[PRACTICE] |Japanese Hiragana Reading + Vocabulary Activity | Focused Practise from【五十音順】to【濁点】

こんにちにゃあ!Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online! Venturing off  into the unknown, you find yourself surrounded by nature, walking through a forest with the wind whispering through the trees and the sun’s beams sparkling through the leaves. With map in hand, the path seems straightforward, but as you continue, the beautiful forest suddenly becomes more treacherous, a mountain stands in the way from one part of the forest to the next. You’ve heard from others that though this mountain may be the tallest, once you’ve traversed this one, the oddly taller mountain becomes easier to climb. Though the journey may have began with a goal seen from the outside of this enticing forest of language, shaped by culture, the equipment you’d need and the skills you’d require to not only traverse but enjoy the trek through said forest may not have been as clear. But, as you head towards the top of the mountain, the air becoming thin, your footing shaky, two hands reach out to assist you, helping you reach the top of 「五十音順」and「濁点」, (just below the summit of one 半濁点, handakuten). And, if you’ve been with us thusfar, you’ll know those are our helping hands. We’re Kiki and Koko, your guides to Japanese language and culture, helping you to survive and thrive!

Reaching a new milestone in learning no matter the distance is an admirable achievement! It’s something to be celebrated and appreciated. And, even if you’ve been studying with us for quite some time, there’s the good chance you need a bit more practice before being able to consider yourself a master of hiragana in all of its forms. Even if you are confident, the goal is for reading and writing these characters to feel natural, as natural as writing your native alphabet. Chances are that you most likely don’t think of each letter as you write a word, the letters and characters just simply flow from your hand like you’re speaking onto paper (well, if you’re very fast at writing by hand.) And, even in the digital age, we mention time and time again that learning to write is invaluable! The tactile experience is integral to learning, and skipping this not only keeps you from possibly having a natural learning progression, but it’s a part of the culture that is so important.

Though even kanji has stood out as something many would want to skip over learning or something some may think would be best done away with such as with the Korean writing system. Though many economic and sociological factors play into this, for some reason, Japan, according to various studies and well-known conjecture, has a higher literacy rate than that of South Korea. Of course, around 97% in South Korea is quite the feat, but the point is that in a place where kanjihanja, or hanzi has been totally replaced with the equivalent of Japan only using hiragana, one would assume this would translate to higher literacy. However, though this is only quick postulation, and an entire article and book could be written on this subject alone, it could simply be that reading and writing are so heavily ingrained in the culture that the writing system is a paramount piece of the language itself.

So, the point being, even if it seems difficult, reaching that goal of learning how to read and write in Japanese not only will help you in your studies and as you progress, but it’s an important part of culture with which many wouldn’t dare to part. The sense of accomplishment after learning one or one hundred kanji is something that is irreplaceable. And, of course, if you’re just here to dabble, we’re still here to support you. But, if you’re here to achieve fluency, you really owe yourself the time and effort to properly learn to read and write. It may be a difficult climb, but remember that once you climb a mountain, the gravity will assist you in speedier travels on the other side.

Kiki+Koko Banners - Full Size - Let's Write Hiragana Kiki+Koko Banners - Full Size - Let's Read Hiragana

Now, this all brings us to the main event of today which is today’s activity! In this challenge, you’ll be practising your reading, writing, and a bit of vocabulary along the way, challenging three skills at once! This will cover hiragana 【あ】through the latest of the 「濁点」,【ぼ】。That way, you can see a mixture of all of the characters you’ve learnt and studied throughout the course (or, if you’re just skipping ahead a bit to see what’s in store for the latest, then at least you can still have a bit of practice in the meantime.) We really wanted to provide you with opportunities for open-ended answers. We’ll be sure to have more multiple choice reading, but for some, multiple choice fills their mind with the wrong choices, and this is just sort of an opportunities for people who prefer open-ended answers to practise without the stabilisers (training wheels) of options.

We definitely recommend you use this as an opportunity to practise your reading AND writing, though! After trying to read these words aloud, using each of these as flashcards, we recommend taking something to write with and perhaps your notebook, then practising stroke order with these words. There’s something about practising characters to make a full word that can be rewarding, and it can make you feel like you’re writing towards a goal. And, hey, why not try your best to compose a sentence or two? Just go to the Grammar page in the Essentials section for guidance, and if you’d like the very latest on grammar, you can always go to the 文法|Grammar! category on the sidebar.


So, we’ve created a 25 word activity to help you recall your hiragana. (That’s over 25 when not even including the other definitions and the different kanji) In this mini-activity, you basically have digital flashcards. By clicking on each of them, you’ll reveal a kanji version that defines the meaning of the word, and of course, the translation in English. Many words have several homophones, so we’ve just included some common meanings as not to bog your studies down.

In the first portion, we’ll keep it simpler and stick to simpler words that use only the hiragana: あいうえお】and【ばびぶべぼ】, and in the latter portion, we’ll try to make things a bit interesting!

Ready? Let’s NihonGO!!

As a reminder, these are just a few vocabulary words. Knowing hiragana from あ through ぼ opens up SO MANY Japanese word to you! (Only excluding the last few characters and some extra blends) Some are less common then others, but are useful and interesting to help you connect some concepts to your writing, and recognising the characters in new configurations. We hope you get the most that you can out of these digital flashcards~!

Let’s start with focusing on just a few characters to warm up! These will definitely be moreso for reading purposes rather than actual vocabulary practice, as many of these will either be obscure or simply just not applicable to beginners. But, it’s still a great way to see what lies ahead!

Click each of them to reveal reading and bonus kanji/definition.
Refresh or reload page to restart.
case; situation

tyranny; abuse of power

(See why the character for rice is used in this way in this lesson)
stall (of a stable)
grandmother (in baby talk/ child’s language)
beautiful face; good looks
part; portion; section

Alrighty! That as just a few to get you warmed up with the latest characters. Let’s add the rest to the mix! But, first, we’ll narrow it down to just a section of grammar to make it more useful.

Let’s continue with some nouns!


Click each of them to reveal reading and bonus kanji/definition.
Refresh or reload page to restart.
work; job, business

summer holiday (summer vacation)

boy (as title)
feeling; mood
sightseer/sightseeing; spectator/viewing


Let’s continue with some verbs!


If you’d like an extra bit of practice, try converting these into マス形, past, negative, and past negative. This time, you won’t have the stabilisers of multiple choice, but it’s a great way to get out there and really put your skills to the test as if you were out there on your own. But, no worries, if you need help, you can always leave a comment or contact us via social media or through our contact page! If it’s something that may help everyone, we definitely suggest leaving a comment in order to allow others to benefit from the knowledge in case they’re in the same predicament. But, for now, you can at least practise your reading and writing with these!

Also, be sure to notice that hiragana is integral to all verbs even after using kanji!

to choose; to select

bikkuri suru
to be surprised; to be frightened; to get startled (usually written in hiragana)

 kuraberu 比べる
to compare
to play; to mess about
(reservation; appointment; contract; etc)
asanebou suru
to oversleep
to slip; to slide


How to pronounce and use 勉強 in this Japanese Word of the Week

And that’s 25 more vocabulary words that you can use whilst 勉強しています!! Sometimes complete immersion can be a bit much for beginners, and it can be beneficial to simply zero in on reading itself without feeling overwhelmed. In time, we’ll have even more reading focused on sentences and what not. (As a matter of fact, we’ve had many quizzes and activities so far that have had useful exercises with translation and reading! However, perhaps, we will attempt even simpler activities that truly focus mainly on reading practice.) Though these flashcards may seem simple, it’s an entire springboard for so many other activities you can utilise! There’s, of course, reading, but there’s also conjugation, writing practice, composition, and more! There are endless uses, and sometimes all you need is just resources and a starting point to really get these sorts of activities started. Though we enjoy creating extremely guided activities, the amount of extra exercises you can complete, this time, should give you hours of mental Japanese language workouts!

We hope this is a helpful revision / study tool! But, maybe all of this wasn’t quite clicking if you hadn’t been with us from the very beginning. Feel free to take a look at our Reading and Writing sections to revise / review / study, as it’s essential to learning any language. If you want to make sure your Japanese language survival kit is stocked with the latest tools, you can make sure you stay up to date by subscribing to the Electronic Mailing List of Tomorrow, today, found usually at the bottom of the site page or the sidebar on desktop. You’ll get the latest tools and resources to surviving in Japanese language in straight to your inbox. That’s articles, videos, podcasts, and more.

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Thank you for joining us! We hope that you continue with us on this adventure, and we appreciate that you’ve chosen us to assist you on your Japanese learning journey.

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Kiki+Koko: Let's NihonGO!! (Japanese Language & Culture Blog) @kikikokoNihonGO on Twitter @kikikokoNihonGOonline on Pinterest  @kikiandkokoletsnihongo on Instagram @kikikokonihongo on Tumblr SpeRaToBo by Indigo East YouTube
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Categories: 読み方|Read!, Kiki+KoKo: Let's NihonGO!!, SpeRaToBo, 単語 | Vocabulary!, 平仮名 [hiragana]

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