Would you ever imagine yourself speaking Japanese fluently? Do you procrastinate and use excuses to hinder yourself from learning the language? Then this is the time to start using this best apps to learn Japanese.
Now there are no excuses as it has never been so convenient to learn Japanese. You can access it wherever and whenever you want as long as you have a smartphone.
As of 2019, Japanese, or Nihongo, is the 8th most widely spoken language in the world.
The language also has a reputation for being hard to learn for English speakers due to differences between English and its grammar.
You can look at it this way: learning any language is hard but with enough interest and dedication, you’ll get there.
Learning Japanese is a process of constant immersion. You need to make the most of your time and immerse yourself as often as you can in the language.
Making use of your smartphone’s app capabilities can help you accomplish this. And there are many amazing apps to learn Japanese out there.
In fact, there are so many… how do you even know where to begin? Because they aren’t all made equal.
There are several reasons why you may be interested in studying Japanese, regardless of whether you are an anime junkie, a fan of J-pop, or simply just a fan of everything Japanese. More non-native speakers are becoming interested in learning the language.
These Japanese learning apps will allow you to easily swipe and tap your way to improved Japanese fluency.
That’s why I’ve compiled the very best apps to help you learn Japanese quickly. It’s easy to use, helps you make the most of your learning time, and helps you cram as much Japanese as possible.
Today, we will introduce to you to the 20 best apps to to Learn Japanese on your mobile phone, to ease your learning on the go!
20 Best Apps To Learn Japanese
If learning Japanese with cutting-edge technology sounds appealing to you, Mondly is for you.
A beautifully designed app that caters to over 40 languages, Mondly includes daily bite-size lessons, chatbot conversations, language exercises, audio guides, and tests.
For an immersive learning experience, the app features speech recognition, augmented reality, and even virtual reality.
But perhaps the best thing about Mondly is that it allows you to learn languages in any combination. You can learn Japanese from any language, not just English!
FluentU offers authentic Japanese videos like movie clips and inspirational talks with interactive captions in English and Japanese. You’ll be able to take a quiz after each video to practice what you’ve learned, and you can create personalized flashcards for any new words you come across.
Rather than showing you all the meaning of a word, FluentU’s contextual dictionary will show you the word’s meaning in the video’s context.
You can even find other videos that use that word in the same way for additional practice.
Full transcripts with audio and definitions at a hover accompany each video, as well as a word bank of key terms used in the clip.
The program’s quizzes adapt to your learning, showing you words that need more work so you’ll remember them better. You can type or speak your answers for fill-in-the-blank style questions to further hone your language skills.
Drops, one of the most efficient apps to learn Japanese is a free app with a paid upgrade option, and it’s absolutely worth the premium price. Drops helps you learn vocabulary fast on a wide range of topics. I’ve learned so many words I had never even thought of learning, but are helpful to know.
The free version allows you to study for five minutes per day, but the premium version gives you access to the Dojo for reviewing and unlimited study time. Plus, you can use your account to switch between languages. So if you decide to learn another (or Japanese is your newest language you’re picking up), it’s great for multilingual study.
They also have another app, Scripts, that’s specific for learning to write in another language, like Japanese.
Pimsleur is not just a language app. It’s a language learning method.
Developed by educator and linguist Paul Pimsleur, Pimsleur uses SRS (spaced repetition system). Learners hear new words at gradually increasing intervals, and at each time they would remember longer than the time before.
The course starts with basic phrases, vocabulary, and practical grammar lessons, and progresses to an intermediate level of speaking and understanding.
What’s great about Pimsleur Japanese is that it also includes reading lessons on kana (syllabic Japanese characters) and select kanji (logographic Chinese characters).
5. Rocket Japanese
If structured learning is your thing, Rocket Japanese is one of the best apps to learn Japanese. Through interactive audio lessons, you will start with useful Japanese phrases and work your way through the finer points of the Japanese language and culture.
Covering lessons on grammar, vocabulary, writing, reading, listening, speaking, and even culture, Rocket Languages gives you a well-rounded Japanese education. Step-by-step videos also demonstrate how to write in Japanese.
6. Innovative Language: JapanesePod101
Innovative Language is one of the best Apps To Learn Japanese, also one of the best resources for learning any language
These Japanese lessons are effective, accurate, and cover a wide variety of topics and skill levels.
You can learn Japanese slang, onomatopoeia, or prepare for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. And they have lessons if you’re learning for travel, all the way to advanced lessons.
JapanesePod101 also has amazing culture lessons. Culture is a huge part of the Japanese language, and they offer several seasons of podcasts on all kinds of cultural insights.
JapanesePod101 is a podcast but also has video lessons, PDF notes, a word bank, and tutors. You’ll also select your Japanese level, and they’ll give you a “lesson plan” to progress through. The app is free to download but worth getting the premium package.
While self-studying through a Japanese language app is a good use of your time, learning from a Japanese language tutor makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re a beginner. A tutor will not just teach you how to read and write Japanese but will get you speaking, too. This is what italki is for.
italki connects 5 million language learners with over 10,000 professional and community tutors who teach various languages. There are over 600 Japanese teachers on italki offering conversational Japanese classes as well as structured lessons catered to your goals.
Lessons are done via video chat, typically through Skype or italki’s built-in Classroom, and prices cater to all budgets.
One of the most user-friendly apps to learn Japanese, Busuu’s Japanese lessons are systematic and efficient. The app has lessons on how to read and write hiragana (the Japanese alphabet) and katakana (a special alphabet for foreign words), vocabulary, and grammar that starts with the basics and progresses to more advanced levels.
Busuu’s Japanese lessons can be structured and personalized into custom study plans. You can decide when you want to study Japanese, and for how long, and the app will keep you in track.
The Conversations feature is worth checking out. Here you can speak with or write to Busuu’s community of Japanese native speakers who will give you feedback to help you improve.
There are plenty of reasons why Duolingo has over 300 million users in the world. With more than 90 courses in 38 languages, it has mastered the gamified way of teaching a language.
While it mainly focuses on Japanese vocabulary, hiragana, and kanji, it is lacking on grammar lessons. But it’s still one of the best apps to learn Japanese if you only have five minutes to study per day. The bite-size, gamified lessons are fun and will keep you motivated.
This beginner- to intermediate-level resource teaches the Japanese language and grammar in a step-by-step manner that continuously builds on what you already know.
In LingoDeer, Japanese courses are carefully structured to offer vocabulary lessons, detailed explanations on grammar points and contextual dialogues.
While the core of LingoDeer works by moving through units made up of lessons, the app also has other learning options, like flashcards, stories, phrasebooks and more.
The structured format of LingoDeer will take you from knowing nothing about the language to being able to form your own sentences at an intermediate level.
While not exclusively for studying Japanese, many Japanese learners swear by Anki as one of the best ways to learn the language.
Anki, one of the most efficient apps to learn Japanese takes your lists of vocabulary, grammar and even kanji and allows you to sort them into different styles of flashcards decks, from the traditional flip-and-reveal to filling in the blanks with the correct answer.
Using a Spaced Repetition System, Anki keeps track of what you know and what you need to review. It then shows you words you’re at risk of forgetting at optimized intervals, until each vocabulary word is firmly lodged in your long-term memory.
12. Learn Japanese by MindSnacks
If you think learning Japanese is not fun, MindSnacks’ Japanese vocabulary app will prove you wrong. This app with a dose of cute lets you learn over 800 words and phrases through addictive games.
You can practice reading and writing through kana, kanji, and romaji (romanization). Colorful and beautiful images aid memorization, which also makes this app perfect for kids. Additionally, audio clips provided by a native Japanese speaker helps with pronunciation.
This app features 50 Japanese lessons designed by expert instructors, with each lesson containing 20 words. The enhanced review mode lets you replay previous lessons, too.
However, if you like games, MindSnacks is definitely a very fun way to challenge yourself. This app drills you on basic Japanese kanji, hiragana, and Katakana.
MindSnacks comes with 8 game modes that combine hand-eye coordination, speed drills, arrangement as well as listening comprehension, making it a fun way to learn kanji. MindSnacks is best for beginner learners as the material covered only extends itself to upper beginner topics. It is also a good way to refresh yourself if you have learned Japanese previously but haven’t touched the language recently.
HelloTalk is a language exchange app that allows you to talk with others from around the world. The idea is to find a native Japanese speaker who’s learning English (or your native language) and “exchange” languages—that is, help each other learn your respective target language.
HelloTalk works pretty similarly to social media websites: You set up a profile with a brief summary about yourself. You also choose the language you’re learning and what level you’re currently studying. Then, you’re able to search for native Japanese speakers from around the world!
The platform used to chat is very much like any other texting application. Unlike other texting applications, HelloTalk also allows native speakers to edit your messages ad correct your grammar while you chat about AKB48’s upcoming concert (or whatever you’re into). The chat also has a built-in grammar correction feature, so you can learn as you type!
Ameba is a popular blogging website in Japan. Like many social networking sites, Ameba is available to take with you on your phone. The app allows you to stay in tune with your favorite bands, fashion icons or video games.
Ameba can be downloaded by users across the globe, but the application itself is in Japanese. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the language!
The biggest benefit to using Ameba is that you’ll be able to maintain a blog in Japanese, and find native speakers who share similar interests. This can be a great way to discover new hobbies, make friends with native speakers and learn internet slang.
What you write about and the amount of writing you do is completely up to you. You can write about anything you find interesting, or even record a diary in Japanese and look back on your improvements later. You can also ask readers to point out any errors in your writing, so you’re always continuing to improve.
LingQ is one of the most efficient apps to learn Japanese, LingQ is an app that immerses users in text and audio media in their target language. The app lets you read authentic Japanese content like news articles and stories, as well as listen to podcasts, audiobooks and more.
As you read, you discover “lingQs,” or words that you don’t know yet. Save these lingQs to your flashcard deck and you’ll be able to review them with the app’s SRS program. All audio content comes with a transcript, so you can easily save new vocabulary words from any type of content.
After setting your skill level, you’re free to browse their library of podcasts, stories and more. You can even import your own content to learn from what you love best!
As of writing, Imiwa? Is only available on iOS. But Android and Windows users, fret not, Takaboto is a great alternative for you.
Takaboto is one of the most efficient apps to learn Japanese, has over 200,000 entries with English translations. You can search for words in kana, kanji, romaji, the English alphabet, or even through voice. Sample phrases, sentences, and conjugated forms are also provided.
What’s great about Takaboto is that it also functions as a Japanese reading app. Flashcards, ready-made study lists, kana tables, and pitch accent display are available for studying. There are even grammar links to external websites. Best of all? Takaboto is available for offline use.
18. Kanji Study
Make no mistake, Kanji Study is one of the best apps to learn Japanese overall and not just kanji. And it has a dictionary, too!
The free version of the app has lower level kanji as well as hiragana, katakana and radical charts and sets. The paid version includes the full range of kanji and higher JLPT (Japan Language Proficiency Test) levels, and lets you create custom sets for studying. You can study with flashcards, quizzes, and writing challenges.
19. Japanese Kanji Tree
Japanese Kanji Tree is an app that’s dedicated to building your kanji skills. This app has a unique three-step process for teaching kanji: recognition, reading and writing.
Users can learn by JLPT level or by grade level and, with an upgrade to Pro, you can create your own learning lists. Kanji are broken into their radicals for easy comprehension, with their stroke orders provided in easy-to-follow steps.
With an intuitive interface and the freedom to go at your own pace, users are eased into the process of tackling one of the most intimidating aspects of the Japanese language. You can choose whether you want to learn new material or review what you already know.
Last but not the least, Obenkyo is one of the most efficient apps to learn Japanese if you want to master the Japanese writing system. Catering to all levels, from beginner to advanced N1, this app teaches kanji, hiragana, and katakana.
Obenkyo tests your writing skills through multiple choice quizzes and handwriting tests. It has an impressive handwriting recognizer that not only corrects your form but also assesses your stroke order. How cool is that?! It also uses Tae Kim’s guide for grammar lessons.
When learning Japanese, it is tempting to just focus on your vocabulary, especially since the Japanese alphabet and kanji are notoriously difficult. Understanding the language starts with being able to read and write it properly.
Hopefully, with this list of apps to learn Japanese and tips to learn the language, you can get started studying. Try out some of these apps and speak Japanese as soon as possible!