An effective way to start learning Japanese, but will not get you to fluency
Rocket Japanese is one of the courses offered by Rocket Languages. There are 3 levels for beginners to advanced learners. The app teaches you basic words and phrases as well as how to write Japanese characters. Overall, it’s a really strong course that will help you build a solid foundation in Japanese. To really become fluent though, you’ll need to use other resources afterwards.
- Lessons to learn the Japanese writing systems
- Thorough explanations
- Words and phrases written in characters and phonetically
- Not good for advanced learners
- Some lessons are really long
- Not enough variety in practice activities
Table of Contents
Rocket Japanese Overview
Rocket Japanese is a Japanese language course created by Rocket Languages. The entire course consists of 3 levels. Each level has 120+ hours of lesson time. Most lessons are audio-based, some teach grammar and culture, and there are even writing lessons so you can learn the different Japanese writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. After you listen or read the lesson, there are many practice activities to help you learn.
Japanese is a difficult language to learn and Rocket Japanese does a good job of breaking down the information with enough explanations and practice to start learning this language. However, the course is not designed to help you reach an advanced level. The Rocket levels correspond to levels of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test, the most widely-used test. If you finish all 3 Rocket Japanese levels, you will have an N4 level. According to the JLPT website, this corresponds with “The ability to understand basic Japanese,” but not be able to use it in everyday situations.
Rocket Japanese Price
Rocket Japanese consists of 3 levels. You can buy each level separately or buy them together. In the end, the price is the same per level. Level 1 costs $149.95. If you buy levels 1& 2 together it costs $299.90. The price of all three levels cost $449.85.
To be certain that you are happy with your purchase, Rocket offers a 60-day, money-back guarantee. If you don’t like the Rocket Japanese course, you can contact the customer service team within 60 days to receive a full refund. There is also a 6-month payment plan available if you want to purchase all 3 levels.
Rocket Japanese can seem like a big expense since you have to buy the entire level upfront. If you prefer to pay monthly, you can try other apps such as Mondly, FluentU, or Busuu. Some language apps also offer free content that you don’t have to pay for like Duolingo and JapanesePod101.
Rocket Japanese Free Trial
Rocket Japanese lets you try some lessons with the free trial. You can easily sign up for a 7-day free trial without entering any credit card information. In comparison to most apps that give you access to all content available during the trial, Rocket is quite limited. With the trial, you can access the first 9 lessons of level 1, but only 3 lessons in level 2, and 1 lesson in level 3.
Rocket Japanese Discount
There is no need to pay full price on Rocket Japanese. They are constantly offering discounts and other specials. As soon as you sign up, you will receive a discount code. I was also offered other discounts during my trial period.
Rocket Japanese Review: How It Can (or Can’t) Help You
It’s easy to get started on Rocket Japanese. To access the trial, you only have to enter your email address. There aren’t any placement tests so you can choose which level you want to start with. The lessons are laid out in a logical order and it’s easy to see where to begin.
Once you set up your account, you are ready to start learning! Japanese might not be the easiest language to learn, but Rocket Japanese is a good course to help you on your language learning journey.
There are some common challenges that many language learners face though. Let’s take a look at these challenges to see if Rocket Japanese can help you overcome them.
Challenge 1: Beginning to learn Japanese
Rocket Japanese is an excellent tool to begin learning the language. Japanese can be a challenging language to learn, but each Rocket lesson breaks down the concepts and explains everything in English. If you follow the method that Rocket recommends, which is listening to each lesson more than once and completing all the study practices, you will understand and remember what is taught in the lessons.
Challenge 2: Learning & Remembering New Words
Each lesson has a set of vocabulary flashcards that you practice with. Depending on the lesson, it’s usually between 20-60 new words and phrases. There are many practice activities to help you remember the new words. The activities use different skills, such as reading the words, listening to them, and writing them. The activities can be a little repetitive, but the repetition helped me remember.
Challenge 3: Understanding & Speaking to Native Speakers
This is the biggest challenge for many language learners. Rocket Japanese is helpful to understand native speakers. Each lesson has a dialogue between 2 Japanese speakers. You can listen to the dialogue and follow along to train your ear. The Japanese speakers speak slowly and clearly so you can hear what is being said.
It’s almost impossible to practice speaking with just an app, but Rocket Japanese is one of the better apps that incorporates speaking exercises. During each lesson, the teachers will prompt you to speak certain words and phrases. There is also an additional dialogue practice included in each lesson where you can play one of the roles of the speakers in the conversation that you just heard.
Because Japanese is a language completely different from English, you might need to practice with a teacher before you feel comfortable speaking with someone from Japan. Sites like Verbling, italki, or Preply connect you with a teacher so you can start having conversations with someone who can correct you and help you improve.
Challenge 4: Making Language Learning a Routine
Rocket doesn’t rely on gaming aspects or gimmicks that some apps use to get you to practice everyday. There are a few features, such as leaderboards and points to help give you goals and motivation to keep learning. To make language learning a routine, Rocket recommends using the 5 Ps:
Rocket Japanese Review: Overall Learning Experience
I enjoyed learning with Rocket Japanese. Full disclosure, I am a very beginner when it comes to learning Japanese. When I tried out the beginning level, I thought that the lessons were easy to follow and I was understanding the material. Each lesson doesn’t have an excessive amount of material, so with some persistence and studying, I felt like I was getting the hang of it.
To truly understand the information, you have to be self-disciplined. For example, Rocket recommends listening to each lesson at least twice. After the first time, I wanted to jump ahead to the next lesson, but I tried to follow the method Rocket suggests, and I did understand a lot more when I listened the second time.
I was also nervous about the Japanese characters and if I would understand. Rocket is helpful because it includes kanji, kana, romaji (phonetical pronunciation), and the English translation. You can hide the kana or romaji fields to help you focus on learning the kanji characters. Since I was just beginning, I liked seeing the phonetic pronunciation, but at some point I would need to turn it off to focus on learning the characters.
Rocket Japanese Review: Areas of Improvement
Rocket Japanese is a good way to learn, but there are some areas that could be improved. I think that the most important one for users to know is that you will not achieve an advanced level. Rocket is upfront about this, saying that by the end of the third level, you will have an N4 level (level 5 is the lowest and level 1 is the most advanced). To continue improving your Japanese and learn how to speak it in everyday conversations, you will need to find additional resources.
I also liked the extensive vocabulary practice, but there is almost no way to practice the grammar topics. There is a short quiz with each lesson, but it’s not enough to really remember the grammar. Other apps like Rosetta Stone or Busuu might be more helpful in this area.
Rocket Japanese Review: Alternatives & Competitors
If you want to practice talking to someone who speaks Japanese, you can try a language exchange app like HelloTalk or Tandem, and there are also classes you can take with Japanese teachers on Verbling, Preply, and italki. If you are interested in learning vocabulary, Drops or Duolingo might interest you.
Both Rosetta Stone and Rocket have highly-developed Japanese courses, but the lessons are completely different. Rocket has longer, audio lessons that offer a lot of explanation. Rosetta Stone has short, flashcard-style lessons that you can complete quickly. The benefit of Rosetta Stone is that you can get lifetime access to all languages. So if you are studying more than one language, Rosetta Stone is the better choice. To see if Rosetta Stone is right for you, you can read more about it in this review. You can also try it out for free!
Rocket Japanese and JapanesePod101 are the most similar. They both have audio lessons with combined practice activities. Rocket Japanese has a more structured course, but JapanesePod101 offers a lot more additional resources. Depending on what monthly subscription you get JapanesePod101 can be more expensive than buying the entire Rocket Japanese level. Because the apps are so similar, you can use the free trial for both to see which one you like better. You can also read more about JapanesePod101 in this review or sign up for a free account below.
Rocket Japanese and Busuu are very different. Rocket Japanese offers long, audio lessons, and Busuu has very short lessons that you can complete in a few minutes. I also like the community aspect of Busuu where you can offer corrections to other learners and ask for corrections about your own work. Busuu is also cheaper. But if you really want to learn Japanese, I think Rocket Japanese will be more effective in the long-run. If you are interested in Busuu, you can read more about it in this review or take advantage of its free trial to see if it’s the right choice for you.
I like Mondly because it is also good for beginners. It uses new technology, like virtual reality courses, and has quick lessons so you can do multiple lessons every day. Mondly is an inexpensive app, especially since you pay monthly. Mondly is good if you are a casual learner, but Rocket Japanese is the better choice if you need to really understand the language. If you are interested in Mondly, you can read more about it in this review. You can also try a few lessons for free below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rocket Japanese is an online platform and mobile app that teaches the basics of the Japanese language. There are 3 levels and each level consists of many lessons that teach grammar, vocabulary, and culture. Each lesson features a conversation between 2 native Japanese speakers so you can hear how people talk in Japan.
Rocket Languages is an established language learning platform. Rocket Japanese is part of the Rocket Languages program. It is a well-developed course with an easy-to-follow lesson plan that teaches you the basics of learning this language. It is a good resource for people that are just starting to learn Japanese.
Rocket Japanese has 3 levels. You can buy each level separately or buy them together. Level 1 costs $149.95. If you buy levels 1& 2 together it costs $299.90. The price of all ll three levels cost $449.85.
This depends on your learning style. According to the Rocket website, level 1 has 132 hours of lesson time, level 2 has 122 hours of lesson time, and level 3 has 126 hours of lesson time. If you complete all 3 levels, that’s a total of 380 hours, not including the time it takes you to complete the practice activities.
About This Rocket Japanese Review
This is an independent Rocket Japanese review, and the company has not sponsored this article. To write this review, I used the free trial to the app and used it for a few hours to thoroughly test its content and features. I also found additional information on the Rocket Languages website to verify my findings.