Japanese Lessons

Japanese Vowels: How to Pronounce あ

Japanese Vowels: a

Description of the Japanese Pronunciation あ

Picture of Mouth for Pronouncing [a]

The pronunciations of Japanese vowels are determined by 3 factors; two of which are the position of your tongue, high or low (1) and front or back (2), and the final factor is the form of your mouth (3). When you pronounce あ, you are going to open your jaws wider as if you were going to bite two fingers lengthways and put your tongue on the low and the central position. You may touch the tip of your tongue to your lower gums.

Does it make sense to you? Let’s try to pronounce [a] あ after the tutor on the video!

Wasabi Japanese Pronunciation Lessons 

Words Exercise with the Pronunciation [a] あ

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

Words Roman Letters Meanings
あなた a na ta you
あの a no that
あさ a sa morning
あした a shi ta tomorrow
あるく a ru ku to walk
あう a u to meet
あげる a ge ru to give [to others] 
まいあさ ma i a sa every morning
ぐあい gu a i condition, health
しあい shi a i game, match


Sentences Exercise with the Pronunciation [a] あ

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

Japanese Sentences English Translations
あさのあいさつはだいです。 The morning greeting is important.
明日あした、あのほんいます。 Tomorrow, I will buy that book.
毎日友達まいにちともだちいます。 I meet with my friends every day.

Tongue Twister Exercise with the Pronunciation [a] あ

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


あお: blue, あい: indigo, でる: to come


明日あした: tomorrow, あさ: morning, む: to read


あや: girl’s name, おや: parents, あやる: to apologize



This is the how to pronounce [a] あ. 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 [i] い.

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