Hiragana and Katakana

Hiragana and Katakana, known together as Kana, are the Japanese syllabaries, phonetic scripts where each basic symbol represents a mora, a kind of simple syllable.

Here you'll find a variety of resources to help you learn Hiragana and Katakana, including guides to writing and pronunciation, kana charts, flashcards, and stroke order. Kanji are covered in a another section of the site.


Don't know anything about writing in Japanese? Start here:

Introduction to the Japanese Writing System.

For a detailed guide to Hiragana, see:

Hiragana and the Japanese Sound System (syllable structure and the 46 basic syllables)

Hiragana and the Japanese Sound System, Part 2 (voiced and combination syllables, doubled vowels and consonants, and info on romanization)

Also covered in this series is:

Pitch Accent and Vowel Devoicing (two very important aspects of Japanese pronunciation)

Coming soon:

Katakana and Borrowed Words

How to Type in Japanese.

All of these pages are from the Beginning Lessons.


Some of the links on this page lead to resources on other sites. For all downloads, right click on the link and choose "save link as" or a similar option.

Kana Charts

Coming soon: Katakana, Complete Kana

Flashcard Lists

All lists are provided as Unicode text files, tab delimited. You can format these lists to import into your flashcard program, or copy and paste directly.

Katakana coming soon.

Print-Out Flashcards

Coming soon.

Stroke Order

Here's a one page print-out Hiragana chart marking stroke order. It's extremely neat, in the standard handwritten style. I'll keep looking for Katakana. Google will give you plenty of animated illustrations if you search for "hiragana stroke order" but print-outs are harder to find.

Writing Practice

Here's a set of Hiragana practice sheets, with stroke order, grey characters to trace, and boxes for practice. And here's a set for Katakana.

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