29 Best Apps for Learning Japanese in 2023 [iOS and Android]

In this post, I’ve sifted through app stores and websites to find the best apps for learning Japanese in 2022.

I tested each app thoroughly to see which ones were most relevant and had the highest-quality learning materials. 

Which ones are best suited to your personal language learning preferences?

These 29 Japanese learning apps will allow you to easily swipe and tap your way to improved Japanese fluency.


Japanese Apps for Android and iOS Devices

Best for Beginners: Learn Japanese Phrases by Bravolol


App Store || Google Play

Summary: An app to study words and phrases, with vocabulary and pronunciation tools for beginners. 

Learn Japanese Phrases contains hundreds of popular words and phrases aimed at beginner learners.

They’re grouped into sections like greetings, eating and romance, and you can even track your favorite phrases in a personal collection. Each word and phrase is accompanied by audio which can be slowed down manually.

The app also allows you to record yourself speaking and compare your pronunciation with the program’s audio so you can check if your pronunciation sounds like that of a native.

Best of all, you don’t need an internet connection to use the app, so you can access it anywhere, anytime.

Price: Free

Best for Immersive Learners: FluentU


App Store || Google Play

Summary: Authentic Japanese media clips transformed into language learning lessons. 

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

It naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You’ll learn real Japanese as it’s spoken in real life.

Just take a look at the wide variety of authentic video content available in the program. Here’s a small sample:


You’ll discover tons of new Japanese vocabulary through these great clips.

Don’t worry about your skill level being an issue when it comes to understanding the language. FluentU makes native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts.


Tap on any word to look it up instantly.

You’ll see definitions, in-context usage examples and helpful illustrations. Simply tap “add” to send interesting vocabulary words to your personal vocab list for later review.


FluentU even uses a learning program which adapts to your specific needs to turn every video into a language learning lesson and get you to actively practice your newly-learned language skills.


Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

Price: Free trial and subscription

Best for All-Around Lessons: renshuu

best apps for learning japanese

Google Play

Summary: Covers Japanese lessons for all levels, as well as user-friendly vocabulary games.

Looking for an app with a wide variety of learning games? renshuu is about to be your new best friend.

renshuu is a highly engaging app with in-depth explanations of vocabulary, grammar and kanji, plus customizable quizzes to test your progress. The app also offers fun learning games to test your skills, such as crosswords and Shiritori.

renshuu’s biggest perk is its diversity. You can adjust the settings on your flashcards, or spice things up with a crossword puzzle.  What’s more, you can submit your own sentences through its themed writing games and receive helpful feedback from a vibrant community.

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Short Lessons: Busuu

Busuu logo

App Store || Google Play

Summary: An all-around Japanese app with quick, daily lessons that emphasize speaking. 

Busuu aims to teach you Japanese in just 10 minutes per day, so it’s easy to use if you’re crunched for time. It emphasizes vocabulary and even has a section dedicated to travel phrases.

Aside from vocab, it also teaches grammar, pronunciation, writing, reading and conversation skills. The app even helps you create a personalized study plan so you can maximize your study time.

With Busuu, you can easily track how much progress you’ve made. The program’s best suited for beginner and intermediate learners. 

See our full review of Busuu here.

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Structured Courses: LingoDeer

best apps for learning japanese

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A structured course that covers vocabulary, grammar and dialogues. 

This beginner- to intermediate-level resource teaches the Japanese language and grammar in a step-by-step manner that continuously builds on what you already know.

Its Japanese courses are carefully structured to offer vocabulary lessons, detailed explanations on grammar points and contextual dialogues.

While you generally move through lessons compiled into units, the app also has other learning options, like flashcards, stories, phrasebooks and more.

The structured format of LingoDeer will take you from knowing nothing about the language to being able to form your own sentences at an intermediate level.

See our full review of LingoDeer here.

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Conversational Phrases: Memrise

Memrise logo

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A vocabulary app that teaches you important Japanese phrases, as said authentically by locals. 

Memrise takes a more visual approach to learning the language. Full of fun animations and set up very much like a video game, Memrise makes learning Japanese fun.

It’s also mainly a vocabulary-learning app, with many different lists available to study from.

The app uses repetition to perfect your memory of a word or phrase, which is then reinforced with frequent reminders of already-learned words. User-submitted visual and text mnemonic devices make it easier to remember certain words, and you can customize just how much you want to learn per day.

Price: Free; subscription available

Best Grammar Reference: Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese


 Google Play

Summary: A reference app that teaches Japanese grammar points logically. 

Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese is pretty much the app version of Tae Kim’s online grammar guide. It looks and feels a bit like a digital textbook.

Tae Kim believes that traditional textbooks are structured in an illogical way since they try to get learners speaking the language right away. This leads to a weak understanding of Japanese grammar.

Instead, this guide takes you through Japanese grammar in a way that actually makes sense. Beginners can focus on essential grammar concepts involving verbs and adjective conjugations. More advanced users can browse topics like special expressions, conditionals and more.

Price: Free

Best for Grammar Lessons: Bunpo

Bunpo logo

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A comprehensive app that covers all of the grammar points in the JLPT. 

If you want to strengthen your grammar skills, consider downloading Bunpo.

Bunpo includes a complete Japanese grammar dictionary. You’ll also have access to 1,800 vocab words and 8,000 quiz questions to master multiple language skills, including listening, reading and writing.

You’ll take quizzes on the Japanese alphabet (katakana and hiragana), access a kanji dictionary and receive detailed grammar notes about why the language works the way it does.

Bunpo’s program starts at a beginner level but can take you all the way through business-level Japanese. This may be a little much for some learners, while others could find it useful.

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Building Vocabulary: Drops

best apps for learning japanese

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A Japanese word game app that builds vocabulary skills. 

We’ve all been guilty at some point of spending way too much time on a phone game. But what if you could play a mobile game while learning Japanese? That’s the idea behind Drops.

For five minutes a day, Drops immerses you in Japanese as you swipe and tap to match images to words. You can only play for five minutes every 10 hours, so you’re on the clock to make every second count! (With a subscription, time limits are removed.)

If you’re new to Japanese or looking for something fun to supplement your study routine, give this short and sweet app a try.

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Flashcards: Anki

best apps for learning japanese

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A classic flashcard app that uses spaced repetition for efficient studying. 

Many Japanese learners swear by Anki as one of the best ways to learn the language.

With Anki, you can create different styles of flashcards, from the traditional flip-and-reveal to filling in the blanks with the correct answer. This works well for learning vocabulary, grammar and even kanji!

Using a Spaced Repetition System (SRS), Anki keeps track of what you know and what you need to review. It then shows you words you’re at risk of forgetting at optimized intervals, until each vocabulary word is firmly lodged in your long-term memory.

There are many amazing community-created decks available for free.

See our full review of Anki here. 

Price: Free

Best for Example Sentences: Japanese by Renzo

best apps for learning japanese

App Store || Google Play

Summary: An in-depth dictionary app with lots of example sentences. 

Japanese by Renzo is an incredibly powerful, comprehensive dictionary app, with results sorted by relevance.

Additionally, the app offers searches based on writing, a text reader for web pages, and the ability to import your data from other Japanese study apps. You can add your own notes on entries.

Price: Free

Best for Beginner News: Todai Easy Japanese News

best apps for learning japanese

App Store || Google Play

Summary: An interactive app that shows news articles in simple Japanese, with furigana included. 

Keeping up with Japanese current events has never been easier. Easy Japanese News compiles sources from a wide variety of major news outlets, such as NHK, CNN, TBS and Asahi, and puts them into one app.

Each article is interactive, enabling users to look up any word with a tap. The app also offers Japanese news podcasts and videos, covering all of your learning bases.

This app is also wonderful for JLPT hopefuls of all levels. Every word is underlined based on JLPT difficulty, Practice tests are also available, covering material from the listening and reading portions of the exam.

Price: Free

Best for Intermediate News: NHK Easy Japanese News

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A daily news app for intermediate learners or above.   

NHK Easy Japanese News is another news app for language learners. All of the text has furigana, and every recording has an option to change playback speed.

This kind of studying is great because you can learn from real-life situations and materials. It’s real news, so you get real, non-fabricated Japanese language.

I strongly recommend using this app if your Japanese knowledge is at least intermediate. The app does use formal language, though, so sometimes the text gets quite and somewhat dry.

Try to translate at least one article by yourself and you’ll feel that you’ve improved your skills!

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Audio: LingQ

best apps for learning japanese

App Store || Google Play

Summary: An audio and reading app that allows you to save unknown words for later study. 

LingQ is an app that immerses users in text and audio media in their target language. The app lets you read authentic Japanese content like news articles and stories, as well as listen to podcasts, audiobooks and more. 

As you read, you can save new words to your flashcard deck and then review them with the app’s SRS program.

After setting your skill level, you’re free to browse their library of podcasts, stories and more. You can even import your own content to learn from what you love best!

See our full review of LingQ here.

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Tutoring: italki

italki logo

App Store || Google Play

Summary: An app that connects learners to Japanese tutors for one-on-one lessons. 

There’s just no better way to improve your Japanese speaking skills than by talking to a native speaker of Japanese.

With italki, you can find a tutor in any language you want to learn (including Japanese). The best part? There are no huge upfront fees—payments are made per lesson.

From formal teachers to casual tutors, lessons are personalized, allowing you to work on whatever you want. You can browse instructors based on user reviews and price and explain what you want from your lessons.

See our full review of iTalki here.

Price: Depends on the instructor 

Best for Speaking: HelloTalk


App Store || Google Play

Summary: A language exchange app that connects you with native Japanese speakers. 

HelloTalk is a language exchange app that allows you to talk with others from around the world.

With this app, you can chat with native Japanese speakers who are learning English (or your native language) and “exchange” languages—that is, help each other learn your respective target language.

Unlike other texting apps, HelloTalk allows native speakers to edit your chat messages and correct your grammar. You can even share voice messages! There’s also a built-in grammar correction feature for learning as you type.

See our full review of HelloTalk here. 

Price: Free; subscription available

Best for Social Media: Ameba

best apps for learning japanese

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A Japanese blogging website for native speakers with endless themes. 

Ameba is a popular blogging platform in Japan that’s available on both web and mobile. The mobile app allows you to stay in tune with your favorite bands, fashion icons or video games.

Ameba can be downloaded by users across the globe, but the application itself is in Japanese. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the language!

The biggest benefit to using Ameba is that you’ll be able to maintain a blog in Japanese and find native speakers who share similar interests. This can be a great way to make friends with native speakers and learn internet slang.

Price: Free

Best Gamified: Duolingo

learn japanese language online

App Store || Google Play

Summary: Quick and immersive Japanese lessons based on pictures and intuitive learning. 

Duolingo lessons focus on immersion, teaching Japanese like how you learned a language as a child. It uses game-like features to encourage you to study and includes fun challenges to keep you going. The app also gives you intuitive quizzes to help you remember vocabulary and kanji. 

Lessons are short and light, so you can study Japanese whenever you have a few free minutes throughout the day. If you don’t have a lot of spare time to study the language, the app boasts that you can improve with as little as 5 minutes a day. 

See our full review of Duolingo here. 

Price: Free; subscription available

Most Entertaining: Pocket Colony

Pocket Colony logo

App Store || Google Play

Summary: A virtual role-playing game in Japanese that can build vocabulary. 

Pocket Colony is a popular app in Japan where users can create a mini “pockatar” that lives in a virtual world. Much like other similar apps (like LINE PLAY), you and your pockatar can complete quests together, play games, dress up and design a home for yourself.

You can chat on the message boards or travel through different players’ “worlds” to meet and befriend potential language partners.

You can also hone your reading skills with the Japanese interface. English support is only available on the iOS version at this time.

Price: Free

Best Japanese Android Apps

If you are an Android user, the following Japanese learning apps are all available in the Google Play store. 

Best All-in-One: JA Sensei

JA sensei logo

Google Play

Summary: A beginner’s app that covers basic Japanese reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

This self-proclaimed “all-in-one” app targets all of the main language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking in Japanese.

Each lesson introduces grammar and vocabulary with real-world examples. There are regular comprehension checks, and the app’s quizzes employ the SRS system. You can record your own pronunciations too then check them against those of natives!

JA Sensei features a lot of other language learning tools, such as native-recorded audio, phrasebooks and a drawing tool for writing practice.

What makes JA Sensei even more interesting would be the cultural facts, which are sure to aid any would-be tourist wondering about Japanese customs.

Price: Free

Best for Daily Life: Takoboto

best apps for learning japanese

Google Play

Summary: A quick reference dictionary for daily-life Japanese. 

This simple, handy dictionary app is a lifesaver.

Thanks to Takoboto’s offline functionality, you can search for Japanese words whenever, wherever. Searches can be done in English or kana, plain forms or conjugated forms—no matter what you’re looking for, Takoboto can find it, complete with plenty of example sentences.

You can look up singular words, but also common phrases and grammar. If that’s not sweet enough for you, Takoboto offers further explanations on grammar points through its website.

If you find certain words you like, you can save them to your own custom lists and even export them to Anki as flashcards.

Price: Free

Best for Sentence Structures: Obenkyo

best apps for learning japanese

Google Play

Summary: App that covers all parts of Japanese sentence structure, from the kana to particles and grammar. 

For a comprehensive Japanese learning experience, Obenkyo has you covered. From hiragana and katakana to vocabulary and particles, this app’s simple yet organized lessons will guide you through all of the basics of Japanese.

It also works with the Tae Kim guide, an excellent Japanese grammar resource that appears earlier in this list.

Obenkyo breaks down the Japanese language into all of its separate parts, making it perfect for beginners. The app includes a guide to the kanas, kanji, vocabulary, particles, numbers and grammar.

The kana and kanji sections make use of handwriting recognition software, so you can practice writing correctly and legibly.

Price: Free

Best for Writing: Kanji Senpai

best apps for learning japanese

Google Play

Summary: An SRS-based kanji app that allows you to practice writing kanji of all levels. 

Kanji Senpai uses spaced repetition to help you remember kanji characters. Aside from this, characters return in later courses to ensure that learned kanji don’t slip away from your mind.

The app incorporates characters that will show up on all levels of the JLPT, and offers several ways to study different characters. Users can practice writing the characters, create and download custom vocabulary lists and review vocabulary through different quizzes.

The app even gives you access to cool statistics so you can set daily goals and keep track of how much and how often you study!

Price: Free

Best for Kanji: Japanese Kanji Tree

Japanese Kanji Tree logo

Google Play

Summary: A comprehensive kanji app with kanji recognition, reading and writing. 

Japanese Kanji Tree is an app that’s dedicated to building your kanji skills. This app has a unique three-step process for teaching kanji: recognition, reading and writing.

You can learn based on JLPT or grade level and, with an upgrade to Pro, you can create your own learning lists. Kanji are broken into their radicals for easy comprehension, with the stroke order provided in easy-to-follow steps.

Since the interface is user-friendly and you have the freedom to go at your own pace, you’ll be eased into tackling one of the most intimidating aspects of the Japanese language.

Price: Free; pro version available

Best Japanese iOS Apps

Ready to use your iPhone to learn Japanese? These apps are all available in the App Store for iOS devices. 

Best for Writing Drills: Benkyō 

best apps for learning japanese

App Store

Summary: An SRS-based app for learning the Japanese writing system with extra quizzes and drills. 

When it comes to studying kanji, this app goes above and beyond. It drills your knowledge of kana, kanji and vocab through either SRS or custom intervals using several styles of learning. 

The app offers three modes of quizzing yourself: Flex SRS, Smart Quiz and Custom Quiz. Flex SRS lets you use spaced repetition, Smart Quiz lets you quickly drill what you’re most struggling with and Custom Quiz utilizes all the bells and whistles, from reviewing specific entries to choosing types of flashcards. You can also write on the screen to practice stroke order.

Price: Free

Best for Connecting with Native Speakers: Lext Talk


App Store

Summary: A language exchange app in which you look through various themes for language partners. 

LLext Talk allows users to connect with language partners from around the world.

A very convenient feature that Lext Talk offers is its map. Users can browse and navigate through Lext Talk’s map for language partners in their area, or to find a partner in a specific region. That means things get a whole lot easier if you’re looking for someone who speaks in the Kansai dialect, for instance.

Lext Talk also provides chatrooms with various themes like “Let’s Learn English” or “Jpop Fans United,” where you can meet friends with similar interests and chat in your target language.

Price: Free

Best Dictionary: imiwa?


App Store

Summary: An easy-to-use Japanese dictionary for smartphones. 

imiwa? is a powerful dictionary that allows you to make searches using kanji, kana or romaji.

Words are accompanied by example sentences (with furigana provided) so users can see how new vocabulary is used in context. You can also tap a word and hear how it’s pronounced.

Other features include verb conjugation charts, notebooks to keep track of your favorite words, JLTP vocabulary lists and more.

One of imiwa?’s most useful features is its kanji feature. You can search for a kanji character by drawing it or based on radicals or strokes, and you’ll also be able to practice writing it.

Price: Free

Best for Live Translations: Waygo


App Store 

Summary: A Japanese dictionary that can translate Japanese words in photos. 

One of the best Japanese translation apps out there, Waygo allows learners to take a picture of kanji and then get an English translation. In fact, Waygo is even capable of live translations: Just open up the app, hover your phone’s camera over the Japanese in question and watch as the translation appears on your phone screen right before your eyes.

This capability works offline as well, so users will never be stuck for a translation. The app can translate text from Mandarin and Cantonese into English as well. Waygo’s free version allows up to 10 translations per day.

Price: Free; pro version available 

Best for Kids: Learn Japanese by Mindsnacks


App Store

Summary: A Japanese word game with fun characters and different levels. 

Learn Japanese by Mindsnacks is an app that focuses mostly on building vocabulary, and it’s great for adults and children alike. It provides over 800 words and phrases for studying, with support for kana, kanji and romaji.

The app teaches new vocabulary through eight cute and vibrant game that feature a colorful cast of cartoon characters.

Users can quiz themselves on useful vocabulary, as well as learn and review numbers, colors, daily items and more. Each lesson contains 20 words, so you won’t become overwhelmed by too much vocabulary, and words are accompanied by native speaker audio. 

Price: Free

How to Choose the Best Apps for Learning Japanese

Looking at this list might be a bit overwhelming. There are so many great apps to choose from. But how do you know the best ones for you? 

There are a few things to take into account when choosing a Japanese learning app that will work for you:

  • Your Japanese Level — If you are a beginner, you might want to focus on boosting your vocabulary or choosing an app that will teach you simple grammar and sentence structure. On the other hand, if you are more advanced you don’t need to worry about the apps that teach you hiragana and katakana, and maybe you want to focus on kanji or reading ability. Choose an app that suits your level and what you want to improve upon. 
  • Time Commitment — How much time do you have in a day to study Japanese? Some apps require you to log in every day to refresh your memory of flashcards or gamify learning by giving you awards for how many days in a row you study. But if you are trying to learn Japanese while working full-time, or have family commitments, try using learning apps that allow you to pop in and learn a little when you can. 
  • Specific Skills — Have you signed up for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and need to target certain skills like kanji or grammar? Or do you want to improve your listening after finding a Japanese conversation partner? In this case, you can focus on apps that teach a specific skill, zeroing in on your weak points in Japanese so you can improve them with ease. 


With these 29 apps for learning Japanese, you can make the most of your downtime and tap your way to fluency!

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