Do you want to learn to write in Japanese but are intimidated by the script? This guide will break it all down for you in a step-by-step guide to improving your reading and writing skills in this lovely language. Mastering Japanese writing will develop your grip on the language just like native Japanese speakers.

One of the most important skills you can learn in Japanese is writing. Writing entails making up your own sentences using all of the Japanese words and grammar you’ve learned so far. So, how can we practice our Japanese writing skills in a way that is enjoyable, stimulating, and rewarding? So far, the best solution we have found is to keep a Japanese journal.

The good news is that learning Japanese isn’t as hard as you think. At least, not in present times when there are plenty of learning resources available. If learning Japanese online is your objective, check out italki. With fascinating learning tools, italki has the best Japanese teachers who can make you learn Japanese writing systems easily. Book your lessons now!

Find Your Perfect Teacher

At italki, you can find your Japanese tutor from all qualified and experienced teachers. Now experience the excellent language learning journey!

Book a trial lesson

Keeping a Japanese journal

Following the guide to learning Japanese, the best way to improve your writing is to write. Keeping a journal will help you write faster. Consider how long it took you to write anything in your first language when you were five or six years old compared to now. You need to practice, practice, and more practice.

Keeping a journal helps you improve your grammar and expand your vocabulary. The good news is that it improves your kanji! You can practice the kanji you already know, get used to stroke order, and learn new kanji when you want to express yourself and your ideas using specific vocabulary or phrases.

A journal can be an excellent tool for keeping track of your language learning progress. By keeping a notebook and writing in it on a regular basis, you will be able to see an improvement in your writing skills over time.

How to start a Japanese journal

How do you establish the practice of keeping a Japanese journal every day? Here are some pointers to get you started:

Purchase a notebook. Any notebook will serve the purpose, but a high-quality one with a large number of pages will be ideal. Purchase something you would be proud to show off to others.

Determine how much time you will devote to journal writing. Begin with 30 minutes per week and gradually increase your time. Choose a topic. Use familiar grammar, vocabulary, and Japanese punctuation marks at first, and perhaps fill the first page with a self-introduction.

Japanese punctuation

If you don’t know any kanji, just use hiragana and katakana to practice. It’s equally important to practice these because they are the foundation of written Japanese. Once you have mastered the easier first two alphabets, you will be fully prepared to tackle kanji.

Many people have tried and failed to maintain regular journaling habits in their native language; how can you muster the willpower and energy to keep up with your Japanese journal?

Check out the following Japanese journal challenges, which are sure to keep you inspired and your writing time interesting and fun.

Japanese writing practice challenges

The new character challenge

You probably have a fairly detailed study schedule in place by now. That means you should be learning new characters or seeing them in your study materials on a regular basis. What better way to reinforce your character studies than to put them into practice?

Keep track of the new characters you have learned this week or this month. Depending on your level, these could be hiragana, katakana, or a group of new kanji. Use each new character at least once in your new journal. The more you use them, the better.

The daily writing challenge

For a week, write a journal entry every day. This is especially useful if you are an intermediate-level learner and have something exciting to talk about that week, such as going on vacation. Even if things are pretty routine and dull this week, keep track of what you do, think, feel, see, or even dream about.

Put your hands up and write seven entries in seven days. To get into the habit of doing it, try doing it at the same time every day.

The character count challenge

Set a character limit for your journal entry for that day. Determine how many characters you will use in your journal entry. This will depend on your current level of Japanese proficiency and the amount of time you have available.

If you intend to write primarily in hiragana and katakana, increase your character count slightly. One kanji character can sometimes be equivalent to two or three kana letters. Begin with 100. Then, 200, then 250, then 300… You get the idea. As you progress, you will learn about your own personal challenge limits.

The showing and telling challenge

The nature of this challenge is extremely difficult for some, especially those who identify as shy or perfectionists. You must show your Japanese friends your journal (for proofreading and checking.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. Find a native or fluent Japanese speaker willing to read your work. You’ll be able to figure out and improve on any mistakes you’ve made by showing your work to a native speaker in this challenge.

Not only will this reader be impressed with your effort, but they will also point you in the right direction with things you are struggling with and compliment you on your strengths.

You can use italki to post your Japanese writing and receive free language checking. You can also hire a private Japanese tutor or find a language exchange partner on italki who can provide you with additional feedback on your writing.

Find Your Perfect Teacher

At italki, you can find your Japanese tutor from all qualified and experienced teachers. Now experience the excellent language learning journey!

Book a trial lesson

The letter challenge

Try writing a heartfelt letter to a friend or a Japanese family that has taken care of you in the past. Use as many different family honorifics as you can. You can also practice writing formal letters (perhaps for job applications in Japanese) and using keigo, the most polite form of Japanese.

Write to a Japanese-speaking friend. It will be motivating to know that they will be able to read it when you are finished.

The review challenge

Consider a recent book, manga, movie, or anime you’ve seen. If nothing comes to mind, it appears that you require some material to work with. There is an abundance of cool Japanese items to review.

If you choose to write about something from your home country in Japanese, keep in mind that your review could be one of the few, if not the very first, in Japanese. This could be excellent content for a personal blog. You could end up with a large Japanese fan base.

The diary challenge

Make a simple diary entry about your day or a recent event. This is a good challenge to combine with the previous daily writing challenge.

Choose a typical day (going to school, work, etc.) or a day when you attended a special event, such as a festival.

Write about something that happened earlier that day or earlier in the week to practice the past tense, adjectives, and so on. You can also learn Japanese numbers to incorporate into your diary.

Be sure to practice any relevant vocabulary related to school (学校/がっこう), work (仕事/しごと), family (家族/かぞく), the various ways to say “went to” (~に行きました/~に いきました, ~へ行きました/~へ いきました), etc.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Is it possible to master Japanese through online study?

Online study can help you improve your intellectual understanding and quickly memorize characters and words. Making Japanese friends or finding language exchange partners (teaching each other) would be ideal.

Q. How many characters do I need to memorize?

A. In Japanese, three types of characters are used interchangeably: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Hiragana is composed of 75 letters (46 basic letters and 29 modified forms). Katakana is composed of 81 letters (46 basic letters and 35 modified forms). There are thousands of characters in Kanji. Approximately 2,000 are commonly used.

Q. Is it necessary to use the correct stroke order when writing?

A. Yes. It’s both natural and effective. You can quickly write the character. Wrong stroke order frequently results in an incorrect letter shape.


Purchase a lovely notebook and decide how much time you will devote to your journal. If you are a beginner, we recommend starting with a few minutes per week and gradually increasing the amount of time as time goes on and you enjoy it. If you are at a higher level and studying higher-level kanji, we would recommend at least an hour twice a week.

Try out the challenges listed above to improve your Japanese writing practice, but make these challenges your own as well. They will keep you motivated and right on track.

Want to learn a language at italki?

Here are the best resources for you!