Uncover Which Numbers are Good Luck in Japan

In Japan, numbers hold deep cultural significance, with certain numbers believed to bring good luck and others associated with bad luck. By understanding these traditional lucky numbers and number symbolism in Japan, you can navigate the country’s rich culture with respect and appreciation. Let’s explore the fascinating world of Japanese lucky number beliefs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Certain numbers in Japan are considered lucky, while others are believed to bring bad luck.
  • Unlucky numbers in Japan include 4, 6, 9, 42, and 49 due to their negative connotations.
  • Lucky numbers in Japan include 3, 5, 7, and 8, which are associated with good luck, prosperity, and balance.
  • Japanese culture is filled with superstitions and beliefs related to numbers, and number symbolism plays a significant role.
  • By understanding the significance of lucky numbers in Japan, you can engage in meaningful interactions and respect local customs.

Unlucky Numbers in Japan

In Japanese culture, certain numbers are considered unlucky due to their negative connotations or resemblance to words associated with death or suffering. Understanding these unlucky numbers is essential for navigating Japanese customs and traditions. Let’s explore the meaning behind some of the most unlucky numbers in Japan.

Number 4: Shi (Death)

The number 4, pronounced as “shi” in Japanese, is considered extremely unlucky. This is because “shi” sounds similar to the word for death. As a result, many buildings in Japan often skip the number 4 in their floor numbering or room assignments. You’ll also find this number avoided in gifts, as it is considered inauspicious and brings bad luck.

Number 6: Roku (Suffering)

The number 6, pronounced as “roku,” is associated with suffering in Japanese culture. The word “roku” sounds similar to the word for suffering, making it an unlucky number. It is often avoided in hospitals and other places where people seek healing and well-being.

Number 9: Ku (Pain or Suffering)

Similar to the number 4, the number 9 is considered unlucky due to its pronunciation. In Japanese, the number 9 is pronounced as “ku,” which sounds like the word for pain or suffering. As a result, it is often avoided in various contexts, including room assignments, addresses, and phone numbers.

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Number 42: Shi-ni (Death)

The number 42, read as “shi-ni,” combines the numbers 4 and 2, both of which have negative connotations associated with death. Due to this double dose of bad luck, the number 42 is considered highly unlucky in Japan. It is best to avoid using or including this number in any context.

Number 49: Shi-ku (Pain and Suffering)

Similar to the number 42, the number 49 combines the unlucky numbers 4 and 9. In Japanese, it is pronounced as “shi-ku,” which sounds like the words for pain and suffering. This combination intensifies the negative connotations, making the number 49 particularly unlucky and best avoided.

Unlucky Number Pronunciation Meaning
4 Shi Death
6 Roku Suffering
9 Ku Pain or Suffering
42 Shi-ni Death
49 Shi-ku Pain and Suffering

Lucky Numbers in Japan

In addition to the superstitions surrounding unlucky numbers, Japan also holds certain numbers in high regard for their association with good luck, prosperity, and positive energy. Understanding these lucky numbers can give you insights into Japanese culture and traditions. Here are some of the lucky numbers in Japan:

Lucky Number 3

In Japan, the number 3 is considered highly auspicious. It is believed to symbolize growth, harmony, and abundance. The number 3 is associated with important aspects of Japanese culture, such as the three divine treasures (known as the Sanshu no Jingi) – the mirror, the sword, and the jewel. Additionally, many Shinto deities are grouped in threes, further emphasizing the significance of this number.

Lucky Number 5

The number 5 is another fortunate number in Japanese culture. It represents balance, harmony, and the five elements – earth, water, fire, wind, and void. It is also associated with the five senses, five directions, and the five tastes. The celebration of Boys’ Day on May 5th (known as Tango no Sekku) is a significant event that showcases the importance of the number 5.

Lucky Number 7

In Japan, the number 7 is believed to bring luck and protection. It is associated with the seven gods of fortune (known as Shichifukujin) and is considered a symbol of divine intervention and good fortune. The seven gods of fortune are often depicted together on various auspicious items like charms, paintings, and sculptures.

Lucky Number 8

The number 8 is considered lucky in many cultures, including Japan. It is associated with wealth, prosperity, and success. In Japanese, the pronunciation of “8” is similar to the word for “fortune” (fuku), making it a highly favorable number. Many businesses and individuals in Japan seek out phone numbers, addresses, and license plates that contain the number 8 to attract good luck.

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Understanding the significance of lucky numbers in Japan can help you appreciate the cultural beliefs and traditions associated with these numbers. Whether you’re exploring Japanese temples, participating in festivals, or engaging in conversations with locals, being aware of these lucky numbers can enhance your cultural experience and interactions.

Japanese Superstitions and Number Symbolism

Japanese culture is rich in superstitions and beliefs related to numbers. Number symbolism plays a significant role in shaping these beliefs and influencing various aspects of Japanese life. Understanding these superstitions can provide fascinating insights into the country’s history, traditions, and even daily customs. Let’s explore some of the prominent Japanese superstitions and number symbolism:

Omens and Numbers in Japan

In Japan, certain numbers are considered omens, believed to bring either good luck or bad luck depending on the context. For example, the number 7 (shichi/nana) is associated with luck and good fortune because its pronunciation is similar to the word for “seven” (shichi) which also means “life” in Japanese. This connection represents a positive omen in Japanese culture.

On the other hand, the number 4 (shi) is considered unlucky due to its resemblance to the word for “death” (shi) in Japanese. Many buildings, hotels, and hospitals in Japan often avoid including the number 4 in their floors or room numbers. Similarly, the number 9 (ku) is also considered unlucky because it sounds like the word for “pain” (ku) in Japanese.

According to Japanese superstition, breaking mirrors brings seven years of bad luck.

The Symbolism of Numbers

Numbers in Japan are often associated with specific symbolic meanings. For instance, the number 3 (san) is considered a fortunate number because it represents harmony, completeness, and balance. This symbolism is deeply rooted in religious and cultural practices. Similarly, the number 8 (hachi) is associated with wealth and prosperity due to its shape, resembling the mathematical symbol for infinity.

Japanese people often seek auspicious numbers for important occasions like weddings, business deals, or even buying a house. They may consult numerologists or fortune-tellers to determine the most favorable numbers based on the individuals’ birth dates and other factors.

Divination and Numerology

Divination and numerology, known as “onmyodo” in Japan, have been practiced for centuries to gain insights into various aspects of life. Astrology, tarot, and even name analysis play a significant role in determining favorable numbers and predicting future outcomes. Many Japanese individuals believe that understanding the hidden meanings behind numbers can provide guidance and help make important decisions.

These superstitions and number symbolism are deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, influencing everything from everyday life to special occasions. By appreciating the significance of these beliefs, visitors to Japan can gain a deeper understanding of the country’s traditions and engage in respectful cultural exchanges.

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Japanese superstitions


Understanding the significance of lucky and unlucky numbers is crucial for experiencing Japanese culture fully. By avoiding the unlucky numbers, such as 4, 6, 9, 42, and 49, you can show respect and avoid any unintended negative associations. On the other hand, embracing the lucky numbers like 3, 5, 7, and 8 can bring you good luck, prosperity, and positive energy.

Japanese superstitions and number symbolism are deeply rooted in their traditions. By being aware of these beliefs, you can navigate the country with cultural sensitivity and engage in meaningful interactions. Remember that numbers hold great significance in Japan, so respecting and understanding their beliefs surrounding lucky numbers will enhance your overall experience.

So, if you ever find yourself in Japan, pay attention to the numbers around you. Appreciate the rich symbolism they represent, and embrace the cultural significance of lucky numbers. By doing so, you’ll not only immerse yourself in Japanese customs but also show appreciation for their unique traditions and beliefs.


Which numbers are considered lucky in Japan?

The lucky numbers in Japan are 3, 5, 7, and 8. These numbers are believed to bring good luck, prosperity, peace, and growth.

What are the unlucky numbers in Japan?

The unlucky numbers in Japan are 4, 6, 9, 42, and 49. These numbers have negative connotations or sound similar to words associated with death or suffering.

What is the significance of number symbolism in Japanese culture?

Number symbolism plays a significant role in Japanese beliefs and superstitions. Certain numbers are thought to bring luck, while others are avoided due to their negative associations.

Are there any other Japanese superstitions related to numbers?

Yes, Japanese culture is filled with superstitions related to numbers. For example, the number 13 is considered unlucky because it is associated with bad luck in Western culture as well.

Why is it important to understand lucky and unlucky numbers in Japan?

Understanding lucky and unlucky numbers in Japan is essential for navigating Japanese culture and traditions. By being aware of these beliefs, visitors to Japan can respect local customs and engage in meaningful interactions.

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My name is Sandra, and I am the head content creator of isitgoodluck.com. We created this website to share our thoughts and experiences on the topic of luck and to explore the many different ways people think about and talk about luck in their lives.

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