Japanese Lessons

Japanese Consonants: How to Pronounce ひ

Japanese letter hi

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Description of the Japanese Pronunciation ひ

Picture describing Japanese pronunciation /hi/

ひ consists of the Japanese consonant [ç] representing the sound of the roman letter /h/ with the Japanese vowel [i]. When you pronounce [ç], the position of your tongue is different from は へ ほ. You are going to put your tongue in the high and the central position and make a chink between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Then you will make a sound by causing friction as air passes through the chink. Be careful to prevent your tongue from touching any parts of your mouth. [ç] is an unvoiced sound.

Does it make sense to you? Let’s try to pronounce ひ after the tutor on the video!

Wasabi Japanese Pronunciation Lessons

Words Exercise with the Pronunciation [ç] ひ

Please repeat the following words after the tutor on the video.

Words Roman Letters Meanings
hi ku to pull
ひと hi to person
ひま hi ma leisure, spare time
ひとつ hi to tsu one
ひだり hi da ri left
ひゃく hya ku hundred
ひらがな hi ra ga na Hiragana (Japanese letter)
ひるごはん hi ru go ha n lunch
あさひ a sa hi morning sun
ゆうひ yu u hi evening sun

Sentences Exercise with the Pronunciation [ç] ひ

Please repeat the following sentences after the tutor in the video.

Japanese Sentences English Translations
ひまひとさそいます。 I will invite someone with spare time.
ひだりにいるのがひろみです。 The person on the left is Hiromi.
あさゆうもきれいです。 Both the morning and the evening suns are beautiful.

Tongue Twister Exercise with the Pronunciation [ç] ひ

Please repeat the following tongue twisters after the tutor on the video. Also, please focus on the pronunciation practice, not the meaning, because they were made only for the sake of practice.

Japanese Tongue Twisters Vocabulary


ひきぬく: to pull out, ひきにく: minced meat, ぬくい: warm


ひま: leisure, ひと: person, マントヒヒ: Papio hamadryas (baboon), ひたる: be immersed in


つき: moon, : sun, ひかり: light, ひとみ: eye, ひかる: to shine



This is the how to pronounce [ç] ひ. We recommend that you practice the sentences above at least 5 times for each exercise, though we understand that pronunciation practice can be dull. Good pronunciation will give you listening and speaking ability, and thereby you will be confident enough to speak Japanese with native speakers. Thus, the ability you gain is well worth the time spent. We are looking forward to seeing you in the next lesson; [ɸ] ふ.

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