Time Zones and Daylight Savings

Exam Objectives

Work with dates and times across time zones and manage changes resulting from daylight savings including Format date and times values.

Core time zone classes

Before Java 8, if we wanted to work with time zone information, we have to use the class java.util.TimeZone. Now with the new Date/Time API, there'are new and better options.

They are:

Represents the ID of time zone. For example, Asia/Tokyo.

Represents a time zone offset. It's a subclass of ZoneId. For example, -06:00.

Represents a date/time with time zone information. For example, 2015-08-30T20:05:12.463-05:00[America/Mexico_City].

Represents a date/time with an offset from UTC/Greenwich. For example, 2015-08-30T20:05:12.463-05:00.

Represents a time with an offset from UTC/Greenwich. For example, 20:05:12.463-05:00.

Just like the classes of the previous chapter, these one are located in the java.time package and are immutable.

ZoneId and ZoneOffset classes

The world is divided into time zones in which the same standard time is kept. By convention, a time zone is expressed as the number of hours different from the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Since the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Zulu time (Z), used in military, have no offset from UTC, they're often used as synonyms.

Java uses the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) database of time zones, which keeps a record of all known time zones around the world and is updated many times per year.

Each time zone has an ID, represented by the class java.time.ZoneId. There are three types of ID:

The first type just states the offset from UTC/GMT time. They are represented by the class ZoneOffset and they consist of digits starting with + or -, for example, +02:00.

The second type also states the offset from UTC/GMT time, but with one of the following prefixes: UTC, GMT and UT, for example, UTC+11:00. They are also represented by the class ZoneOffset.

The third type is region based. These IDs have the format area/city, for example, Europe/London.

You can get all the available zone IDs with the static method:

Set<String> getAvailableZoneIds()

For example, to print them in the console:


To get the zone ID of your system use the static method:


Under the cover, it uses java.util.TimeZone.getDefault() to find the default time zone and converts it to a ZoneId.

If you want to create a specific ZoneId object use the method of():

ZoneId singaporeZoneId = ZoneId.of("Asia/Singapore");

This method parses the ID producing a ZoneOffset or a ZoneRegion (both extend from ZoneId).

Actually, the above line produces a ZoneRegion. A ZoneOffset is returned if for example, ID is Z, or starts with + or -. For example:

ZoneId zoneId = ZoneId.of("Z"); // Z represents the zone ID for UTC
ZoneId zoneId = ZoneId.of("-2"); // -02:00

The rules for this method are:

Remember that a ZoneOffset represents an offset, generally from UTC. This class has a lot more constructors than ZoneId:

// The offset must be in the range of -18 to +18
ZoneOffset offsetHours = ZoneOffset.ofHours(1);
// The range is -18 to +18 for hours and 0 to ± 59 for minutes
// If the hours are negative, the minutes must be negative or zero
ZoneOffset offsetHrMin = ZoneOffset.ofHoursMinutes(1, 30);
// The range is -18 to +18 for hours and 0 to ± 59 for mins and secs]
// If the hours are negative, mins and secs must be negative or zero
ZoneOffset offsetHrMinSe = ZoneOffset.ofHoursMinutesSeconds(1,30,0);
// The offset must be in the range -18:00 to +18:00
// Which corresponds to -64800 to +64800
ZoneOffset offsetTotalSeconds = ZoneOffset.ofTotalSeconds(3600);
// The range must be from +18:00 to -18:00
ZoneOffset offset = ZoneOffset.of("+01:30:00");

The formats accepted by the of() method are:

If you pass an invalid format or an out-of-range value to any of these methods, an exception is thrown.

To get the value of the offset, you can use:

// Gets the offset as int
int offsetInt = offset.get(ChronoField.OFFSET_SECONDS);
// Gets the offset as long
long offsetLong= offset.getLong(ChronoField.OFFSET_SECONDS);
// Gets the offset in seconds
int offsetSeconds = offset.getTotalSeconds();

ChronoField.OFFSET_SECONDS is the only accepted value of ChronoField, so the three statements above return the same result. Other values throw an exception.

Anyway, once you have a ZoneId object, you can use it to create a ZonedDateTime instance.

A ZonedDateTime object

        Date                                     Offset
2015-08-31 T08:45:20.000 +02:00[Africa/Cairo]
                            Time                                 Time zone

ZonedDateTime class

A java.time.ZonedDateTime object represents a point in time relative to a time zone.

A ZonedDateTime object has three parts:

Which means that it stores all date and time fields, to a precision of nanoseconds, and a time zone with a zone offset.

So once you have a ZoneId object, you can combine it with a LocalDate, a LocalDateTime, or an Instant, to transform it into ZonedDateTime:

ZoneId australiaZone = ZoneId.of("Australia/Victoria");

LocalDate date = LocalDate.of(2010, 7, 3);
ZonedDateTime zonedDate = date.atStartOfDay(australiaZone);

LocalDateTime dateTime = LocalDateTime.of(2010, 7, 3, 9, 0);
ZonedDateTime zonedDateTime = dateTime.atZone(australiaZone);

Instant instant =;
ZonedDateTime zonedInstant = instant.atZone(australiaZone);

Or using the of method:

ZonedDateTime zonedDateTime2 =
    ZonedDateTime.of(,, australiaZone);
ZonedDateTime zonedDateTime3 =
    ZonedDateTime.of(, australiaZone);
ZonedDateTime zonedDateTime4 =
    ZonedDateTime.ofInstant(, australiaZone);
// year, month, day, hours, minutes, seconds, nanoseconds, zoneId
ZonedDateTime zonedDateTime5 =
    ZonedDateTime.of(2015,1,30,13,59,59,999, australiaZone);

You can also get the current date/time from the system clock in the default time zone with:

ZonedDateTime now =;

From a ZonedDateTime you can get LocalDate, LocalTime, or a LocalDateTime (without the time zone part) with:

LocalDate currentDate = now.toLocalDate();
LocalTime currentTime = now.toLocalTime();
LocalDateTime currentDateTime = now.toLocalDateTime();

ZonedDateTime also have most of the methods of LocalDateTime that we reviewed in the previous chapter:

//To get the value of a specified field
int day = now.getDayOfMonth();
int dayYear = now.getDayOfYear();
int nanos = now.getNano();
Month monthEnum = now.getMonth();
int year = now.get(ChronoField.YEAR);
long micro = now.getLong(ChronoField.MICRO_OF_DAY);
// This is new, gets the zone offset such as "-03:00"
ZoneOffset offset = now.getOffset();
// To create another instance
ZonedDateTime zdt1 = now.with(ChronoField.HOUR_OF_DAY, 10);
ZonedDateTime zdt2 = now.withSecond(49);
// Since these methods return a new instance, we can chain them!
ZonedDateTime zdt3 = now.withYear(2013).withMonth(12);

// The following two methods are specific to ZonedDateTime

// Returns a copy of the date/time with a
// different zone, retaining the instant
ZonedDateTime zdt4 = now.withZoneSameInstant(australiaZone);
// Returns a copy of this date/time with a different time zone,
// retaining the local date/time if it's valid for the new time zone
ZonedDateTime zdt5 = now.withZoneSameLocal(australiaZone);

// Adding
ZonedDateTime zdt6 = now.plusDays(4);
ZonedDateTime zdt7 = now.plusWeeks(3);
ZonedDateTime zdt8 =, ChronoUnit.HOURS);

// Subtracting
ZonedDateTime zdt9 = now.minusMinutes(20);
ZonedDateTime zdt10 = now.minusNanos(99999);
ZonedDateTime zdt11 = now.minus(10, ChronoUnit.SECONDS);

The method toString() returns the date/time in the format of a LocalDateTime followed by a ZoneOffset, optionally, a ZoneId if it is not the same as the offset, and omitting the parts with value zero:

// Prints 2014-09-19T00:30Z
// Prints 2015-08-31T12:39:27.492-04:00[America/Montreal]

Daylight savings

Many countries in the world adopt what is called Daylight Saving Time (DST), the practice of advance the clock by an hour in the summer (well, not exactly in the summer in all countries but let's bear with this) when the daylight savings time starts.

When the daylight time ends, clocks are set back by an hour. This is done to make better use of natural daylight.

ZonedDateTime is fully aware of DST.

For an example, let's take a country where DST is fully observed, like Italy (UTC/GMT +2).

In 2015, DST started in Italy on March, 29th and ended on October, 25th. This means that on:

March, 29 2015 at 2:00:00 A.M. clocks were turned forward 1 hour to
March, 29 2015 at 3:00:00 A.M. local daylight time instead

(So a time like March, 29 2015 2:30:00 A.M. didn't actually exist!)

October, 25 2015 at 3:00:00 A.M. clocks were turned backward 1 hour to
October, 25 2015 at 2:00:00 A.M. local daylight time instead

(So a time like October, 25 2015 2:30:00 A.M. actually existed twice!)

If we create an instance of LocalDateTime with this date/time and print it:

LocalDateTime ldt = LocalDateTime.of(2015, 3, 29, 2, 30);

The result will be:


But if we create an instance of ZonedDateTime for Italy (notice that the format uses a city, not a country) and printed:

ZonedDateTime zdt = ZonedDateTime.of(
     2015, 3, 29, 2, 30, 0, 0, ZoneId.of("Europe/Rome"));

The result will be just like in the real world when using DST:


But be careful. We have to use a regional ZoneId, a ZoneOffset won't do the trick because this class doesn't have the zone rules information to account for DST:

ZonedDateTime zdt1 = ZonedDateTime.of(
     2015, 3, 29, 2, 30, 0, 0, ZoneOffset.ofHours(2));
ZonedDateTime zdt2 = ZonedDateTime.of(
     2015, 3, 29, 2, 30, 0, 0, ZoneId.of("UTC+2"));
System.out.println(zdt1); System.out.println(zdt2);

The result will be:

2015-03-29T02:30+02:00[UTC+02:00] 2015-03-29T02:30+02:00

When we create an instance of ZonedDateTime for Italy, we have to add an hour to see the effect (otherwise we we'll be creating the ZonedDateTime at 3:00 of the new time):

ZonedDateTime zdt = ZonedDateTime.of(
    2015, 10, 25, 2, 30, 0, 0, ZoneId.of("Europe/Rome"));
ZonedDateTime zdt2 = zdt.plusHours(1);

The result will be:

2015-10-25T02:30+02:00[Europe/Rome] 2015-10-25T02:30+01:00[Europe/Rome]

We also need to be careful when adjusting the time across the DST boundary with a version of the methods plus() and minus() that takes a TemporalAmount implementation, in other words, a Period or a Duration. This is because both differ in their treatment of daylight savings time.

Consider one hour before the beginning of DST in Italy:

ZonedDateTime zdt = ZonedDateTime.of(
    2015, 3, 29, 1, 0, 0, 0, ZoneId.of("Europe/Rome"));

When we add a Duration of one day:


The result is:


When we add a Period of one day:


The result is:


The reason is that Period adds a conceptual date, while Duration adds exactly one day (24 hours or 86, 400 seconds) and when it crosses the DST boundary, one hour is added, and the final time is 02:00 instead of 01:00.

OffsetDateTime and OffsetTime

OffsetDateTime represents an object with date/time information and an offset from UTC, for example, 2015-01-01T11:30-06:00.

You may think Instant, OffsetDateTime and ZonedDateTime are very much alike, after all, they all store the date and time to a nanosecond precision. However, there are subtle but important differences:

OffsetTime represents a time with an offset from UTC, for example, 11:30-06:00. The common way to create an instance of these classes is:

OffsetDateTime odt = OffsetDateTime.of(, ZoneOffset.of("+03:00"));
OffsetTime ot = OffsetTime.of(, ZoneOffset.of("-08:00"));

Both classes have practically the same methods that their LocalDateTime, ZonedDateTime, and LocalTime counterparts. With an offset from UTC and without time zone variations, they always represent an exact instant in time, which may be more suited for certain types of applications (the Java documentation recommends OffsetDateTime when communicating with a database or in a network protocol).

Parsing and Formatting

java.time.format.DateTimeFormatter is the new class for parsing and formatting dates. It can be used in two ways:

All format methods throw the runtime exception:
All parse methods throw the runtime exception:

DateTimeFormatter provides three ways to format date/time objects:

Predefined Formatters

Formatter Description Example
BASIC_ISO_DATE Date fields without separators 20150803
Date fields with separators
Date fields with separators and zone offset
2015-08-03 T13:40:10+07:00
ISO_ZONED_DATE_TIME A zoned date and time 2015-08-03 T13:40:10 +07:00 [Asia/Bangkok]
Date or Time with or without offset
DateTime with ZoneId
2015-08-03 T13:40:10+07:00 [Asia/Bangkok]
ISO_INSTANT Date and Time of an Instant 2015-08-03 T13:40:10Z
ISO_ORDINAL_DATE Year and day of the year 2015-200
ISO_WEEK_DATE Year, week and day of the week 2015-W34-2
RFC_1123_DATE_TIME RFC 1123 / RFC 822 date format Mon, 3 Ago 2015 13:40:10 GMT

Locale-specific formatters

Style Date Time
SHORT 8/3/15 1:40 PM
MEDIUM Aug 03, 2015 1:40:00 PM
LONG August 03, 2015 1:40:00 PM PDT
FULL Monday, August 03, 2015 1:40:00 PM PDT

Custom Patterns

Symbol Meaning Examples
G Era AD; Anno Domini; A
u Year 2015; 15
y Year of Era 2015; 15
D Day of Year 150
M / L Month of Year 7; 07; Jul; July; J
d Day of Month 20
Q / q Quarter of year 2; 02; Q2; 2nd quarter
Y Week-based Year 2015; 15
w Week of Week-based Year 30
W Week of Month 2
E Day of Week Tue; Tuesday; T
e / c Localized Day of Week 2; 02; Tue; Tuesday; T
F Week of Month 2
a AM/PM of Day AM
h Hour (1-12) 10
K Hour (0-11) 1
k Hour (1-24) 20
H Hour (0-23) 23
m Minute 10
s Second 11
S Fraction of Second 999
A Milli of Day 2345
n Nano of Second 865437987
N Nano of Day 12986497300
V Time Zone ID Asia/Manila; Z; -06:00
z Time Zone Name Pacific Standard Time; PST
O Localized Zone Offset GMT+4; GMT+04:00; UTC-04:00;
X Zone Offset ('Z' for zero) Z; -08; -0830; -08:30
x Zone Offset +0000; -08; -0830; -08:30
Z Zone Offset +0000; -0800; -08:00
' Escape for Text
'' Single Quote
[ ] Optional Section Start / End
# { } Reserved for future use


LocalDate ldt = LocalDate.of(2015, 1, 20);

These are examples of using a predefined formatter:


The output will be:

2015-01-20 2015-01-20

These are examples of using a localized style:

DateTimeFormatter formatter = DateTimeFormatter.ofLocalizedDate(FormatStyle.SHORT);
// With the current locale
// With another locale
System.out.println( formatter.withLocale(Locale.GERMAN).format(ldt));

One output can be:

20/01/15 20/01/15 20.01.15

And these are examples of using a custom pattern:

DateTimeFormatter formatter = DateTimeFormatter.ofPattern("QQQQ Y");
// With the current locale
// With another locale

One output can be:

1st quarter 2015
1st quarter 2015
1. Quartal 2015

If the formatter uses information that is not available, a DateTimeException will be thrown. For example, using a DateTimeFormatter.ISO_OFFSET_DATE with a LocalDate instance (it doesn't have offset information).

To parse a date and/or time value from a string, use one of the parse methods. For example:

// Format according to ISO-8601
String dateTimeStr1 = "2015-06-29T14:45:30";
// Custom format
String dateTimeStr2 = "2015/06/29 14:45:30";
LocalDateTime ldt = LocalDateTime.parse(dateTimeStr1);
// Using DateTimeFormatter
DateTimeFormatter formatter = DateTimeFormatter.ofPattern("yyyy/MM/dd HH:mm:ss");
// DateTimeFormatter returns a TemporalAccessor instance
TemporalAccessor ta = formatter.parse(dateTimeStr2);
// LocalDateTime returns an instance of the same type
ldt = LocalDateTime.parse(dateTimeStr2, formatter);

The version of parse() of the date/time objects takes a string in a format according to ISO-8601, this is:

Class Format Example
LocalDate uuuu-MM-dd 2007-12-03
LocalTime HH:mm:ss 10:15
LocalDateTime uuuu-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss 2007-12-03T10:15:30
ZonedDateTime uuuu-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ss XXXXX[VV] 2011-12-03T10:15:30 +01:00[Europe/Paris]
OffsetDateTime uuuu-MM-dd'T'HH:mm:ssXXXXX 2011-12-03T10:15:30 +01:00
OffsetTime HH:mm:ssXXXXX 10:15:30+01:00

If the formatter uses information that is not available or if the pattern of the format is invalid, a DateTimeParseException will be thrown.

Key Points

Self Test

1. Which of the following are valid ways to create a ZoneId object?
A. ZoneId.ofHours(2);
B. ZoneId.of("2");
C. ZoneId.of("-1");
D. ZoneId.of("America/Canada");

2. Given:

ZoneOffset offset = ZoneOffset.of("Z");

Which of the following is the result of executing the above lines?
A. 0
B. 1
C. 12:00
D. An exception is thrown

3. Given:

ZonedDateTime zdt =

Assuming a local time zone of +2:00, which of the following is the result of executing the above lines?
A. 05:00
B. 17:00
C. 02:00
D. 03:00

4. Given:

ZonedDateTime zdt =

Assuming that DST starts on October, 4, 2015 at 0:00:00, which of the following is the result of executing the above lines?
A. 2015-10-04T00:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]
B. 2015-10-04T01:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]
C. 2015-10-04T02:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]
D. 2015-10-03T23:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]

5. Given:

ZonedDateTime zdt =

Assuming that DST ends on March, 22, 2015 at 0:00:00, which of the following is the result of executing the above lines?
A. 2015-03-21T01:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]
B. 2015-03-21T00:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]
C. 2015-03-20T23:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]
D. 2015-03-21T02:00-03:00[America/Asuncion]

6. Which of the following statements are true?
A. java.time.ZoneOffset is a subclass of java.time.ZoneId.
B. java.time.Instant can be obtained from java.time.ZonedDateTime.
C. java.time.ZoneOffset can manage DST.
D. java.time.OffsetDateTime represents a point in time in the UTC time zone.

7. Given:

DateTimeFormatter formatter =
    .format(LocalDateTime.of(2015, 5, 7, 16, 0))

Which of the following is the result of executing the above lines?
A. 5/7/15 4:00 PM
B. 5/7/15
C. 4:00 PM
D. 4:00:00 PM

8. Given:

DateTimeFormatter formatter =
    DateTimeFormatter.ofPattern("HH:mm:ss X");
OffsetDateTime odt =
    OffsetDateTime.parse("11:50:20 Z", formatter);

Which of the following statements is true about the above lines?
A. The pattern HH:mm:ss X is invalid.
B. An OffsetDateTime is created successfully.
C. Z is an invalid offset.
D. An exception is thrown at runtime.