Basic Hiragana

The easiest way to learn hiragana is by using visual mnemonics.

Study the images below and then take our interactive quiz to see how many you can remember.

Quick Links:

 

The Vowels

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A

"Ahh!" The noise you make when falling off a skateboard.

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I

"Eeee" Sitting and Eating.

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U

"Ooo!" Climbing up a tree is hard work.

 

Also, notice there is a U on its side in the character.

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E

"Eh" Exercising.

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O

"Oh!" Just missed the hole in golf.

The K line

 
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KA

"Ka" Karate.

Also, notice the character itself looks a little like KA.

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KI

"Key" A key.

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KU

"Koo" Cukoo.

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KE

"Ke" Keg of beer.

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KO

"Ko" Apple core.

 

The S line

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SA

"Sa" Samurai.

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SHI

"She" She has nice hair.

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SU

"Su" Super dive!

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SE

"Se" Sending a letter.

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SO

"Sew" Sew a zig-zag stitch. 

The T line

 
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TA

"Ta" The character looks like ta.

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CHI

"Chi" A chicken.

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TSU

"Tsu" Tsunami.

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TE

"Te" Ten fingers in your hands.

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TO

"Toe" I have a splinter in my toe.

 

The N line

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NA

"Nah" Nativity scene.

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NI

"Nee" Knee.

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NU

"Noo" A bowl of noodles.

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NE

"Ne" The collar is around the cats neck. Also, neko is Japanese for Cat.

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NO

"No" A no entry sign.

 

The H line

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HA

"Ha" She is wearing a hat.

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HI

"Hee" Hehe (laughing) with a big smile.

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FU

"Fu" Mount Fuji.

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HE

"He" She is wearing a headband.

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HO

"Ho" Hole in one.

 

The M line

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MA

"Ma" Marine mermaid.

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MI

"Me" Who is 21 forever? Me!

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MU

"Moo" Cows go moo!

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ME

"Me" I won a medal!

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MO

"Mo" The elephant wants to eat more.

 

The Y line

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YA

"Ya" Yak.

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YU

"Yoo" The man is playing a ukulele.

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YO

"Yo" This is an advanced yoga position!

 

The R line

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RA

"Ra" Rabbit.

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RI

"Ri" Ribbon.

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RU

"Roo" A ruby earring.

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RE

"Re" Ready, set, go!

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RO

"Ro" Rope.

 

The W line

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WA

"Wah" Wandering around a graveyard.

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WO

"Woh" The man is worried the water is cold, so dips his toe in to test the temperature.

 

The Special line

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N

"N" It looks like an n.

Quiz

Thats it!

Now try our quiz (PC/Mac only) to see how many you can remember.

Click on the quiz below to get started. Hit enter to submit your answers.

Once you have mastered basic hiragana, try our advanced hiragana section.