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Whether you are brand new to Japanese or approaching fluency, writing can be one of the most challenging aspects of the language. And the only way to improve your Japanese writing is to write, write, write!
Of course, you can practise your Japanese writing on any old scrap of paper you can get your hands on – but it’s much easier if you have some proper Japanese grid paper to help space out your characters correctly.
I’ve created some simple free Japanese writing practice sheets as pdfs that you can download and print out as many times as you want. This is just simple blank Japanese graph paper with boxes to help you practise your characters and improve your Japanese handwriting.
Printable Japanese graph paper (kanji practice sheets)
These blank Japanese writing paper templates are perfect for practising your hiragana, katakana and kanji. They’re just blank grids, so you can copy whatever characters you’re working on from your textbook or course, and write them out as many times as you need.
I’ve made versions with and without an inner grid. Those with the grid are great for learning to space out your characters. The larger (15mm) size is great for beginners. It’s the size elementary school children would use in Japan. The smaller (10mm) size is great for intermediate and advanced learners.
The 10mm with 5mm inner grid is a common notebook paper in Japan and it makes ideal kanji writing practice sheets. I got through so many notebooks with this grid pattern when I lived in Japan, but of course it’s hard to find the proper notebooks outside of Japan, which is why I made these free printable versions for you!
Just click on the links to download:
Kana practice sheets
If you are still learning hiragana and katakana and you are looking for Japanese writing practice sheets with the kana already printed on for you to copy, I recommend this free workbook from JapanesePod101. It also comes with free printable kana charts and flashcards.
Printable genkouyoushi templates
Genkouyoushi (原稿用紙) is a common type of Japanese writing paper. It consists of squares arranged in columns, with a small gap between each column. It it usually translated as Japanese manuscript paper. You might also call it sakubun paper. Sakubun (作文) means composition, and it’s a common practice for Japanese students to write essays, stories and other compositions on genkouyoushi paper.
In Japan, students use genkouyoushi for handwritten school assignments and tests. I recommend you use these printable genkouyoushi sheets if you want to practise your Japanese composition writing, perhaps by keeping a daily journal or similar.
Again, there are two sizes: the larger is good for beginners and the smaller for intermediate/advanced.
Click on the format you need to download the pdf:
- 15mm genkouyoushi (grid, portrait)
- 15mm genkouyoushi (no grid, portrait)
- 15mm genkouyoushi (grid, landscape)
- 15mm genkouyoushi (no grid, landscape)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (grid, portrait)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (no grid, portrait)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (grid, landscape)
- 10mm genkouyoushi (no grid, landscape)
How to use genkouyoushi
If you’re unfamiliar with genkouyoushi, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Traditionally Japanese is written in vertical columns from top to bottom, right to left. So the typical way to use genkouyoushi is to start in the top right box and write one character per box from top to bottom down the page. When you reach the bottom of a column, move to the top of the next column to the left.
- You can turn the page sideways to write horizontally if you wish, just keep in mind that the most common (and traditional) way is to write in columns.
- When you start a new paragraph, leave a blank square at the top of the column, in the same way that we leave a small indentation when handwriting in English.
- The blank space between columns may be used to write furigana (pronunciation characters). These are written to the right of the relevant kanji.
- Punctuation marks get their own square. They are written in the top right corner of their square. The exception is that punctuation marks shouldn’t be used at the top of a new column, so instead of this, it would share a square with the previous character at the bottom of the column.
Notes on the image:
- Write the title of your composition in the first column, leaving 2 or 3 blank squares.
- Write your name in the second column, leaving an empty square at the bottom.
- Begin your first sentence in the next column, leaving an empty square at the top (and for each subsequent new paragraph).
- If you use subheadings, leave an empty column before and after, and leave 2 blank squares at the top.
- Punctuation marks have their own square, except if they would appear at the top of a new column, in which case put them together with the last character of the previous column.
Free Japanese writing paper and kanji practice paper
I hope you find these free Japanese writing sheets useful. Please do share with your friends and classmates! Let me know if you would find other sizes/formats helpful and I will try to create those for you too.
Note: all these Japanese writing sheets are designed for A4 paper, so check the formatting and paper size on your print settings if necessary.
Check these other resources to improve your Japanese reading and writing:
- How to Read Japanese
- The Best Way to Learn Kanji
- Japanese Writing Practice: Ultimate List Of Resources For Every Level
- FREE Websites for Japanese Reading Practice (At Every Level)
Rebecca is the founder of Team Japanese. She spent two years teaching English in Ehime, Japan. Now back in the UK, she spends her time blogging, self-studying Japanese and wrangling a very genki toddler.