japanese flashcards

17 Japanese Flashcard Websites, Apps and Physical Cards for Flippin’ to Fluency

Flip. Flip. Flip.

What’s that? Oh, just the sound of you mastering the Japanese language.

All you need is one little versatile tool: The mighty flashcard.

You can use flashcards to learn just about anything.

Of course, they’re awesome for learning and remembering new words.

But did you know that flashcards can also help you learn conjugation?

Or help you study a new grammar point you’re trying to perfect?

Japanese flashcards really are excellent learning tools to have in your arsenal! After all, they stuck around all these years for a reason.

We’ve reviewed 17 popular resources for Japanese flashcards and assessed their pros and cons, so that you can find the option that suits you best, whether you want to go digital, mobile or analog.

Let’s get flipping!

17 Japanese Flashcard Websites, Apps and Physical Cards for Flippin’ to Fluency

Online Japanese Flashcards

LearnWithOliver

This site offers straightforward vocabulary flashcards as well as practice sentence flashcards for you to translate. Everything is built-in—you just click and go.

Once you sign up, you’re presented with a broad range of options to help you personalize your experience. You can choose what level of words you want the program to present to you, or opt to pick them out manually. You also have the option to hide romaji for more of a challenge.

You can even decide on a pace that works for you, whether you want to achieve fluency in seven years (if you practice 23 minutes daily) or in six months (at an intensive and probably not very reasonable six hours per day).

LearnWithOliver gamifies learning by rewarding you with fun links, gold coins, a leaderboard and more. There are also several types of flashcard sessions available, including review sessions, mixed exercise (where you’re automatically introduced to new words at your level), sentence review, a progress test and a few other options.

For each flashcard, you’re presented with its kanji, hiragana and katakana writings (with an indicator of which writing style is the standard one for that particular word). You can then choose to “keep” the word or phrase—that is, leave it in your flashcard deck for later review, remove it temporarily, block it completely or mark it as already known.

Each flashcard also comes with an audio pronunciation and an example sentence. The example sentences provide another layer of learning, as you can hover over any part of the sentence to see its definition.

Both the sentence flashcards and the word flashcards are completely random. There’s no main subject to choose and there are no categories, other than difficulty categories within the word flashcards. This is good for practice because it really puts your overall knowledge to the test.

Pros:

  • The website is well organized, which helps for streamlined studying.
  • Sentences and words that occur on the flashcards are very useful in real life. There’s a big chance that while talking to someone in Japanese, you’ll actually use them.
  • The words in the practice words section are written in both kana letters and in kanji, which is handy for beginners.

Cons:

  • Grammar explanations are left out, even though some complicated grammatical structures are used.

FluentU

Wouldn’t it be great if real-life Japanese could be conveniently wrapped up into flashcards just for you?

Well, it actually has been!

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

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

  FluentU Ad

FluentU’s unique flashcard decks take studying to a whole new level. Not only do they show the definition of a word, but also its pronunciation, multiple example sentences and real-world videos that show the word spoken in native context. Every video on FluentU’s library comes with its own flashcard deck, so watching fun videos is all you need to start learning Japanese!

Here’s a quick run-down of how it works: You’re given a question, and you select the correct response or input it on your keyboard. Then the video or audio clip plays, showing you how the word is used in Japanese. This immediate review is especially helpful since it reinforces the term. You can also scroll through the various example sentences to see how it’s used in different contexts, helping you truly understand what the term means.

FluentU also tests you in various ways, from fill-in-the-blank exercises to multiple-choice questions. You can also create custom decks, so if you want to focus on grammar points or words useful for something niche like sailing, you can go right ahead and do that!

Pros:

  • The mixed-media twist on the traditional flashcard will hold your attention and provide tons of context for vocab learning.
  • It’ll teach you Japanese the way native speakers really use it.
  • Video recommendations and progress tracking keep you moving forward in your learning.
  • You can take the videos and flashcards anywhere with the FluentU mobile app.

Cons:

  • Plain old subtitles will never feel the same again!
  • There are no grammar explanations, though you’ll pick up on a lot of word usage through the contextual videos.

Study Stack

Study Stack is a real blast from the past. The flashcards are made to look like index cards, which will take you right back to your college or high school years (for better or worse).

First, you’ll need to select your preferred topic from the list. There are hundreds of flashcard topics ranging from common words to weather vocabulary to restaurant phrases and much more, so you’re sure to find a topic you find useful.

Once you pick a flashcard set, you’re shown flashcards one at a time, Japanese-side up. You can click to “flip” the card to see its definition. Then, click on “Don’t Know” if you didn’t know the translation, or “Know” if you did. It’s that simple!

Get through a flashcard set to see how long you took on it, how many times you had to retry and what percentage of the deck you already know. You can then play again with just the words you didn’t know (or restart with the full deck).

If you get tired of the plain flashcard activity, you can turn your studies into a game. Study Stack has a robust collection of vocabulary games that it lets you play with any deck, including hangman, crossword, matching, a vocab-infused twist on the classic “Snake” (which I personally lack the hand-eye coordination for), hilarious snowman and caveman renditions of “Hangman” and more.

Pros:

  • The website offers plenty of flashcard subjects and topics.
  • The simple, no-frills interface makes it very easy to get started.
  • You can have lots of fun with the different study modes and games.

Cons:

  • Some games can be a bit distracting and slow you down instead of helping you to learn.
  • There is very little grammar instruction on this site.

Renshuu

japanese flashcards

This comprehensive website offers an extremely customizable and versatile flashcard system. You can choose from their vast library of decks, both created by the website and by other users, that cover Japanese textbook series, parts of speech, hobbies and more.

When you search the database, you can bookmark lessons you like and add them to your learning schedule. You’re also given a study pad, which you can add any word you find on the website to at any time.

Renshuu, as you might gather from its icon, is absolutely adorable. You begin by helping the mascot, Kao-chan, break out of his egg while you answer questions about yourself and your study habits and goals. Kao-chan will grow along with you as you study, giving you some excellent incentive to keep coming back to the site.

My favorite part of Renshuu is that the flashcards are highly customizable. Do you want standard flashcards? Do you want to read words in example sentences or listen to their pronunciation? A simple click is all it takes to do just that!

But the customization doesn’t end there—you can choose to have the questions in kanji or kana, or even go by their definition for some English to Japanese practice.

Renshuu is unique in that it doesn’t just teach vocabulary and sentences—it includes a thorough review of key grammar points, complete with a built-in dictionary, color-coded sentences and definitions, audio pronunciations, charts for visual learners and more.

Finally, Renshuu has vocabulary games you can play, as well, like “Shiritori” (starring some charming kitties with serious personality), “Counter Punch” (where you battle items RPG-style by attacking them with the correct counter for the type of item) and other cute games with the same spirit and personality as your kawaii companion, Kao-chan.

Plus, you can check out Renshuu on the App Store or Google Play store.

Pros:

  • Highly customizable flashcards and study schedules for a truly individualized learning experience.
  • Dictionary for words, kanji, grammar and sentences allows you to look up words at any time.
  • The website has plenty of games and achievements to keep you engaged.
  • Super cute style and personality. You’ll keep coming back just to watch Kao-chan grow!

Cons:

  • The website isn’t laid out very intuitively, so it’s a bit difficult to navigate.
  • Example sentences are user-submitted and vary in quality.

WaniKani

japanese flashcards

 

Created by Tofugu, a leading website for learning about all things Japan, WaniKani is designed to build your Japanese knowledge from the ground up.

WaniKani primarily focuses on teaching kanji and vocabulary. The flashcards are constructed based on kanji radicals, breaking down every character into its individual parts and teaching them with easy-to-remember mnemonics starring fun characters like the crabigator and friendly, often silly explanations.

After you’ve studied the radicals, WaniKani moves on to kanji, but it doesn’t leave you hanging with simply memorizing the readings. Several vocabulary words containing said kanji are introduced at the same time, so you’ll have an immediate application for your new term.

As you learn these, you have a space to add notes, and clicking on any kanji or radical during a lesson will take you to a page with tons of information about it. Each new lesson is also reinforced by a quiz. Head to your dashboard to see all about your progress, from radicals and kanji you’ve unlocked to the stage (“health”) of the kanji and radicals you’re currently studying (“turtles”).

The website is designed to maximize your memorization and retention of kanji in a fun, approachable way. It won’t bombard you with 500 questions at once—you get a set amount of terms to study every day based on your current level, and that’s all you have to do. It takes the guesswork out of studying!

Pros:

  • Excellent at teaching kanji based on radicals.
  • Designed for independent study, so you can use it without any other materials.
  • Reinforces knowledge by teaching kanji and vocabulary at the same time.
  • Fun visuals and excellent, witty writing make the information easy to consume and retain.

Cons:

  • You can’t control your learning speed—the website uses the same course for every user.
  • It doesn’t teach grammar, as this is strictly a kanji-learning tool. You may learn a few new words as you study, though.

Japanese Flashcard Apps

Quizlet

japanese flashcards

App Store | Google Play

Quizlet saved my behind multiple times when studying for Japanese classes in college. Since it was designed by a college student for fellow students, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Quizlet is a dedicated flashcard app that gets you memorizing all the terms you need to know while putting a new spin on the classic flashcard format. There are multiple study options, like the standard guess and flip, word input or tests. You can also star specific terms you’re struggling with, which allows you to go back and review them separately.

In tests, you can choose whether you want true or false, multiple-choice or written answers. You can even share your quizzes and flashcard sets with others, making it perfect for those studying in groups.

You can go back and edit your flashcards at any time, so you can jot down anything you forgot to add or any notes that could help you remember the words.

It’s important to note that Quizlet flashcards are made by other users like you, which means that there’s the potential for error.

Pros:

  • Has a large library of flashcards, and you can create and share your own decks.
  • Allows you to organize your materials into specific folders.
  • Can collaborate with other learners, or your teachers.

Cons:

  • Only focuses on memorization rather than learning.
  • Some features are only available on premium.
  • User-created quizzes mean there’s a chance for errors.

Flashcard Machine

App Store | Google PlayKindle Fire

You know the Architect from “The Matrix”? Well, this site will make you feel like you’re him!

The name of the website tells it all. You just need to register for a free account and then you can start creating your own flashcards! You can review them digitally or even print them out if you want. It’s free and also available on mobile devices so you can practice anytime, anywhere.

If you don’t want to create your own flashcards, don’t worry! Check out this database of pre-made flashcards covering Japanese language topics. Grammar, dialogs, words, kanji—pretty much everything you can think of is on this list.

Pros:

  • Lets you target your personal learning goals or language weak points by making your own cards.
  • Has a giant database of pre-made Japanese flashcards made by people who study or teach Japanese
  • You can even find grammar cards in there.

Cons:

  • The site look and style are a little outdated, but if you don’t mind a no-frills experience, it’s a pretty small downside.

Brainscape

japanese flashcards

App Store | Google Play

Many learning apps nowadays utilize Spaced Repetition Software (SRS) to help their users retain information. Brainscape takes SRS and brings it to the next level. With decks made by community members and professionals alike, Brainscape’s flashcard system is uniquely effective.

By pinpointing exactly how well you know a specific term, Brainscape personalizes the timing of its repetition, reinforcing the terms you need to study most. Brainscape puts you in the driver’s seat, encouraging you to actively recall the material and reflect on how well you know it. You can also flip between getting the question first and answer first, spicing up your learning routine and forcing you to really focus on learning the material.

Brainscape has Japanese flashcards for everything from general vocab and verbs to the writing systems and grammar points. The app gives periodic feedback of how you’re doing, so you can see how much of the deck you’ve studied and how confident you are on the terms within.

Brainscape is also a very open product, letting you decide how much you want to study per day rather than giving set numbers of cards to review. Your decks are considered “memorized” when you answer every card with 100% accuracy, although you can always go back and review them.

As with other programs that have user-generated flashcards, be aware that there might be errors. There are also some odd choices for flashcards, like text from “Eye of the World” by Robert Jordan, presented in alternating English and romaji Japanese words.

Pros:

  • Focuses on user goals and accurately tracks your learning.
  • Provides bite-sized lessons for more in-depth learning sessions.
  • Allows you to modify community decks, so you can actively participate in creating the most effective flashcards possible.

Cons:

  • You can’t study multiple decks at a time on mobile.
  • There are no certified professional lessons for Japanese.
  • Daily limits on flashcards for the app limit its usability.

Anki

App Store | Google Play

Considered a holy grail among language learners, Anki is one of the most popular flashcard apps on the market today.

Anki is incredibly popular among learners of Japanese, and as such, there are countless decks available to download and utilize in your studies. Reddit’s r/learnjapanese community is a fantastic source to get new decks, as well as tips for how to make the most use out of the software.

If you choose to make your own flashcard decks on Anki, you’ll be using one of the most complex systems out there. That means you can add audio, video, images, markups and various fields that you find useful to any flashcard. And don’t worry about pushing Anki to its limit—the program boasts that it can handle over 100,000 flashcards at a time!

Like Brainscape, Anki uses SRS, meaning that the more often you correctly recall what’s on the card, the longer it’ll be before you see it again. Anki puts this into practice in two modes: Learning and Reviewing. In Learning mode, you’re quizzed on the word and asked to rate how well you’ve recalled it. After answering it correctly and easily multiple times, it will “graduate” to Reviewing. Reviewing periodically brings back old words, this time testing your long-term memory.

Countless add-ons have been developed, including ones specific to Japanese, to allow you to make the most out of Anki. With add-ons, you’ll be able to import flashcards from other websites, test your rapid recall with Speed Focus, show detailed overview stats and even add life bars to turn learning into a game!

Pros:

  • The option to create multimedia flashcards, allowing for videos and audio to be added to flashcards.
  • Add-ons allow for limitless customization possibilities.

Cons:

  • The complex interface is confusing to navigate.
  • Steep learning curve.
  • Daily limits on flashcards mean that you can only study a certain amount of new and review cards every day.

Memrise

japanese flashcards

App Store | Google Play

This app works as a vocabulary builder, letting you play fun games where you select and input the correct answers to your flashcards.

Memrise has several features to help you along when you’re struggling. If there’s a word you just can’t remember, you have the option to add a “mem,” a little hint to help you associate the word with a fact, rhyme or mental image.

If you take too long to remember a word, not to worry—it’ll automatically mark it as “unsure” and show you the correct answer, helping you keep your study momentum going.

A typical learning session introduces you to new words, then tests your recall of them through interactive exercises like fill in the blank and multiple choice. Your progress on each flashcard is displayed through a cute image of a budding flower. Once the flower is in full bloom, the flashcard is filed away as one that you’ve learned, and will pop up again when it’s time to review.

Memrise has a good selection of official flashcard decks, but there are also many high-quality user-created decks. In addition to Memrise’s official flashcard courses, I would highly recommend the ones created by JTalkOnline. These flashcards decks come with in-depth explanations of the material they contain. They make a valuable resource for learners on every stage of their journey, from beginners to advanced. And, as a fun bonus, they even offer special lessons for learners interested in anime and games!

Pros:

  • There are different modes for study, including spelling, listening and review.
  • Lets you hear native pronunciations.
  • Allows you to immediately review terms that you’ve missed.

Cons:

  • Community-created decks vary in quality.
  • Great for general learning, but is a bit lacking in details.

DuoCards

japanese flashcards

App Store | Google Play

This newcomer to the flashcard game takes personalized learning to a whole new level.

Upon selecting a flashcard deck, you sort the terms into two groups: ones you know and ones you don’t know. When studying, you can input your answer via text or speech recognition, which is great for getting in that speaking practice. Upon finishing your deck of new terms, the app suggests additional words that you may want to learn.

But what really makes DuoCards stand out is its ability to add words from your mobile browser. By simply highlighting any Japanese word of your choice and hitting “share,” you can send it to DuoCards and immediately create a flashcard for that term. DuoCards’ onboard dictionary automatically translates the term into English and saves it to your deck. How cool is that?

Another fantastic way this app can help you learn is by adding your own videos and articles to review. By inserting links to whatever content you’d like to read into the app, it lets you create flashcards from the vocabulary it contains. So if I want to study from a specific article reviewing Japanese novels, a simple copy-paste is all I need to start learning!

Pros:

  • Enables you to create flashcards from the materials you’re most interested in learning from.
  • The ability to sort through vocabulary allows you to focus on what you need to learn the most.
  • Can sync your progress across all devices with one account.

Cons:

  • Limited amounts of premade content for Japanese.
  • Auto-translations can have some inaccuracies.

Physical Japanese Flashcard Decks

White Rabbit Japan

White Rabbit Japan, brought to you by OMG Japan, is a totally addictive site where you can find everything from fantastic flashcards to fruit-flavored Kit Kats. We’ll focus on the flashcards for now, but be sure to check out the many other language and culture products to be found here.

The flashcards you can find here are pre-made, which means you can get straight to practicing your language skills. You’ll find sets of kanji flashcards and kana flashcards. The kanji flashcards come in three sets for you to choose and the difference between them is just the complexity of the kanji.

The cards are pretty neat and they depict the stroke order of each individual kanji, as well as some words that consist of the kanji in question. They even show some kanji that look alike, so that you can avoid mixing them up with each other.

The kana flashcards are very basic. Each card depicts a character and some words that begin with that character. They also show some illustrations that can make remembering the character easier. One especially cool feature is that you can get kana flashcards with an audio companion, so you get some additional listening comprehension and pronunciation practice.

White Rabbit also has some other cool options for flashcards, like Studio Ghibli movie cards that let you study the language through the beloved movies, or this adorable anime-style set of Japanese flashcards by Danny Choo.

Pros:

  • You get a finished product, so all you have to do is pay up and study.
  • It’s a very quick and easy way to learn kanji, kana and new words.

Cons:

  • Products take time to deliver—and they’re actually so popular there are sometimes waiting lists to buy them.

Hiragana and Katakana Flashcard Mnemonics

Hiragana & Katakana Flashcards - Learn Japanese with Dr. Moku´s Mnemonics

These colorfully illustrated cards feature mnemonic devices for hiragana and katakana characters. In case you don’t know, mnemonic devices are stories, rhymes or images that are used to recall vast quantities of information.

Each card features hiragana on one side and the corresponding katakana on the other. The kana is incorporated into a colorful and adorable visual mnemonic and is accompanied by a story that’s related to its reading. Though not always logical, their corniness will help you remember the characters!

Pros:

  • Focuses on mnemonic devices to commit the readings of hiragana and katakana to memory.
  • Comes with a supplemental app for quizzing and learning pronunciation.
  • The large size of these cards makes the kana and their accompanying vocabulary words easy to see.

Cons:

  • Translations are on the same side as the characters, so the “flip and reveal” strategy isn’t possible.

Japanese Hiragana/Katakana Flashcard Kit

Japanese Hiragana and Katakana Flash Cards Kit: Learn the Two Japanese Alphabets Quickly & Easily with this Japanese Flash Cards Kit (Audio CD Included)

This comprehensive kit comes with everything you need to learn the entire kana syllabary. Not only do the 200 cards include every hiragana and katakana character, but they also have voiced and combined characters such as ぐ and ちゃ.

Every card contains the kana’s stroke order and multiple example words to get you using these characters right away. Cards also use picture mnemonics to help you remember the shape of each character, as well as its sound.

These portable cards also show commonly confused characters, helping you make distinctions and saving you from countless headaches later on. I know I would have appreciated seeing the difference between る and ろ when I got started!

Additionally, this set comes with a booklet that provides study tips, as well as a CD containing recordings of over 1,000 words and phrases by native Japanese speakers.

Pros:

  • Comes with a booklet, wall charts and CDs for learning hiragana and katakana.
  • Features mnemonics to help you remember the syllable assigned to each kana.
  • Has example words and phrases to get you using these characters right away.

Cons:

  • Cards may wear down after repeated use.
  • The ordering system doesn’t match other popular programs, though you can easily rearrange the cards.

CARDDIA Japanese Syllabary—Hiragana

CARDDIA Japanese Syllabary - Hiragana (with Stroke-Order Diagrams and Example Words)

These simple yet comprehensive cards are perfect for those who prefer something straightforward.

Each card features hiragana on one side without any readings or aids. On the flip side, you’ll find its romaji reading, stroke order and several example words. Being the size of your typical playing cards, they can go with you anywhere.

You’ll also see the katakana version and even the original kanji that the hiragana is based on!

CARDDIA also offers a katakana and basic Japanese vocabulary set as well, which are perfect for drilling all the fundamentals of Japanese.

Pros:

  • The minimalist design allows you to focus on the characters.
  • Offers extra cards for helping distinguish dakuten, similar-looking characters and more.
  • Large print with clear, easy-to-read font.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a pronunciation guide.
  • On the more expensive side.

Travelflips

Japanese Flash Cards - Most Important Words and Phrases for Beginners - Learn Basic Japanese Language - Gift for Travelers, Kids, and Adults by Travelflips

For those who want or need to know the basics of Japanese right away, this set is for you.

Each flashcard in this set features guides on how to pronounce some common Japanese phrases that are suited for beginners and travelers. Hiragana, katakana and kanji are shown in each sentence, with the pronunciation broken down into individual syllables.

Portable and durable, these cards make a great supplement for an introductory Japanese course. If you’re the type to want to spring into the conversation right away, the starter phrases in this set are perfect for you. As an added bonus, the flashcards are extremely stylish!

Pros:

  • Contains 60 everyday words and phrases, as well as some proverbs.
  • Allows learners to gain immediate, effective communication tools in Japanese.
  • Individual words are accompanied by sentences to help you learn them in their native contexts.

Cons:

  • Focuses more on tourist know-how than serious study.
  • Teaches phrases, not characters.

Japanese Kanji Flashcards

japanese flashcards

Learning kanji has just gotten a whole lot easier.

In this set of 300 beginner-level kanji flashcards, you’ll get all the information you could ever hope to know. Each card shows the kanji’s definition, its different pronunciations and its stroke order.

One great feature is that they give examples of kanji that are easily confused with the one on the card, so you get familiar with the nuances between them. The differences between 間, 聞 and 問 will confound you no longer!

Pros:

  • Kanji are broken down into their radicals for an in-depth look at their construction.
  • Kanji are arranged based on frequency, enabling you to learn the most common kanji right away.
  • Characters featured are the ones most likely to be featured in the JLPT N5 and N4 levels.

Cons:

  • All of the readings are in kana, with no romaji provided. (Though this may be exactly what you want.)

 

Each one of these resources has its own special charm, so I suggest trying several of them out. That way, you’ll see which style of Japanese flashcards suits you best. Enjoy!

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