11 Best Apps to Learn Japanese: Become Fluent Fast

Chad Emery Published on January 14, 2023
Japanese app guide

Langoly is supported by our readers. We review products independently, but we may earn affiliate commissions if you buy through links on this page. Please read our full disclosure for more information.

Learning Japanese? It’s one of the most spoken languages in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to learn. If you’re looking for an app to learn Japanese, then you’ve come to the right place. We have compiled a list of the best apps that can help you learn and master this beautiful language in no time!

It can take years of consistent study to become fluent in it. And even then, you may never reach the same level of fluency as someone who has been speaking Japanese since childhood. But the right app can help you learn quickly.

How Long Will It Take You To Learn Japanese?​

What is your current level?

A1
Beginner
A2
Elementary
B1
Intermediate
B2
Upper Intermediate

What level do you want to reach?

A1
Beginner
A2
Elementary
B1
Intermediate
B2
Upper Intermediate
C1
Advanced
GO BACK

How many hours will you study each day?

0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4
GO BACK Next
Try calculator again See result
Some result

These Japanese learning apps will make it easier to study and practice your skills no matter what your level is right now. You’ll be able to take lessons with audio clips, review words and phrases, read manga comics, and even listen to podcasts or watch videos.

What Are The Best Apps To Learn Japanese?

Here are the 11 best apps to learn Japanese that can help you learn the language more quickly and fluently.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks for Apps to Learn Japanese
IMAGE PRODUCT
Rocket Languages
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Easy to navigate app with easy-to-understand lessons
  • Great for people who want a course that is comprehensive and thorough
Try for Free →
Mondly
  • Learn the basics of Japanese quickly
  • The app is easy to use and you can complete lessons in any order you want
  • Track your progress to feel motivated
Try Now →
Pimsleur
  • The structure of the lessons is logical and easy to follow
  • Take lessons from home, in your car, or anywhere
  • The focus on audio improves your comprehension quickly
Try for Free →
Lingopie
  • Choose from a large library of tv shows and documentaries
  • Authentic content in Japanese
  • Video transcripts and subtitles are available
Try for Free →
JapanesePod101
  • Have access to thousands of lessons in video, audio, and text formats
  • Access flashcards and other resources to increase your fluency
  • Updated content always gives you something new to learn
Try for Free →
Rosetta Stone
  • Learn Japanese in an immersive and intuitive way
  • The app is adaptive, so it will adjust to your style of learning
  • It’s perfect for those who want an app that can be used on their own time and pace
Try for Free →
italki
  • Learn Japanese from native speakers
  • Find the perfect tutor for you based on your needs and budget
  • Improve your communication skills in Japanese
Try Now →
FluentU
  • Learn words and phrases in context
  • Watch authentic videos to learn how to speak Japanese more naturally
  • Get exposed to Japanese culture with TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more
Try for Free →
Drops
  • Unique animations for each word
  • Different activities help you remember new words and phrases long-term
  • Spaced repetition helps you review words you’re struggling with
Try for Free →
Write It! Japanese
  • Helps you learn the correct stroke order for hiragana and katakana
  • Teaches you how to write complete sentences in Japanese
  • One of the cheapest apps to learn Japanese writing
Try for Free →
Lingodeer
  • In-depth content covers a wide range of topics
  • Perfect for people who like to know the “why” of grammar
  • Explanations are clear and concise
Try for Free →

Rocket Languages

Overall Best App to Learn Japanese

Rocket Japanese Overview

Rocket Japanese uses audio lessons to teach you listening, pronunciation, and speaking. It’s easy to follow and the lessons are very detailed.
Rocket Languages logo
Best for Overall Learning
Price $149.95
Free trial 7 days
Try Rocket Japanese

Rocket Languages is the overall best app to learn Japanese. It’s a comprehensive course that guides you from the basics of the language. It has excellent dialogues that cover everyday situations, and they’re voiced by native speakers. 

Try Rocket Japanese for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Rocket Languages review.

Key Features

  • Learn at your own pace
  • Easy to navigate app with easy-to-understand lessons
  • Great for people who want a course that is comprehensive and thorough
  • Learn about Japanese culture as you learn the language

Pricing

Rocket Languages offers its Japanese course at three different price points. The first level is $149.95, the first and second levels together cost $249.90, and the entire course is $259.90. Rocket Japanese is a one-time purchase as opposed to a subscription system, like most other apps.

Mondly

Best Beginner Japanese App

Mondly Overview

Mondly is a good app for beginners because it teaches lots of new vocabulary in fun and interactive lessons.
Mondly logo
Best for Beginners
Price $9.99/month
Free trial 7 days
Try Mondly

The Mondly app is perfect for beginners who want to learn the basics of Japanese. It’s easy to use and you can complete the lessons in any order you want, so it won’t feel like a chore.

You can track your progress and learning statistics, which is perfect to help you stay motivated! If you’re just starting to learn Japanese, Mondly will help you learn the basics quickly. Try Mondly for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Mondly review.

Key Features

  • Learn the basics of Japanese quickly
  • The app is easy to use and you can complete lessons in any order you want
  • Track your progress to feel motivated
  • Learn with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

Pricing

Mondly Premium starts at $9.99 per month. You can get a discount on a longer subscription.

Pimsleur

Best Japanese App with Audio Lessons

Pimsleur Overview

Pimsleur uses audio lessons that focus on pronunciation. You listen to a conversation by native speakers and try to mimic how they speak.
pimsleur logo
Best for Audio Lessons
Price $14.95/month
Free trial 7 days
Try Pimsleur

Pimsleur is an app to learn Japanese that has audio lessons you can take anywhere. The lessons are manageable and easy to follow, and you start speaking from your first lesson. The lessons build on what you’ve already learned so you won’t forget the vocabulary you’ve studied. 

This app is perfect for anyone who wants a quick, but thorough, way to start learning Japanese in just 30 minutes a day. Try Pimsleur for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Pimsleur review.

Key Features

  • Start speaking right away and improve your pronunciation with speech recognition technology
  • The structure of the lessons is logical and easy to follow
  • Take lessons from home, in your car, or anywhere
  • The focus on audio improves your comprehension quickly

Pricing

The cost of a subscription to the Pimsleur Japanese app costs $14.99-$20.99 per month. You can also choose to buy lifetime access to the course for between $230.00 and $550.00, depending on how much of the course you want. You can try Pimsleur Japanese for free with the 7-day trial.

Lingopie

Best App for Authentic Japanese Content

LingoPie Overview

With Lingopie, you watch tv to learn Japanese. Choose from different tv shows, documentaries, and more to watch your way to fluency.
lingopie logo
Best for Authentic Content
Price $12/month
Free trial 7 days
Try LingoPie

Lingopie is an immersive way to learn Japanese. You watch tv shows to learn new words and how Japanese is spoken. Each video has subtitles that you can click on to see the translation of the word.

You can also create custom vocabulary lists from the shows you watch. By clicking the word, you can add it to your list to review later. Try Lingopie for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Lingopie review.

Key Features

  • Choose from a large library of tv shows and documentaries
  • Authentic content in Japanese
  • Video transcripts and subtitles are available
  • Create custom vocabulary lists

Pricing

A monthly subscription to LingoPie costs $12.00 per month. You can save money by getting a yearly subscription for $67.00. LingoPie offers a 7-day free trial so you can try the app to see if you like it.

JapanesePod101

Best Japanese Podcast App

JapanesePod101 Overview

JapanesePod101 is a very developed Japanese course that offers audio and video lessons. Native speakers teach you culture and how it affects the language.
JapanesePod101 logo
Best for Podcast-style Lessons
Price $8/month
Free trial 7 days
Try JapanesePod101

Learning Japanese can be difficult, but with JapanesePod101 you have access to thousands of lessons in video, audio, and text formats that make it easier. The app also includes flashcards for vocabulary.

The audio files are high-quality and always voiced by native speakers. The content is constantly updated too, so you’ll always have something new to learn. Because of its huge amount of content, JapanesePod101 is easily one of the best apps to learn Japanese. Try JapanesePod101 for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this JapanesePod101 review.

Key Features

  • Have access to thousands of lessons in video, audio, and text formats.
  • Access flashcards and other resources to increase your fluency
  • Updated content always gives you something new to learn

Pricing

JapanesePod101 offers a variety of subscription options that range in price from $8.00 and $47.00 per month. The longer your subscription, the smaller your monthly payments will be. A free version is available to those who would like to try a JapanesePod101 membership before committing.

Rosetta Stone

Most Comprehensive Japanese App

Rosetta Stone Overview

Rosetta Stone is an immersive app that teaches everything in Japanese. The activities are quick and fun, and cover a variety of different language skills such as grammar, vocabulary, and writing.
rosetta stone logo
Best for Improving All Skills
Price $11.99/month
Free trial 3 days
Try Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is one of the most popular apps to learn Japanese because it immerses you in the language from the beginning. The app has an adaptive learning system that adjusts to your style, and it uses spaced repetition to commit words and phrases to your long-term memory.

The app has many different levels and courses you can take to learn Japanese. It includes audio and visual components, grammar explanations, vocabulary lists, practice exercises, writing tools, and more.

If you’re serious about learning Japanese with an app, this is the way to go. Rosetta Stone even offers live tutoring sessions if you need extra help. Try Rosetta Stone for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Rosetta Stone review.

Key Features

  • Learn Japanese in an immersive and intuitive way
  • The app is adaptive, so it will adjust to your style of learning
  • You’ll learn vocabulary with spaced repetition, which will make words and phrases easier to remember for the long term
  • It’s perfect for those who want an app that can be used on their own time and pace

Pricing

You can try Rosetta Stone for three months for $36.00, or you can choose a longer subscription and get a discount. You can try Rosetta Stone for free during a 3-day trial.

italki

Best Japanese App for Speaking

italki Overview

italki is a platform that can help you find a Japanese tutor that teaches online classes. There are many search criteria so you can find the tutor that’s right for you.
italki logo
Best for Speaking Practice
Price Varies
Free trial N/A
Try italki

italki is a popular language learning app that allows you to find high-quality Japanese tutors online. You can easily filter the tutors to find the perfect one for you. You can also tell your tutors what you want to study before beginning lessons or find out if they offer formal courses.

Try italki for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this italki review.

Key Features

  • Learn Japanese from native speakers
  • Find the perfect tutor for you based on your needs and budget
  • Improve your communication skills in Japanese
  • italki is safe and secure and all tutors are vetted

Pricing

Tutors set their own prices on italki, but lessons typically range from around $8.00 to $35.00 per hour. Conversation lessons are typically on the lower end of that range, and specialized lessons tend to cost more. Most tutors offer trial lessons at a 50% discount to see if they’re a good match for you.

FluentU

Best App for Japanese Immersion Online

FluentU Overview

The FluentU app immerses you in the Japanese language and culture. You watch video clips, listen to audios, and more to practice understanding and comprehension.
fluentu logo
Best for Japanese Immersion Online
Price $29.99/month
Free trial 14 days
Try FluentU

The FluentU app is one of the most powerful apps to learn Japanese. Learning with FluentU will not only help you master your Japanese skills but also give you a better understanding of the culture and people who speak it.

It’s an immersive experience that has automatic subtitles, transliterations, and translations for all of its content. You can watch movie trailers, advertisements, listen to music, and even watch TV clips to learn how to speak Japanese more naturally.

Try FluentU for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this FluentU review.

Key Features

  • Learn words and phrases in context.
  • Watch authentic videos to learn how to speak Japanese more naturally.
  • Get exposed to Japanese culture with TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more.
  • Automatic subtitles and transliterations help you follow along and understand native speakers more quickly

Pricing

FluentU is one of the more expensive Japanese apps, costing $29.99 per month or $239.99 per year. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial before purchasing a subscription, so it’s worth a try.

Drops

Best App to Learn Japanese Vocabulary

Drops Overview

Drops is an excellent choice to learn a lot of vocabulary quickly. Its user-friendly design makes learning vocabulary fun.
Drops language app logo
Best for Learning Vocabulary
Price $13.00/month
Free trial 5 mins/day
Try Drops

Drops is easily the best app to learn Japanese vocabulary. It teaches you new words and phrases through a variety of different activities, which helps you remember them long-term.

It also has vocabulary lists that cover every topic you need to become conversational in Japanese, including food, greetings, and introductions. You can even choose to study more specialized lists like emergencies, household items, and sports. Try Drops for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Drops review.

Key Features

  • Unique animations for each word
  • Different activities help you remember new words and phrases long-term
  • Spaced repetition helps you review words you’re struggling with
  • Vocabulary lists cover every topic you need to become conversational

Pricing

You can use Drops for 5 minutes every day for free. Subscriptions cost $13.00 per month, $89.99 annually, or you can buy a lifetime subscription for $159.99, which comes with all language vocabulary lists and some additional features.

Write It! Japanese

Best App to Learn Japanese Writing

Write It! Japanese Overview

Write It! Japanese show you step-by-step how to read and write the hiragana and katakana characters.
write it japanese logo
Best for Japanese Writing
Price $6.99
Free trial N/A
Try Write It! Japanese

Write It! Japanese is the best app to learn Japanese writing because of its simple and straightforward lessons. You can choose what you want to focus on, and the app is a great tool for memorizing the different Japanese characters.

This app even features an interactive stroke order guide so that you know exactly which strokes go where when writing in hiragana and katakana. There are also example sentences written in both so that you can get used to reading as well as writing Japanese characters.

Key Features

  • Helps you learn the correct stroke order for hiragana and katakana
  • Teaches you how to write complete sentences in Japanese
  • One of the cheapest apps to learn Japanese writing

Pricing

You can use Write It! Japanese for free and get access to limited features. To use everything in the app, you can buy it for $6.99.

Lingodeer

Best App to Learn Japanese Grammar

Lingodeer Overview

Lingodeer has detailed explanations of the Japanese alphabet and grammar. It’s excellent for learners who want to understand why things are said the way they are in Japanese.
Lingodeer logo
Best for Japanese Grammar
Price $14.99/month
Free trial Several lessons
Try Lingodeer

Lingodeer features a range of lessons that are categorized by topic. The app’s comprehensive explanations cover the Japanese alphabet, grammar, and more for people who wish to learn Japanese.

Where Lingodeer really stands out is the depth of its content. It explains every detail of Japanese grammar, which helps take your fluency to the next level. Try Lingodeer for free by clicking the link below or learn more about it in this Lingodeer review.

Key Features

  • In-depth content covers a wide range of topics
  • Perfect for people who like to know the “why” of grammar
  • Explanations are clear and concise

Pricing

A subscription to Lingodeer starts at $14.99 per month, but you can get a huge discount if you opt for a longer subscription. Lingodeer offers some basic content for free, so you can try it out before purchasing a subscription.

Why You Should Use Apps To Learn Japanese

There are many ways to learn Japanese, such as using a high-quality book or taking an online course. An app might be best for you depending on your goals (e.g., if you’re looking to chat with native speakers or study a more comprehensive course), but all the apps on this list provide something useful for any level of learner, from beginner to advanced speaker.

How To Use Apps To Learn Japanese

A language app is one of the best ways to learn Japanese. Using this list, you can find 1 or 2 apps that you like. Since most offer a free trial, you can test them out to see which one is best for you. Most apps help you set a learning routine, whether it’s practicing every day or taking longer lessons a few times per week. The important thing is to stick with it and be consistent.

Best Apps To Learn Japanese: Final Thoughts

Learning Japanese can be difficult and time-consuming. There are a lot of apps to learn Japanese, but not all of them are created equal. The apps on this list can help make the process more enjoyable and efficient by providing interactive exercises or offering explanations for the more difficult aspects of the language.

Best Apps To Learn Japanese: FAQ

What is the best free app for learning Japanese?

Duolingo is the best free app for learning Japanese. The app includes an entire Japanese course for students learning the basics as well as those that want to develop more intermediate skills in grammar, sentence structure, and other topics. Duolingo is best suited for those just starting out in their studies of Japanese, but it’s also useful for anyone looking to brush up their skills or expand their knowledge when they have some spare time available on the go!

Is Duolingo good for Japanese?

Duolingo is useful for those who are beginning and intermediate Japanese learners because it covers grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary building as well as more basic topics. It also has interactive exercises that keep you engaged while learning the basics of the language and it gives decent explanations of more difficult parts of Japanese.

What should I learn first in Japanese?

If you are a beginner, you should learn to read and write hiragana and katakana first. This will help you eventually write words in Japanese. When learning to read and write you should also learn grammar rules so that your reading comprehension will improve even if you have a small vocabulary. There are a lot of different apps to learn Japanese, and they can help you develop all these skills.

How long does it take to become fluent in Japanese?

Around 6-12 months is the average amount of time it takes someone who is starting from scratch to become somewhat conversational in Japanese. To become completely fluent, it takes native English speakers around 2 years with consistent study. This process can happen faster if you use apps to learn Japanese and practice with native Japanese speakers regularly.

To see how long it will take you to reach your Japanese learning goals, check out our fluency calculator!

Chad Emery

Chad is the founder and editor of Langoly. He was a TEFL-certified English teacher for many years and has been an active language learner for many more. His articles have been featured around the web by organizations like the Government of Canada's Translation Bureau and Simon & Schuster. In his free time, Chad is an avid traveler and loves running in new places. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with (*). Comments are moderated and may not publish immediately.

Have you tried this product? How would you rate it?

2 Comments