The Best Resources for How to Learn Japanese

By Michael Gakuran | | Japan | 21 Comments |

Learning the Japanese language can be very fulfilling, but there is no doubt that it is challenging. With self-study and learning Japanese online for free becoming more and more popular, it can be tough for the beginning student to find good quality resources.

Over on’s sister site, Gakuu (short review here), I’ve put together an ever-growing list of (mostly free) websites and books that can be used to learn the language. You can access and bookmark it right here:

Japanese Language Learning Resources

A brief explanation then. It’s divided up into convenient sections and marked with a traffic-light code to clearly show resources for different levels of student.

Beginners can start with the green links to learn hiragana and katakana, as well as basic grammar and help for how to learn Japanese. Intermediate students can stretch their legs with amber resources, such as reading and listening exercises. Finally, I’ve also collected together a handy list of websites and dictionaries for advanced learners and translators, marked in red, to save you some time searching for them. For example, in the screenshot below:

There is also a growing list of links to other resource sites, so you can use it as a starting point on your quest for free tools and websites to learn Japanese. The ultimate aim is to create a go-to list containing the best of the best! A reference for any Japanese learner and a collection of links to enable motivated students to continue their study of the language in their own time and at their own pace.

If you have any suggestions for additions to the list or cool sites for how to learn Japanese, please leave a comment! If they are free, that’s even better!

What are your favourite websites for learning Japanese?

21 comments on “The Best Resources for How to Learn Japanese
  1. mir says:

    thanks so much for sharing this great site..i learnt japanese but still find it difficult because i have no one to practice it my solution i watch Jdorama and try to remember and analyze the words and sentences by myself (maybe because i am linguistic n language degree holder),still not as effective as i thought it might i found your site so i’ll try this..thank you so much :-D

  2. Chris says:

    It is a wonderful thing that you are doing for people learning Japanese. I am also currently working on a site contribute to the study of Japanese. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Irisha13punk says:

    Thanks for putting this list together :) it’s really helpful.

  4. Urio_za says:

    Gakuranman: Great blog!
    For those beginners on reading, these sites are quite helpful

  5. Kate says:

    Sorry to comment twice in one day, but I just found another (totally free) resource for testing your Japanese:

    They have basic grammar, vocab and kanji tests as well as tests for the old 4 level JLPT.

  6. Kate says:

    Thank you so much for putting this list together!

    I’ve just found MyKikitori ( ) which has simple listening exercises with a short quiz after each. Plus it’s free!

  7. zonjineko says:

    I think is quite a good resource for Japanese beginners. Plenty of worksheets plus other Japanese stuff including photography etc ^^ 

  8. I’ve started working my way through the Human Japanese application from the Android market, quite good and well worth a look.


    : )

  9. EE says: is a great resource to make friends and improve your written Japanese.
    I’ve used it for a couple of years and made some good Japanese friends

  10. Richard says:

    I found that NHK high school site before, but then forgot about it. Maybe I’ll check out the Japanese history programmes.

    • Gakuranman says:

      It seems like an excellent resource from what I watched! Definitely good for upper-level students :)

      Interesting site by the way! Some cool stuff you’re writing about.

      • Richard says:

        Thanks for taking a look! Glad you found some things interesting.

        • Gakuranman says:

          Yep, I found the Kotonoha resource thanks to you. It’s been added to the list. Any other suggestions?

          • Richard says:

            I do find sites like 知恵袋 useful for getting explanations in simple language when definitions elsewhere are difficult to understand. Sometimes this is just for personal use, but sometimes I use them for translation. I guess this might not fit naturally into your list though.

            • Gakuranman says:

              Ah yes, chiebukuro and oshiete goo are two good resources indeed. I often use them for checking the meanings of obscure words or for finding explanations about the origins.

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