Let’s Learn Hiragana Stroke Order

By Donald Ash | Japanese Language Basics

The best place to start with hiragana is by making sure your can recognize the symbols and connect the phonetic sounds each one in your mind.  The next step is what we're going to focus on today.  We're going to take a closer look at hiragana stroke order. But before we do, let's see if you can recognize the sounds associated with these five symbols.


POP-QUIZ ​


How do you pronounce the following, characters? No cheating!
The answers are at the very bottom of the post

1.    2.    3.    4.    5.


How did you do? I hope you got them all right, but if not, no worries. Go back and drill those sounds until you have them.

What is stroke order? If I had to put it in my own words, I would say stroke order is the direction and order in which you draw the lines of a hiragana character.

I know many of you may be wondering “Why does the order of these freakin’ characters matter?” Well, you’ll need this later.

With hiragana, the characters are quite simple (many having just two or three strokes) and you could potentially follow your own method and sketch out the same character rather easily. However, I honestly don’t recommend it. 

Though you may not realize it when you’re just starting out, if you’re looking to build upon your Japanese writing skills, stroke order will play a HUGE role in being able to write kanji. For example, the character "yo" 曜 (which means weekday) has 18 strokes! Whether you're writing this symbol, or looking it up, it’s good to have a general idea of the way things are written.

In the same fashion as our previous article, we will break the characters down into eight groups of five and two groups of three. 

HIRAGANA STROKE ORDER - GROUP 1
A, I, U, E, O

Learn Hiragana-The Japan Guy

GROUP 2
KA, KI, KU, KE, KO 

Learn hiragana stroke order

  GROUP 3
SA, SHI, SU, SE, SO

Learn hiragana stroke order

GROUP 4
TA, CHI, TSU, TE, TO

Learn hiragana stroke order

GROUP 5
NA, NI, NU, NE, NO

Learn hiragana stroke order

GROUP 6
HA, HI, FU, HE, HO

Learn hiragana stroke order

 GROUP 7
MA, MI, MU, ME, MO

Learn hiragana stroke order

GROUP 8
YA, YU, YO

Learn hiragana stroke order

GROUP 9
RA, RI, RU, RE, RO

Learn hiragana stroke order

GROUP 10
WA, WO, N

Learn hiragana stroke order

You made it! That’s the stroke order for all 46 characters. CONGRATULATIONS!
As with nearly anything, repetition (even just a little bit each day) is key to locking the hiragana stroke order into your brain.

POP QUIZ ANSWERS:

1.Ra  2.Tsu  3.Ro  4.Su and  5.I

Need Video Help With These?

If video is more effective for you and you'd rather see exactly how the hiragana symbols are written, I created a FREE video tutorial just for you! Click the play button, enter your name & email, and that will be delivered straight to your inbox.  I HOPE IT HELPS!

Click here to get your stroke order tutorial
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About the Author

Donald Ash is an Atlanta, Georgia-born, American expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last eleven years. While in that time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator of thejapanguy.com blog. Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.

  • Dennis Bauer says:

    I always like the reaction, when i write kanji, your order is wrong! can you read it? yes, so what is the problem? But your order is wrong! :p

  • The punkwy says:

    says>>>>>G

    DONT READ DO NOT READ THIS. ON THE NEAREST FRIDAY U WILL BE
    KISSED BY YOUR TRUE LOVE. THAT IS ONLY IF U POST THIS TO 5 OTHER GAMES.
    IF U DON’T U ARE DEAD IN TWO DAYS. U HAVE ONE HOUR TO DO THIS AFTER U
    READ IT hfdgddhfsggsfhgdjgdbgfc

  • KuroiHane says:

    you forgot wi and we!

  • Hiragana Keyboard says:

    An effective way to master hiragana is to practise writing in it. One can practise writing in hiragana easily with an online Japanese IME like https://www.hiraganakeyboard.com

  • LoLo says:

    This was a incredibly helpful thank you : ).

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