Wish to learn Japanese? We’ve gathered a list of online resources for learning Japanese just for you. Also, find helpful tips on how to improve your learning.
It’s easier than ever to learn a new language! Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to go to Japan, to a language school, or even to an expensive college to learn Japanese. With all the resources out there – and mostly for free – you can easily pick up and master the language.
Since many of you have asked, we’ve put together a list of some of the best websites and apps for learning Japanese. Each learning tool provides different experiences, and all you have to do is to find the ones that suit your needs and goals.
Happy learning and Ganbatte 頑張って!
Table of contents
11 Best Websites & Apps to Learn Japanese
This is a popular free language app you can download to your phone. The 5 minutes a day game-like lesson makes it doable for everyone to pick up Japanese at their own pace. It gives you a great jump start on building vocabulary, and you can quickly customize your learning as you go. Whenever you’re ready to commit more time, you just need to customize your learning time. The app is kid-friendly too!
If you’re looking for something more in-depth, Japanese Pod 101 offers personalized guidance. You can get a personal teacher that will work with you on improving your skill. The site also has thousands of podcasts to download. It’s suited for beginners right up to advanced levels.
NHK never fails to offer great programs, including this one for learning Japanese. It’s particularly useful for people who wish to travel or study abroad or work in Japan. You’ll find audio, animation video, and text that portray practical scenarios and handy conversation topics on the website.
If you have only a few minutes to spare each day, then Spotify Japanese Podcast for Beginners might be an easy place to get started. Download the app today and learn a few words every day!
The online and app-based language courses are a no-brainer for any Japanese learner. The content is comprehensive, covering all skills from audio lessons, vocabulary, writing, grammar, etc. This is an all-round platform. You can learn on full functionality at a computer, or on the go with its free app tool.
As they say, you can literally learn anything from Youtube. With over 320k subscribers, Japanese Ammo is one of the top channels to learn Japanese. Misa, the animated Japanese teacher, is fun, energetic, and engaging. You don’t have to worry about falling asleep in her virtual class. She organizes learning into different categories like listening skills, Japanese slang, or even sing in Japanese.
How fun is that? Definitely the best place for visual learners.
This is one of the best language websites for anyone who likes to take it seriously. Italki connects the students with native teachers for lessons and conversations online. You get to practice speaking Japanese with a Japanese tutor! Depending on your needs and goals, there are plenty of options to choose from.
The learning experience is fully immersive, which makes it an efficient way to learn Japanese in a short time. All fees are per-hour and vary depending on the instructor, but the fees are really affordable.
In addition to learning the Japanese language, I personally enjoy visiting the website just to learn more about various cultural topics, travel, and the latest trends in Japan.
Most of the articles are available in English, but you can read and practice kanji, hiragana, furigana, and katakana at the same time. It’s great for intermediate self-learners who want to practice Japanese on a regular basis.
Tofugu has a clear and effective structure for learning Japanese. I like that the site lays out the concept of the language before you jump start, which helps to build a strong foundation in the learning process. It offers podcasts, Japanese grammar guides, in-depth looks at Japanese vocabulary, writing, Japanese resources, and textbook reviews. Recommended for serious learners.
This is developed by the same people behind Tofugu. It provides an effective method to learn kanji, and thus improve your vocabulary extensively. What I enjoy about this platform is its community forum where you can post questions and share resources about your learning. WaniKani is free until level 3.
A highly popular app for learning Japanese grammar, Tae Kim is set out to help learners build a solid grammatical foundation. There are various chapters, and the guide covers different topics and structures for you to navigate.
Readers’ Recommendations on Learning Japanese Online
- Memrise – A language learning app, the courses focus on real-life learning, instead of text book style. Plenty of videos featuring native speakers having conversations in the country.
- SmileNihongo – There are mini courses for beginners, and plenty of free resources on honing your language skill and understanding of Japanese culture.
- Genkijacs – Accredited by the International Association of Language Centres, Genkijacs is a highly professional Japanese culture school that places students in Japan for language learning. It also provides group and private online classes so you can learn Japanese anywhere in the world.
- Kotonaha Study – Founded by one of Just One Cookbook readers with two Japanese friends, Kotonaha is specifically catered for Germans who wish to learn Japanese and English.
- Coto Japanese Academy – Founded by a group of volunteer Japanese language teachers with a mission to help international residents in Japan, they offer various programs to meet different needs.
- Human Japanese – “One of the few comprehensive programs that focus on conversation, grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing.” — The Wall Street Journal. This learning app also comes highly recommended by one of our readers. It features thousands of crystal-clear, down-to-earth explanations, fun quizzes and reviews, animations of hiragana, katakana and kanji characters, and much more.
- Hayai Learn – A Japanese learning platform using Youtube video immersion.
Other Practical Ways to Actually Learn Japanese
Here are some helpful tips to get the ball rolling:
Learn by Immersion
By that means, immerse yourself in Japanese cultural output like Japanese dramas, movies, J pop, anime, or whatever entertainment channels that strike your interest. They are absolutely the easiest way to surround yourself with the language. You’ll be surprised by how fast you can pick up Japanese
Find a Support System
Reach out among your social circles to see if a friend might want to start learning as well. One of the best ways to really learn is by actively listening and speaking, putting your newfound vocabulary words to real use. Practice speaking together and set times when no English is allowed.
Friends make a great support system. Invite 1-2 friends to do this with you! It’s easy to slip when you don’t have anyone to practice the language. If you have someone that makes you accountable, learning becomes more fun and effective!
Commitment is KEY
Like many things in life, you need a sincere commitment to making it work. Put down a simple and achievable goal, and make sure you follow it through.
Practice, Practice & Practice
It’s no secret that practice makes perfect. If you choose to pursue this challenging and rewarding goal of learning Japanese, take a hard look at your schedule, and set aside time daily to study and practice.
Videos that will inspire you to learn Japanese fast
We hope you find these tips helpful. If you have been learning Japanese for a while, what are some of your favorite online resources? Leave a comment below. We love to hear about your experiences.