Source: Flickr by World of Oddy

Do you want to start learning Japanese?

Why invest in language lessons when free mobile apps can teach you how to speak Japanese fluently?

Has Japan always attracted you? Does its thousand-year-old culture fascinate you and do you want to discover this country? Only, you do not speak Japanese and therefore you want to learn it step by step. Or do you know a few kanji, and have you already started the long learning process of this language? Now, are you looking to revise and improve your skills?
No need to ruin yourself in Japanese class sessions, we have selected 7 applications for you to learn Japanese. You only need your smartphone or tablet to embark on this Japanese adventure! This saves you from carrying around a 500-page manual, on public transport or when traveling; with an application, you can work on your Japanese in all circumstances!

  • Here are some apps that can be used to learn Japanese:
  • Mondly
  • FluentU
  • Busuu
  • Memrise
  • Obenkyo
  • J.A. Sensei
  • JED Japanese Dictionary (Android) / Imiwa (IOS)


Our hit/flop:

👍: it is a very intuitive chatbot

👎: it’s a bit on the repetitive side

By using Mondly for just a few minutes a day, you can learn the basics of this language, through games and quizzes. These will allow you to learn Japanese vocabulary and grammar, to allow you to use the right words and expressions, in your future discussions, with the correct pronunciation.

The many Japanese exercises are accompanied by a dictionary, an online translator, and a conjugator; so that you are really comfortable during your learning. This app to learn Japanese also uses a voice recognition system to help you get the perfect accent.

Price options: You will have the choice between a subscription at €9.99 for one month, and €47.99 for one year. The application also offers many offers, throughout the year. Otherwise, you can also choose the “lifetime subscription” version, at €60, so you never have to spend a penny again.


Our hit/flop:

👍: the podcasts and their innovative side

👎: it is expensive

FluentU is the most up-to-date application in our ranking. Indeed, it breaks with learning codes, by simply offering users the opportunity to learn Japanese through podcasts and other digital information formats. It is therefore the most novel application in our ranking.

Several types of tools are offered within FluentU, ranging from videos with fairly light subjects: such as music videos to more complex subjects, such as news and advertisements. This type of training overcomes one of the problems of language learning. Indeed, after days and days of learning with FluentU, when you are put in a real situation, you rarely have blanks during the conversation phases.

To help you get there step by step, each video has a detailed script, so you know what each term means. The only downside, that I am aware of, is that the application has a cost; as only the first two weeks of use are free, you will then have to pay 15 € per month, or 120 € per year to continue to use it/ have access to it.


Our hit/flop:

👍: perfect for learning vocabulary

👎: the false hope of “Freemium”

Busuu is one of the best language-learning apps. It offers a very interesting free version and a premium version that pushes learning even further.

To learn Japanese, Busuu offers you more than 50 lessons of grammar, vocabulary, and writing exercises. Thanks to its visual support cards, it is easy to memorize the main words and expressions of everyday language, to use them once you arrive in the land of the Rising Sun.

In the premium version, you have access to interactive dialogues, recorded by people of Japanese origin, which will allow you to experiment with the newly learned words and expressions in real situations. You will discover how to use them well, to avoid oddities and misunderstandings when you go to Japan.

Each lesson will allow you to learn more about Japanese culture and acquire the necessary vocabulary. The application adapts to your level, from a simple beginner (A1) to an advanced intermediate level (B2). You can start from scratch or use it to revise the basics, and go further!

Price options: The application is quite economical since you will only have to count 34.99 € per year, for the premium version! For the premium plus version, you will have to shell out around €6.50 per month. But don’t worry, the application often offers tempting offers.


Our hit/flop:

👍: its community of users

👎: its lack of diversity

Memrise is an application that will help you learn Japanese with ease. Indeed, Memrise is a learning tool based on the use of vocabulary cards, which you will have to memorize little by little, by repeating them at certain time intervals.

These maps are created and enriched by the community of users. If you want to take your training to the next level, a range of paid subscriptions are also available.

Price options: The basic version is free. For advanced use, three monthly ($8.99), quarterly ($18.99), and annual ($45.99) subscriptions are available.


  • Our hit/flop:

👍: wide learning field

👎: some exercises do not allow you to pick up where you left off

Obenkyo is a french application, that is recognized as one of the best for mastering Japanese. Like JA Sensei, it offers a very wide field of learning. It can also be useful to prepare for the Japanese JLPT test (equivalent to the TOEIC in Japanese). The kanji are ranked from level 1 to level 5 of this test.

It allows you to study and revise these kanji, as well as katakana and hiragana, thanks to MCQs (multiple choice questions); in which you must answer either by writing the character or by an answer with different choices.

The app also shows you how to write each kanji with line-by-line animations. For the oral part, there are exercises on the particles to be used in Japanese. They will help you make your language more fluid, and allow you to express yourself more clearly. This an ideal skill, to allow you to be well-understood by your interlocutors during your next trip to Japan!

J.A. Sensei

Our hit/flop:

👍: superb value for money

👎: missing some functions, like a vocabulary quiz

J.A. Sensei is the most complete application for learning Japanese on your mobile or tablet! Thanks to it, you can immerse yourself in the study of vocabulary, verbs, adjectives, and the alphabet with kanji and kana (hiragana katakana), but also learn their writing.

This application to learn Japanese, allows you to work on the oral and written aspect. You have detailed modules that allow you to review or learn the kanas, as well as their pronunciations.

The application has two versions: a less complete free one and a paid one.

JED Japanese Dictionary (Android) / Imiwa (IOS)

Our hit/flop:

👍: interesting application, for those who already have some basics

👎: A little limited in French, but very complete in English

This app will help you learn kanji, and improve your pronunciation through exercises and example sentences.

The JED application allows you to translate quickly: if you already have some notions of Japanese, it can therefore help you improve the meaning of your remarks and better understand a dialogue.

The benefit of this app is that kanji learning is very solid and broken down stroke by stroke. This application is to be used in addition to other Japanese learning applications to achieve perfection in this wonderful language.

All of these apps can be found on the App Store/ Google Play :

Summer is soon coming to an end, and holidays are an opportunity to travel, visit countries, learn new languages to make new friends and new acquaintances. Through using language apps such as these, you will soon be able to converse with the Japanese people that you visit.

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