Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji ひらがな、カタカナ、漢字

 Japan has four different writing systems.


They consist of hiragana, katakana, kanji (Chinese character), and Roman alphabets.


The former two scripts are phonetic symbols, and each symbol represents a syllable.


Kanji have their own meanings.


The most frequent use of these four is hiragana.


Hiragana were first used by aristocrats about 1100 years ago in the Heian Period.


Hiragana was created by making use of parts of some kanji.


In the Nara period, only Chinese characters were used.


The records of ancient matters, the oldest chronicles of Japan, and the collections of ancient poems, all were written in Chinese characters.



Katakana was first used by Buddhist priests when they read sutras written by Chinese characters.



When Japanese children enter primary school,  they learn hiragana first.


There are only 48 symbols in hiragana, easier to write than Chinese characters.


The development of hiragana was a revolutionary event.


Until then, only men were engaged in writing business.


It must have stimulated women's creative mind.


How glad women aristocrats were when they first saw hiragana!



Female writers appeared in the imperial courts.


They began to write novels, essays, and diaries in hiragana and Chinese characters.


As you know, some calligraphies contain hiragana and kanji.

They look feminine  and  less imposing than that of Chinese characters.


Roman alphabets were used by only a few people in the Edo period , but it didn't spread until the Meiji era.


When you walk shopping streets in Japan, you will be able to see these four scripts on the signboard of every shop.  



Did you like my article?

You can send me a message to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

I'll be waiting for you, so please check my profile and get your trip plan now

Tours By Guide

Kyoto Westside Story : Walk Samurai Roads with History Guide

8 hours

Kyoto is a very attractive city even for Japanese people. It's no exaggeration to say that the essence of Japan is here in Kyoto. For a person who specializes in history, this city is like a treasure house. Of course you go around beautiful spots but you also learn a lot about Japanese culture and history. Walking around Gion in the early evening may be a lot of fun.

FROM$264/ per group

Walk Along The Emperor's Path In Ancient Nara

8 hours

Nara was Japan's first capital, established in 710 at Heijo. Surrounded by huge neighbor Osaka or Kyoto, Nara is overshadowed but one of the major sightseeing spots in Japan. 7 world heritage sites in it. Nara Park has 4 world heritage sites in it. All these ancient civilizations are sure to invite you to the ancient permanent world.

FROM$264/ per group

Walking Along History Paths In Kyoto & Nara

10 hours

Nara and Kyoto are well known as an old historical city, Nara the first and Kyoto the second capital. But it has a clear distinction. If you know it, your tour will be much more fun. In this tour you walk emperor's road in Nara and samurai's road in Kyoto. You are a specialist of ancient Japan after the tour.

FROM$325/ per group

Walk Exciting, Dynamic, Exotic Osaka

8 hours

Osaka is a dynamic, energetic city. It is full of vibrancy and new cultures are born one after another. Developing as a merchant town, it has created unique cultures and these cultures spread all over Japan. It is also famous as a city of food. Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki were first invented here. Food, fashion, shopping, sightseeing; you will never be tired of its full attractions.

FROM$358/ per group

Day Trip to Hiroshima, Kurashiki, Himeji from Kyoto or Osaka

10.5 hours

This is basically a custom tour. You may go around various popular sightseeing spots. Itsukushima Shrine and Atomic Bomb Dome are main destinations in this tour. You can also enjoy eating Hiroshima food speciality. 

FROM$358/ per group

Half A Day Kyoto / Nara Tour

4.5 hours

This is a seasonal tour from July to August. Recommendable to parents with young kids, aged people, those who want to avoid heat. Tour starts at 8:00 - 8:30 and ends around 12:30 before it becomes hottest. Destinations are relatively cool places. Arashiyama, Nara Park, Ohara, Kifune, Mt. Hie

FROM$197/ per group

Plan your trip to Nara with Masaki H.

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.

Send Message