17 Top-notch Websites for Learning Japanese at Any Level in 2024
You can learn Japanese without ever picking up a pencil, leaving your house or even your bed.
All you need is an internet connection and your favorite device.
Head over to the right website, and you’ll find plenty of resources for improving your vocabulary, grammar and even speaking skills!
In this post, I’ll show you 17 of the best websites for learning Japanese, whether you’re looking for structured lessons or conversation practice.
- 1. Best Japanese Culture Website: Tofugu
- 2. Best for Authentic Videos: FluentU
- 3. Best for Podcasts: JapanesePod101
- 4. Best Simple Grammar Reference: Tae Kim’s Guide
- 5. Best Detailed Grammar Reference: Imabi
- 6. Best for Practical Grammar: Wasabi
- 7. Best Grammar Practice Website: Bunpro
- 8. Best for Conversation Practice: iTalki
- 9. Best Tutor Website: Nihongo-Pro.com
- 10. Best for Flashcards: Anki
- 11. Best Gamified Learning Website: Renshuu
- 12. Best for Customized Learning: Kanshudo
- 13. Best Website for Basics: CosCom Japanese
- 14. Best for Japanese Vocabulary Practice: Memrise
- 15. Best for Diverse Lessons: The Japanese Page
- 16. Best for JLPT Lessons: Yuko Sensei
- 17. Best YouTube Channel: Japanese Ammo
1. Best Japanese Culture Website: Tofugu
Summary: Blog with fascinating, well-written articles and learning guides
Tofugu is home to hundreds of high-quality articles about the Japanese language and culture. They’re also the creators of the kanji app WaniKani.
Aside from being beautifully designed, the Tofugu website is a rabbit hole that you can easily get lost in as a language learner.
There are grammar and vocabulary guides, reviews of learning resources and even a detailed roadmap for studying Japanese. You can even deepen your understanding of Japanese culture with their blog posts on secondhand shopping in Japan, yakuza cinema, cats in Japanese art and more.
It’s not all text, either—they have fun podcast episodes too that sometimes feature people living in Japan!
2. Best for Authentic Videos: FluentU
Summary: Online learning platform that teaches Japanese through native speaker media, like TV show clips
Price: Free 14-day trial, with monthly or yearly subscription
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.)
3. Best for Podcasts: JapanesePod101
Summary: High-quality video and audio lessons that cover vocabulary, grammar, JLPT materials and more
Price: Free for specific lessons only; needs subscription for full access
JapanesePod101 is easy to use and great for visual or auditory learners, as it primarily teaches with videos and audio clips.
JapanesePod101 also includes vocabulary flashcards and a word bank to really personalize your learning experience and help you focus on words you struggle with.
Although you can continue using your “free trial” as long as you’d like, you’ll need to subscribe to one of their paid plans to unlock the full potential and all the features of the program.
See our full review of JapanesePod101 here.
4. Best Simple Grammar Reference: Tae Kim’s Guide
Summary: Japanese grammar guide with clear, short explanations
If you’re a beginner, one of the best grammar websites that you can check out would be Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese.
The grammar guide here is pretty much a free online textbook! It covers a wide range of topics, from the hiragana and basic adjectives up to more advanced concepts like conditionals and formal expressions.
Tae Kim’s goal is to teach Japanese grammar logically and help you understand how native speakers think. The explanations and examples are pretty short so it’s more of a reference, but you’ll find some exercises here too.
The guide is also available as a book on Amazon.
5. Best Detailed Grammar Reference: Imabi
Summary: Very thorough grammar guide that covers all levels of Japanese
It’s surprising that Imabi is even free to begin with since it’s one of the most comprehensive Japanese grammar websites ever. It covers beginner to advanced grammar and even goes beyond to slang, abbreviations, complex honorifics and onomatopoeia.
There are more than 400 sections in total, but it’s definitely more of a reference than a textbook. Each lesson is very detailed, with several example sentences.
Beginners might find it overwhelming, so I’d recommend this for intermediate and advanced learners who want to dig deep into Japanese grammar.
As a bonus, it features 36 lessons on classical Japanese too, which is rarely explained in English!
6. Best for Practical Grammar: Wasabi
Summary: Reference page that goes in-depth about common Japanese grammar points
Price: Free grammar reference, but lessons come at a cost
At its base, this online course is true to its name: It’s a Japanese grammar reference. Grammar lessons follow a chronological order and are actually structured quite like a textbook.
The lessons progress through basic, essential and advanced grammar topics, eventually covering all major concepts in the Japanese language.
Each lesson has a detailed breakdown and examples of the topic as well as a summary section at the end.
The reference is best used in conjunction with Wasabi’s online lessons, but the free resource on its own functions as a complete grammar course.
7. Best Grammar Practice Website: Bunpro
Summary: A grammar learning program that uses flashcards with spaced repetition
Price: Free for basic features; monthly subscription or one-time payment for full access
You might have heard of using spaced repetition for vocabulary, but what about applying it to grammar?
That’s what Bunpro does—and it pulls this off well. Essentially, Bunpro uses flashcards to help you internalize Japanese grammar.
It covers all of the grammar points from N5 to N1 on the JLPT, and it teaches you these using different example sentences, where you have to fill in the blanks. The example sentences are curated to be diverse so you can see different ways the same grammar point is used.
You can do a straightforward JLPT-based track, but other learning pathways follow popular books like “Genki,” “Tobira,” and Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide.
8. Best for Conversation Practice: iTalki
Summary: Online platform where you can find Japanese conversation partners and teachers
Price: Depends on the tutor, but usually from $10 to $40
Wherever you live, as long as you have an internet connection, you can connect with a Japanese native speaker through iTalki.
It’s one of the most helpful language learning websites ever, with hundreds of tutors for popular languages—including Japanese. Sessions are one-on-one, and it’s easy to schedule a session whatever your timezone.
Compared to other tutoring platforms, iTalki gives you tons of flexibility, with 30- to 90-minute lessons available.
You can choose teachers with different teaching styles, follow a textbook or focus on specific topics and go for conversation partners for a more casual approach.
Click here for a full review of iTalki.
9. Best Tutor Website: Nihongo-Pro.com
Summary: Website that connects you with Japanese tutors for one-on-one lessons
Price: Around $28 to $35 for each 50-minute lesson, depending on how many you buy
This website is great if you want an actual human teacher who can Skype with you and help you learn Japanese at your own pace.
A tutor can help you in a variety of ways that you’ll miss out on if you only learn alone. If you’re looking to learn Japanese with a teacher in the comfort of your own home, Nihongo-Pro.com is a good place to start.
They can guide you in your pronunciation and intonation and give you personalized study suggestions and guidance on what you need to improve.
You can try out some lessons to help you decide if it’s right for you. You can choose your own teacher and buy private lesson “tickets” which you can use at any time, whenever you’re ready and available.
10. Best for Flashcards: Anki
Summary: A flexible and free flashcard program that lets you learn with spaced repetition and multimedia
Anki is a free program that lets you create and customize virtual flashcards
You have the option to download premade decks from its companion website for fast and easy kanji and vocabulary memorization.
Here’s why it works so well: Anki’s spaced-repetition software (SRS) makes difficult cards reappear at higher rates until you’ve adequately retained their contents.
Basically, SRS forces you to review the cards that you struggle with the most but lets you skim (and ultimately skip) the cards you already know.
It’s an innovative system with quality results, and a cinch to use. Here’s a guide to maximizing Anki for language learning.
11. Best Gamified Learning Website: Renshuu
Summary: All-in-one learning app that’s gamified, with a cute interface
Price: Mostly free; subscription needed for additional features
With Renshuu, you can learn Japanese vocabulary, grammar and kanji, and it comes with an adorable mascot called Kao-chan!
Lessons are kept interesting because of the different learning methods. A single lesson can include writing exercises, sentence examples and quizzes, with plenty of eye-catching visuals and native speaker audio, so you’re unlikely to get bored.
On top of this, the design is whimsical, and when you need a break, there are games too like Japanese crosswords and shiritori.
Renshuu lets you customize your study path. You can follow the JLPT, top Japanese textbooks or simply mix and match lessons on your own from the index.
12. Best for Customized Learning: Kanshudo
Summary: Beginner lessons on specific skills such as vocabulary, grammar and kanji
Price: Free with limited access; needs monthly or yearly subscription for all lessons
A personalized learning experience that provides structured lessons as well as free plans. By setting your own challenges, you can focus on the areas of Japanese that you want to learn.
In addition to lessons, Kanshudo offers a ton of games that allow you to reinforce your studies, as well as graded reading material to practice reading.
The program’s vast library of Japanese vocabulary, grammar and kanji lets you look up any term and its kanji.
Kanshudo offers textbook support, so if you’re learning with a Japanese textbook series like “Minna no Nihongo,” this is a great supplemental resource.
13. Best Website for Basics: CosCom Japanese
Summary: Japanese lessons that cover vocabulary, grammar and the writing system
Price: Basic online materials are free, but intermediate lessons need a one-time fee
CosCom Japanese offers to-the-point lessons that focus on all the Japanese basics. These basics include vocabulary and grammar topics and tackle the Japanese writing systems.
All the words and phrases included in the online lessons have recorded authentic Japanese audio and English translations.
CosCom also offers invaluable add-ons to their lessons such as short world news updates in simple Japanese, the most common 200 Japanese verbs and instruction on how to type hiragana, katakana and kanji on computers.
14. Best for Japanese Vocabulary Practice: Memrise
Summary: Game-like flashcard learning using multimedia and spaced repetition technology
Price: Some decks and features available for free; monthly, yearly or lifetime subscription
Memrise uses a spaced repetition-based technology combined with a flashy and fun interface to teach the language with flashcard decks.
The flashcards cater to an immense scope of levels and subjects, from katakana and Japanese counters to JLPT N1 vocabulary.
Memrise might better serve the needs of beginners and casual learners due to its interactive, game-like approach.
Check out our full review of Memrise to learn more.
15. Best for Diverse Lessons: The Japanese Page
Summary: Japanese lessons with a cultural focus on living and working in Japan
The Japanese Page is a great place to start learning about Japanese culture as well as beginner language skills.
It’s a completely free website that offers help with typing Japanese words on your keyboard, along with hiragana and katakana lessons. The lessons include advice about Japanese culture and insight into what it’s like to live in the country.
One of the website’s coolest features is Makoto, a monthly subscription digital magazine packed with learner content like stories with vocabulary explained, cultural tidbits, jokes, puns and so much more.
By signing up for this magazine, you also get access to more features on the website, like weekly shadowing sentences for beginners and intermediate learners.
16. Best for JLPT Lessons: Yuko Sensei
Summary: YouTube videos focusing on JLPT levels N5, N4 and N3
Price: Free on YouTube, with additional paid courses on Yuko Sensei’s website
Yuko Sensei is a native Japanese speaker, so the language used in her videos is authentic and she gives real-world situations to contextualize her lessons.
Yuko Sensei has created short video lessons in Japanese that are available on YouTube. She has a variety of lessons for beginner and intermediate learners.
Such videos are incorporated in playlists for basic Japanese, hiragana, katakana and listening practice.
Additional materials and lessons are available on Yuko Sensei’s website for a price, but she does offer a beginner’s Japanese mini-course for free.
17. Best YouTube Channel: Japanese Ammo
Summary: YouTube videos that go in-depth about Japanese grammar and phrases
Japanese Ammo is run by Misa, an upbeat language enthusiast whose videos go into the finer details of the Japanese language.
The videos are aimed at beginners and intermediate learners and the host explains particulars of Japanese grammar in-depth, including points that may be easily confused by learners of the language.
She thoroughly explores how words are used by native Japanese speakers, offering valuable insight that can help viewers sound natural. Every aspect she touches on gets a clear, easy-to-understand explanation.
Her playlists contain a treasure trove of Japanese lessons, offering help for absolute beginners and tourists, as well as listening practice.
Speaking as a fellow Japanese learner, these websites have helped me a lot, from crunching through kanji to finding out more fun things about Japanese culture. Even better, most of them have free content, and they’re suitable for a wide variety of levels.
Since they’re often updated, you’ll be able to keep learning from them too as you go along on your Japanese journey!