Languages › Japanese A Hiragana Stroke Guide to あ、い、う、え、お (A, I, U, E, O) Lessons in the Japanese Writing System Share Flipboard Email Print Photo taken by Bong Grit / Getty Images Japanese Essential Japanese Vocabulary History & Culture Japanese Grammar By Namiko Abe Japanese Language Expert B.A., Kwansei Gakuin University Namiko Abe is a Japanese language teacher and translator, as well as a Japanese calligraphy expert. She has been a freelance writer for nearly 20 years. our editorial process Namiko Abe Updated April 24, 2019 Hiragana is a part of the Japanese writing system. It is syllabary, which is a set of written characters that represent syllables. Thus, hiragana is a basic phonetic script in Japanese. In most cases, each character corresponds to one syllable though there are few exceptions to this rule. Hiragana is used in many cases, such as writing articles or miscellaneous words that have no kanji form or an obscure kanji form. With the following visual stroke-by-stroke guide, you will learn to write hiragana characters あ、い、う、え、お (a, i, u, e, o). A - あ Follow the stroke order to write the hiragana character for "a". This hiragana character is used in words like あさ (asa), which translates to "morning". Be sure to always use the proper stroke order when practicing. Not only is it correct, but it is also a great way to help you to remember how to draw the character. I - い This stroke-by-stroke guide will teach you how to write い. Conveying the "i" syllable, い is also used in words like いぬ (inu), which means "dog". U - う One of the more simple hiragana characters, う is used in words like うみ (umi), which means "sea". E - え Be sure to follow the stroke numbers when writing え. え is used in words like えき (eki), which is the Japanese word for "station". O - お Learn how to write the hiragana character for "o" in this simple lesson. This character is used in words like おかね (okane), meaning "money". More Lessons If you want to see all 46 hiragana characters and hear the pronunciation for each, check out the hiragana audio chart as well as the handwritten hiragana chart for more symbols.