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Best Apps to Learn Japanese

10 Best Apps to Learn Japanese

In the past language learners had very limited options if they wanted to learn Japanese. Thankfully that’s no longer the case. There are a ton of Japanese learning apps available on both Android and iOS. That being said, not all apps are designed equal, and some will help you on the road to fluency more than others. 

Here we list ten of the most popular and effective apps to learn Japanese. Now you can cut through the noise and choose the app that’s right for you and your learning style. 

Pimsleur

( Android, iPhone, iPad )

Pimsleur will have you speaking Japanese and raising your fluency level from day one. It follows a fun building-block approach that feels more like a game. Each lesson applies grammar and vocabulary that you learned from the previous one using several methods of testing.  

Pimsleur is a unique language learning app that helps you practice thinking and speaking spontaneously in a foreign language. It accomplishes this by using a unique question and response technique. Pimsleur also puts a huge emphasis on pronunciation. You are taught Japanese phrases word by word, and syllable by syllable. This helps train your ear and develop your Japanese accent. The app also has a reading portion as well, where you will learn Kanji and Hiragana. 

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


Duolingo - Learn Languages for Free

( Android, iPhone, iPad )

Duolingo is a one of the better free Japanese learning apps. It uses bite-size lessons with simple vocabulary and works its way up from there. Duolingo’s Japanese course teaches you grammar, vocabulary, and even the basics of kanji and kana. The app’s gamified approach is fun, engaging, and most importantly...effective. A Duolingo sponsored study shows that completing a Duolingo course can be as effective as four semesters of a college level course in a foreign language!

Lessons can begin without any previous knowledge of hiragana or katakana with DuoLingo. Eventually, you’ll find yourself translating English sentences into Japanese or selecting English terms from a word bank to recreate Japanese sentences.  

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases



Obenkyo

( Android )

Obenkyo teaches both Japanese grammar and Japanese writing. This app is especially useful for anyone interested in learning kanji. Obenkyo lets you review kanji characters by asking you questions. It even allows you to write characters by hand on your phone. Obenkyo also gives you the freedom to browse their lessons and pick which one you want to work through. This feature allows you to choose your own path for learning Japanese. 

With Obenkyo, you’ll start from the basics of katakana and hiragana and advance through to kanji and vocabulary. The app has also imported Tae Kim’s guide for grammatical references.

Devices: Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases



JapanesePod101

( iPhone, iPad )

Japanesepod101 is easily the most popular podcast for learning Japanese. Each episode is essentially a lesson centered around a Japanese conversation. Each podcast season features two hosts who function as your personal tutors. They help explain difficult grammar, vocabulary, and even share a cultural anecdote or two. The app features a fast array of podcast episodes (there are literally hundreds).  There are also bonus materials such as flashcards, a Japanese-English dictionary, video lessons, and more!

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


AnkiApp Flashcards

( Android, iPhone, iPad )

Anki is a free open courses app for making your own spaced repetition flashcard decks. Anki isn’t exclusively an app for learning languages (many students use Anki to study for medical exams and other information intensive tests). However, it’s still a powerful tool in your Japanese learning arsenal.  

Anki allows you to create and customize flashcard decks using images, text, video, audio recording, and hyperlinks. No matter your learning style, you will be able to create flashcards that are easier for you to remember. Many Japanese learners use Anki to review words and phrases from their favorite anime series, using screenshots and sound bites from the show.

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


Japanese Kanji Study

( Android, iPhone, iPad )

Kanji Study is our favourite for learning to read and write in Japanese. This app uses a combination of flashcards, multiple choice questions, and writing exercises to help you memorize Japanese characters. Kanji Study will take you from absolute beginner up to the most advanced levels of Japanese writing and reading. If you’re serious about reaching fluency in Japanese, then you should consider this app. 

You can create custom sets for learning and you can choose between flashcard study, quizzes and writing challenges, each of which are tracked so you can set targets and see your daily progress.

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


HelloTalk

( Android, iPhone, iPad )

HelloTalk is a worldwide language exchange that fits in your pocket. According to this article of the most powerful ways to learn Japanese is to practice with native speakers. HelloTalk gives you that opportunity. On HelloTalk you can connect with Japanese speakers who are learning English. The app provides the chance to help each other in your respective target languages through audio, video, and text chats. You’re also given in-app tools to help you with translation in case you get stuck.

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


Dr. Moku's Hiragana Mnemonics

( Android, iPhone, iPad )

Dr Moku brings a little fun and humor to the Japanese learning experience. The app uses funny yet memorable mnemonics to help you memorize kana. Because the mnemonics on the app are so unexpected and humorous, they easily stick in your head. It’s astounding how many characters you’re able to memorize after using the app for just a short amount of time. If you want to learn Japanese fast, then Dr Moku is worth trying out. 

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


Learning Japanese with Tae Kim

( Android, iPhone, iPad )

Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese is one of the best apps for breaking down Japanese vocabulary and grammar. The app is set up as a bonafide Japanese course book in mobile form. It’s an excellent reference tool to have when you encounter the more difficult and nuanced aspect of the Japanese language. It covers everything you could ever need to know about grammar rules in Japanese.

This app is packed with logically organized lessons, beautifully clear explanations, and conjugation tables. There are even some exercises for the first chapters on basic grammar.

Devices: iOS and Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


This app is useful for kids wanting to learn Japanese vocabularies. It is free and gives users access to four categories of vocabularies. Learn Japanese Vocabulary for Kids is an educational application for you to learn Japanese effectively. With this free app to learn Japanese Vocabulary for Kids, you can recognize Japanese Alphabet, animals, fruits, color, food, numbers. Teach Japanese Vocabulary for Kids is important language mandarin development. Learning while playing is the best fun and effectively way for you to learn Japanese easy.

Devices: Android

Cost: Free with in-app purchases


These apps are sure to boost your Japanese learning. Whether you desire to read, write, or speak Japanese, there’s an app out there that’s got you covered!