Syllabaries

Hiragana and Katakana are syllabaries, meaning that they are like alphabets that contain syllables. Japanese only has 5 vowels, and both the Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries are made up of the consonants + those 5 vowels. You can think of Hiragana and Katakana sort of like upper case and lower case letters of the Latin alphabet. They’re both used together with Kanji and Latin letters in day to day Japanese writing.

Exceptions: S + I = Shi. T + I = Chi. T + U = Tsu. H + U = Fu.

Notes: Wo is pronounced the same as O. N is a semivowel, meaning that it can be used by itself.

Hiragana Chart

AIUEO
0あ – aい – iう – uえ – eお – o
Kか – kaき – kiく – kuけ – keこ – ko
Sさ – saし – shiす – suせ – seそ – so
Tた – taち – chiつ – tsuて – teと – to
Nな – naに – niぬ – nuね – neの – no
Hは – haひ – hiふ – fuへ – heほ – ho
Mま – maみ – miむ – muめ – meも – mo
Yや – ya ゆ – yuよ – yo
Rら – raり – riる – ruれ – reろ – ro
Wわ – wa を – wo
ん – n

Katakana Chart

AIUEO
0ア – aイ – iウ – uエ – eオ – o
Kカ – kaキ – kiク – kuケ – keコ – ko
Sサ – saシ – shiス – suセ – seソ – so
Tタ – taチ – chiツ – tsuテ – teト – to
Nナ – naニ – niヌ – nuネ – neノ – no
Hハ – haヒ – hiフ – fuヘ – heホ – ho
Mマ – maミ – miム – muメ – meモ – mo
Yヤ – ya ユ – yuヨ – yo
Rラ – raリ – riル – ruレ – reロ – ro
Wワ – wa ヲ – wo
ン – n