Introduction to Japanese Writing: Hiragana Group 9: R (らりるれろ)

Did you miss our introduction to Hiragana?  If so, you can go back and read it here.

The consonant for this column is R, so all five members of this group will be R followed by one of the five vowels, in order.

  • ら [RA]
  • り [RI]
  • る [RU]
  • れ [RE]
  • ろ [RO]

This is another straightforward group, like K and N.  The only thing to keep in mind here is the pronunciation for the Japanese R.  For simplicity’s sake, Japanese R can be mimicked rather closely by tapping the tounge quickly against the roof of one’s mouth while pronouncing an English R.

How to Write

For reference, here is a quick review of the general rules for stroke order:

  • All characters should fill a square of about the same size
  • Top to bottom, left to right
  • Horizontal strokes before vertical strokes that intersect them


Vocabulary Practice

The following words can be written using only the characters we have covered so far.  Once you’ve practiced reading them a couple of times, try writing them on a piece of paper without looking and see how well you do.

  • られる [rareru] Verb ending for passive verbs
  • から [ka ra] from
  • りそう [ri so u] ideal
  • ころ [ko ro] period, point in time
  • れつ [re tsu] a line (e.g. of print)
  • あらい [a ra i] rough
  • あれ [a re] that (away from the speaker and the listener)
  • ある [a ru] to exist (used for inanimate objects)


When you’re ready, click here to move on to Group 10: W!

Published by

Paul Baptist

Japanese linguist, web developer, bassist, teacher, and long-time anime fan.