Japanese Alphabets for beginner | Learn Hiragana & Katakana

Japanese Alphabets for beginner

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There are in total 3 most common Japanese alphabets, namely: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Let's begin to explore these alphabets and how to learn them with ease!


1. What is the ABC's in Japanese?

In the basic Hiragana chart, 46 characters arranged alphabetically are read from left to right, from top to bottom, similar to English. Starting あ (a), い (i), う (u), え (e), お (o); か (ka), き (ki),く (ku), け (ke), こ (ko).

2. Are there 3 Japanese alphabets?

The Japanese alphabet includes three writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. They all work together to create one complete writing system.

3. How hard is Japanese alphabet?

Hiragana and Katakana are easy to learn, and can usually be mastered in 2 weeks. However, Kanji is more challenging because there are over 2000 Kanji, and each character has complex strokes with multiple meanings.


Hiragana is the most fundamental Japanese alphabet, representing the 46 primary sounds used in Japanese.

Take a look at the chart bellow!

With this very first writing system, as a beginner, you will be able to get to know all the basics: how to read, how to form words from these characters, and also how to write Japanese in a correct order!

Japanese alphabet Hiragana chart with 46 basic characters

Hiragana basic chart with 46 characters

Learn Hiragana Alphabet for beginners

Let's start learning the first Hiragana!

Learn the first Hiragana with full pronunciation and writing practice!


The Katakana character set conveniently includes the same sounds as Hiragana. Now you have experience with Hiragana, you come prepared!

Wait... why it looks kind of different?

Well, although they might share the same concept and some identical strokes here and there, Hiragana and Katakana are 2 distinguished writing system and they serve different purposes in Japanese language system. You’ll get to know more when you start learning them!

Katakana chart with 46 basic letters

Katakana basic chart with 46 characters

Wait... why it looks kind of different?

With this very first writing system, you will be able to get to know all the basics: how to read, how to pronounce accurately, how to form words from these characters, and also how to write them in a correct order!

Decided to master both Hiragana and Katakana?

Take your first step to achieve the goal now with MochiKana!

Learn Hiragana and Katakana alphabet


Kanji, on the other hand, is a totally different story. Unlike Hiragana and Katakana, which only contains 46 basic letters each, there are more than 2,000 common Kanji for Japanese learners to master in order to use Japanese like a native speaker.

The way learners comprehend Kanji is also completely different from the rest 2 writing systems, so Kanji is undoubtedly one of the challenges for Japanese language learners.

Kanji 火Kanji 月Kanji 木
Each Kanji stands for a certain meaning

How to learn Kanji effectively

Learn Kanji along with vocabulary

There’s a common misunderstanding that Kanji is a separate part of Japanese alongside vocabulary and grammar. No, it’s not. Kanji is basically the written form of words, and it only makes sense to learn them in the context of a word, not in a vacuum.

Use Spaced Repetition to learn Kanji and vocabulary

Spaced Repetition is not a new technique to remember things. The whole idea is to review what you’ve learned when your brain is about to forget. By learning at that specific moment, you can improve your memory by ten times.

Learn Kanji more effectively with Spaced Repetition.
Spaced repetition technique: timing is the key

But calculating the perfect time to review is not that easy

No worries! MochiKanji app can help you with that

Learn Kanji vocabulary with MochiKanji

Looks like a bite of more than you can chew? don’t worry, you just need to start with the basic first, be patient, take your time, have a method and you can master all of these in no time!