Learning Japanese | Hiragana

Learning Japanese | Hiragana

The first lesson to learn in Japanese is the alphabet hiragana. I want to preface this, in that I’ve been using workbooks and other apps in tandem with learning hiragana, but I’ll get to those in a separate post. For now, we’ll focus on hiragana.

I decided to dedicate at least 15 – 30 minutes each day practicing, because let’s face it – I’m not a student, I have a full-time job and life obligations. But I’ve learned that this set amount of time if perfect for me – everyone works at their own pace and it’s important to set yours.

I have already memorized this alphabet, so I wanted to share the best resources I found. I tried over 30 different apps and sites, and these are my favorites (in no particular order!):

Tofugu’s Ultimate Guide to Learning Hiragana

This site uses mnemonics to memorize the characters in a cute, friendly, easy-to-use interface. Honestly I found a lot of the mnemonics far-fetched, but they offered amazing worksheets after each lesson to practice. I highly recommend using this website as a resource when learning hiragana. Seriously. Print out the practice sheets and bring them with you… I have a stack sitting at work that I’ll practice on daily.

Kana Invaders

OK, so this is probably my favorite tool since it’s a game. I recommend learning most of the hiragana characters before playing since it’s a fast-paced shooting type game, but you can practice with the basics if you need to. Use this as a ‘test’ after you feel confident recognizing the characters. It’s addicting!

Hiragana & Katakana – free app

This was one of the first apps I downloaded to my phone. While the interface is clunky and looks like it hasn’t been updated in 6 years, it works. It’s the best “digital flashcard” resource I’ve found, and has a nice endless quiz option at the end of each lesson to help memorize the characters.


Kitty from Kitty and Buck actually recommended this to me on my last post! Memrise itself has great reviews, but I only downloaded it last week. So far it seems pretty good for basic vocab, but I haven’t actually gotten to learning any hiragana characters. Maybe if I use it more, those lessons will come.


Yes, when all else fails, make some good old fashioned flash cards. Highly effective.

Once you learn hiragana, you can start picking out characters in restaurants and shows and sound them out. Even if I don’t know what the word means, it’s pretty satisfying to be able to read ^^

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6 years ago

I’ve been on JaponesePod 101 for a couple of years now (hardly 2 months, putting it all together if measured in actual time I’ve listed/practiced). But I’m SO sticking to Romanji. The speaking comes easily enough to me, but the writing… Geez!

6 years ago

Forgot to thank for the apps tips. I’ll absolutely be checking them out asap!