So you want to learn hiragana? Wise choice, my friend!
Learning hiragana is the first step in learning to read and write Japanese. So if you want to know how to learn Japanese, hiragana is the best possible starting place.
This page will teach you what hiragana is, and will give you some awesome resources so that you can start learning Japanese hiragana for yourself today!
What is hiragana?
Hiragana is the most useful Japanese script and it is easy for beginners to learn! In fact, if you want to learn Japanese, I recommend hiragana as the best place to start.
This really should be your first step in mastering Japanese. Learn hiragana and you will instantly be able to read and write basic Japanese words. You won’t regret it!
You see many people refer to hiragana as an alphabet, but in actual fact, it is a syllabary. This means that each character represents one syllable or sound.
Japanese hiragana is actually much easier than the English alphabet. It is a phonetic script and each character only has one sound.
When you learn hiragana, you can instantly read and pronounce any word written in hiragana! Pretty cool, right?
Also, hiragana represents every single sound possible in the Japanese language! Learn hiragana, and you will instantly be able to pronounce any Japanese word! Check out the video at the end of this article for a pronunciation guide.
Learn hiragana with this chart!
Here’s our hiragana chart, including pronunciations. Print it, pin it, study it – start learning Japanese hiragana today!
I recommend you focus on learning just one line at a time, so you don’t get confused.
When you are learning how to read hiragana, it helps to quiz yourself a lot with flashcards. There are lots of free hiragana flashcard apps and websites such as this one. If you’re old-school and prefer paper flashcards, there’s a free set you can print out at the end of the workbook available here.
Ok, so our chart above will help you read hiragana, but how about pronunciation?
Watch this video to learn how to pronounce hiragana properly!
How to write Japanese hiragana
When you are learning hiragana, it really helps to practise writing out the characters many times until it begins to feel natural.
You can download a free hiragana and katakana workbook here!
Print out the worksheets and practise writing as many times as you like.
(You need to create a free account at that site in order to download your workbook, but there are no hidden costs – promise. You just need an email address to get access.)
5 crazy facts about Japanese hiragana
- Hiragana was originally called ‘women’s hand’ as it was used only by women! Men wrote in katakana and kanji. Today, everyone in Japan writes hiragana.
- Hiragana originally developed from Chinese characters
- Hiragana have been around since the 5th century
- Iroha Uta is a type of poetry that uses all 48 hiragana syllables
- Japanese names written in hiragana are almost always girls’ names
Well done for using the resources on this page to take the first step to learn hiragana!
But if you want to really learn to read, speak and write Japanese, your journey is just beginning!
Our recommended online course for learning Japanese is JapanesePod101.
You can get a free lifetime account including new free audio lessons weekly, free worksheets, videos and loads of other content all online for free 🙂
Take the next step in your Japanese journey and check it out today!