Doing anything on a daily basis can be hard.
Adhering to a strict skincare routine? Good luck on Friday night.
Eating healthy? Maybe for a few days, but then the craving for a pizza kicks in with a vengeance.
Hitting the gym before eight in the morning? Don’t even get us started.
Having a good daily routine is healthy for our minds and bodies but we fully understand that it takes a lot of work to keep up with what we’d like to do every day.
This includes language-learning time.
Luckily, we found some awesome daily Japanese lessons that won’t take up a huge chunk of your day but will absolutely help you achieve fluency in Japanese quickly and coherently. Sounds impossible, but it’s not!
Interested? Let’s look at why scheduling Japanese lessons every day is a wise choice to make.
Why Are Daily Japanese Lessons Important?
Daily lessons have many benefits if you’re learning Japanese! Here are just a few:
- Daily practice is vital if you want to get fluent. Recalling what you’ve already learned is an excellent way to make sure you’re retaining your studies. By practicing every day, you’ll be placing that information firmly into your long-term memory and making sure you can draw on it whenever you need it.
- Learning new aspects of the Japanese language every day is also very important. You can study and practice to your heart’s content, but the core of learning Japanese is through lessons that teach you new information.
You could choose to take a lesson once a week and study for the rest of the week, but to learn Japanese in an efficient and immersive way, daily lessons that build on previously learned information are ideal.
- Daily Japanese lessons can help language learners keep up momentum and learn Japanese quickly. People have a forgetting curve, which makes you forget things shortly after you learn them unless you reinforce them regularly.
By learning and practicing every day (or at least at regular, closely spaced intervals) you’ll retain information better and speed up your learning.
- Structure is an important aspect of learning a new language. Learning bits and pieces of Japanese here and there might get you to a passable level in Japanese.
But if you really want to master the language, a concrete lesson and study plan is ideal.
See how useful daily learning is? Now let’s figure out how to fit learning into your already-busy schedule!
Daily Japanese Lessons for Reaching Fluency Faster
The lessons below are ideal for any learner because they can fit into even the busiest schedule. We’ve included information about each resource as well as how to use them in your learning program.
Incorporate one or two (or all!) of these into your routine for a complete daily Japanese learning program!
JapanesePod101 is a great site to use if you’re just starting out learning Japanese.
Once you sign up, you’ll be able to start taking lessons immediately. Lessons typically include a video lecture, vocabulary list, homework ideas and downloadable cheat sheets.
Every aspect of Japanese is taught here, including reading, writing, speaking, listening and comprehension. These lessons are unique because you also can stay in touch with other students through comment sections that are available on every lesson page.
Depending on the plan you decide to purchase, you can also get access to a personal tutor in order to learn Japanese in a more classroom-like way.
The site features a few free lessons and resources, but you’ll have to get a membership in order to make full use of the lesson plans. Prices start at $25 per month depending on which plan you decide to try.
To use JapanesePod101 on a daily basis, experiment with how long it takes you to get through one lesson. Based on that, schedule however many lessons you can fit into 15 or 20 minutes every day.
Keep a notebook handy for notes or use JapanesePod101’s handy “save” feature to download vocabulary and lesson overviews for future reference.
Watching videos is a great way to make learning Japanese more fun! And watching authentic content is even more effective since it lets you hear the language as it’s actually used by real Japanese speakers.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. The videos are short and entertaining enough to make for a great daily addition to your study routine, no matter what level of learner you are.
Each video is like its own self-contained lesson.
First, read the transcript and take a look at key vocabulary before you start. Then, watch the video, making use of the interactive subtitles to check the definition of any unfamiliar word on the fly without even leaving your place in the video. Finally, test yourself by taking an adaptive quiz to make sure you really learned the vocabulary.
We suggest selecting one or two videos per day at your particular level as “lessons” to add into your daily routine. Watch each video a few times and really focus on memorizing and defining unfamiliar words you encounter.
It would be smart to have a pen and notebook handy to make note of kana you’re struggling with, as well as use FluentU’s flashcard feature and the ability to save words for later review.
You can use FluentU in your browser or download the mobile app for iOS or Android devices.
Repetition is very important when it comes to learning a new language. Busuu gets that, and focuses many of the lessons on learning vocabulary words and phrases through repetition. It also utilizes consistent testing to make sure you’ve actually memorized everything.
The program definitely has a “school” feel to it. Busuu even boasts that 22 hours of Busuu Premium lessons are equal to a college semester of Japanese.
A large emphasis is placed on writing exercises, but the program does focus on every other aspect of the Japanese language, as well.
You can also customize and personalize the lessons you wish to take by choosing topics of interest and the challenge level you’d like to try. Plus, if you’re out of data, you can enjoy “Offline Mode” with this handy little app as well.
You can use Busuu’s interactive exercises and some tests for free, but to access lessons you’ll need a Premium membership.
To start out, we suggest utilizing Busuu’s lessons for 10 minutes per day at the same time every day. Since the lessons are short, you’ll be more likely to actually do them, and by studying at the same time every day, you’ll build up a habitual routine that’ll get easier and easier to keep up.
NHK World is a massive Japanese culture site complete with Japanese news, radio, television, food and culture sections. Their language-learning section is especially handy and well-put together.
If you really like interactive learning through videos or audio, NHK Japanese has some lessons you’ll enjoy. Key phrases and words are the focus of each lesson, so if you’re trying to hone in on your reading and writing skills, this may not be the daily lesson for you.
All lessons are 100% free to use and you have the option to download both audio and lesson plans for future reference. Each lesson includes handy grammar tips as well.
In addition to daily lessons, you also have access to hiragana and katakana syllabaries and additional learning tools for further study.
The only downfall of NHK Japanese is that it’s hard for intermediate and advanced learners to use, as lessons start at an absolute beginner level.
To properly use these daily lessons, we suggest sticking to one lesson per day. The lessons on this resource are pretty short, so they’d be a great addition to other daily lessons you may be using.
Nihongo Shark has quite a lot of useful language-learning tools, but Niko’s Daily Lessons are definitely worthy of adding to your daily routine.
Each lesson includes images and stories from Niko himself, followed by phrase walk-throughs, pronunciation guides, audio files and flashcards. If you like blog-style lessons rather than rigid, academic lessons, you’ll enjoy learning with this resource.
Lessons are geared towards beginner and intermediate users, but advanced learners can certainly benefit from using some as a refresher.
If you choose to use this resource, we suggest that you take one lesson per day for 30 days and only use Niko’s Daily Lessons during that time. This is because each lesson is pretty packed with content, so taking simultaneous daily lessons may be overwhelming.
After 30 days, you’ll be ready to tackle any other resources you wish!
Memrise is a daily lesson app with a focus on Japanese vocabulary that works more like a video-game or digital board game rather than a structured lesson. It’s a strong tool for building vocabulary and uses Spaced Repetition to test and retest you on words until you’ve learned them thoroughly.
Words come with “memes”—visual and mnemonic notes to make what you’re learning more memorable. These memes are created by the community of learners and you can even make your own if none of the existing ones work for you.
Memrise has a number of official lessons to work through, but there are many other programs created by users, which you can browse on the website for learning everything from common verbs and nouns to essential anime words. Once you’ve added a program to your learning queue, you’ll also be able to access it on any of the mobile apps.
If you want to add a daily lesson to your study plan but can’t sacrifice much more time, Memrise is an ideal choice. It only takes about 10 minutes to learn five or more new words (you set your own learning goal) and review previously learned words.
Remember, you can’t learn Japanese overnight. But with some hard work and these daily Japanese lessons, you’ll be well on your road to fluency!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Japanese with real-world videos.