20 Best Apps for Studying Japanese 2024

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Discover the top Japanese learning apps in our guide, tailored for international students eager to explore Japan’s cultural depths. These apps offer a seamless blend of convenience and comprehensive learning, transforming the challenge of mastering Japanese into an engaging journey, accessible anytime, anywhere for both beginners and advanced learners.


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Why Learning Japanese Language with Apps

Learning Japanese is getting popular for many reasons. People love Japan’s culture and want to know more about it. Others learn Japanese to help them with jobs or school. Using a Japanese language app is a great way to start. These apps make learning fun and easy. They fit different learning styles and needs.

If you’re new to Japanese, start with an app that teaches simple words and sentences. As you get better, you can use apps for harder things like complex grammar and kanji. Whether you’re busy or have a lot of free time, there’s an app for you. Some apps have short lessons you can do anytime, anywhere. This is good because you decide when and how much you want to learn.

Apps are useful for seeing and hearing how the language is used. They can make learning faster and more fun with games and exercises. You don’t need a teacher or a school. Apps are cheaper than traditional classes.

But, apps can’t teach you everything. The best way is to learn with a teacher, too. Speaking with others is important to really understand Japanese. Apps are good to use along with other learning methods. They offer many helpful features to make learning Japanese effective.


Best Apps for Learning Japanese Language

1. Wanikani

WaniKani, a leading Japanese learning app, excels in teaching kanji and vocabulary through innovative mnemonics. Designed for efficiency, it uses a Spaced Repetition System (SRS) to enhance memorization, making study time more productive. The app focuses on radicals, kanji, and vocabulary, offering over 2,000 kanji and 6,000 words, aligning with Japan’s official joyo kanji list. Its structured approach breaks down complex characters into manageable radicals, facilitating quick learning. Ideal for those seeking fluency, WaniKani is celebrated for its practical word selection and progress tracking, establishing it as a pivotal tool in Japanese language education.

2. LingoDeer

LingoDeer distinguishes itself as a premier Japanese learning app, renowned for its structured, curriculum-based approach developed by linguistic experts. It emphasizes detailed grammar explanations and lessons, offering a deep dive into the Japanese language’s intricacies. Tailored to fit each user’s learning style, LingoDeer enhances learning effectiveness by incorporating cultural insights and practical language use, from vocabulary to etiquette. Its flexibility allows learners to set personalized goals, catering to all levels. High-quality native speaker audio ensures authentic pronunciation, while interactive stories foster cultural immersion and language skills. Ideal for beginners or advanced learners, LingoDeer stands out as a comprehensive, user-friendly tool for mastering Japanese efficiently.

3. DuoLingo

Duolingo shines as a leading app for learning Japanese, appealing to beginners and intermediate learners with its intuitive design. Structured into manageable skills and checkpoints, it enables step-by-step progression while monitoring personal growth. Duolingo’s flexible goal-setting accommodates busy schedules, fostering daily study habits through reminders and rewards for consistency. Its lessons, concise and interactive, cover all language aspects—vocabulary, grammar, phrases—across reading, writing, listening, and speaking exercises. The app’s gamified approach injects fun into learning, while additional resources like stories and podcasts cater to advanced skills. Emphasizing practical language use, Duolingo offers a comprehensive, engaging tool for mastering Japanese efficiently.

4. Memrise

Memrise sets itself apart in Japanese language learning with its immersive method, emphasizing real-world phrases and vocabulary for practical use. Its standout feature is the incorporation of videos with native speakers, providing authentic insights into pronunciation and everyday language. Tailored to individual preferences and levels, Memrise offers diverse lessons from sources like YouTube and TikTok, keeping content relevant and engaging. The innovative AI companion, MemBot, simulates conversations for effective speaking practice. Memrise employs repetition and mnemonics for vocabulary retention, while its gamified interface ensures a fun learning experience. Ideal for visual learners, Memrise offers a dynamic and enjoyable approach to mastering Japanese.

5. Busuu

Busuu has emerged as a premier app for learning Japanese, distinguished by its unique feature of direct interaction with native speakers. This interaction enables learners to practice speaking and receive personalized feedback, significantly enhancing their conversational skills. Offering a curriculum rich in real-world applications and cultural insights, Busuu engages users with content related to Japanese media and culture, like manga. Designed for efficiency, its bite-sized lessons fit easily into daily routines, covering everything from basic phrases to complex grammar. With features like personalized study plans and progress tracking, Busuu is ideal for anyone seeking to master Japanese, from beginners to intermediate learners, providing a comprehensive, practical, and engaging learning experience.

6. Anki

Anki stands out as an invaluable app for learning Japanese, leveraging a powerful spaced repetition system (SRS) to maximize memory retention efficiently. Its content-agnostic nature allows incorporation of diverse media types like audio, images, and videos, offering a rich, holistic learning experience. Anki’s customizable features enable users to adjust flashcard layouts and review schedules to their learning preferences, enhancing the grasp of Japanese grammar, vocabulary, and kanji. The app also supports synchronization across devices, facilitating seamless study sessions. With a vast collection of community-generated decks, Anki caters to all levels of Japanese learners, providing a versatile and comprehensive platform for mastering the language.

7. JA Sensei

JA Sensei is a comprehensive Japanese learning app designed for all levels, from beginners to advanced learners. It offers an extensive suite of tools, covering hiragana, katakana, and over 6,000 kanji, complete with stroke orders. The app focuses on practical language use, featuring more than 900 common phrases with native speaker audio for proper pronunciation. Structured lessons include dialogues, vocabulary, grammar, and cultural insights, fostering not just language proficiency but also cultural understanding. JA Sensei also provides kanji search tools, drawing practice for kana and kanji, and listening exercises with quizzes. Its extensive grammar explanations make learning accessible and engaging, making JA Sensei an ideal choice for mastering Japanese effectively.

8. imiwa?

Imiwa? is a detailed Japanese dictionary app that caters to learners at any level, offering offline access for convenience. Utilizing the JMdict files, it provides rich definitions in English, with some entries in French, Russian, and German. Its extensive kanji database, derived from KanjiDic, includes breakdowns, stroke orders, and radicals, ideal for in-depth kanji study. Imiwa? enriches vocabulary learning with example sentences from Tatoeba.org and includes comprehensive grammatical information, such as verb conjugations. Supporting multiple search formats and featuring a kanji recognition tool, JLPT lists, language cards, bookmarking, and note-taking, Imiwa? stands as an essential, user-friendly tool for anyone studying Japanese.

9. Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese

Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese revolutionizes Japanese language learning with an intuitive, logical approach to grammar. This app, ideal for various learning levels, starts with basic principles, leading to advanced concepts, ensuring learners build a strong foundation. Covering a broad spectrum of topics from essential grammar to complex expressions, it’s perfect for beginners and advanced learners alike. Designed as a digital textbook, it features an easy-to-use interface, clear explanations, practical examples, and dialogues, making it an essential tool for achieving fluency. Tae Kim’s Guide is an invaluable resource for anyone serious about mastering Japanese, offering deep insights into the language’s intricacies.

10. Japanesepod101

Japanesepod101 revolutionizes Japanese learning with its podcast-style lessons, making it both effective and engaging. Primarily audio-based, it features dialogues by native speakers, immersing learners in the language’s nuances and rhythm. Each lesson centers on a conversation topic, with English-speaking hosts providing detailed vocabulary and grammar explanations. Suitable for all learning levels, it offers progressive content complexity. Additional tools include spaced repetition flashcards, slowed audio, and voice recording for pronunciation practice. The Premium PLUS subscription offers personalized guidance from a Japanese teacher, enhancing the learning experience. Japanesepod101 is a comprehensive app for achieving fluency in Japanese, ideal for learners seeking an immersive and interactive approach.

11. Pimsleur

Pimsleur stands out in the field of language learning apps with its effective Pimsleur Method™ for teaching Japanese. Focused on oral communication and comprehension, it allows learners to start speaking Japanese from the first lesson. This approach emphasizes thinking in Japanese and responding spontaneously, enhancing conversational skills through a unique feedback mechanism that simulates natural conversation. While it concentrates on spoken language, Pimsleur also covers reading, from hiragana to kanji, with native audio for pronunciation. Ideal for those aiming for fluency in polite Japanese, Pimsleur is particularly effective for building strong conversational abilities, making it a preferred choice for learning Japanese.

12. HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a unique app from China, offering a platform for language exchange with over 30 million members and supporting 150 languages. It stands out as a top choice for those looking to study Japanese. By functioning like a social network, it allows users to connect with native Japanese speakers worldwide, facilitating real conversations. Through these interactions, learners can practice Japanese, receiving corrections and advice to improve their pronunciation and language skills. The app features tools for corrections, translation, and more, making it a valuable supplement for Japanese study. However, while HelloTalk aids in language practice, it’s designed for exchange rather than direct teaching.

13. FluentU

FluentU transforms studying Japanese into an engaging experience by incorporating real-world videos like music videos, ads, and news, complete with interactive subtitles. This unique approach not only makes learning the Japanese language fun but also contextual, helping you grasp the nuances of the language as it’s spoken naturally. Each video is accompanied by Japanese and English subtitles to enhance understanding, followed by quizzes and the option to create personalized flashcards for vocabulary reinforcement. Available on iOS, Android, and the web, FluentU offers a comprehensive platform for learners at all levels, allowing for both streaming and offline study through audio dialogues. It’s an innovative way to immerse yourself in the Japanese language and culture.

14. Renshuu

Renshuu stands out as a versatile Japanese learning app, offering a rich blend of features to monitor your progress across various aspects like grammar, vocabulary, kanji, and more. Its strength lies in customization and variety, allowing users to tweak flashcard settings and engage with unique learning tools such as crossword puzzles for a more interactive study session. The app boasts a vast array of practical learning lists, but it also empowers learners to craft their own for a personalized study experience. Additionally, Renshuu incorporates fun games to enrich the learning process, making it an innovative and effective platform for studying Japanese at any level.

15. Obenkyo

Obenkyo is a comprehensive Japanese learning app designed specifically for Android users, offering structured courses that cover the fundamentals of the language. From the basics of Hiragana and Katakana to more advanced vocabulary and grammar, Obenkyo prepares learners for varying levels of Japanese proficiency. Its features include multiple-choice quizzes and unique handwriting tests that assess your writing skills, emphasizing the correct form and stroke order. With its robust handwriting recognition technology, Obenkyo ensures an interactive and effective learning experience. Ideal for beginners and advanced learners alike, this app is a valuable tool for anyone looking to study Japanese thoroughly.

16. Takoboto

Takoboto is a versatile Japanese/English dictionary app that serves as a comprehensive resource for learning the Japanese language. Catering to a wide range of learners, from beginners to advanced, it organizes content by topics, difficulty levels, and JLPT criteria, making it an indispensable tool for students preparing for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. With its remarkable offline functionality, Takoboto ensures that nearly 200,000 entries are accessible anytime, anywhere, supporting searches through kana, kanji, romaji, the English alphabet, or voice input. Beyond simple word lookups, the app provides examples of phrases, sentences, and conjugated forms, enabling users to explore the language’s depth, including grammar and usage, effectively.

17. Pocket Colony

Pocket Colony takes a unique approach to studying Japanese by blending language learning with a virtual world game. In this engaging platform, players create and customize their “Pockatars” to explore various virtual environments, embark on adventures, and participate in games. This immersive experience is set against a Japanese interface, offering learners a fun and interactive way to acquire Kanji knowledge and improve their reading skills in real-life contexts. Highly popular in Japan, Pocket Colony presents an innovative method for language immersion, allowing users to learn Japanese naturally while enjoying the process of building characters, designing homes, and navigating through exciting digital landscapes.

18. iTalki

iTalki stands out as a premier online platform for learning Japanese, offering access to thousands of one-on-one tutoring sessions with experienced Japanese teachers. Ideal for learners of all levels, iTalki provides the flexibility to study Japanese anytime, anywhere, making language learning both convenient and efficient. With its wide range of affordable classes, students can easily find instructors to fit their budget, without sacrificing quality. From JLPT preparation to conversational practice tailored to individual needs, iTalki caters to diverse learning goals. Additionally, the platform fosters a global learning community, allowing students to interact with fellow learners from around the world, enriching the language acquisition process.

19. Waygo

Waygo is an essential Japanese learning app that acts as a real-time translator, perfect for learners and travelers alike. By simply taking a photo of Japanese text—be it on food packages, traffic signs, or menus—users can get instant translations into English, making it an invaluable tool for understanding and learning new words or phrases. Additionally, Waygo offers pronunciation guides to help users learn how to say the words correctly. Whether you’re navigating the streets of Japan or trying to decipher a menu, Waygo provides a seamless way to bridge the language gap, enhancing your reading skills and enriching your travel experience. It’s a must-have for anyone looking to dive into the Japanese language or preparing for a trip to Japan.

20. Mondly

Mondly turns the challenge of learning Japanese into an engaging and enjoyable journey with its gamified approach to education. This app breaks down the learning process into bite-sized lessons, covering everything from basic greetings to more complex sentences, catering to learners at various proficiency levels. Given that Japanese is a character-based language that can seem daunting to new learners, Mondly’s interactive and dynamic method ensures that practice never feels tedious. Users are encouraged to dive deep into the language, enhancing their reading and writing skills while keeping the experience light and fun. Mondly is an excellent tool for anyone looking to study Japanese in an interactive, enjoyable way.


Conclusion

As the journey of learning Japanese unfolds, it’s clear that incorporating Japanese language apps into your study regime, whether as a primary or supplementary resource, can significantly enhance the learning experience. These apps provide a versatile and engaging platform for international students of all levels to study Japanese. They cater to a range of learning styles and needs, ensuring that each student can find an app that resonates with their individual learning journey. The best apps to learn Japanese not only offer a convenient and flexible approach to language learning but also present a comprehensive and interactive way to grasp the language. By embracing these digital tools, international students can make significant strides in their Japanese language proficiency, opening doors to a deeper cultural understanding and a myriad of opportunities in both personal and professional realms. In essence, Japanese language apps are more than just a learning tool; they are a bridge to a world of new experiences and insights.



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