Typing in Hiragana on Keyboard

I have bi-lingual keycaps in English and Japanese (hiragana). I used the Tofugu guide to type alphanumerically (typing English letters to transform them into Japanese characters) and that’s great, but I want to learn how to type proper Hiragana since I have also switched to the 12-key layout on my phone to try and reinforce my hiragana knowledge.

I’m hoping that by learning the actual kana on my keyboard instead of typing in romaji it will help reinforce my hiragana/katakana knowledge as well as typing.

So my question: Are there any learning resources to help me learn how to type hiragana on a keyboard? If so, please link them! ありがとうございます! (I tried typing that in full Hiragana and it took like a minute lol)

If it helps at all, I use a custom keyboard, it’s a 75% layout, so the layout of the keys is slightly different, although I don’t think that should change much?

1 Like

I’m not aware of any resources specifically for it, but if you’re concerned about doing it “properly” I suppose it’s worth just checking, but most people (including all Japanese people I know) use romaji input. Even though everyone here does have the kana symbols on the keyboard.

If you still want to learn, there’s nothing wrong with that, but just wanted to see if you were aware of that.


After doing some searching, I couldn’t find anything specific about a good method to learning how to use a kana keyboard.


The people here seem to indicate that kana input is not super common even for Japanese people, and my Japanese friends, (albeit Japanese American, they’re still typing in Japanese) don’t seem to use the kana layout either.

All that said, that doesn’t help answer your question of how to do it. The idea that pops into my head is finding Japanese typing games and just click clacking until you get more familiar and build up your speed.

I think an IME would be a good alternative. That’s what I use when typing on a PC. You type via regular romaji input and cycle through kanji using Tab.


Don’t have a specific learning resource, but I do know that Cure Dolly has recommended it, and maybe she mentions some resources in her video (Note: Use subtitles if you have trouble understanding her odd accent/speech style):

I think 12-key is OK, but I don’t know if it can be used on PC. Currently I am good with the 行, but not the direction.

On PC, Thumb-shift looks interesting, but I haven’t tried it myself.

Usual Romaji input is probably OK, but no need to restrain yourself to Hepburn romanization.

No, I was not aware of that. That’s very interesting actually. Thanks for that! I think I’ll still learn it anyway because it would be a nice skill to have but I’ll make sure to not make it as much of a priority :slight_smile:

1 Like

I see, thank you!

I do use an IME at the moment, it’s configurable to use romaji or hiragana/katakana. I have been using romaji input but I thought learning the kana input would be a neat skill. But since most people have said that typing in kana is actually quite uncommon I might continue to learn it, just not with as much priority. Thanks anyway!


Ah, I use 12-key on my phone, not my PC lol, I was just saying how when typing on my phone I use the 12-key layout and not the romaji input.

1 Like

As a follow up to the Cure Dolly video, in the video description, she points to a free tool for practice that one of her patrons had created. I haven’t tried it myself, but anyways here’s the details:

It looks similar to tools that help you learn the kana in the first place (from romaji input):
kana input app screenshot

I think stuff like that is more useful on mobile as an alternative to the flick keyboard, but not sure how popular that is.

1 Like

Yeah, the thing about using kana entry on the regular computer keyboard is that the need to learn an entirely new keyboard layout is gonna get in the way of you learning the hiragana. You’re gonna be reduced to hunt-and-peck, and there’s better things you can do with your time.

I mean sure, you’ll get practice reading the kana while you’re hunting the keyboard for the one you want, but flash cards will do that just fine. Possibly even better, because you’re not getting clues from, say, having ち and さ right near each other so you’re don’t confuse them for each other.


Ah, I already know hiragana and katakana, that’s not a problem. It’d just be learning the layout.

But yeah, for someone who hasn’t yet learned hiragana it would be an inefficient method

1 Like

(Cc: @Understandable)
According to the creator of the app mentioned above, it only takes about a week to get good at it if you are already good at touch-typing on a regular keyboard:

It seems to be like learning hiragana and katakana using similar apps (the ones with romaji inputs, or visual recognition with drag and drop): you just start with the one ‘column’, e.g. the あ column, get good at that, then add more columns as you progress. Once you can consistently do all the columns, you’re good. Of course, you’ll need to put it into practice once you’ve started, and you’ll still need to peek under your fingers once in a while at the beginning, but pretty soon you’ll be touch typing in kana. (I’m guessing, based on what’s reported in the video.)

How about, before writing it off, maybe the OP – who has a proper keyboard for it (*) – could try that basic app for a bit and see what the actual learning curve is like. Maybe, like many of us thought learning kana would be quite hard, it’s actually pretty easy?

(*) One can also cheaply purchase stickers for one’s keys if one doesn’t want to buy a whole keyboard or replacement keys.

I gave this a try a couple of years ago. I never really got used to it and I didn’t feel it helped my learning in any way. I love the Japanese flick keyboard on my phone, but on my laptop typing romaji is better.

1 Like