Learn Hiragana and Katagana

JLPT, Resources
Learning hiragana and katakana, the two basic Japanese scripts, is a fundamental step in studying the Japanese language.
On average, beginners typically spend about a month to master both Hiragana and Katakana together. However, with dedicated and focused study, it’s entirely possible to become proficient in Hiragana within just a couple of days. Hiragana serves as the initial stepping stone in the Japanese alphabet.
Here are some effective ways to learn them:
  • Use Mnemonics: Assign memorable associations to each character. For example, you can create stories or images that connect the character’s shape to its pronunciation. There are also mnemonic resources available online that can help.
  • Flashcards: Create flashcards with the character on one side and the pronunciation on the other. You can use physical flashcards or digital flashcard apps like Anki to review regularly.
  • Writing Practice: Practice writing each character repeatedly. This helps reinforce your muscle memory. Use graph paper or worksheets with boxes to ensure proper proportions.
  • Practice Sheets: Print out these hiragana and katakana practice sheets, which provide the characters with blank spaces for you to practice writing.
  • Flash Card Language Learning Apps:
    • Anki – Well-known Flash cards app.
    • Realkana – App and web version flash cards.
    • Dr Moku – Flash cards with good mnemonics
  • Consistent Practice: Consistency is key. Spend some time every day practicing hiragana and katakana to reinforce your learning.
  • Songs and Rhymes: Some learners find it helpful to memorize hiragana and katakana through songs or rhymes. There are many online resources and YouTube videos that teach through music.
  • Practice Reading: Read simple texts written in hiragana and katakana, such as children’s books or easy manga. This will help you recognize the characters in context.
  • Write Words and Sentences: Once you’ve learned the characters, start writing words and sentences in hiragana and katakana. This practical application will help you become more comfortable with the script.
  • Set Goals: Establish achievable goals for learning these scripts. For example, aim to learn a certain number of characters per week or be able to read basic sentences within a month.
  • Textbooks: Consider using a reputable Japanese textbook. These often provide clear explanations and exercises for hiragana and katakana, along with audio to practice pronunciation.
  • Learn in Small Groups: Connect Japanese Classes has a variety of conversation and grammar group classes where you quickly get an opportunity to improve your Japanese. All of our teachers are native Japanese.
  • Seek Feedback: If possible, ask a native speaker or a proficient learner to check your writing and pronunciation. Getting feedback helps correct errors early. After you have memorized hiragana and katakana Sign up for a free online conversation or JLPT trial class to get to the next level.
Remember that learning hiragana and katakana is just the beginning of your Japanese language journey. Once you’ve mastered these scripts, you can move on to learning kanji and more advanced aspects of the language. Patience and consistent practice are key to success in learning Japanese or any language.