• Top 10 Japanese Learning Apps to Find Online 2020 1
  • Top 10 Japanese Learning Apps to Find Online 2020 2
  • Top 10 Japanese Learning Apps to Find Online 2020 3
  • Top 10 Japanese Learning Apps to Find Online 2020 4
  • Top 10 Japanese Learning Apps to Find Online 2020 5

Top 10 Japanese Learning Apps to Find Online 2020

Studying Japanese can be a drag. Literally, it can sometimes require a ton of books. But let’s be real here, studying with textbooks is so over. Why lug around 5 pounds of dead trees when you have a palm-sized computer right in your pocket? Now, you practically don’t even need books to study because there are a ton of apps you can use instead.

There are thousands of apps available, so choosing the right study aid might seem a bit daunting at first. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this guide we’ll go over a few key things to look for when choosing an app to help you study Japanese. And once you’ve got that figured out, we also have a list of our ten favorite apps to help you get started.
  • Last updated: 10-24-2019
  • 367 views
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Japanese Learning App – Buying Guide

There are hundreds of apps aimed at teaching you Japanese, and not all of them are great. Here’s a guide to help you figure out what to download and what to skip.

Choose an App Based on Your Goals

By narrowing your search to apps that meet your needs, you can save yourself hours of time and energy.

Going on Vacation? Look for an App That Teaches Useful Phrases

Going on Vacation? Look for an App That Teaches Useful Phrases
If your main goal is to be able to get around during a trip to Japan, you want to focus on useful phrases rather than a more in-depth study of the language. Look for an app that specifically caters to tourists or one that has a section for tourist-friendly phrases.
It might also be helpful for you to learn to recognize hiragana and katakana. While many signs in Japan are written in the English alphabet, it’ll be extra insurance to learn the Japanese phonetic alphabet–as many place names and station stops out in the boonies are written in kanji and hiragana but not in Roman letters.

Studying for the JLPT? Choose an App That Covers Test-Specific Material

Studying for the JLPT? Choose an App That Covers Test-Specific Material
The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is seen as the gold standard in Japanese language testing for foreigners. So it’s not surprising that many (if not most) Japanese learning apps at least give you the option to break things down by JLPT level.
Look for apps that focus on the same kinds of questions and material that you’d find on the test–focusing on reading, grammar, vocabulary, and listening rather than writing, for example. And because the JLPT is set up as a multiple-choice test, the best way to practice is by using an app that mimics that sort of quizzing style.

Just Want to Make Japanese Friends? Pick an App That’ll Help You Find Penpals

Just Want to Make Japanese Friends? Pick an App That’ll Help You Find Penpals
Aside from just flashcards and drills, there are also apps that connect you with people around the world. Some allow you to video chat with each other, while others are focused more on written message exchange.
Since many of these apps aren’t only for finding Japanese language partners, look for one that has a relatively large Japanese user base.

Make Sure the App Suits Your Level

Make Sure the App Suits Your Level
While most apps do cater to a wide range of levels, there are apps that are suited for specific levels. For example, general language learning apps, as good as they might be, really only take you through the lower intermediate levels of language.
It might also be helpful to look for an app that can accommodate your needs as they evolve. It may switch from asking you questions in hiragana to kanji as you improve, for example, present problems to you in more difficult language, or offer different sets of activities suited for different levels.

Find an App That Will Help You Practice Your Weak Points

It’s easy to study things that you’re good at, but in order to round out your knowledge, it’s important to also study the things that are a little harder for you. That being said, there are different factors to look for to make sure that your study is as effective as possible.

To Practice Vocabulary, Look for Spaced Repetition Flashcard Apps

To Practice Vocabulary, Look for Spaced Repetition Flashcard Apps
Spaced repetition is a technique that ensures you’re reviewing vocabulary as often as you need to in order to commit it to memory. When a flashcard shows up, instead of just flipping it around, you’ll let the app know if you got it correct or incorrect. The more you get a certain card right, the less it’ll show up.
If you have problems remembering a card, it’ll come up more often. This way you’re not studying things you already know well and are instead focusing on the words or points that are harder for you.

To Practice Kanji, Look for Apps That Will Teach You Word Combinations

To Practice Kanji, Look for Apps That Will Teach You Word Combinations
If you’ve studied Japanese enough, then you’ll know that when it comes to kanji, just knowing the character isn’t enough–you need to know how to use it with other characters. Knowing just the meaning of a single character is almost useless if you can’t affix it to other characters or hiragana to make different words and constructions.
So, instead of apps that just have you match the character to the meaning, look for apps that force you to place characters within words, figure out how each character changes depending on how it’s combined, and choose between similar characters to find the correct answer.

To Practice Speaking and Pronunciation, Look for Apps with Audio Content

To Practice Speaking and Pronunciation, Look for Apps with Audio Content
Did you know that, in Japanese, the intonation for a word changes depending on whether you’re pronouncing it by itself or in a phrase? That’s why the best way to practice pronunciation is to listen to native speakers as much as possible—and listen to them speak in sentences, not single words.
Look for an app with lots of audio content meant for shadowing—repeating and continuing to repeat just a heartbeat after the audio so you’re basically a sound shadow.

To Practice Reading, Look for Apps That Can Adjust to Your Level

To Practice Reading, Look for Apps That Can Adjust to Your Level
If you’re an intermediate learner, it might be more detrimental than helpful to try to read a paragraph full of kanji you don’t know. So, when looking for a reading-focused app, look for one that can provide you with the furigana or definitions for the vocabulary above your level.
This way, you’ll save yourself the frustration of constantly having to stop reading to look things up in the dictionary, which is a huge demotivator and may turn you off learning a foreign language forever. You’ll also know exactly what you’re supposed to know and not get them confused with the things you needn’t have learned yet.

Make Sure the App Caters to Your Learning Style

Make Sure the App Caters to Your Learning Style
Smartphones are interactive in a way textbooks are not, and developers have taken advantage of this to help you learn Japanese in a variety of unconventional ways.
Some utilize Japanese videos and articles taken from the internet to help you learn Japanese as it’s spoken in the real world, in different contexts. Some turn their quizzes into a bunch of different games, which is great if you get bored quickly. So whether or not you think you’re good at languages, it should be easy to find an app that appeals to your learning style.

Top 10 Japanese Learning Apps to Find Online

So now that you know what to look for in a Japanese learning app, here’s a list of our ten favorites to get you started on your search.

10. Pocketglow – SpeakEasy Japanese

$3.99

7. Learning Japanese with Tae Kim

$0.00

5. ThinkMac Software – iKanji

$5.99

Summary

There are many facets to learning a language–vocabulary, grammar, reading, speaking, listening, and communication. Communication, of course, isn’t the same as speaking; it involves everything we’ve mentioned, as well as cultural knowledge and a willingness to understand.
We’ve introduced many apps to you, each of which helps you hone in on a specific method of learning. Hopefully, one of them will help you patch up your most obvious weaknesses quickly. But, as with learning every foreign language, remember that open-mindedness, respect, and a willingness to be wrong and be corrected, is perhaps the most important learning tool of all.

Related Articles

  • Top 15 Best Japanese Dating Apps Online 2020 - Tried and True!
    Top 15 Best Japanese Dating Apps Online 2020 - Tried and True!
    The thing about being overseas is loneliness gets to you. Fast. And it doesn’t help that Tinder isn’t cutting it for you anymore. (Or maybe you’re thinking about trying a dating app for the first time but are feeling a bit chicken.) You don’t know what kind of people you’re going to be paired with–will they be looking for a date, marriage, or just friendship? Will we have similar interests? Will I even find a match?Okay, well, first, slow down. Breathe. To help you out, we tried out the 15 most popular Japanese dating apps, and picked out ones that would be most effective at finding someone a girlfriend. Members from our editing department came together and compared the following:1. How Serious Users are about Dating2. Results (How Many Likes Received & Matches Made)3. How Suitable Matches were (Age, Appearance, and General Atmosphere)4. CostThis is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese dating apps.※All apps were tested by Japanese staff in Japanese. Even in cases that the app was originally non-Japanese (like Tinder), we downloaded and tested the Japanese version.
    Smartphone applications
    552 views
  • Top 10 Best Language Apps for Travel to Find Online 2020
    Top 10 Best Language Apps for Travel to Find Online 2020
    One of the hardest parts about traveling is the language barrier. As English speakers, we’re incredibly lucky that so many people around the world can communicate with us, but we can’t assume that knowing English will be enough. Luckily, there are a bunch of smartphone apps that make bridging the language gap a little bit easier.Picking the right one, however, isn’t quite so easy. Different apps cater to different needs, and if you don’t know what to look for, you could end up trying a dozen before finding the right one. In this guide, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when choosing the app for you. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our favorites to help you get started on your search.
    Smartphone applications
    96 views
  • Top 10 Best Rhythm Games for iOS and Android Online 2020
    Top 10 Best Rhythm Games for iOS and Android Online 2020
    We searched high and low to find the best rhythm games available for iOS and Android. To us, the best games match movement requirements to screen size, use music that you actually want to listen to, and maybe even include some extra bits like storylines and character bonding.Though of course, different games work better in different situations–some games are better for sitting down and playing for hours at a time, while others are great for when you’re stuck waiting in a line. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked our favorite rhythm games for both Android and iOS.
    Smartphone applications
    1,203 views
  • Top 10 Best Diary Apps Online 2020
    Top 10 Best Diary Apps Online 2020
    Sometimes it feels like there’s so much going on that it can be hard to remember it all. That’s why we’ve decided to find the best diary apps available online. After poring over reviews and descriptions, we’ve figured out that the best diary apps work on the platforms you’re most comfortable using, record the information you want to save, have external backup, and include features that make it easier to keep on journaling.Whether you’re too busy to write, a diary traditionalist, or a more visual-focused person, the best apps looks different for everyone. Keeping these things in mind, we handpicked our favorite diary apps available online.
    Smartphone applications
    751 views
  • Top 10 Best JRPGs for iOS and Android Online 2020
    Top 10 Best JRPGs for iOS and Android Online 2020
    If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it can be a little tricky to get started with Japanese role-playing games, otherwise known as JRPGs. If you pick something that is too difficult, you might get discouraged from continuing. But on the other hand, if you pick something that is too easy, you might get bored and not keep going. So, where do you start, whether you're a pro looking for a good turn-based game or a newbie looking for an easy game? Keep reading for tips on how to choose the best JRPG for your iOS or Android. 
    Smartphone applications
    200 views
  • Popular Articles

  • Top 10 Best Diary Apps Online 2020
    Top 10 Best Diary Apps Online 2020
    Sometimes it feels like there’s so much going on that it can be hard to remember it all. That’s why we’ve decided to find the best diary apps available online. After poring over reviews and descriptions, we’ve figured out that the best diary apps work on the platforms you’re most comfortable using, record the information you want to save, have external backup, and include features that make it easier to keep on journaling.Whether you’re too busy to write, a diary traditionalist, or a more visual-focused person, the best apps looks different for everyone. Keeping these things in mind, we handpicked our favorite diary apps available online.
    Smartphone applications
    751 views
  • Top 10 Best Rhythm Games for iOS and Android Online 2020
    Top 10 Best Rhythm Games for iOS and Android Online 2020
    We searched high and low to find the best rhythm games available for iOS and Android. To us, the best games match movement requirements to screen size, use music that you actually want to listen to, and maybe even include some extra bits like storylines and character bonding.Though of course, different games work better in different situations–some games are better for sitting down and playing for hours at a time, while others are great for when you’re stuck waiting in a line. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked our favorite rhythm games for both Android and iOS.
    Smartphone applications
    1,203 views
  • Top 15 Best Japanese Dating Apps Online 2020 - Tried and True!
    Top 15 Best Japanese Dating Apps Online 2020 - Tried and True!
    The thing about being overseas is loneliness gets to you. Fast. And it doesn’t help that Tinder isn’t cutting it for you anymore. (Or maybe you’re thinking about trying a dating app for the first time but are feeling a bit chicken.) You don’t know what kind of people you’re going to be paired with–will they be looking for a date, marriage, or just friendship? Will we have similar interests? Will I even find a match?Okay, well, first, slow down. Breathe. To help you out, we tried out the 15 most popular Japanese dating apps, and picked out ones that would be most effective at finding someone a girlfriend. Members from our editing department came together and compared the following:1. How Serious Users are about Dating2. Results (How Many Likes Received & Matches Made)3. How Suitable Matches were (Age, Appearance, and General Atmosphere)4. CostThis is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese dating apps.※All apps were tested by Japanese staff in Japanese. Even in cases that the app was originally non-Japanese (like Tinder), we downloaded and tested the Japanese version.
    Smartphone applications
    552 views
  • Top 10 Best JRPGs for iOS and Android Online 2020
    Top 10 Best JRPGs for iOS and Android Online 2020
    If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it can be a little tricky to get started with Japanese role-playing games, otherwise known as JRPGs. If you pick something that is too difficult, you might get discouraged from continuing. But on the other hand, if you pick something that is too easy, you might get bored and not keep going. So, where do you start, whether you're a pro looking for a good turn-based game or a newbie looking for an easy game? Keep reading for tips on how to choose the best JRPG for your iOS or Android. 
    Smartphone applications
    200 views
  • Top 10 Best Language Apps for Travel to Find Online 2020
    Top 10 Best Language Apps for Travel to Find Online 2020
    One of the hardest parts about traveling is the language barrier. As English speakers, we’re incredibly lucky that so many people around the world can communicate with us, but we can’t assume that knowing English will be enough. Luckily, there are a bunch of smartphone apps that make bridging the language gap a little bit easier.Picking the right one, however, isn’t quite so easy. Different apps cater to different needs, and if you don’t know what to look for, you could end up trying a dozen before finding the right one. In this guide, we’ll go over the factors you should consider when choosing the app for you. At the end, we’ve also got a list of our favorites to help you get started on your search.
    Smartphone applications
    96 views
  • Popular Item Lists

    Search by Category