Time in Japan - Differences and curiosities


Did you know that in Japan the hours go past 24? Have you asked what time is it in Japan? In this article, we will understand a little about Japan time, its differences and curiosities.

What time is it in Japan? Japanese Time

Japan time is known by its acronyms JST (Japan Standard Time), in the Japanese language is known as Nihon Hyoujunji (本標準時). Japan's time zone is UTC / GMT +9, 12 hours ahead of Brazil which is UTC -3.

I think we all know that Japan is 12 hours ahead of time, so if it's 3 pm here, it's 3 am. Remember that in Japan there is no daylight saving time, so be aware of this when converting our time to Japan time. 

In addition to Japan, countries like Korea, Indonesia and Yakutsk have the same standard hours. The sun rises about 89º east of Japan at 05:26. The sunset happens at 17:42 to 272º to the west. The day lasts about 12 hours and 16 minutes in Japan.

Horário no japão - diferenças e curiosidades

Japan time is past 24:00

Japan uses the 24 and 12 hour format in everyday life. However, on TV shows or some locations, they exceed the 24:00 on the clock. As well? Japan finds it easier to keep the morning hours on the same day.

This is because the Japanese have a very active nightlife, it can be confusing for some to watch a TV show starting at 21:00 and ending at 1:00. For this reason they prefer to place from 21:00 to 25:00 instead of leaving 1:00 AM.

Countries other than Japan such as the United Kingdom, Korea, Hong Kong and China use hours beyond 24:00 when business hours extend beyond midnight. This also prevents train tickets with no dates from issuing schedules like from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.

This avoids common cases that happen in Brazil when we say Sunday night at 2 am, and it is already Monday. You can find Japanese time exceeding 24:00 on TV, stations, radios, concerts, shops, hotels, theater and even at bathrooms.

Horário no japão - diferenças e curiosidades

The history of Japan's time and clocks

Before the Meiji Period (1868-1912), each region in Japan had its own time zone that depended on the position of the sun. When trains became popular in Japan, the practice of seeing the time through the highest position in the sun became a source of confusion. Trains in Osaka ended up arriving 20 minutes early in Tokyo because of the small time difference.


During World War II, countries like Singapore and Malaysia adopted Japan time, but that reversed itself after Japan surrendered. Formerly the islands of Okinawa and Taiwan used the time is UTC +8, that is one hour less than the Japanese time, but that ended in 1937.

Clocks have existed in Japan since the middle of the 7th century in the form of water clocks. In the old days, in the Edo period, Japan had a traditional mechanical watch. He used a seasonal weather system, based on a mechanical clock from Europe. 

This traditional Japanese watch is called Wadokei (和時計) and was introduced by Jesuit missionaries or Dutch merchants. They were flashlight watches made of bronze or iron.

Horário no japão - diferenças e curiosidades

Traditional Japanese time

Japan's traditional clock had six hours numbered 9 to 4, which counted backwards from noon until midnight. The numbers 1 to 3 were not used for religious reasons, as these numbers were used by Buddhists to pray.

The count went backwards because the first Japanese artificial clocks used incense that burned to count the time. Dawn and dusk, therefore, were marked as the sixth hour in the Japanese hourly counting system. Traditional Japanese clocks also had the symbols of the Chinese zodiac. (Source: Wikipedia);

ZodiacNight zodiacNumberSolar time
卯 – Coelho.酉 - Rooster.六 - 6Sunrise Sunset.
辰 – Dragão.戌 - Dog.五 -   5 
巳 – Cobra.亥 - Pig.四 -   4 
午 – Cavalo.子 - Mouse.九 -   9afternoon / midnight.
未 – Cabra.丑 - Ox.八 -   8 
申 – Macaco.寅 - Tiger.七 -   7 .

These were some curiosities about the time in Japan. We recommend reading other related articles below: