Given the number of words to remember I have a suggested order in which to learn them from most common/useful first.


Counting is important for using Japanese as the months of the year are also based from these - two birds with one stone. There are 13 Kanji to learn: 1-10, 100 and 1000.

Common Grammar

Days of the Week

Learn the pattern that each day is followed by the word ようび (曜日) and now you only have to remember the start of the day: Getsu, Ka, Sui, Moku, Kin, Do, Nichi.

Hiragana Kanji Day
げつようび 月曜日 Monday
かようび 火曜日 Tuesday
すいようび 水曜日 Wednesday
もくようび 木曜日 Thursday
きんようび 金曜日 Friday
どようび 土曜日 Saturday
にちようび 日曜日 Sunday

Telling the Time (時間 - じかん)

The time of the Day

Hiragana Kanji Meaning
いま now
けさ 今朝 this morning
あさ morning
ごぜん 午前 morning, A.M.
ひる noon, daytime
ごご 午後 afternoon, P.M.
こんばん 今晩 tonight, this evening
ばん evening
ゆうがた 夕方 evening
よる evening, night

Frequency of Time

We can say 'every' by using まい (毎) before the time word. An example would be to say that 'every morning' we do an activity we would say まいあさ (毎朝) where あさ is the hiragana for 'morning'.

Tip: learn the words for  day, week, month, year, morning and night as these are used for the period of time as well (ie. next month)

Hiragana Kanji Meaning
まいあさ 毎朝 every morning
まいげつ/まいつき 毎月 every month, monthly
まいしゅう 毎週 every week
まいにち 毎日 every day
まいねん/まいとし 毎年 every year, annually
まいばん 毎晩 every night

Periods of Time

Hiragana Kanji Meaning
Relative from Today
おととい   day before yesterday
きのう 昨日 yesterday
きょう 今日 today, this day
あした   tomorrow
あさって   day after tomorrow
せんしゅう 先週 last week, the week before
こんしゅう 今週 this week
らいしゅう 来週 next week
せんげつ 先月 last month
こんげつ 今月 this month
らいげつ 来月 next month
おととし   year before last
きょねん 去年 last year
ことし 今年 this year
らいねん 来年 next year
さらいねん さ来年 year after next

Days of the Month

Learning the counting system for Japanese will see you well for the days of the month as you are only learning the exceptions for the first 10 days, 14th, 20th and 24th day. Watch the below video until these become second nature.

Seasons of the Year

Hiragana Kanji Meaning
はる spring
なつ summer
あき autumn, fall
ふゆ winter


Hiragana Kanji Meaning
きた North
ひがし East
にし 西 West
みなみ South
なか inside, middle, among
そと outside, exterior
ひだり left hand side
みぎ right hand side
まえ before, in front
ちかく 近く near
そば   near, close, beside
ちかい 近い near, close by, short
あっち   over there
あちら   there, yonder, that
むこう 向こう beyond, over there

Means of Travel

Hiragana Kanji Meaning
くるま car, vehicle
じどうしゃ 自動車 automobile
タクシー   taxi
バス   bus
ひこうき 飛行機 aeroplane, airplane
でんしゃ 電車 electric train

Family Members

Hiragana Kanji Meaning
いえ house, family
かぞく 家族 family
りょうしん 両親 parents, both parents
きょうだい 兄弟 siblings (brothers and sisters)
ちち (one's own) father
はは (one's own) mother
あに (hum) older brother
あね (hum) older sister
おくさん 奥さん (hon) wife
おかあさん お母さん (hon) mother
おとうさん お父さん (hon) father
いもうと younger sister
おとうと younger brother
おねえさん お姉さん (hon) older sister
おにいさん お兄さん (hon) older brother
おばさん 伯母さん/叔母さん aunt
おじ・さん 伯父/叔父・さん uncle, middle aged man
おばあさん   grandmother, female senior-citizen
おじいさん   grandfather, male senior citizen