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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 one of the four writing systems used in Japan. The others are katakana, kanji and romaji.

Hiragana is the most useful Japanese script and it is easy for beginners to learn! In fact, if you want to learn Japanese, we 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 a 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!

Learn hiragana with this beautiful hiragana chart by Team Japanese! Visit the blog for lots more Japanese language learning resources!


Ok, so our chart above will help you read hiragana, but how about pronunciation?

Watch this video to learn how to pronounce hiragana properly!

5 crazy facts about Japanese hiragana

  1. 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.
  2. Hiragana originally developed from Chinese characters
  3. Hiragana have been around since the 5th century
  4. Iroha Uta is a type of poetry that uses all 48 hiragana syllables
  5. Japanese names written in hiragana are almost always girls’ names

Want more?

Great job learning hiragana! But if you want to really learn to read, speak and write Japanese, your journey is just beginning! Our recommended course for learning Japanese is Rocket Japanese. This awesome online course has a completely free trial which includes lifetime access to over 4 hours of interactive key lessons. Take the next step in your Japanese journey and check it out today!