top of page

Shortcut to Japanese:
Learn Japanese Hiragana


in Just 2 hours!

hiragana writing.jpg

Welcome to LingoClass, where we're about to embark on a journey to boost your knowledge of the Japanese alphabet, specifically Japanese Hiragana, in less than two hours. While this might sound like a challenging feat, rest assured that learning Hiragana is a manageable and rewarding endeavour. By following the steps below, you'll discover that there are many shortcuts and techniques to simplify the process. From reading and listening to using Hiragana practically, let's dive in!

Step 1: Understanding the Basics

Hiragana, with its graceful and elegant flowing curves.  In ancient times, these characters were often referred to as "onnade," which translates to "women's handwriting." It's not hard to tell that Hiragana possessed a certain delicacy and finesse reminiscent of women's penmanship.

"Hiragana and Katakana: Your First Challenge in Learning Japanese" Many foreigners find themselves bewildered by these approximately one hundred characters. However, they can be pretty simple if you understand the Japanese writing system. Hiragana is one of the three scripts used in Japanese writing, alongside Katakana and Kanji. Unlike Kanji, which are complex characters representing entire words or concepts, Hiragana characters represent syllables. These 46 fundamental characters are the foundation of the Japanese language. 

Step 2: The Hiragana Chart

A Hiragana chart is your roadmap to learning the characters. To speed up the learning process, divide the chart into manageable sections and tackle them one at a time. Start with the basic vowels (on the right side): あ (a), い (i), う (u), え (e), and お (o). Then, move on to the consonant-vowel combinations, such as /ka/ (). Note that the characters of the hiragana are referred to as syllabic symbols and not alphabetic letters.

Hiragana Table_edited.png

To learn Hiragana pronunciation, Click the link to listen to the pronunciation of all 46 basic sounds in hiragana. If you want to learn more about Hiragana, Have a look at our beginner lessons, which will teach you from the basics to further vocabulary. Learning the stroke order is also a great way to memorize each character.

Step 3: Mnemonics and Memory Tricks

Now you understand the logic of how to combine these characters to make sounds, all you need to do to master reading aloud is memorise the sound each alphabetical character represents. Memorising all 46 characters takes different amounts of time for different people but if you concentrate on memorising sets of 5 at a time, and then retest yourself without looking at them, it should take you around an hour to remember them all. The important thing is to relax and enjoy the experience; you will only have to do it once!

To make Hiragana characters memorable, create mnemonics or visual associations for each character. For instance, か (ka) can resemble a "cat" with pointy ears, while き (ki) might remind you of a "key." These creative associations will help you recall characters effortlessly. Once you're able to combine each alphabetical character correctly, you have mastered the basics of the Japanese alphabet.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Repetition is key to mastering Hiragana quickly. Write each character repeatedly until it becomes second nature. Utilize Hiragana worksheets or apps designed for practice, and challenge yourself to write them from memory.

3  Recommended Apps for Hiragana Learning:

>Hiragana Quest

>Write It! Japanese

>Japanese Alphabet - Write Me



Best Apps for Learning Korean

5. Step5: Take the Japanese Alphabet Quiz now! 

To understand your learning outcomes, we have a Japanese Alphabet quiz ready! 

Results are instant and completely free. We often use this form of Japanese self-assessment to help students find their current Japanese language level quickly and effectively!  Eventually, this quiz will help you find the correct level of group class to attend and benefit from it:)

Now you can move on to katakana, known as the Japanese syllabary. It gets easier the more you do it and a basic understanding of grammar and sentence structure will help. 

In less than two hours, you can lay a strong foundation in Japanese Hiragana. By following these steps and utilizing shortcuts, you'll find that learning Hiragana is an achievable and rewarding experience. So, let's get started on your journey to mastering this essential aspect of the Japanese language!


You can also continue your Japanese language journey with us and like-minded people by booking a private tutor or group course at LingoClass' office in London.