Most Recommended Resources For Learning Japanese
I don’t think there’s any resource you’ll see recommended to those looking to get started learning Japanese than the Genki textbook series. It can give you an exceptionally solid foundation covering listening, speaking, reading and writing. Included with the textbook are audio files. The workbook is also really helpful for getting you to put into use what you’ve learned throughout the chapters.
Pimsleur is a bit different than most language courses. There’s very little emphasis on the written language and grammar is completely ignored. Instead, the lessons focus on the oral language. Throughout, you’ll listen, think, and speak in Japanese. They require a good amount of focus and participation on your behalf. The courses are a bit overpriced if you were to purchase them, but the subscription is much cheaper. Review.
With over 250 Japanese teachers, many of which charge less than $10/hour, italki is easily my top choice for finding a tutor. The large number of teachers makes it easy to find someone that fits your schedule and learning style. In addition, you can find language exchange partners, get feedback on your writing via their notebooks section, and ask any questions about Japanese, for free. Review.
Most people are probably familiar with Duolingo, but unfortunately, most would agree that their courses aren’t very good for Asian languages. Luckily, Lingodeer is a similar app that teaches Japanese, among other languages. I like how the audio for the lessons is recorded by native Japanese speakers and sounds great. Additionally, there are lots of different types of exercises for you to practice. Review.
Skritter is an app that makes it much easier to practice writing Japanese – both Kanji and Kana. You can use your finger to write characters directly onto your phone’s touchscreen. It also makes use of spaced repetition software (SRS) so you’re prompted to review the characters you find more challenging, while not wasting time on those you’ve already mastered.
JapanesePod101 is an extensive resource with tons of podcast style lessons, starting from the absolute beginner and reaching the advanced level. There are three different plans available, with the Basic plan being very affordable and quite good value. The hosts often chat a lot in English at lower levels, but as you move up, Japanese is used much more. Review.
Satori Reader is a Japanese learning method that focuses mainly on Japanese reading skills with grammar and vocabulary being taught through weekly annotated articles and dialogues. It also has a vocabulary repetition app that contains the new vocabulary learned from the articles. A premium subscription is required to get access to all of the articles, but the basic free version allows for access to a limited number of articles which can be good if you aren’t sure if this is for you. Review.
One of the best ways to improve your spoken Japanese is by mimicking Japanese speakers. Speechling makes this (and many other things) easy to do. For free, you can listen to a recording of a word or sentence, then record yourself saying the same thing. If you’re willing to pay for a subscription, you can then submit those recordings to be graded and receive feedback on your pronunciation. Review.
Memrise is among the most popular apps, regardless of which language you’re learning. There are ten courses that have been added by Memrise, along with countless others that users have added. Memrise is best of learning words or phrases as it’s essentially a more fun version of a flashcard app. Because of this, it’s not very suitable for learning deeper parts of the Japanese language. Review.
Clozemaster is great for learning and practicing vocabulary within context. The design feels a bit like a 80s or 90s era video game. You’ll be given tons of sentences and will have to fill in the blank with the correct word – either by typing it in or choose among multiple choices. While there is a pro plan, most users will find the free version offers more than enough value. Review.
Japanese Uncovered is a unique type of Spanish course. It’s made for beginners, but instead of starting out learning vocabulary or grammar, you’re thrown right into a story. At first, you’ll struggle to understand much of it, but as you go through the lessons, you’ll start to figure out how the language works. It’s more challenging but also more effective than most other courses you’ll find. Review.
Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese is an all-inclusive guide covers a wide variety of subjects such as the three writing systems, verb tenses and clauses. It’s free on the actual website, but you can pay for either a paperback or Kindle version if you prefer those. There isn’t much in the way of audio content, but there are fortunately some YouTube videos that help the lessons out a bit.
Wanikani is a great Japanese resource that provides mnemonic devices with a spaced-repetition system to teach radicals, kanji and vocabulary. It’s best used in combination with other resources as it doesn’t provide everything you’ll need to learn Japanese. They also constantly add new material so they’ll always be more to learn, even if you finish all the kanji. Overall, it’s a really great resource for beginners as it provides you with a strong foundation for reading. Review.
Human Japanese is a well-designed course that offers quality instruction at a pretty reasonable price. It builds on itself in a logical way which makes it easy to use and stick with. The course is designed like an interactive textbook with a lot of care put into each chapter. This sort of layout may not appeal to everyone, but it’s definitely worth a try for most. If you’re a beginning learning and you’re serious about learning Japanese then Human Japanese is a great option. Review.
Takoboto isn’t a traditional Japanese-learning resource as much as it is a dictionary. If the idea of using a dictionary to learn Japanese sounds boring, don’t worry it provides much more than just definitions. Takoboto has over 170,000 entries with English translations, example sentences and even conjugated verbs. You’ll also find study lists and flashcards that have the ability to be exported to the Anki app. All in all it’s a lot more useful than just an ordinary dictionary.