Japanese Hiragana Katakana Kanji

Japanese language learning information including:

Hiragana - pronunciation and writing
Katakana - pronunciation and writing
Kanji - grades 1-6 (教育漢字 Kyōiku kanji)
Vocabulary - nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives
Japanese Sounds in Hiragana

This page explains how to write the 69 basic sounds of Japanese in hiragana. The following table contains the basic sounds along with the 33 combination sounds.
Japanese Sounds Written in Hiragana
Consonants Vowels
n w r y m h n t s k
          b   d z g    
Combination Japanese Sounds
    r   m h n ch sh k    
    りゃ   みゃ ひゃ にゃ ちゃ しゃ きゃ   ya
    りゅ   みゅ ひゅ にゅ ちゅ しゅ きゅ   yu
    りょ   みょ ひょ にょ ちょ しょ きょ   yo
          b     j g    
          びゃ     じゃ ぎゃ   ya
          びゅ     じゅ ぎゅ   yu
          びょ     じょ ぎょ   yo
          ぴゃ           ya
          ぴゅ           yu
          ぴょ           yo
Reading order - the table above should be read in the following order.
  • read the table from top to bottom and then from right to left
  •      。。。。     。。。。etc.
  • read the ya, yu, yo combination sounds from top to bottom and then from right to left
  •    。。。。きゃ きゅ きょ 。。。。しゃ しゅ しょ 。。。。etc.
Basic Japanese sounds - the basic Japanese sounds, written here in romaji, are formed by combining a consonant with a vowel.
  • a few examples of forming Japanese sounds
  • k  +  a  =  
  • n  +  u  =  
  • r  +  o  =  
  • w  +  a  =  
Combination Japanese sounds - the combination Japanese sounds, written here in romaji, are formed with a consonant and either ya, yu, or yo.
  • the combination Japanese sounds are formed with either ya, yu, yo, and a consonant
  • k  +  ya  =  きゃ
  • n  +  yu  =  にゅ
Exceptions - there are exceptions to the pronunciation of Japanese sounds, 7 for the basic sounds and 9 for the combination sounds. All exceptions are shown in the gray areas of the table.
  • , , , and are exceptions to the basic pronunciation pattern
  •  is pronounced as in the Japanese word  tsunami
  • is only pronounced as hoo in hoop, however, fu is used when typing on a keyboard to get the hiragana, katakana, and kanji equivalent of the sound hu. For example, Japanese people pronounce France as huransu, but type furansu when typing it on a keyboard.
  • can be pronounced as ha or wa
  • can be pronounced as he or e
  • しゃ, しゅ, しょ, ちゃ, ちゅ, and ちょ all pronounce the "y" sound but drop the "y" when writing in romaji
Sound equivalents - each sound written in romaji has written hiragana and katakana equivalents.
  • example of sound written in romaji, hiragana, and katakana
  • sound bop = romaji a = hiragana  = katakana