JLPT N5 Kanji List

If you are studying for the JLPT N5 test you will need to know about 800 vocabulary words and around 100 kanji characters, as well as hiragana and katakana.

What is the JLPT N5?

The JLPT N5 (Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level N5) is the most basic level of the JLPT and focuses on basic Japanese language skills.

Here is a list of the most basic 100 kanji that you should learn for the JLPT N5. If you are struggling to remember the kanji, it may be helpful to try a lesson with a teacher who can help you with strategies for memorizing the meanings and readings, along with answering any questions that you have.

The kanji


一 (ichi) – one

二 (ni) – two

三 (san) – three

四 (shi/yon) – four

五 (go) – five

六 (roku) – six

七 (shichi/nana) – seven

八 (hachi) – eight

九 (kyuu/ku) – nine

十 (juu) – ten

百 (hyaku) – hundred

千 (sen) – thousand

万 (man) – ten thousand

円 (en/maru) – yen, circle


半 (han/naka) – half

週 (shuu) – Week

月 (getsu/tsuki) – Month, moon

火 (ka) – Tuesday

水 (sui) – Wednesday

木 (moku) – Thursday

金 (kin) – Friday

土 (do) – Saturday

日 (nichi/hi) – Sun, day

年 (nen/toshi) – Year

時 (ji/toki) – Time, hour

間 (kan/aida) – Time span, between

分 (fun/wakaru) – Minute, to divide

午 (go) – Noon

前 (zen) – Before

後 (go/ato) – After, later, behind

今 (ima) – Now

先 (sen) – Before, ahead, future

来 (rai) – To come

休 (kyuu/yasumi) – rest/vacation

Basic directions/place names

上 (ue) – up

下 (shita) – down

右 (migi) – right

左 (hidari) – left

道 (dou/michi) – street

国 (kuni) – Country

駅 (eki) – Station

社 (sha/yashiro) – Shrine/Company

店 (mise/ten) – Shop

外 (soto/gai) – Outside

学 (gaku) – Learning

校 (kou) – School

中 (naka) – Middle/Centre

北 (kita) – North

南 (minami) – South

東 (higashi) – East

西 (nishi) – West

Commonly used nouns

毎 (mai) – Every, each

何 (ka) – What, which, how many

人 (jin/hito) – person

男 (otoko) – Man

女 (onna) – Woman

子 (ko) – Child

母 (haha) – Mother

父 (chichi) – Father

友 (tomo) – Friend

本 (hon) – book

口 (kuchi) – mouth

出 (deru) – exit

手 (te) – Hand

山 (yama) – Mountain

車 (kuruma) – Car

雨 (ame) – Rain

足 (ashi) – Foot/Leg

本 (hon) – Book

語 (go/kataru) – word/language

川 (kawa) – River

名 (na) – Name

空 (sora) – Sky

気 (ki) – Spirit

魚 (sakana) – Fish

目 (me/moku) – Eye

花 (hana) – Flower

耳 (mimi) – Ear

天 (ten) – Heaven

電気 (denki) – Electricity

Commonly used verbs

行 (iku) – to go

来 (kuru) – to come

見 (miru) – to see

食 (tabe) – to eat

読 (yomi) – to read

生まれる (umareru) – To be born

立つ (tatsu) – To stand

聞く (kiku) – To hear

書く (kaku) – To write

読む (yomu) – To read

話す (hanasu) – To talk

買う (kau) – To buy

行く (iku) – To go

入る (hairu/ireru) – To enter/insert

食べる (taberu) – To eat

飲む (nomu) – To drink

言う (iu) – To say

会う (au) – To meet

Commonly used adjectives

新しい (atarashii) – New

古い (furui) – Old

赤い (akai) – Red

多い (ooi) – A lot/Many

少ない (sukunai) – A little/Few

大きい (ookii) – Big

小さい (chiisai) – Little

安い (yasui) – Cheap/Easy

高い (takai) – Expensive/High

長い (nagai) – Long

白い (shiroi) – White

青い (aoi) – Blue

黒い (kuroi) – Black

緑 (midori) – Green

What is the best way to learn these N5 kanji?

While this list shows the kanji that you should learn, there are actually two+ readings for each kanji. The “onyomi” and “kunyomi” readings. You need to know the main readings for all the kanji, and that tends to be harder than remembering what the kanji actually means. If you join a beginner Japanese class at TLS, your teacher will provide you with handouts featuring all of these kanji along with the readings that you need to know. You should make flashcards as well, either by hand or by using a digital version of which there are many apps for (eg Anki).

These are just some examples of basic kanji characters that you might encounter in the JLPT N5 exam. It’s important to note that the N5 test primarily focuses on hiragana and katakana, so while knowing these kanji characters can be helpful, you should also prioritize mastering hiragana and katakana and understanding basic vocabulary and grammar.

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