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Busuu Review

Wednesday, September 28th

2022 Japanese Lesson Reviews

Busuu Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating
  • Learn Japanese for travel or for general studies
  • Additional courses specifically for learning hiragana, katakana, kanji
  • 14-day money-back guarantee on paid memberships
  • Free basic account with access to over 200 Japanese lessons
  • Get personalized study plans with Premium Plus membership
  • Certification testing available

It's okay if you didn't know that "Busuu" is an endangered language in the African nation of Cameroon. What you really need to know is that it's also the name of a fantastic way for new and experienced students of Japanese to get high-quality, effective lessons. The company even refers to an independent study that demonstrated how Busuu members get the equivalent of a one-semester college course with just 22 hours spent using their Premium service. Ready to find out more?

Free basic account

Busuu gives away an incredible amount of Japanese lesson content at absolutely no cost. Enter your name and email address (no verification required) to start. You'll be asked why you're learning Japanese (professional development, travel) so that Busuu can make suggestions focused on your goals. Indicate which level of fluency you're aiming for, from Beginner (A1) to Upper Intermediate (B2) and how much time you can dedicate to studying. From there, Busuu then gives you an estimate of how long it will take you to reach your fluency goal. For example, when we indicated that we wanted to reach the B2 level and would commit to 10 minutes of study seven days a week, Busuu estimated that it would take us about a year and a half to do so.

Learn what you need, whenever you need it

While Busuu starts you out at the beginning level, you can move around among any of their lessons at any time. That's a big win for anyone that's already studied some Japanese: why wade through introductions and numbers if what you really need is to pick up vocabulary about computing or phrases needed to prepare a job application? There are also specialized Japanese lessons for travel, and three independent courses if you want to focus on writing and recognizing hiragana, katakana, or kanji.

Best Japanese Lessons


  • Free for Basic membership
  • Premium membership: $9.99/month
  • Premium Plus membership: $13.99/month
  • Discounts available when you pay for 12 or 24 months in advance

Lots for free - but subscriptions give you more

There's so much to learn with Busuu's Japanese lessons. There are over 100 lessons in their A1 level alone, and 100+ additional lessons through their A2-B2 coursework. You could use the free content for a long time and not run out of things to do. However, you'll get more with a paid plan. For example, as you browse lessons you'll soon see that many review features are locked unless you're a subscriber. You can get Premium for $9.99/month, which will give you in-depth grammar lessons, access to Busuu in offline mode, and AI-customized review sessions. Jumping up to the Premium Plus package at $13.99/month offers even more: certification of your fluency by McGraw Hill's official testing service, unlimited feedback from native speakers on your written and spoken exercises, and a personalized study plan. Paying for your Busuu memberships in 12- or 24-month increments will get you a discount too.

Only a few downsides

What's the catch? There isn't one, really, but there are a few things you should know. First, if you plan to use Busuu to learn more than one language at a time, you'll have to pay for an account: you only get one for free. There's also not a lot of speaking practice here, other than the options for recording yourself and waiting for a native speaker volunteer to give you some input. Finally, while more than 5,000 people give Busuu a perfect five-star rating, there are a lot of complaints about the company's 14-day refund policy and automatic renewals. If you're on a 12- or 24-month plan and you don't cancel your membership ahead of the renewal date, there's no way to get your money back.

Risk-free to give it a go

Because Busuu has so very much to offer across many fluency levels, we recommend that you give it a try. You can always upgrade to a membership plan, though we'd suggest doing a monthly subscription at first to avoid any expensive mistakes with the satisfaction guarantee or automatic renewals. As long as you're not expecting Japanese lessons that will bring your spoken fluency to near-native capabilities, Busuu will be a useful tool for your language learning.

Where Can You Find the Best Japanese Lessons Online?

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!

The Best Japanese Lessons Compare Japanese Lessons Compare Japanese Lesson Reviews What are the best Japanese Lessons Best Japanese Lesson Reviews

Japanese Lesson FAQ

Japanese is in the top 10 most widely spoken languages in the world, with over 130 million people who use it. 99% of those speakers live in Japan, but there are over a million people in the US, Brazil and Guam who also speak fluent Japanese.
Yes, but you probably won't encounter anything beyond Standard Japanese unless you travel throughout Japan itself. The Japanese you learn will be understood throughout the country, and differences are mostly related to accents and some vocabulary. It's not unlike what you find between speakers from different regions of the US, or between people from England and Australia.
If we're being completely honest, we'd say that Japanese is one of the hardest languages you could attempt to master: even the US State Department ranks it with Arabic, Korean and Chinese as one of the four most difficult! Part of that stems from the fact that Japanese has three separate writing systems (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji). However, if you've got the grit to work hard and be patient with your studies, Japanese shouldn't be out of reach for you to learn.
You're going to need to wrap your head around the three Japanese alphabets: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. You'll find all of them as you learn the language! As you learn the alphabets, start memorizing basic vocabulary for how you intend to use Japanese, whether that's for business use or just to understand your favorite anime! Speaking of TV, it's a great way to pick up the accent and pronunciation naturally, especially if you don't have the chance to talk with native speakers on a regular basis.
There's no need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a one-semester Japanese class at a university when you can get on-demand instruction for much less. You may not even be able to find in-person classes near you, but there are always options online that let you learn Japanese as quickly (or as slowly!) as you desire.
You need to take a few extra steps to enable the Japanese language on your computer. The steps differ if you're using a Mac or Windows-based PC, and you'll have to search for the instructions based on your operating system. There are also online Japanese keyboards that let you click on characters without modifying your settings.
They're very affordable. You can get month-to-month subscription plans for less than $25/month, or make a one-time purchase of a Japanese lessons package for under $500. Either way, you'll get much more for your money than if you were paying for a semester or two of college courses.
You'll want to read the terms and conditions of any language platform you're considering. The subscription plans typically allow customers to cancel at any time but don't offer a refund of previous payments. The Japanese lesson packages that are one-off purchases may have a 30- or 60-day money-back guarantee. We suggest that you use all of the free resources that the language program has to offer - such as a sample lesson, or a trial period - so that you will already know how it approaches instruction and if it's a good fit for your preferences.
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Continued from above...

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:

  • Teaching Style. Japanese lessons can be delivered in a variety of ways, such as game-like apps, one-on-one sessions over video, and exercises that help you speak, read, write and understand the language. Pick a platform that feels like a natural fit for the way you learn best.
  • Free Trial. It's hard to know if a language program is a good match without giving it a try! Take full advantage of any sample lessons, limited-time access to the student dashboard, or any other opportunity to use the Japanese lessons before you purchase a package or subscription.
  • Levels of Difficulty. Most Japanese lessons are suitable for beginners, but what about as you advance? Choosing a platform with plenty of content across fluency levels - beginner, intermediate, and advanced - means that you won't have to start the search over again as you become more proficient in Japanese.
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. Once you've paid for a membership or bought a lesson package, can you get a refund if you change your mind? Read the terms carefully, especially if you're using Japanese lessons that are subscription-based.

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.

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