The ultimate list of free Japanese learning resources
Hello, everyone. I don't post in the forums very often, but I want to create this as a sort of educational bread basket, if you will.
Besides my personal love of studying languages - especially logographic Asian languages - I have taken up Japanese because Japanese is a prominent language in the economic world, and honestly, I want to visit Japan one day.
Anyways, enough of that boring stuff, here is the list of all the sources I have found useful in learning the language:
https://www.tofugu.com/learn-japanese/ Tofugu is an online blog created with Japanese self-learners in mind, and has helped me in so many ways. The page I have linked is their guide to learning such a intricate language.
https://www.tofugu.com/about/ This is another page in Tofufu, with a list of their other services and websites which help you with all aspects of the language. Some cost money, but they offer a lot of their services for free.
https://www.tofugu.com/series/japanese-learning-resources/ This is the final Tofugu post I will put here, I promise! Anyways, this is a lot of the resources they have compiled over the years. I strongly reccommend checking out the wide variety of resources there.
https://www.imabi.net/ This is IMABI, a website with a surprising 422 FREE lessons, ranging from absolute beginner to scholar. Extremely helpful for learning grammar and relevant vocabulary.
https://www.lingodeer.com/ Lingodeer is very similar to Duolingo, and they go over grammar, vocabulary, and even gives you stories to practice your reading and speaking. Did I mention speaking? It lets you record yourself speaking some of the Japanese sentences you went over in their lessons.
http://mylanguages.org/learn_japanese.php This website goes over a lot of the key aspects of the language, and is designed to be easily understood.
https://www.memrise.com/ Memrise is a flashcard website that utilizes SRS (Spaced Repition System) to help you learn. It is very helpful for vocbulary.
Well, I guess that just about concludes my list. I hope you guys have found a new resource to help you learn Japanese! It's a very tough language, so we need to stick together so we can all come out on top! Stay frosty.
I'll pitch in:
japanese.io - their story system is great but I mostly can't recommend their chrome extension enough. On any site with Japanese script, click the button and the extension shows you the furigana when you hover over a kanji or word and the meaning when you click on it. Absolute lifesaver.
tfm.co.jp/japan/ - a podcast explaining recent news/relevant topics like the olympics, crime, blood donation etc in simple terms. It's aimed at natives so 'simple' is relative, but it's pretty interesting.
nihongokyoshi-net.com - aimed at Japanese teachers, this site has tons of grammar explanations and examples in Japanese. They've also got a sister site for English teachers in Japanese.
gavo.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/ojad/eng/pages/home - online pitch accent dictionary; not as exciting but still useful.
Thank you! The more resources we have, the easier we can learn Japanese! Arigatou gozaimasu!
There are so many great resources. I'll chip in Beelinguapp. They have stories and news articles in various languages. You can read them in dual format (side by side with English). Many have audio. But the best part is you can click on words you don't know and add them to flash cards. It's kind of like Linq now, but much, much cheaper.
Thanks for your input. I often use tofugu.
The forum has many resources
And there are many more, just type Japanese resources into the search box above and to the right.
Thanks for the additional links! For such a difficult language, a variety of different resources will help a lot!
Not free, but if you're serious about learning kanji and the Japanese writing system, Wanikani is amazing for that. Would definitely recommend it for anybody who can afford it.
I think it's about $90 a year or around $300 for a lifetime subscription. First three levels are free.
Yes! Wanikani is an amazing resource for learning kanji! I've been using that for several months now, and I find that it is much more effective than any book or class!
I strongly recommend that anyone who is serious about learning Japanese and kanji and can afford the price to try WaniKani. Even the first 3 free levels go over a full year worth of kanji classes.
I got started on Wanikani yesterday and it looks like a great resource, but it sure takes things slowly. It will not let me move forward even though I keep getting 100% on the reviews. It must assume that everyone starts from the same baseline as a complete beginner. That’s fine because there are so many other resources mentioned here that I can use too. Thanks!
WaniKani make look slow at first, but it utilizes SRS to make you wait until just when you're about to forget. When you level up, you will see HUNDREDS of reviews and lessons pop up per day, even thousands if you're not careful.
OMG!!! Thank you so much! this makes it all so much easier! thanks for taking your time to write this post!!! you are the best!! <3
Thanks for this recommendation. This reminded me that I have free access to Mango because of my local library. I just completed the first lesson (cluster of mini lessons?), and will add Mango to my studies. I like that the first lesson focused on building up to a short conversation. Whenever I learn a language I tend to gain proficiency in reading, but usually struggle more with conversation and auditory processing. Hopefully this will partially help me work on that.
I'll add my two cents; https://japaneseup.com/ - good for practing kanji/hiragana/katakana with games and tests.
https://realkana.com/study/ - has a chart which could be used for the kanas.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqwxJts-6yF33rupyF_DCsA/featured - not language related, but japan related. this channels makes many videos talking about japan. some of the videos are in some japanese with english subtitles as the host's nieces and nephews that live in japan don't speak english. they also create some japanese language related videos.
https://jisho.org/ - this is a dictionary with words in kanji and furigana as well as english. this is something that's good to reference.
http://nihongolibrary.com/home/free-japanese-study-materials/ - this website has the pdf version of several japanese grammar books. also mentions the level of the book as well as what grammar is introduced within the books themselves. as well as grammar and exercise books and books on hiragana and katakana.
https://jlptsensei.com/ - this website is aimed to help you pass your jlpt tests :)
https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/ - subredit for learners of the japanese language, there are many resources avaliable here
https://cotoacademy.com/blog/ - has many blog posts about japanese and its grammar as well as how to use it.
i'll create another comment with more resources as i find more :)
Wow, these are a lot of helpful sites! Thank you so much for your contribution!
Thank you for the links, I've just started Japanese so this should prove very helpful.
No problem! If you ever find any resources not on the list, please feel free to drop them off here! Good luck on your journey!
I just started Tuesday (it’s Thursday morning), and I can read all the hiragana pretty accurately. What helped me was first watching a YouTube video called “Learn ALL Hiragana in 1 Hour - How to Write and Read Japanese” offered by JapanesePod101.com. The mnemonics are very cute and helpful, and I took several screen shots of some of the visuals and charts so that I could look at them when I need them. I would say the “1 Hour” is more like the length of the video. It took me a day and a half to actually learn to read the hiragana without looking them up, and when I say “read,” I mean sounding them out verrry slowly like a 5 year old child. But I practice every day, and I’m getting gradually better. Writing is taking a little longer. I can recognize the hiragana when I see them, but remembering how to write them without looking at a chart will probably take a few more days. Simultaneously I’ve been using a Memrise app and the hiragana exercises in DuoLingo to practice reading. I also read the labels on any Japanese food packages; I don’t know what they mean, but it’s reading practice. I will wait maybe a week before getting too far into the katakana. My brain can do only so much at once. But when I do, I will probably take a look at the katakana video from JapanesePod101 because the hiragana vid was so helpful for me. Just today I moved past the hiragana section in DuoLingo, but I already had some exposure to Chinese characters, which helped with the kanji. For most people, I would recommend that they use other resources besides DuoLingo before going past the hiragana section. I think DuoLingo goes too quickly from hiragana to katakana and kanji. ——————- Update: It is now Saturday morning and I can write the hiragana from memory in addition to reading them. I think the mnemonics in the video really helped give me a good start. I combined these with learning some words and phrases from DuoLingo and Memrise (using hiragana in words helps me remember them better). I also am very diligent with my practicing for small sessions at many intervals every day. In summary, it took a day and a half to read the hiragana and four days to learn to write them. I just started sampling some of the other resources mentioned here, and I think they will be really helpful. Thanks for the list!
Yes, I agree with you completely, Duolingo does move a little quickly from hiragana to the other writing systems, and only introduces the katakana and kanji right when you begin using them in sentences, complicating the process.
I learned hiragana by downloading a Japanese keyboard on my phone - whenever I forgot a kana, I simply typed the pronunciation into the keyboard, and soon enough, I committed it all into memory! Sadly, the lack of everyday use makes katakana more difficult to learn in my opinion.
Finally, yes! Learning Chinese helps with learning Japanese kanji, and vice versa! Also, JapanesePod is a great source! Thank you!
You will see lots of katakana every day if you just switch your phone's display language to Japanese. Japanese text-to-speech from the accessibility toolbox is a great help: tap on any text on the screen and have it read out to you.
Happy to help! If you find any useful resources in your studies, please feel free to add to the list!
Thank you so much for all this information!! Japanese it's hard to learn, but with all this it looks a little bit better
OMG this is so amazing. Thank you a lot for providing us this kind of resources. I'm pretty sure this is about to enhance my studies.
these are all dictionaries that can help with learning japanese. it especially is helpful for when you don't know the kanji to something but know the meaning of the word or vice versa, you know the kana for it but not the kanji and/or meaning.
this is really good for learning vocab and the stroke order of kanji! https://www.tanoshiijapanese.com/home/