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Rosetta Stone Review

Sunday, October 2nd

2022 Japanese Lesson Reviews

Rosetta Stone Review 3 Star Rating

Rosetta Stone

3 Star Rating
  • Free trial for three days
  • Teaches Japanese through immersion
  • Voice recognition tool helps you practice your accent
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Everyone knows Rosetta Stone. Their name is practically synonymous with "foreign language learning" , though it used to be too expensive for most people to try. Luckily for language students now, Rosetta Stone moved away from the costly CD-ROM system and now offers online-only instruction in a variety of languages. You'll pay less than $15/month for their Japanese lessons, or go big and pay a one-time fee of under $300 to get lifetime access to every language in the Rosetta Stone inventory.

Japanese lessons - with no English for reference

If you were born in Japan, how would you have learned the language? From the world around you, of course. In your formative years, no one would be sitting down with grammar textbooks and giving you lengthy explanations: you'd learn to say "man" , "woman" , "hello" and other basic things from hearing them used on a regular basis. Rosetta Stone takes the same approach, beginning with simple words and phrases matched with pictures and repeated over and over until you master them. That's known as the immersion method, and it's a big part of what made Rosetta Stone famous.

Take advantage of the free trial

You'll absolutely want to use the three-day trial offered here before you commit to a paid plan. Why? We've found that Rosetta Stone works pretty well for languages that use the same alphabet we have in English, but it's not a very comfortable experience with ones that are character-based or that use a completely different alphabet. You can get the free trial by scrolling down to the bottom of the main page, selecting Japanese in the dropdown, and entering any email address - you won't have to confirm it, because the platform lets you go right into the first lesson once you've set up your profile.

Choose your level

As you set up your profile, you'll tell Rosetta Stone if you're a beginning, intermediate, or advanced student of Japanese, why you're learning the language (travel, work, basics and beyond), and if you're an adult male, adult female, or a child. These lessons use voice recognition frequently, and your voice profile helps the software match your speech more accurately. You'll be taken to your dashboard, which is preloaded with your first lesson.

Best Japanese Lessons

Frustrating for newbies

Rosetta Stone jumps right in, giving you images and the Japanese characters for the target vocabulary and asking you to match what you hear - first in print, then with your voice. It defaults to hiragana and katakana, unless you happen to spot the tiny symbol in the bottom right corner by the "Skip" button. Clicking there gives you more options, to see kanji alone, kanji and furigana, or the romaji: the equivalent, approximate pronunciation using our familiar Roman alphabet. Without the romaji setting, most new students are going to wind up with a headache after the first few exercises.


  • $35.97 for 3 months of Japanese lessons
  • $95.88 for 12 months of Japanese lessons
  • $299 ($179 with promo pricing) for lifetime access to all languages

Additional tools aren't much help

If you click on the "Explore All Content" link at the top of the page, you can see the extra resources Rosetta Stone offers to enhance your learning. There are on-demand videos, like Speaking Japanese in Seattle or How to Filet a Fish, interactive stories, downloadable audio files, and an alphabet tool for extended practice in writing Japanese. However, this mostly left us feeling overwhelmed, not inspired or encouraged in our learning.

Difficult way to learn Japanese

We're glad that Rosetta Stone is so affordable now, and that all paid plans have a 30-day money back guarantee. And, for anyone learning an "easy" language like French or Spanish - namely, ones that use the same alphabet as English - the lifetime access plan for under $200 is a great deal. Unfortunately, when it comes to harder-to-learn languages like Japanese, Rosetta Stone typically winds up near the bottom of our rankings. Immersion-based lessons can be useful in theory, but in practice they lead to an aggravating experience. Most adults prefer more explanations in English, so that they can map what they're studying against what they already know. Rosetta Stone gives you nothing in that regard, and we recommend you look at the higher-rated Japanese lessons in our review for a more comfortable way to learn.

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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