Japanese Sayings/Phrases – Kotowaza [ことわざ] – Three Years on A Stone

It is just like English sayings and phrases, there are Japanese sayings and phrases as well. It is called [kotowaza ことわざ].

Today’s kotowaza

石の上にも三年・Ishi no ue nimo san nen (Three years on the stone)

A man is sitting on the square stone, looking at the country-side filed.
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

The Origin

Even if a stone is cold, if you patiently sit down on it for 3 years, the stone will get warm.

Its meaning

Ishi – a stone

Ue – a top

San nen – three years

The is a teaching. No matter how hard it is if you continue making an effort, it will surely pay off at the end.

 Perseverance prevails./Patience wins  / Slow and steady wins the race.

How to use it


Chugakusei ni natta ani wa sakka bu ni haitta. Renshu wa mainichi taihen sou daga, ichi no ue nimo sannnen, reguraa ni naru to ganbatte iru.

My older brother who became a junior high school student, has joined the football club. The practice seems to be hard everyday but three years on a stone, he is doing his best to become a regular player.


About mkchatinjapanese

I am a native Japanese who teaches Japanese to non-Japanese speaker as a private tutor. Teach from a beginner to Intermediate level. location in London.
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