Best Apps to Learn Japanese Fast

By OptiLingo • 16 minutes read

When it is time to learn a new language it can be a daunting task. One of the common questions people ask themselves and others is how they should learn. Should they use free or paid items? Would a book or a video series work better? What about apps? One thing that is apparent is how much technology has changed the way we learn. Books no longer need to be physically carried around to be used. Your phone or tablet is your book. The same thing for lectures. Recorded lectures uploaded online means that listening to experts in their field is are just a few taps away. Technology and education are more and more often becoming synonymous. Technology will also make it easier for you to learn languages like Japanese.

The internet is a fantastic place to learn languages. You can compare it to a goldmine. Just like you may know there is gold somewhere in a mine, you know that there a great learning material on the internet. You just have to take the time to learn what and where they are, and just like a goldmine, you will reap a lot of rewards if you choose to do so.

Luckily the work of mining has already been done for you and this article will give you some truly fantastic apps and online resources that will be great for learning Japanese. The best part is that they are all free to use. So go ahead and download them all and see which one works best for you. All of these apps cater to all levels.


1. Japanese Dictionary App Imiwa

This mobile app has over 170,000 terms that are regularly updated, That also have thousands of useful examples and an intuitive search engine. This means you can look up and memorize terms no matter where you are. It has everything a traditional dictionary doesn’t have. This is definitely the learn Japanese fast app. This app is a dictionary, but it really is so much more. Because they are always updating the app, you never have to worry about outdated terms, or learning the wrong things. It definitely beats carrying around a packet English-to-Japanese dictionary.



This is a flashcard app that has many loaded decks or flashcards, it also gives you the option to create your own flash cars. This is also a great learn Japanese fast app. This app is also great because it will track your progress for you. Flashcards are such a powerful memorization tool because you can repeat the deck over and over until you are very comfortable with the terms. If you use physical flash cards then you will be stuck carrying them around and organizing them. This can be an inefficient use of study time. This app is very useful, but there are some drawbacks. The main drawback is that it is not free for everyone. If you use the web version of Anki or use the android app then it is free. However, if you want to use the IOS version for iPhones then you will have to pay in order to access the app. It is about 15 dollars in the App Store.

This only affects some people. if you use flashcards as an important part of your study routine, it is worth the cost.


3. Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese Grammar

This app takes a very systematic and intuitive approach to Japanese grammar. It features many examples of how grammar works in the Japanese language. Grammer is one of those things that you just have to buckle down and learn. There is no easy way around it. It is a very important element in lear ing any language. Grammer may be the one thing that an actual textbook may be better than most apps. However, this app offers you enough to help you master Japanese grammar completely for free. Many times the reason many people do no learn languages that they simply never open their books, having the information easily accessible on your phone might be the key that pushes your learning forward. When that information is packaged in an app developed to make learning as easy as possible, your chances of learning grow exponentially. There is a lot of grammar to learn, but this is a great resource so you can conquer it well.


4. Learn Hiragana and Katakana Mnemonics with Dr Moku

Are you a type of person that quit studying because they get distracted or bored? Then this app is perfect for you. It uses humor on mnemonic techniques to help you learn the material without feeling like you are working too hard. If you are having fun, the chances are that you will enjoy yourself and even choose to study more than you intended to. Dr, Moku uses images that are so funny that you’ll soon realize that they are hard to forget. As he pairs images to important Japanese terms you suddenly are memorizing the information while laughing at the fun images. Mnemonics are powerful tools that you have been using your whole whether you know it or not. Many teachers use Mnemonics to teach very basic things like the alphabet to more complex things like the periodic table or mathematical formulas. Dr. Moku’s app is designed for Japanese learners at all levels, It features so many useful resources. It also updates it’s app content very consistently. This app is a great resource for anyone, especially if you love to laugh.


5. NHK Easy Japanese News

The final app on this list is a little different, but just as important. This app focuses on Japanese news. This is great because many people who are looking to learn Japanese are not actually in Japan. This means that it would be a little inconvenient to follow Japanese news without using an online resource. This app is great for those looking to really learn more about the culture in Japan. It will help you to learn additional words and phrases that you may not have ever heard of. Listening to and reading Japanese news will also help you to feel apart of the Japanese lifestyle. That is what makes this app so wonderfully unique. It provides a resource that the other apps just don’t offer. If you are learning Japanese and are becoming more comfortable with the basics, this app can take your learning to the next level.

Learning a new language can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be overly difficult. If you use the right tools and stay dedicated than there will be no way that you will not be successful. Never stop learning, and with technology, at the tips of your fingers, you will not have to.


This online course is a great one. It has three levels of payment, one is free, they also have a premium and premium+ options. Each level just gives you access to additional videos and lessons. JapanesePod101 is a great online course for those just starting to learn the language. Specifically, if you are just learning the language, or are looking to take the Japanese language Proficiency Test. This online course is tailored made to be customized for every learning experience. This way you can spend time learning more about what you don’t understand and less time covering topics you don’t need. To give it a try, you can start off with just the free version and upgrade when you feel ready to.


This online resource is great for people at all learning levels. They have two plans available. The plans are called Basic and Plus. The Basic plan is $15 and the Plus plan is $30. Each of the plans is non-contracted, so you can stop anytime. FluentU is very unique because all of their audio and video files have subtitles to help make learning easier. This is a great app for learning the basics and fundamentals of the Japanese language. It can then be expanded to the specific aspects of the language and the complexities that it features.

It also has featured multimedia tools to keep you interested while learning. They use song lyrics, anime, manga, to help you learn to speak Japanese as local people do. Using popular culture to help you learn will make the whole process easier. It is chockfull of useful vocabulary.

This website is great for beginners and intermediate learners. It is a great place to start to learn about the culture and language in its most basic form. Because you can try it out for free, you don’t have to commit to paying for the service before you feel ready to do so. The free version of the website works by helping you type Japanese words on the keyboard of your computer. It also features resources that help you learn vocabulary and news. They also have additional links to where you can get more help learning the language.

Rosetta Stone

This classic language program is known by many people as a gold standard for learning many languages, Japanese included. There are two payment options a 12-month course and a 24-month course. You can also download each level of your course individually. Each course also has a free trial you can start first. Rosetta Stone is actually great because you speak to eat, and the program understands the inflection and accent. It can tell you if you are saying things incorrectly and help you do better. This is the next best thing to having a real full-time instructor They also have a unique strategy that has helped many people learn new languages. They teach you the same way you have learned your first language, through associating images of objects with the words that tell you their meaning. Then they introduce grammar later. It is highly effective and fun to use. It is, however, one of the more expensive options.

NHK World’s Online Japanese Lessons

This free online resource was actually created by native Japanese speakers for new learners of Japanese. It is like learning directly from the source. That means that you will give you a solid resource to help you develop and gain more confidence when speaking Japanese. This website will give you access to real-life scenarios that you can use to practice real-life conversations. They also have videos and related quizzes. They are all free to download.

Unlike the other sources on the list, the website offers you like on-demand training with an actual instructor. They offer a 50-minute session at $25 each. They do give a discount if you order more than 30 lessons. This website is perfect for anyone seeking a physics teacher that can talk to you over skype and help you learn. It can also help you keep pace while not taking on too much at once. Having a real teacher can give you resources that otherwise would not be available. One-on-one tutoring can help you improve your pronunciation, give you encouragement, and give your personalized tips. Just having someone to practice with can make the world of a difference.

Another great benefit is that is the free trial they offer. You will be able to see if these lessons are right for you. The process of schedule classes is really simple. First, you buy private lessons tickets for $25 each. Then, when you are ready you just cash in your ticket and you get your private lesson. This means no wasted money or time by missing strictly scheduled lessons. It could be argued that this is the best way to learn Japanese online.

Visualizing Japanese Grammar

This is another great grammar website for beginners. The website features over 60 flash animations that show sentence structure. It also is full of explanations and examples. The websites offer vocabulary and quizzes to be able to test your knowledge and understanding. Another great tool is that all the explanations are given in both Japanese and English. So while you are learning through the explanation, you are getting exposure to additional words in Japanese. This is really a great resource to get started learning Japanese.

Genki Vol. 1 Particle Exercises

The website is all about the quizzes. It features what is called “practice particles”. These are sections of information that you can learn from and then you can take multiple choice quizzes and after you take it they not only tell you the right or wrong answers but they also give great explanations. The website is actually a companion website to a textbook called the Genki textbook. It offers a lot of additional information to help you learn.

Now you don’t have to ask what is the best way to learn Japanese online. All of the resources in this article will be able to help you go from novice to fluent. They all have their own benefits to offer. Do your research and consider taking a few free trials. Then you will be able to truly find the best way to learn Japanese online.


Below you can fine 16 of the top smartphone apps that you can use to help progress your mission of learning Japanese. Each one has different aspects and features that fit different types of learners.

Kana (Hiragana & Katakana) 

This app is designed for beginners, and it will help to learn both katakana and hiragana through the use of diagrams, quizzes, flashcards, and examples. You can also track your personal progress to of completed tests to keep lessons fresh in your mind.


Ameba is a blogging website, and it is based out of Japan. Its app can be downloaded and used to make contact with native Japanese speakers who have some of the same interests. Plus, it will allow you keep your own diary so you can go back and witness your improvements at a later date. The amount and type of content you write is entirely up to you, but its a great way to build a network of native speakers to help you learn the language.


This app is designed to allow you to find a e-pen pal from specified regions to work with directly on your Japanese skills. It allows you to filter through different user profiles, that way you can find the right person to work with. Unlike other language apps like this one, it actually provides a group chat feature, as well. This makes it easy to discuss different topics with a group of like-minded individuals and get tips from multiple people for your questions.

Learn Japanese 

This app is designed for beginners. It has 800 different phrases and words that can help with the journey of learning Japanese. Learn Japanese has a few different sections that they divide information in, and you can even track your favorite sayings and words for later. This app even allows you to record yourself to make it easier to compare your pronunciations.

Pocket Colony

Pocket Colony was designed as a fun way to meet people and enjoy fun games, while leveling up your character. It can be downloaded in Japan, and it has a large natural speaking Japanese presence, which can help you learn by speaking with new friends and playing games with them.

Kanji Senpai

This is an excellent app because it uses a repetition system to make sure that the kanji characters you have already learned stay fresh in your mind. It provides the ability of practicing character writing, and you can even download or create your own vocabulary lists with the use of different quizzes.

Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese

This app is a user-friendly guide to a collection of Japanese learning software from Tae Kim. It can be used by any left of student who wants to increase their Japanese vocabulary and grammar. It also gives the option to learn more about the Japanese writing system, as well.

Hirameki! Crossword | ひらめき!クロスワード

This app is done completely in Japanese, but it was designed for children. Therefore, it is easy to understand and navigate, even for beginning learners. There are a number of configurations and modes that you can choose from, and everything is done in hiragana, which makes it ideal for beginners. Users can skip different puzzles based on the experience level, in order to continue having fun, and there is a timeless practice mode, as well.

Kana Quiz – Can be downloaded from the App Store.

Kana Quiz is designed to help learners of all experience with both kana and romaji without being overwhelmed. You can choose which way you want to learn, and it takes the flashcard approach, which is excellent for helping with memorization and learning in the early stages.

Learn Japanese by Mindsnacks

This app was designed to help those that want to learn Japanese focus on building up their vocabulary. It supports romaji, kana and kanji, and it has different types of games that are meant to help learn Japanese. It has a review mode for past lessons, and can help beginners or more advanced Japanese language students.

Lext Talk

This app is excellent for people who learn better through conversations. Lext Talk allows you to find language partners from anywhere, include Japan, and after completing your profile, you can search through people’s profiles to find someone that has the same interests as you. It even has themed chatrooms that can help with learning Japanese from native speakers.

Hello Talk

You can write a small summary about yourself and what your intentions are that others all over the world can read. You can connect with native speaking Japanese people who want to learn English, and you can help each other. One of its unique features is your language partner can actually edit your text to show you where you have errors and help you improve your skills. It also has transcribing messages, which allows you to practice your speech, as well.


IMI works as a dictionary, but it has many features that can help with all aspects when learning Japanese kanji. It provides flashcards, and it also allows you to look up specific words and expressions that you wish to learn. On top of that, it has plans of releasing a few mini games and puzzles to make your learning experience a fun one.

Imiwa? – Can be downloaded from the App Store.

This is a dictionary app that utilizes romaji, kanji, and kana, which can make learning easier. It also provides sample sentences for the words you search for. It also has a nifty drawing feature that will help you search for specific kanji characters that you want to know. After finding the character, you can even practice writing it, using the app.


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