Hiragana

The table below represents the entire Hiragana syllabary categorized by the consonant and vowel sounds. With the exception of a few sounds (as shown by the pronunciation in parentheses), most sounds in Japanese are easily represented by a vowel or consonant-vowel. There is also one consonant-only sound: 「ん」.

Hiragana - Click for stroke order and sound
n w r y m h n t s k    

(n)
a
     
(chi)

(shi)
i
   
(fu)

(tsu)
u
      e
 
(o)
o
Roumaji comic

To understand how this chart works, let's start by looking at the right-most column, which are all the vowel-only sounds.

a
i
u
e
o

Here are some sample words for reading practice.
Example: あい - love (read as "ai")

  1. あう - to meet
  2. いえ - house
  3. おい - nephew
  4. うえ - above
  5. いう - to say

Each additional column represents a consonant sound with each of the five vowel sounds. For example, the "k" column has the following sounds.

ka
ki
ku
ke
ko

「ん」 is the only character with no vowel sound. It adds an "n" sound as shown in the examples below.

  • きん - gold (read as "kin")
  • おんな - woman; girl (read as "on-na")
  • おんがく - music (read as "on-ga-ku")

Here are my recommendations for learning how to read, write, hear, and say the characters and sounds in Hiragana.

  • Reading: You'll be getting plenty of reading practice with the material in this book.
  • Writing: You'll need to develop muscle memory so use regular pen and paper. Below are handy PDFs for Hiragana writing practice.
  • Hearing: You can listen