This page is a collection of the ultimate and best resources for learning Japanese!
I’m aiming to collect all the tools you need to learn Japanese right here on this one page.
I try to share as many free Japanese learning resources as possible, although there are also some paid products that I highly recommend.
The list is updated every time I find a great new resource that will help you kick start your Japanese studies! Know a great tool or resource that I don’t already have here? Please let me know and I’ll include it in the next update 🙂
Please note that at Team Japanese, I use affiliate links to help support the costs of running my site. This means I may make a small commission from any product you buy based on my recommendation, at no extra cost to you.
Best online Japanese courses
JapanesePod101 has literally thousands of audio lessons to choose from, which will take you from complete beginner to highly advanced. You’ll never get bored or run out of study material with this highly recommended course! What’s more, basic membership is FREE for life. Read my full review here or sign up for your lifetime free membership right here!
Another excellent course to learn Japanese by yourself. Learn Japanese online, at your own pace, with interactive audio lessons, flashcards, voice recognition software, Japanese culture lessons, a forum where you can get help from native teachers, and more. You can read my full review here or get your free, no commitment trial here.
Best resources for reading and writing
Free hiragana and katakana printable worksheets
This free printable workbook will teach you all the kana, and has lots of space for practising your handwriting on grid squares.
Not clear on the different Japanese scripts? This post will explain all.
Hiragana and katakana online quiz
Practise your hiragana and katakana recognition online here. (You will have to make a free account to access the quiz, but it only takes a second.)
Free kanji radicals book
This free printable workbook from JapanesePod101 is the perfect introduction to kanji for beginners. It works on teaching ‘radicals’ – the building blocks of kanji. By teaching essential radicals first, this book introduces over 1500 kanji.
Remembering the Kanji
This book is generally recognized as the fastest and most efficient way of memorizing the 2000-ish Japanese jouyou kanji (the kanji required for basic literacy in Japan). It’s a real slog to get through all of it, but if you’re serious about becoming fluent in Japanese, it’s a must.
This is a great free website which works in conjunction with the book above. Users share their mnemonics and stories to help remember the kanji.
Best Japanese dictionaries
This is a great free online dictionary which has search functions for kanji, sample sentences, and Japanese names, in addition to normal words.
My favourite Japanese dictionary app for iPhone and iPad.
Best Japanese grammar resources
Tae Kim’s Japanese Grammar Guide
Comprehensive and completely free guide to Japanese grammar. Available online, or as a free pdf or app.
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar and A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar
If you are serious about learning Japanese, these books will be your bibles.
Best resources for Japanese reading practice
Traditional Japanese Children’s Stories
Traditional Japanese fairy tales written in very simple Japanese with English translation line-by-line underneath. Perfect for beginners.
Watanoc is a free web magazine in simple Japanese. Topics include food and popular culture. When you hover your mouse over a word, it will pop up with an English translation, and you can also turn on a translation into English (also Vietnamese and Chinese) after each sentence. Recommended for upper beginners and lower intermediate.
NHK News Web Easy
The top news stories each day in simple Japanese, complete with furigana (pronunciation guides) on the kanji and a Japanese-to-Japanese dictionary on hover. Great reading practice for intermediate students.
Manabi reader app
This app is awesome for Japanese reading practice on the go. It lets you read any text with furigana on the kanji. You can also click on selected words to get a dictionary definition, and then add them to your personal word bank for review. You can choose from their selected texts (news, blogs or folktales), or enter your own url to read any website through the app. Sadly it’s iPhone only at the moment.
Other great Japanese learning resources
Hooks you up with language exchange partners and cheap one-on-one language teachers online.
Practise your Japanese writing skills by posting in Japanese. Your writing will be corrected by a native speaker.
Learn Japanese through subtitled YouTube videos.
Awesome browser extensions to help you read Japanese online. Simply hover over a Japanese word and a mini dictionary entry will pop up. rikaikun is for Chrome, rikaichan is for Firefox.
One of the best Japanese courses IF you are an audio learner. If you want to learn Japanese just by listening to and repeating audio lessons, for example while driving, this is a good option. But there are no written materials, which means it’s not for everyone. You can get a 1 week free trial to test it out.
Where to buy Japanese language materials online
Ships directly from Japan to almost any country in the world. They have a fantastic assortment of Japanese language books and study materials. Can’t find what you need in their shop? They’ll buy and ship any item from Japan for you through their proxy service.
Amazon will probably be your best choice for any Japanese textbooks and study guides. They also have an ever-growing assortment of books in Japanese and bilingual books.
If you’re looking for a book published in Japan, you might have more luck on Amazon.co.jp. They will ship anywhere in the world – although of course, shipping will be more expensive. Some of the site is translated into English.
What are your top resources for learning Japanese? Let me know and I’ll update our list.