40+ Online Japanese Lessons & Resources – Learn Japanese for Free!

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Learn Japanese for free online with this ultimate list, including all kinds of free online Japanese lessons (apps, video, audio, courses, you name it)

Why Taking Japanese Lessons?

People learn Japanese for all kinds of reasons. Some learn Japanese because they love Japanese culture, such as Japanese songs, anime, manga just to name a few. Others learn Japanese purely in appreciation of the language itself.

I personally think Japanese language is fascinating. There are words often used by native Japanese that have no direct translations in English but have powerful meanings. And people can use these words to perfectly convey their emotion or feeling without further explanation. Check out the video below and you will be impressed by how amazing Japanese language is. 


Self-study Tips for Learning Japaneses before taking Japanese lessons

Japanese is comprised of kanji (Chinese characters), hiragana and katakana, which may be confusing at first for English learners. However, nowadays, it’s more easy for you to learn Japanese on your own from scratch thanks to abundant learning resources and native speakers you can access to via internet.

In this article, you will find over 30 kinds of online resources for you to self-teach Japanese with confidence and motivation. Before we get into the list, let’s see some practical tips for learning Japanese:  

Japanese Lessons – Online Japanese Language Lessons

  • JapanesePod101: one of the well-known free online Japanese lessons that offers up to date, interesting and sufficient Japanese learning resources, such as audio, podcasts, videos, and app. There are lessons for either beginners or advanced learners. You can also discuss anything about Japanese language with other learners through its lively lessons! Learning tools for JLPT are available as well.


  • Bunpro: focus on learning Japanese grammar. Bunpro encourages learners to internalize Japanese grammar by producing your own outputs with instant feedback on learner’s answers. They adopt a system called intuitive spaced repetition system (SRS) that increases learner’s learning efficiency. There is a community where you will get helps, advice and learning resources from other users. 


  • Wanikani: a website created by Tofugu, a team operating Japanese language and culture blog for English speakers, for learning Japanese vocabulary and kanji. By using Wanikani, you are able to learn the meaning and to read joyo kanji as well as up to 5000 vocabulary. It’s perfect for self-learner since they use radicals and mnemonics as learning methods.  


  • Imbai: provides more than 400 free Japanese lessons of various levels, including beginner, intermediate and advanced. Contents of lessons consists of basic pronunciation, kanji, phrases,  grammar and so. Plenty of examples are included in each lesson. If you encounter any problem, you can ask for help or find similar questions in the Imbai forum. 


  • Tae Kim’s Japanese Grammar Guide: if you want to learn Japanese grammar in a more rational and intuitive way, this website will work for you. The lessons are designed to help learners to build a solid foundation in Japanese grammar from learning and thinking from Japanese point of view. Thus, learners are able to use Japanese to make natural phrases and sentences. For those who want to strengthen their Japanese language foundation, this website is highly recommended.  


  • Udemy: a wide range of lessons can be found on this website. You can find lessons of different topics, including backpacker’s Japanese, beginner Japanese, business Japanese, Japanese conversation and so. Though you have to pay for those lessons, you get discounts and promotions for lower price. Besides, reviews from the previous students are available.   


  • Japanese-Lessons.com: an online platform where people can learn Japanese for free. Contents of the websites are quite organized and are provided by a professional native Japanese teacher who passed the Japanese Language Teaching Competency test.


  • Duolingo: a free language learning website/app. Set a daily goal in the very beginning to stick to the goal. There are options of 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes per day. Then , you get to start from a beginner level or take a quick placement test to know which level to start with. 

Japanese Lessons – YouTube channels of Japanese Learning

「Japanese Ammo with Misa:」的圖片搜尋結果
Japanese Ammo with Misa
  • Tofugu: yep, Tofugu also has their own YouTube channel! In this channel, you will see videos related to Japanese culture and interesting stuffs of different categories, such as food, travel and so. Videos are well classified into various playlists, including Japanese learning tips, TofugoTV series, learn Hiragana and other funny topics. 


  • Ask Japanese: videos are mainly street interviews of local Japanese on distinct subjects related to Japanese culture, anime, tourism and phenomenon. English subtitles are available in each video, so you can practice your Japanese listening comprehension while enjoying some fun facts about their unique culture.


  • JapanesePod101: a very popular Japanese language learning channel on YouTube with over 1 million subscribers.  Abundant video and audio resources can be found on this channel. Playlists consist of Hiragana, Katakana, kanji, learning tips, grammar and even Japanese songs!   


  • Japanese Ammo with Misa: Misa is a native Japanese, an multilingual ninja who owns this channel that offer free learning resources in good quality to Japanese learners. In Misa’s channel, you get to learn Japanese vocab, common mistakes in Japanese and other fun things linked to Japanese culture. 


  • Learn Japanese From Zero!: operated by the author of Japanese From Zero book series, one of the popular choices of Japanese learning books. The owner is also the creator of YesJapan.com, a long-running Japanese education website offering Japanese lessons, videos, game, and community to learners all around the world. You can find useful Japanese educational videos in this channels. 


  • nihongonomori:  The channel has a diverse choices of Japanese lessons ranging from the basic level N5 up to the advanced level N1. You can gain solid knowledge of Japanese from this channel for lessons providing by native Japanese speakers. 


  • Learn Japanese with Manga: a brand new channel that just started in April, 2019. Naoto, the Japanese host of the channel, make video introducing Japanese manga and teach phrases used in manga. His videos are made for intermediate and advanced Japanese learners since he speak Japanese in his video the whole time. He puts Japanese subtitles in each of his video. Some key vocabularies and phrases he used are shown on the screen as well. 

Japanese Lessons – Free Online Japanese Audio/Podcasts

「News in Slow Japanese」的圖片搜尋結果
  • Learn Japanese Pod: is a podcast that teaches daily Japanese via fun audio conversations. It provides new episodes regularly covering topics like Japanese verbs, dialog, booking at a restaurant and other fun every day contexts.


  • Easy Japanese: a free Japanese audio lessons provided by NHK World Radio. You can learn basic Japanese grammar and useful expression from the audio lessons. 



  • Rhythmic Japanese Vol.1-3:  another Japanese audio album on Spotify. The learning method use in this album is based on the rhythm with which you will be able to memorize things more easily.  You will hear English first then following by Japanese words and phrases.


  • Learn Japanese Language in your Car: more than 50 free audio lessons available on Spotify provided by global language experts. In each lesson, you will learn new Japanese words with English explanation anywhere anytime. 


  • Japan and Japanese Language: a podcast produced by Tofugu. Perfect for people who want to visit Japan, live in Japan, and learn Japanese. Tofugu provides audio lessons of high quality with each episode running for about an hour. That’s why there are lots of things about Japanese culture and language you can explore from this podcast.  


  • Learn Japanese w/ Manga Sensei: Manga Sensei (teacher) teaches complicated Japanese phrases in a comprehensible way. People who are interested in learning Japanese grammar and semantics or are preparing for JLPT can listen to this podcast for 5 minutes a day without stress.  


  • Let’s learn Japanese from small talk!: real Japanese conversations about diverse topics for intermediate and advanced Japanese learners. Vocabulary lists are available for each episode, if you find new words or phrases in the conversations. New episode is released every Saturday, up to 4 episodes each month, therefore, you can continue your learning journey with this podcasts. 


  • News in Slow Japanese: native Japanese speaker read fun and entertaining news in a slower pace so that audience can train their listening skill while gaining some knowledge about Japanese news. It is suitable for level of N1-3 learners. Transcripts and translations with furigana are provided.  


Featured article:

6 Excellent Online Japanese Classes


Free Online Japanese-English Dictionary

  • Imiwa: one of the best free off-line Japanese English dictionary filled with high-value entries. Apply lots of examples for each word and also offer guides for kanji stroke orders.  
  • Jisho: free Japanese English dictionary that can be used on website or in the app. Japanese words, kanji and example sentences are packed in this dictionary. 
  • Japanese learner’s dictionary: free online dictionary provided by a Japanese university

Learn Japanese with Apps

  • LingoDeer:  a language learning app available on desktop and mobile devices in Google play and Apple store. It works well for people who want to learn Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean…).  Lessons includes listening, word matching, typing  and quiz.


  • Duolingo: a popular language learning app. You can either take a placement test to begin with your current level or start from the scratch. In each lesson you have only a few times for making wrong answers, so you have to be careful to avoid from “losing the game”. 


  • HelloTalk: learn language by talking with people form all around the world who speak the language you want to learn. You need to put in your native language and the one you want to learn when you first sign up for a new account.


  • Drops: This app features in its minimalist illustration and 5 minute session limit per day. It’s a vocabulary-based learning app that focus only on curated words that are in practical use.  


  • Learning Japanese (by Tae Kim’s Guide): the app version of Tae Kim’s Guide online Japanese lessons. You will learn: the Japanese writing system, basic and essential grammar, special expression and advanced contents from this app. 


  • Easy Japanese – News JLPT Dict: provides news in simple Japanese from famous news channels, such as NHK, CNN, MBC and so. Learners can access to free audios, videos, and articles in this app. It suits with any levels of Japanese learners who want to practice reading, speaking and listening skills!  


  • Japan Radio-Learn Japanese: an app for you to practice Japanese listening and speaking by listening to Japanese local radios and chatting with friends.


  • Japanese by Nemo: learn essential Japanese words and phrases and practice your accent with Speech Studio from this app. Downloadable audio recorded by native Japanese speaker let you learn natural Japanese offline.


  • Kanji Study: a well-organized app for learning kanji. The creator break kanji into subsets to let users rate each one based on how well users recognize them. Readings, definitions, stroke order animations and examples are presented for each kanji. 


  • Manabi Reader: this free app provides short, native Japanese texts every day that helps you improve Japanese reading skill and to expend your Japanese vocabulary. It also features one-tap word look up function, quite handy and time saving. Besides, people on app store mostly found it helpful and impressive. 

Learn Japanese with Other Resources

  • Quizlet: a useful flashcard tool for you create your own or find others’ flashcards to memorize Japanese vocabularies   
  • Memrise: a language learning tool that includes lots of listening and speaking for you to sharpen those skills. You can learn Japanese with locals that help you become more familiar with using Japanese. 
  • Anki: this flashcard app let you save time studying Japanese so that you learn more efficiently. It support diverse forms of flashcards, including images, audio, videos and markup by which you can memorize things via creative ways. 
  • r/LearnJapanese: a subreddit group where you can find Japanese learners and discussion threads for anything related to Japanese language learning, including study advice and learning resources.
  • HiNative: created by Lang-8 for language learners to ask questions to native speakers from worldwide. Their ultimate goal is to make HiNative an international community for language learners to help each other. 

Looking for More Online Japanese Lessons?

check out more online Japanese lessons with students’ reviews

Looking for a Japanese Tutor?

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