Hiragana (ひらがな)is the first Japanese alphabet you should learn! There are 46 kana (“letters”). Children in Japan generally begin learning to read and write hiragana as preschoolers. If you know hiragana, you will be able to read most Japanese picture books. With consistent exposure and practice, you/your children should be able to learn it in a year or less!

Resources for learning hiragana!

What you’ll find on this page:

  • Printable worksheets for learning how to read and write hiragana
  • Printable hiragana learning charts
  • Printable hiragana flashcards
  • Printable hiragana books
  • Hiragana learning videos
  • Advice about how to learn/teach hiragana
  • Lesson plans for teaching hiragana
  • Hiragana Products

Printable Hiragana Worksheets

If you do a Google search for “ひらがな 練習 プリント”, you will find dozens of resources, but these are the best free worksheets that I have found!

NIFTY Corporation (ニフティ株式会社) is one of the leading internet service providers in Japan. Their sub site, キッズ@nifty, is a homepage made just for children. It is full of games and study helps, including dozens of hiragana worksheets like this one. Click the picture or HERE to see them all!

ちびむすドリル (happylilac.net, by PADIN HOUSE/株式会社パディンハウス) is my FAVORITE website for printable Japanese worksheets. They have worksheets for every age and subject. Find their hiragana worksheets HERE.

Printable Hiragana Learning Charts

KF Studio’s hiragana chart is adorable and is my favorite. You can print it out to whatever size you want and display it on the wall where it can be viewed daily. They also have a B&W version you can color.

Printable Hiragana Flashcards

Using flashcards are a great way to review hiragana. Kids-Points.com (こどもの習い事と家庭学習) is one of the best free resources I have found. Download their flashcards HERE. Just print, cut, and fold. I laminate almost everything I print to help them last longer. I’ve been using THIS laminator for years!

Printable Hiragana Mini Books

I cannot recommend these hiragana mini books enough! They are the perfect level for those learning hiragana for the first time. Thank you Japan Foundation for creating such a wonderful resource.

Hiragana Learning Videos

This hiragana video is short, catchy, and to-the-point. It is created by the makers of Kodomo Challenge, one of the most popular learning programs for children in Japan. Be sure to subscribe to しまじろうチャンネル on YouTube– they publish wonderful Japanese-learning videos for kids regularly.

There are MANY other wonderful videos! Too many to list on this page. Click HERE for more hiragana-learning videos!

Advice About How to Teach/Learn Hiragana

I have been teaching my own children hiragana for the past 10+ years, and have done a lot of reading about the best methods for learning hiragana. Here is my advice:

Under 2 years old:

  • Read a variety of picture books to them regularly
  • Sing Japanese songs with them
  • Spend time playing and chatting with them to increase vocabulary
  • Point out words and letters you see when you are out and about

3-4 years old:

  • Practice holding and using crayons/pencils to scribble, draw, color, and create lines
  • If they show interest in reading and writing, begin teaching them one letter at a time
  • Practice tracing
  • Play with toys, blocks, or cards that have hiragana on them
  • Display a fun hiragana poster on the wall. Practice reading the chart together.
  • Teach the concept that each hiragana kana represents a unique sound
  • Continue reading books and singing with them as much as you can

5 years old:

  • Make sure they are holding a pencil the correct way
  • Practice tracing hiragana
  • Make sure writing is a fun experience, and don’t expect perfection
  • Recommended activity: Name as many words as you can that begins with a kana. For example, “Let’s explore words that begin with あ”– あひる、あめ、あり、ありがとう.
  • Tip: Begin with easier kana such as 「つ・く・し」, or the kana in their name.
  • Continue reading lots of books!

In Japan, children typically learn how to read hiragana at 3 years old, begin writing hiragana at 4 years old, and learn proper hiragana stroke order at 5 years old. If you are learning Japanese as a second language, don’t worry if you are learning at a slower pace.

Older than 6:

  • Learn hiragana at your own pace. Everyone is different!
  • Set a goal: One hiragana a day? Maybe one per week? Master them all in a month?
  • Learn how to read/pronounce the 46 hiragana first. Then as you practice writing, make sure to focus on proper stroke order and proportions.
  • After you have learned to read and write each kana, begin reading out-loud simple picture books. Practice reading the same passages/books over and over until you can read smoothly/fluently.
  • Practice using hiragana in real-life situations, such as writing a letter to someone.

Lesson Plans for Teaching Hiragana:

<Coming soon!>

Hiragana Products

If you don’t have access to a printer, or find it easier to purchase pre-made resources, here are some great products you can buy online (I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):

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