Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.
Lots of people ask that question because Japanese is the fifth-most studied language in the United States! What's driving its popularity? It'll come as no surprise that many learners develop an interest in Japanese because of manga, anime, and video games. Others realize that speaking Japanese can offer significant advantages in the worlds of technology and business. And, of course, many travelers like to learn at least the basics before spending time in Japan - to better appreciate the culture and to communicate more effectively in-country.
No matter what your reasons are, studying Japanese can be challenging. Because it uses a writing system that's completely different from what you already know from English, learning it can take much longer than mastering languages that use the Roman alphabet (like Spanish or German). You might even need to figure out how to use your keyboard differently!
Friday, September 29th
Want to learn Japanese without feeling overwhelmed? Try Memrise. You'll pick up important words and phrases gradually with the help of fantastic native speaker video clips in various settings in Japan. The service gives you a free account you can use as long as you like, but you'll get the most robust features with an affordable subscription. You'll love everything about this language learning platform! Memrise earns our first-place ranking among providers of Japanese lessons.
There's a lot to be said about LinguaLift's approach to teaching Japanese: context is key, and clarity is crucial. You'll be given authentic exposure to the language and the culture surrounding it with these helpful, fun-to-learn lessons. The first three lessons of all four difficulty levels are free; with a paid subscription, you'll get more than 500 hours of content and access to your own personal tutor. While the Japanese lessons here could add more opportunities to practice what is taught, especially in terms of speaking Japanese, this program offers a lot of value and is a low-stress way to learn the language.
For anyone who wants to speak Japanese fluently, italki is a valuable resource. These lessons are delivered through 1:1 video sessions with community tutors and professional teachers: more than 1200 to choose from! You can get a trial lesson from most instructors for less than $5, and hourly rates tend to be from $10-$25. Though it might take some courage to work face-to-face with a native speaker of Japanese, you won't find a better way to supercharge your speaking ability than italki.
Rocket is one of our preferred language-learning tools for beginners, and their Japanese lessons are definitely worth considering. You'll get four modules to study, all of which include speaking, listening, reading and writing exercises. There's no subscription required here: just a one-time fee or six monthly installments and Rocket Japanese is yours forever! You'll need a different program if you've studied the language before, but for brand-new students Rocket Japanese is practically perfect.
All experience levels are welcome at Japanese Pod 101, from absolute beginner to advanced. You can get a 7-day free trial of their Premium membership, or just stick to the limited-access plan at no cost for as long as you like. With the highest subscription plan, these Japanese lessons include guidance and feedback from a professional teacher. The sheer amount of content here can be a little daunting, but you'll never run out of new things to learn with Japanese Pod 101.
Busuu gives you a lot to learn, no matter if you're just starting to study Japanese or you've been at it for several years already. A free basic membership offers more than 200 lessons across four fluency levels; add on a low-cost subscription to get customized learning plans and native speaker feedback. Just keep an eye on your renewal date and terms, because Busuu limits their refund policy to 14 days. Thousands of students rated this program with a perfect five stars, and we think most people will find something that works for them in Busuu's Japanese lessons.
Mondly is a fun way to practice key words and phrases in Japanese. This game-based platform offers points and leaderboards to motivate you to study regularly, plus a Chatbot and Augmented Reality to make your practice more entertaining and realistic. You can easily switch between the romaji and Japanese characters as needed. You won't find much in the way of explanations here, though: no grammar or cultural insights provided. You'll find that Mondly is a good tool for basic practice, but it lacks the depth offered by some other Japanese lessons.
Learning by immersion the Rosetta Stone way sounds like a good idea in theory. However, for languages like Japanese that don't use the alphabet that English-speakers recognize, it proves to be a frustrating experience. We strongly suggest that you use the free three-day trial Rosetta Stone offers before you set your heart on their Japanese lessons. You'll likely be more successful if you take Japanese lessons from one of the higher-ranked services in our review.
Wouldn't you love to be able to watch the news or your favorite anime in Japanese? FluentU can help make that happen. These Japanese lessons are based completely on real-world video content: clips from TV shows, segments from movies, and so on. That's what makes this platform great for more advanced students but not so ideal for newbies. You can get a two-week trial of FluentU at no cost, as long as you're willing to provide your credit card info upfront. We think FluentU offers a novel way to study Japanese, but we're not able to recommend it as one of our top choices for lessons.
Also, it used to be tricky just to find Japanese lessons. If you didn't live near a university or in an area with a significant Japanese-speaking population, your chances of finding classes were pretty slim.
Not anymore! Today there are many ways to take Japanese classes online, from traditional grammar lessons and flashcards for memorization, to live video sessions with a personal tutor who can help you master a flawless accent. Whether you need an app you can use on-the-go to sneak in study sessions or you have plenty of time to sit at a computer and practice, you'll have no problem finding Japanese lessons that match your availability and your budget.
As you start to explore the possibilities for taking Japanese lessons, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. How can you determine which program is right for you? You may find it helpful to keep the following criteria in mind as you consider your options:
To help you get the most out of your language studies, Top Consumer Reviews has tested, evaluated and ranked the best options for online Japanese lessons today. We know this information will give you all the info you need to choose the best program for your learning style and schedule.
Select any 2 Japanese Lessons to compare them head to head