4 Japanese Learning Forums for Finding Answers to Your Burning (Language) Questions

Learning a new language doesn’t have to be a solo journey.

Just log on to a Japanese language forum to converse with people just like you!

Language forums are treasure troves of trivia, information and explanations on complicated topics presented in a friendly and personal way.

Below, we’ve rounded up the four best language forums for Japanese learners. We chose the ones that are the most active, well-moderated, easy-to-use and feature high-quality contributions.

We also made sure that there’s a good mixture of mainstream forums (which have more users and are likely to be more responsive to questions) and not-so-mainstream ones (in case you’re looking for something off the beaten track).

Try them all and find the best fit for you!


1. Japanese Language Stack Exchange

japanese-language-stack-exchangeThe Japanese Language Stack Exchange is part of the Stack Exchange network, which hosts Q&A forums on various topics.


As you can imagine, most of the questions are grammar and vocabulary-related. You’ll often find interesting and informative discussions on any question posed.

The site also has a smooth, simple interface, and questions are categorized by tags. You can also check out the tabs marked “Active,” (self-explanatory), “Hot,” (the current most popular questions) or the top questions of the “Week” or “Month.”

Fair warning: There are a lot of fun threads on out-there queries like whether Japanese has a word for “banana” besides バナナ (ばなな) — banana. The answer is surprisingly complex and rooted in culture and history!

2. WordReference Japanese Forum

wordreferenceWordReference is a well-established website for translations and language learning in general.


Their Japanese forum isn’t really organized into categories, but the handy search function works well enough to help you find what you’re looking for. You can also just browse around for useful topics like the difference between から versus ので.

Many of the questions are posed entirely in Japanese, but you can find more beginner-friendly queries, too. You’ll often see translation-related questions, grammatical clarifications and cultural issues related to language. For example, take a look at this interesting conversation on sending a friendly yet professional email reminder.

3. Reddit: r/LearnJapanese

reddit-learn-japaneseWould any roundup of online forums be complete without Reddit? I’ll bet not!


Reddit’s r/LearnJapanese is one of the most organized forums on this list, being super active and even hosting regular language learning events on the site.

For example, anything tagged “ShitsuMonday” provides a space for those small nagging questions that you’d like answered but don’t necessarily need their own separate conversations. The name, in case you’re wondering, is a portmanteau of 質問 (しつもん) — question and Monday.

r/LearnJapanese is also one of the most diverse forums in terms of content. You can come here for anything from Japanese tongue twisters to tips for learning complex kanji.

4. Japan Reference

japan-referenceJapan Reference has all kinds of conversations related to Japan in general—from news and politics to practical information about traveling in Japan.


There’s a pretty large language section where you can get information about grammar, translation and learning methods. However, topics aren’t as organized as some of the others listed so far, meaning you’ll have to rely on the search bar if you’re looking for something specific.

Most discussions revolve around common Japanese learning hurdles, but there are also more advanced threads on topics like the causative and passive voice in Japanese.

How Japanese Language Forums Can Help You Learn

Whether you’re teaching yourself Japanese using textbooks and online resources or are trying to supplement what you’ve learned in the classroom, online forums are a great idea. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • They provide a way to connect with other language learners. Maybe your family can’t fully comprehend your manga habit, or your friends look at you quizzically whenever you exclaim “いただきます!” — an expression that roughly translates to “I’m tucking in(to my food)!” before you slurp your ラーメン (らーめん) — ramen. A Japanese learning forum is the ideal place to connect and share experiences with fellow learners and helpful native speakers from all over the world.
  • They will help you find answers to that one weirdly specific question you have. Sometimes, you need someone to help you figure why もののけ姫 (もののけひめ) — Princess Mononoke used “ だろう — should be” and not “ — is” in one particular sentence. And if you feel the urge to dissect every single episode of the new Japanese podcast you’ve started listening to, there’s really only one place to go.
  • They allow you to discuss and share the best learning techniques and resources. Even if you’re just starting to learn Japanese, language forums are the perfect place to find out firsthand how more advanced learners have tackled things like practicing hiragana and katakana, learning long vocab lists and making sure they’re not forgetting their kanji from one week to the next. Forums are also ideal places to discuss resources—the best online dictionary or 辞書 (じしょ), gamified learning apps, addictive anime series to learn with and so much more.
  • They give you a safe space to obsess over the minute details of shows, movies and other Japanese media. No matter your level, if you feel like you’re never completely done dissecting your favorite TV drama or movie, a Japanese learning forum is the place to go. Forums are Pandora’s Boxes of theories, criticism, gossip and just pure fan love. Learn about the culture, get language answers and understand why certain characters speak the way they do. It’s also where you’ll get quality recommendations from people who’ve seen them all!
  • They get you into the nitty-gritty of grammar, register and other nuanced issues. If you’re a little more advanced, there’s no better place than an online forum to get into the finer points of the language. Is it okay to respond “ まだまだです! —  not yet!” when your boss compliments your Japanese? Why did the shopkeeper in Kyoto use the informal form with you? There’s a thread for almost everything—and if there isn’t, you can always start one!
  • They’re accessible to learners of all levels. For beginners, they’re a way to connect with other learners, remain motivated and stay on top of the latest trends in language learning. For intermediate and advanced learners, they provide ample opportunities to go above and beyond what’s readily available to them in textbooks and the classroom.
  • Eventually, you’ll find that you’re the one with all the answers! Language forums are also a great way to measure your own progress. You may start off scouring through various threads and posting questions to the community every day. Six months down the line, you’ll be that much wiser—and you’ll likely be the one guiding the newcomers just as those before you did for you.
  • They can supplement other learning methods. You might be taking an online Japanese course, and a question comes up that you need an answer to, now. Or you might want more information on a particular topic that your favorite Japanese textbook doesn’t explain clearly enough. While you can’t learn solely from language forums, they’re a perfect place to go for some extra learning and a better understanding of specific topics. Learning from other learners and even native speakers on these forums is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the language as it’s actually used.

Speaking of Japanese immersion, check out the subtitled native media clips on FluentU to see how Japanese speakers communicate in authentic contexts.

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With these four websites in your bookmarks, you should have the perfect Japanese language forum starter pack!

Depending on your personal objectives, you can pick one that you think fits you best. Stick with it, and you’ll find that you’re learning and growing as a part of a very special language community.

So, 頑張って (がんばって) — work hard/all the best, and happy chatting!

And One More Thing...

If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU.

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FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:


FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.


All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.


And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


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