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What is the best order to learn Japanese?


Learning Japanese can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming. With so many resources available, it can be challenging to know where to start or what order to follow. In this article, we will explore the best order to learn Japanese, taking into account the most effective methods and strategies.

Understand the language structure

Before diving into vocabulary and grammar rules, it’s essential to understand the structure of the Japanese language. Japanese is a subject-object-verb (SOV) language, which means that the verb comes at the end of the sentence. Understanding this basic structure will make it easier to comprehend and use other grammatical constructions.

Japanese Snack Box

Master Hiragana and Katakana

Hiragana and Katakana are two of the most fundamental writing systems in the Japanese language. Hiragana is used for Japanese words, while Katakana is used for foreign words. Learning these two alphabets is crucial as they form the foundation of reading and writing in Japanese.

Focus on basic grammar

After mastering Hiragana and Katakana, it’s time to focus on basic grammar structures. Understanding basic grammar will allow you to form simple sentences and communicate in basic situations. Start with simple sentence structures such as subject-object-verb (SOV), subject-verb (SV), and subject-adjective (SA).

Learn essential vocabulary

Vocabulary is another critical component of learning Japanese. Start with essential phrases and words used in everyday conversations such as greetings, numbers, colors, foods, and transportation. As you progress, add more specialized vocabulary relevant to your interests and needs.

Master Kanji

Kanji is a set of Chinese characters that are used in written Japanese. Learning Kanji can be challenging, but it’s an essential step in becoming fluent in Japanese. Begin with the most common Kanji characters and focus on their meanings, readings, and stroke orders.

Practice listening and speaking

It’s essential to practice listening and speaking regularly. Listening to Japanese music, watching Japanese TV shows or movies, and conversing with native speakers are all great ways to improve your listening and speaking skills. Try to speak as much as possible, even if you make mistakes.

Study more complex grammar

As your skills improve, it’s time to focus on more complex grammar structures. These include verb conjugation, particles, and compound sentences. It’s crucial to understand these structures as they form the basis of more advanced communication.

Expand your vocabulary

As you progress in your studies, it’s essential to expand your vocabulary. Focus on specialized vocabulary related to your interests or career. Use flashcards or apps to memorize new words and review them regularly.

Read Japanese literature

Reading Japanese literature is an excellent way to improve both reading comprehension and vocabulary. Start with simple texts such as children’s stories or manga and work your way up to more complex literature.

Practice writing in Japanese

Writing in Japanese can be challenging, but it’s a crucial skill for language learners. Practice writing simple sentences and gradually work your way up to more complex structures. Use online resources or language exchange partners for feedback on your writing.

Immerse yourself in the language

The best way to become fluent in Japanese is by immersing yourself in the language. Visit Japan if possible, watch Japanese TV shows, listen to Japanese music, and converse with native speakers as much as possible. The more you immerse yourself in the language, the faster you’ll improve.


Learning Japanese takes time, patience, and dedication. However, by following the best order to learn Japanese, you can streamline your studies and achieve fluency faster. Remember to focus on the basics, practice regularly, and immerse yourself in the language as much as possible. With hard work and determination, anyone can become fluent in Japanese.

Which Japanese language should I learn first?

Hiragana is Japan’s primary alphabet and one of three writing systems necessary to read Japanese. Along with katakana and kanji, hiragana is essential for beginners learning Japanese and is often required for most resources and textbooks.

In what order should I learn hiragana?

In the process of learning hiragana, we begin with the 5 vowels – ‘a’ (あ), ‘i’ (い), ‘u’ (う), ‘e’ (え), and ‘o’ (お), which are pronounced like ‘ah’, ‘ee’, ‘ooh’, ‘eh’, and ‘oh’. Following that, we arrange each subsequent row based on their consonant sound and in the same order as the 5 vowels.

Is 1 year enough to learn Japanese?

If you dedicate a certain amount of time each day to studying Japanese and actively practice on your own, such as speaking on Skype or reading and writing in Japanese, you can reach an intermediate level within 1-3 years. Listening to podcasts like JapanesePod101 and actively incorporating kanji usage will also help.

Should I learn katakana or hiragana first?

To learn Japanese writing, the first step is to master hiragana, followed by katakana and kanji. Hiragana, which appears more cursive than katakana or kanji, is used to write native Japanese words, conjugation endings, and grammar particles. Hiragana comprises 46 characters, with each character representing a syllable.

How long does it realistically take to learn Japanese?

Based on information from the US Department of State, English speakers find Japanese to be one of the most challenging languages to learn due to its distinct structure, with few similarities to English. It is estimated to take 88 weeks or 2200 hours of study to attain fluency in the language.

How many years does it take to learn Japanese fluently?

Acquiring fluency in Japanese is a challenging process that requires a considerable amount of time and effort. It’s reasonable to assume that you’ll need to devote at least three years to reach a level of proficiency. Most learners reach the advanced level within three or four years on average.

Use language learning resources

In addition to the steps mentioned above, using language learning resources can also be helpful in your Japanese language journey. Online courses, textbooks, language exchange apps, and tutors are all great resources to supplement your studies. Find what works best for you and use it consistently to reinforce your understanding of the language.

Set achievable goals

Setting achievable goals can help keep you motivated and on track. Determine what you want to achieve with your Japanese studies, whether it’s passing a proficiency exam or having a conversation with a native speaker. Break down your goals into smaller, manageable steps and celebrate each accomplishment along the way.

Practice regularly

Consistent practice is key when it comes to learning a new language. Set aside time each day to study, practice listening or speaking, or review vocabulary. Even if it’s just 10-15 minutes a day, regular practice will help reinforce what you’ve learned and improve your overall proficiency.

Be patient with yourself

Learning a new language takes time and effort, so it’s important to be patient with yourself. Don’t get discouraged by mistakes or setbacks; instead, use them as opportunities to learn and improve. Remember that everyone learns at their own pace, and progress may come more quickly for some than others.

Find a study group or language partner

Studying with others can be a great way to stay motivated and improve your skills. Join a study group or find a language partner who is also learning Japanese. Practice speaking and listening together, share study tips and resources, and support each other in your language learning journey.

Make it fun

Learning Japanese doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Find ways to make it enjoyable and engaging for yourself. Watch Japanese TV shows or anime, read manga, listen to J-pop or J-rock music, or play Japanese video games. By incorporating your interests into your language learning, you’ll be more likely to stay motivated and engaged.

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