11 Best Websites to Learn Japanese (2023)

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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.

11 Best Websites to Learn Japanese (1)

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!

(Video) BEST 5 APPS for Studying Japanese 🎌 (language learning tips)

Table of contents

  • Readers’ Recommendations on Learning Japanese Online
  • Other Practical Ways to Actually Learn Japanese
  • Videos that will inspire you to learn Japanese fast

11 Best Websites & Apps to Learn Japanese

1. Duolingo

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!

2. JapanesePod101

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.

3. Easy Japanese Program by NHK

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.

4. Spotify

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!

5. Rocket Japanese

The online and app-based language courses are a no-brainer foranyJapanese 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.

(Video) 11 Best Podcasts to Learn Japanese (All Levels)

6. Japanese Ammo on YT

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.

7. Italki

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.

8. Matcha

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.

(Video) Free Website You Can Practice Japanese Vocabulary

9. Tofugu

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.

10. WaniKani

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.

11. Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese

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.

11 Best Websites to Learn Japanese (2)

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 togetherand set times when no English is allowed.

(Video) This is How I Learned Japanese in 3 Months

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.

11 Best Websites to Learn Japanese (3)

Videos that will inspire you to learn Japanese fast

(Video) How to learn Japanese FAST? Tips from a native speaker 🇯🇵📚✨🌎✈️

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.


11 Best Websites to Learn Japanese? ›

JapanesePod101.com is a great way to learn Japanese and get some exposure to Japanese culture. The course creators are constantly creating new and interesting lessons that are actually useful if you live (or want to live) in Japan.

What is the number 1 Japanese learning app? ›

What Are The Best Apps To Learn Japanese?
Best Overall App to Learn JapaneseRocket Languages
Best App for Authentic Japanese ContentLingopie
Most Comprehensive Japanese AppRosetta Stone
Best Japanese App for Speakingitalki
Best Japanese Podcast AppJapanesePod101
6 more rows
Feb 5, 2023

Is JapanesePod101 worth it? ›

JapanesePod101.com is a great way to learn Japanese and get some exposure to Japanese culture. The course creators are constantly creating new and interesting lessons that are actually useful if you live (or want to live) in Japan.

Is Duolingo Japanese accurate? ›

Con #2: Some Grammar is Not Entirely Correct.

Even though Duolingo Japanese has been released for some time now, there are some phrases that do not seem correct or sound natural. This usually happens with plurals, particles, and certain inconsistencies that happen during translation.

Where should I start if I want to learn Japanese? ›

11 Simple Steps to Learn Japanese Fast
  • Learn the Japanese alphabet. The best way to learn Japanese is to start with the basics: learning the alphabet. ...
  • Practice grammar. ...
  • Learn some key phrases. ...
  • Set up a schedule. ...
  • Use apps to get started. ...
  • Pay attention to flashcards. ...
  • Chat online with native speakers or other learners. ...
  • Read manga.
Feb 6, 2019

Can I learn Japanese in 6 months? ›

You Can Learn Japanese to a Good Level After Just a Few Months. Chris Broad (Abroad in Japan) shows that it's possible to survive in Japanese with as little as 6 months of studying.

How long does it take to learn Japanese? ›

Japanese is one of the most difficult languages for English natives to master. This is because it does not have a lot of likeness in structure to English. Approximately it will take 88 weeks, or 2200 hours of studying, to become fluent.

How to become fluent in Japanese? ›

7 tips for learning to speak Japanese fluently
  1. Don't rush the basics. For some learners, the three Japanese writing systems can be intimidating. ...
  2. Find media you love. ...
  3. Practise with native speakers. ...
  4. Record yourself speaking. ...
  5. Set goals. ...
  6. Use mnemonics. ...
  7. Stay positive.

What version of Japanese should I learn? ›

Learn to Read Hiragana

It is one of three Japanese writing systems you need to learn to be able to read. The other two are katakana and kanji, but hiragana is where everything starts. The ability to read hiragana is going to be a prerequisite for most beginner Japanese textbooks and resources.

Has anyone become fluent in Japanese from Duolingo? ›

Whilst you cannot get fluent in Japanese using Duolingo, you can master the two alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana.

How far can Duolingo get you in Japanese? ›

For such a complex language, Duolingo's Japanese course is fairly short. Although each skill has up to 6 levels, realistically you could complete the course to crown level 1 in a fairly short time. Compared to some of Duolingo's other popular courses, like French and Spanish, there's nowhere near as much content.

How far does Duolingo Japanese take you? ›

Duolingo will only cover the basics of Japanese. It may take 6 to 8 months to go through the tree once if you spend less than 15 minutes per day of it.

Should I learn Japanese if I like anime? ›

As aforementioned, watching anime will be an incredible addition for Japanese learners to gain access to the language in context. However, in order to truly benefit from the experience, you'll most likely need to know some Japanese already so that you can focus solely on new expressions and words that appear.

Is it OK to learn Japanese from anime? ›

The good news is, it's possible! You can absolutely use anime to boost your Japanese studies, to a degree. While it'd be unwise and difficult to attempt to learn Japanese entirely from anime, there's no reason you can't leverage a love of anime to help you learn Japanese if you're smart about it.

Does listening to anime help learn Japanese? ›

Watching and listening to Japanese anime helps you learn because it's a form of language immersion. You'll pick up vocabulary by listening to native Japanese speech. And your brain will work hard to understand the language using the words you know to figure out the meaning of words you don't know.

Is 1 year enough to learn Japanese? ›

In fact, Japanese is one of the most difficult languages to learn for a native English speaker. If you want to speak enough Japanese to make friends in Japan and carry on simple conversations, you can master casual Japanese in under a year, especially if you are skipping over hiragana and katakana.

Is 2 Years enough to learn Japanese? ›

The average length of time to learn advanced Japanese is 2-3 years. At the intermediate level, you can understand most of what your teacher says, and you can follow along with TV programs. When it comes to using the language with other Japanese speakers, however, you still have some limitations.

Is 4 years enough to learn Japanese? ›

Learning Japanese isn't easy and it will take time. It's probably fair to say that you can expect a commitment of at least three years in order to achieve something resembling fluency. The average learner gets to the advanced level in three or four years.

Is 30 too late to learn Japanese? ›

If you're worried that you won't be able to come to Japan to study if you're over 30, then fret not. It's likely you will be asked more questions about why you want to come to Japan to study. But if you're motivated and want to come for the right reasons, then it shouldn't be a significant barrier.

Can you self teach Japanese? ›

Yes, it is absolutely possible to learn Japanese on your own! If you've got an internet connection and a good reason for learning Japanese, you can start learning right away!

What is the hardest language to learn? ›

Across multiple sources, Mandarin Chinese is the number one language listed as the most challenging to learn. The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center puts Mandarin in Category IV, which is the list of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

Is 2 hours a day enough to learn Japanese? ›

In general, it is recommended that learners spend 2 hours per day studying Japanese. This rate of study will enable a learner to achieve general professional proficiency in Japanese in a time frame of 6.2 years. Increasing or decreasing study hours will shorten or extend the time frame respectively.

How many words does a native Japanese speaker know? ›

Around 30,000-50,000 words will give you native level reading proficiency, equivalent to a college-educated Japanese. Of course, this level is only attained by a tiny fraction of non-native Japanese speakers.

What is easier to learn Korean or Japanese? ›

Which language is easier to learn– Korean or Japanese? Korean is considered to be much easier than Japanese. There are more letters in the Japanese alphabet than in Korean. Japanese also contains more complicated Chinese characters and difficult grammar.

How smart do you have to be to learn Japanese? ›

The truth is that anyone with even moderate intelligence can learn a language. Language acquisition is a matter of exposure and practice, not intelligence. You don't need: A high IQ.

What level is fluent in Japanese? ›

It measures language ability in 6 levels (C2, C1, B2, B1, A2, A1 from fluent to beginner). C2 level holders are regarded as fluent as a native language speaker, or are referred to as business level.

What are the ABC's in Japanese? ›

These three systems are called hiragana, katakana and kanji. If that sounds overwhelming, don't worry! Hiragana and katakana are easy enough to learn – and will be a big help if you're thinking about travelling to Japan, or learning basic Japanese.

Which language is harder for Japanese? ›

Between Japanese and Mandarin, Mandarin presents more of a challenge because it's a tonal language, which means the pronunciation and tonal inflection of a word can change its meaning.

What is the most useful alphabet for Japanese? ›

Hiragana is the most commonly used, standard form of Japanese writing. It's used on its own or in conjunction with kanji to form words, and it's the first form of Japanese writing that children learn.

Is JapanesePod101 really free? ›

JapanesePod101 offers a Free Lifetime Account, which is truly free and you do not have to enter credit card information. With the free account, you get access to 100+ lessons, new lessons weekly, vocabulary and phrase lists, and more.

What is the best way to learn Japanese online for free? ›

Courses to learn Japanese online for free
  1. Duolingo. Duolingo is a popular language learning site and app, and last year they released their Japanese course. ...
  2. JapanesePod101. ...
  3. NHK World Easy Japanese. ...
  4. Learn Japanese Free.com. ...
  5. Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide. ...
  6. JGram. ...
  7. Free kanji book. ...
  8. Jisho.
Nov 11, 2018

Is it possible to learn Japanese online? ›

No problem. Learning Japanese has never been easier thanks to a vast array of online resources including websites, videos, podcasts and even apps to help you speak and understand the language.

Is Rosetta Stone actually good? ›

Is Rosetta Stone really worth it? Rosetta Stone is worth it if you're a beginner and want to immerse yourself in a new language. Rosetta Stone teaches you vocabulary using audio and images and it helps you actively practice the language. It's not really a good option for more intermediate or advanced learners though.

How long does it take the average person to learn Japanese? ›

Japanese is one of the most difficult languages for English natives to master. This is because it does not have a lot of likeness in structure to English. Approximately it will take 88 weeks, or 2200 hours of studying, to become fluent.

Is learning Japanese even worth it? ›

Learning Japanese provides a 'gateway' to other languages with a similarly-high level of difference from English. Chinese, Korean and Arabic, for example, would all become easier to learn if you have an understanding of Japanese.

Is it possible to learn Japanese on your own? ›

Yes, it is absolutely possible to learn Japanese on your own! If you've got an internet connection and a good reason for learning Japanese, you can start learning right away!

What is the easiest form of Japanese to learn? ›

Hiragana looks more cursive than katakana or kanji. It is used to write native Japanese words, conjugation endings, and grammar particles. Hiragana consists of 46 characters with each character representing a syllable. And is the writing system that Japanese language learners most easily learn.

What is the trick to learning Japanese? ›

Use Full Sentence Flashcards

But for Japanese beginners, flashcards will work best with full sentences as opposed to individual words or characters. Construct a deck of simple sentences so you get used to the context that surrounds much of the language, as well as the order in which you find words in a sentence.

Can you become fluent in Japanese without going to Japan? ›

While immersion is a key to learning, the good news is, you don't have to actually live abroad to do it. You can practice on your own, at any level!

Is a year enough to learn Japanese? ›

In fact, Japanese is one of the most difficult languages to learn for a native English speaker. If you want to speak enough Japanese to make friends in Japan and carry on simple conversations, you can master casual Japanese in under a year, especially if you are skipping over hiragana and katakana.

Which is better Rosetta Stone or Duolingo? ›

In short, Rosetta Stone just offers more flexibility than Duolingo. With Rosetta, you can jump around from course to course, or lesson to lesson. You're not forced to follow a strict schedule. This is in comparison to Duolingo, which dictates the order in which you complete modules.

How many hours of Rosetta Stone to be fluent? ›

It takes the average learner 50 hours to complete a chosen language with the Rosetta Stone Library Solution. If you set aside five 30-minute sessions a week, the average learner would complete their learning in 20 weeks.

How long does it take to finish Rosetta Stone? ›

Rosetta Stone states that it takes the average learner twenty weeks (or thirty minutes a day for five days a week) to master a level. Latin American Spanish, for example, has five levels. That means the average learner could complete all levels in less than two years.


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