (cup)

    This is used to count cups, specifically the unit cups. Like カット, you can use any of the three reading methods with it. Learn more in our in-depth article.

    Counts: cups, measuring cups, ice cream cups, pudding in cups, golf holes, etc.

    ハーゲンダッツのアイスクリームを6カップ買ってしまった。
    I bought six cups of Häagen-Dazs ice cream.

    カラー (color)

    There is already a counter for colors in Japanese: 色 (しょく). However, people in the fashion industry tend to use the gairaigo counter カラー to sound more fashionable. While it's usually read with the gairaigo readings, it can also be read with kango.

    Counts: colors, hair colors

    3カラーのグラデーションにしちゃいます?
    Do you want to make a gradient with three colors?

    カラット (carat)

    <! Inline 61: a diamond>

    This is used to count carats (gems) and karats (gold).

    Counts: gemstone carats, gold karats

    10カラットのダイヤがついた指輪をプレゼントした。
    I gave her a ring with a ten-carat diamond.

    ガロン (gallon)

    ガロン is used to count gallons.

    Counts: gallons

    この容器には14ガロンぐらい入るよ。
    This container can hold about fourteen gallons.

    キロ/キログラム (kilogram)

    キログラム counts kilograms. The shorter version キロ is used frequently as well.

    Counts: kilograms

    私の体重は60キロです。
    I weigh sixty kilograms.

    キロ/キロメートル (kilometer)

    キロメートル is used to count kilometers. Like with the previous counter, people often use the shorter キロ as well.

    Counts: kilometers

    3キロメートルジョギングしました。
    I jogged three kilometers.

    クール (cour)

    This comes from the French term "cour(s)" and is used to count the three-month periods television shows usually air for. While they may not be considered a unique season, cours usually have about thirteen episodes, and each one has different opening and ending themes.

    Counts: three-month TV cycles

    1クールの撮影が終わった。
    We finished shooting one season (about thirteen episodes).

    クラス (class)

    This is used to count school classes, or classes as in levels or ranks. For the former, the readings for one and two are wago, and the rest are kango. For the latter, the readings are usually in gairaigo (ワンクラス, ツークラス, etc.), but wago and kango work as well.

    Counts: school classes, classes, ranks

    ワンクラス上の着こなしって感じだね。
    The way you dress is one level beyond (everyone else).

    グラム (gram)

    グラム is used to count grams.

    Counts: grams

    砂糖を5グラム入れてください。
    Add five grams of sugar.

    グループ (group)

    This is used to count groups. The readings can be either gairaigo or wago for one and two, three can be either gairaigo or kango, and the rest are usually read with kango.

    Counts: groups

    6グループに分かれて実験をした。
    We split into six groups and did experiments.

    ゲーム (game)

    ゲーム counts games. The readings are usually gairaigo or kango.

    Counts: games, matches

    1ゲーム先取したぞ。
    We won the first game.

    ゴール (goal)

    <! Inline 62: a soccer goal>

    This is used to count goals in sports. It's usually read with the gairaigo counting method, but kango is fine as well.

    Counts: goals

    あの選手は、1試合で3ゴール決めたんだ。
    That player scored three goals in one game.

    シーン (scene)

    This one's used to count scenes in dramas, movies, comics, and manga. One can be read with either gairaigo and kango, but the rest are usually read with kango.

    Counts: scenes, scenes in your life

    この漫画で、思い出に残っている3シーンを教えてください。
    What are the three most memorable scenes of this manga to you?

    ステップ (step)

    ステップ is used to count steps (as in phases). It can be read with either gairaigo or kango, but for four and above, kango is more common.

    Counts: steps, plans, stages, phases, grades, etc.

    4ステップでできる、美味しい納豆ご飯の作り方を教えます。
    I'm going to teach you how to make delicious natto rice in just four steps.

    セット (set)

    This is used to count sets. One through three can be read with any reading method, but four and above are usually read with kango.

    Counts: sets

    毎日腹筋50回を2セットしています。
    I do two sets of fifty sit-ups everyday.

    センチ/センチメートル (centimeter)

    You count centimeters with the counter センチメートル, but there's also a shorter version you can use: センチ.

    Counts: centimeters

    コウイチの前髪はいつもキッカリ18センチです。
    Koichi's bangs are always eighteen centimeters long.

    ダース (dozen)

    <! Inline 63: a carton of a dozen eggs>

    This is used to count dozens.

    Counts: dozens

    このステッカーを3ダース注文しておいて。
    Can you order three dozen of this sticker?

    タイプ (type)

    タイプ counts types. It's usually read with kango, but gairaigo works too.

    Counts: types, kinds

    血液型には4タイプがあります。
    There are four blood types.

    チーム (team)

    This one's the counter for teams. One and two are usually read with wago, but they could be read with kango or gairaigo as well. The rest are normally kango.

    Counts: teams

    2チーム合同で練習した。
    Two teams practiced together.

    チャンス (chance)

    チャンス is used to count chances or opportunities. The shorter version of one chance, which is ワンチャン, is popular slang among younger generations.

    Counts: chances, opportunities

    ワンチャンあるかな。
    I wonder if I could get one chance.

    デニール (denier)

    <! Inline 64: a pair of tights>

    This is used to count deniers, which is the unit used to measure the thickness of the fabric used to make tights and pantyhose.

    Counts: deniers

    60デニールのタイツにするか80デニールのタイツにするかで迷ってるんだよね。
    I can't decide which one to pick: sixty-denier tights or eighty-denier tights.

    ドル (dollar)

    You count dollars with ドル.

    Counts: dollars

    ラッキー! 100ドル札見つけちゃった。
    Lucky me! I found a one hundred dollar bill.

    トン (ton)

    This is used to count tons.

    Counts: tons

    このベーコンの重さは4トンです。
    This bacon weighs four tons.

    ネット (net)

    <! Inline 65: a net full of fish>

    ネット counts products in nets or mesh bags (like onions or potatoes). The wago readings are used for one and two, and the rest are usually kango, but they could be gairaigo as well.

    Counts: nets, mesh bags, laundry nets, fishing nets

    冷凍庫に冷凍ミカンが5ネット入っています。
    There are five mesh bags of oranges in my freezer.

    パターン (pattern)

    パターン is used to count patterns.

    Counts: patterns, ways

    この話の続きを、5パターン考えてみました。
    I came up with five different variations on how the rest of the story could go.

    バイト (byte)

    This is used to count bytes.

    Counts: bytes

    3日で200ギガバイトも使ってしまった。
    I used 200 gigabytes in three days.

    パック (pack)

    <! Inline 66: a milk carton>

    パック is used to count packs or things in a pack, along with cartons of milk.

    Counts: packs, milk cartons

    台風の日にはコロッケを3パック買うことにしている。
    I always try to buy three packs of croquettes on typhoon days.

    牛乳を2パック買った。
    I bought two cartons of milk.

    ハロン (furlong)

    This is used to count furlongs (one-eighth of a mile).

    Counts: furlongs

    日本の競馬では、200メートルを1ハロンとしています。
    In Japanese horse racing, two hundred meters is considered to be a furlong.

    ピース (piece)

    ピース counts pieces of something. It can be read with either gairaigo or kango, but for four and above, kango is more common.

    Counts: pieces, puzzle pieces, cake pieces, suit pieces, dress pieces, etc.

    5000ピースのトーフグのパズルが作りたいんです。
    I want to make a five-thousand-piece Tofugu puzzle.

    ピクセル (pixel)

    <! Inline 67: some pixels/pixelated colors>

    Pixels are sometimes counted with ピクセル, but it's more common to use the Japanese counter 画素 (がそ) for them.

    Counts: pixels

    128ピクセルの画像を探しています。
    I'm looking for 120-pixel images.

    ヒット (hit)

    ヒット is used to count hits, like those in baseball, tennis, and golf, but also physical hits (punches) and digital hits (search results). One through three are usually read with gairaigo, and the rest are read with kango.

    Counts: hits, punches

    「トーフグ」と「コウイチ」でググったら53ヒットしかなかった。
    I Googled "Tofugu" and "Koichi," and I only got fifty-three hits.

    ビット (bit)

    ビット counts bits, like in 8-bit and 16-bit. The readings can be either gairaigo or kango, but for four and above it's normally kango.

    Counts: bits

    8ビットの曲を作っている。
    I make 8-bit songs.

    フィート (feet)

    <! Inline 68: a person's foot>

    This is used to count feet. Be careful, because one foot will still be フィート!

    Counts: feet

    身長は5.6フィートです。
    I'm five feet six inches tall.

    プラン (plan)

    This counter's used to count plans. It can be read with either gairaigo or kango, but wago can be used for one and two as well. For four and above, kango is more common.

    Counts: plans

    一応5プラン考えてきたんだけど。
    I made five plans, for the time being.

    ページ/頁 (page)

    This is used to count pages. It can also be written with the kanji 頁, which is still read as ページ.

    Counts: pages

    この小説、333ページもあるんだ。
    So this novel has 333 pages.

    ベース (base)

    <! Inline 69: a baseball base>

    Bases in baseball are counted with ベース. It's read with gairaigo, unless you're selling bases in bulk (then you can use kango). If you're counting base hits, it's ワンベースヒット for one base hit, ツーベースヒット for two base hits, and スリーベースヒット for three base hits. It does not become plural like in English!

    Counts: bases

    4ベース一人で運んだの?
    Did you carry all four bases by yourself?

    ヘクタール (hectare)

    This is used to count hectares.

    Counts: hectares

    コウイチの犬は500ヘクタールもある森の中に住んでいる。
    Koichi's dog lives in a forest that is five hundred hectares.

    ポイント (point)

    ポイント is used to count points. It can be read with either gairaigo or kango. For four and above, both are still okay, but kango is more common, unless it's a specific way to count points in certain sports.

    Counts: points, points in time, points of interest, etc.

    ワニカニポイントが200ポイント貯まった。
    I got two hundred WaniKani points.

    ポンド / パウンド (pound)

    This is used to count pounds (the currency) and pounds (the weight).

    Counts: pounds

    現金は、100ポンドしか残ってないよ。
    I only have a hundred pounds left.

    豚肉がセールだったから、3パウンドも買っちゃった!
    The pork was on sale, so I bought three pounds of it!

    マイル (mile)

    マイル counts miles.

    Counts: miles

    3マイル逆立ちで歩いた。
    I walked three miles on my hands.

    メートル (meter)

    メートル is used to count meters.

    Counts: meters

    コウイチのネクタイは2メートルある。
    Koichi's tie is two meters long.

    ヤード (yard)

    <! Inline 70: a yardstick>

    You use this one to count yards.

    Counts: yards

    そのゴルフクラブで200ヤード飛ばすのは無理じゃない。
    It's impossible to hit two hundred yards with that golf club, isn't it?

    ユニット (unit)

    ユニット is used to count units of people or things. One through three are usually read with gairaigo, but the kango can be used as well.

    Counts: units, program units, units of furniture, storage units, units of singers, units of comedians, etc.

    今年はこの事務所から17ユニットがデビューした。
    Seventeen units debuted from this agency this year.

    ラウンド (round)

    ラウンド counts rounds of something. It can be read with either gairaigo or kango.

    Counts: rounds, baseball rounds, boxing rounds, etc.

    学校帰りに、ボーリングを3ラウンドして帰った。
    After school, I played three rounds of bowling and then went home.

    リットル (liter)

    リットル is used to count liters.

    Counts: liters

    8リットルの麦茶を用意しています。
    I prepared eight liters of barley tea.

    ルーム (room)

    You use this counter for rooms, especially in Western-style apartments and houses. It's usually read with gairaigo, but the kango readings can be used for three and above.

    Counts: room

    3ルームアパートメントって憧れる。
    I'd like to live in a three-bedroom apartment someday.

    レース (race)

    レース is used to count races.

    Counts: races

    全部で6レースに出場した。
    I participated in six races total.

    ロール (roll)

    <! Inline 71: a roll of toilet paper>

    ロール counts rolls (especially paper rolls). It can be read with either gairaigo or kango, but kango is more common with four and above.

    Counts: rolls, paper rolls, toilet paper rolls, cake rolls

    トイレットペーパー7ロールを川に落としてしまった。
    I dropped seven rolls of toilet paper into the river.

    ワード (word)

    This is used to count words. It's usually read with kango, but the gairaigo readings can be used as well.

    Counts: words

    サイロスは500ワード以内でメールを返信するようにしている。
    Cyrus tries to reply to emails with five hundred words or less.

    Ending

    You did it! You made it to the end. There are no more counters.

    Haha! Just kidding, there are still more. But look how many you know now. That's a pretty ginormous dent you made.