Japanese Writing Practice: Ultimate List of Resources for Every Level

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Japanese writing can be one of the scariest aspects of learning Japanese! And there’s no shortcut to success – you simply have to get your Japanese writing practice in. Luckily there are no shortage of tools to help you with this!

Whether you are a beginner looking to practise your Japanese handwriting, or an advanced student in need of Japanese essay writing practice, there are lots of free and cheap resources out there at every level.

Here’s my roundup of the best websites, apps, printables and other tools for Japanese writing practice.

Illustration of Japanese writing practice materials with text: "Japanese Writing Practice: 21+ free websites, apps, worksheets and more." Includes a notebook, pen, brush, ink, and a cup.

Easy Japanese writing practice for beginners

Japanese hiragana and katakana writing practice

If you are new to learning Japanese, you’ll want to get your hiragana and katakana down pat before you move on to anything else.

Spending time on your hiragana and katakana writing practice not only helps you memorise the characters, it will also improve your handwriting and help you become accustomed to correct stroke order, which will be a massive benefit when you move on to learning kanji!

There are loads of free Japanese katakana and hiragana writing practice sheets online for you to download and print at home. Here’s a selection:

Free Japanese hiragana and katakana writing practice sheets pdf workbook

Screenshot showing example printable kana worksheets from JapanesePod101
Free printable kana worksheets

This free workbook from JapanesePod101 introduces all the hiragana and katakana characters and has spaces for you to trace, and then copy them out. The workbook also contains flashcards to practise your recognition. Note: you need to create a free account to access the workbook.

Japanese hiragana writing practice sheets

An alternative source to print out hiragana practice sheets, with grid lines to help your handwriting.

Japanese katakana writing practice sheets

An alternative source to print out katakana practice sheets, with grid lines to help your handwriting.

Free BLANK Japanese writing practice sheets

Image showing 3 different kinds of blank Japanese graph paper to practise writing kana and kanji. The pages are shown as a flatlay on a pink background.
Blank Japanese graph paper to practise writing kana and kanji

If you just want blank Japanese graph paper to practise writing out your characters, I have created my own in various sizes/formats for you to download and print!

Kakikata print maker

Screenshot from the website Kakikata Print Maker, showing some of the many types of Japanese writing worksheets you can generate and print for free.
Some of the types of writing worksheets you can generate on Kakikata

An awesome website (designed for Japanese parents/teachers to use with their children) where you can design and print your own worksheets with kana or kanji characters of your choice, in various formats. You can even choose to add stroke order! Useful if you want to practise a particular word or set of characters.

Japanese Tools: create your own kana practice sheets

Here is another useful site where you can create your own Japanese practice writing sheets with the characters of your choice, printed with a gradual fade to trace/copy.

Japanese kanji writing practice

If you are studying kanji from a textbook or course and you just need blank kanji graph paper to practise writing on, you can print that out here.

If you are looking for pre-printed kanji worksheets with kanji to copy out, the best resource I have found is this one:

kanji.sh

Screenshot showing example N5 level kanji worksheet from kanji.sh
Screenshot showing example kanji worksheet from kanji.sh

This amazing website lets you download and print kanji writing practice worksheets for kanji sets according to JLPT level, Japanese school grade level, Wanikani level, Kanji Garden app level, or frequency. It’s totally free and so useful!

Easy Japanese sentence writing practice

Once you know your kana and a few kanji, you might start to think about writing out some Japanese sentences.

JapanesePod101 writing practice worksheets 

Screenshot showing some free Japanese writing worksheets from JapanesePod101
Screenshot showing some free Japanese writing worksheets

JapanesePod101 has a selection of free Japanese writing practice sheets, available as pdfs that you can download and print yourself. They currently have 16+ free writing practice workbooks on beginner-friendly topics such as daily routine or ordering food. This is a good way to get used to writing out simple Japanese sentences at the beginner level. 

However, I wouldn’t recommend them for complete beginners because they use kanji – so you should be familiar with some kanji and the basic rules of stroke order before you use them.

As soon as you are able to form Japanese sentences on your own, I recommend you start a Japanese journal and/or sharing your sentences with others using the resources in the intermediate/advanced section below!

Japanese writing practice apps

When you are learning to write in Japanese, I recommend writing them out by hand as much as possible because it helps you learn by muscle memory and helps you develop neat handwriting! However, it’s also useful to have a great writing practice app or two on your phone so you can study on the go.

There are lots of great apps out there to practise writing Japanese characters. Here are some recommendations:

Skritter

Screenshot from the Skritter app to learn Japanese hiragana and katakana

Skritter is an app for learning Japanese (and Chinese) writing and vocabulary. You can use Skritter to learn kana and kanji from scratch, or simply to review what you’ve learned. It uses handwriting recognition and a spaced repetition system (SRS) to help you learn effectively.

Under the ‘test’ settings section you can choose to focus on writing only, or add in flashcards for reading and definition too.

It works well alongside other courses and textbooks to practise your characters. They have pre-made flashcard decks from various textbooks which is great when you get on to drilling vocabulary.

Ringotan

Screenshot of Ringotan app to practise writing Japanese characters

As with Skritter, you can either use this app to learn kana and kanji as a complete beginner, or just to practise writing the characters you already know. In fact, it’s probably the best app I’ve found if you just want a simple flashcard-style writing practice app with handwriting recognition. It’s a little clunkier to use but once you’ve got it set up, it’s easy. If you already know the kana and you just want to practise, choose ‘Yes, but I need more practice’ during the set-up stage.

Scripts

Screenshot of Scripts app showing a demonstration of how to write the hiragana character あ (a)

The Scripts app from the makers of Drops teaches you kana and kanji (and also has the option to learn other languages’ scripts, such as hangul or hanzi, if you’re doing the polyglot thing). You learn by tracing the characters with your finger on the screen.

It’s a good option if you are learning to write the Japanese characters from scratch. However, I could not see an option to skip the ‘learning’ stage and just review, so if you’ve already mastered your kana it won’t be for you.

Learn Japanese! 

This is a very simple and easy to use app to learn how to write hiragana and katakana. However, you only learn 5 characters at a time and I couldn’t see a way to skip to review only, so again, great for complete beginners but not if you just want to practise.

Intermediate and advanced Japanese writing practice

At the intermediate and advanced levels, you are well beyond copying out characters/sentences on worksheets, and you will be creating your own compositions in Japanese. In fact, I highly recommend doing this as soon as you are able to! 

One popular method to get your Japanese writing practice is to keep a daily diary or journal in Japanese. You can try to incorporate new grammar and vocabulary you’ve learned, or simply write whatever comes into your head just to get used to writing in Japanese.

Even jotting down a few private sentences in your own notebook will be beneficial. But if you want to step it up a notch, use one of the websites/apps below to share your writing with other learners and native speakers and receive feedback.

Free websites for Japanese writing practice online

If you’ve been studying languages for a while you might be mourning the loss of Lang8, a site where you could post journal entries in your target language online and get feedback from native speakers. Here are a couple of Lang 8 alternatives I’ve found:

LangCorrect

Screenshoot of LangCorrect homepage, a website where language learners can keep a journal online

LangCorrect is a site where you can practise your Japanese writing online by writing daily journal entries and getting corrections from native speakers. It’s fairly active with the Japanese learning community, and you can usually expect to get a few comments/corrections within a few hours (don’t forget to take the time difference into account!). They also have journal prompts in case you’re feeling the writer’s block. It’s free to use.

Journaly

Journaly is a similar site I’ve heard, about although I haven’t used it and I have the impression its user base is smaller than LangCorrect. It’s free to use and there is also a paid version which has a few extra benefits, such as bumping up your posts to get more attention.

Mixxer

This is a free website offered by Dickinson College. Its main purpose is for connecting language exchange partners, but they also have a feature where you can post writing samples to receive corrections from native speakers.

r/WriteStreakJP

This subreddit is a forum to practise writing in Japanese. It’s for anyone at any level who wants to practise their Japanese writing. The idea is that you write something every day to build up a ‘streak’ and build the habit of writing in Japanese regularly.

You can write whatever you feel like; many people write diary-like entries about their day, or share random thoughts, or write about something new they’ve learned etc. There are native Japanese speaking mods who drop by to correct mistakes.

There are a lot more learners than native speakers on the forum, though, so unfortunately you’re not guaranteed feedback. But it’s still a great place to practise writing (and reading!) Japanese.

HelloTalk

Screenshot of the homepage of language exchange app HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a language exchange app where you can connect with Japanese native speakers, chat via text, voice or video call and receive feedback on your Japanese. In addition to connecting with people directly, you can also create ‘moments’ (write posts such as sharing journal entries, or pictures of your day) and ask general questions, and receive comments/feedback from other users.

Be warned, recently I hear a lot of users complaining that people use the messaging function like a dating app – but you may have better success using the ‘moments’ function or messaging people yourself first.

Tandem

Another language exchange app where you can exchange text messages with a Japanese-speaking partner and receive corrections.

HiNative 

On HiNative you can ask questions about language usage and get feedback from native speakers. You can write your questions either in Japanese or English. This question/answer service is free. Premium paid members can also post diary entries to get feedback.

More resources for Japanese writing practice

Here’s a mixture of other useful tools and resources I’ve found for Japanese writing practice that don’t fit neatly into the above categories! This section contains a mixture of free and paid resources.

Japanese water calligraphy practice kits (paid)

Why not go old-school and practise your Japanese characters with a real calligraphy brush! In Japan, students often practise their calligraphy with these nifty ‘magic’ kits, where you paint with water on the special water-activated paper, which fades away after a few minutes so you can reuse it time and time again. This is a fun way to refine your Japanese handwriting while reviewing the characters!

Printable Japanese journals with writing prompts (paid) 

Promotional image titled '215 Japanese writing prompts' and showing 2 example Japanese writing worksheets.
Image: eveliseprints on Etsy

I found this printable Japanese journaling/writing practice kit on Etsy. It contains dozens of writing prompts at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, so you’ve got no excuse not to jot down a few sentences in Japanese every day! Check out the other great resources by the same author.

Japanese planner templates (free)

If you want to take daily notes or plan your day/week in Japanese, this site has loads of free Japanese planner templates to print out.

Japanese writing practice notebooks (paid)

The paper used in Japan for school compositions/essay writing practice is called genkouyoushi. There are lots of genkouyoushi notebooks with cute cover designs available on Amazon.

Genkouyoushi Practice Book: Japanese Kanji Practice Paper - Notebook for Kanji, Hiragana, and Katakana - Large 8.5" x 11" - 121 Pages
$6.95
Buy Now
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02/18/2024 03:05 pm GMT

Free printable genkouyoushi (Japanese composition paper)

Alternatively, you can print out your own genkouyoushi-style blank writing sheets here for free.

Japanese sentence/usage databases

These databases are useful tools that I often use when writing in Japanese to check how words are used. You can search for a Japanese word and see it in context of many authentic, native Japanese sentences, to get an idea of correct and natural usage. You can also use them for sentence mining, if that’s your thing.

  • Reverso – my favourite. Need to create a free account to see all sentences.
  • Natsume – see how often a word is used, and which particles and other words usually follow it
  • Sentence search with audio

How to Write Japanese Essays book (paid)

If you are studying Japanese to a very high level, for example to enter a Japanese university or company, you will need Japanese essay writing practice. The book How to Write Japanese Essays comes highly recommended and will train you to write in the formal academic style that is taught in Japan.

Japanese writing practice roundup

Which tools and resources do you use for Japanese writing practice? If you know any I’ve missed out, please share in the comments!

See these related posts for more useful resources to learn Japanese:

Pinterest graphic featuring the text: 21+ free websites, apps, worksheets and more; Japanese writing practice. Followed by an image of handwriting in English and Japanese on lined notebook paper saying hello/konnichiwa
A notepad with Japanese characters written on grid paper, a pencil, and the text "Ultimate List of Resources for Japanese Writing Practice" in bold.

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Rebecca Shiraishi-Miles

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.

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