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Learning Japanese

Do you want to finally become fluent in Japanese and feel like a local in places where Japanese is spoken? Find below a summary of my top recommendations for tools and resources that will help you learn Japanese.  I've personally tried and tested all of them and selected the ones that I found to be most effective, user-friendly, and fun. Mix and match them, and use 3 or 4 of them interchangeably to keep your motivation high and your attention span focused.

 

Some of the resources below include affiliate links - which means that Perfectly Fluent will get a small commission when you purchase these resources through the link below. This comes at no additional cost to you, but helps us cover the costs of running this site! 

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This is my #1 recommendation for anyone starting to learn Italian or trying to improve their listening and pronunciation skills. The 30-minute lessons are easy to fit into your schedule, and they do wonders for pronunciation and speaking skills!

Effectiveness: *****

Easy-to-use: *****

Cost: $

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Genki language school, based in Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan, offers in-person and online courses with professional teachers and excellent teaching methods! Private classes with their instructors are very affordable, effective, and fun! They offer classes at all levels, so even beginner students can be at ease with speaking very fast. 

 

 

Effectiveness: ****

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost:  $$$

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This website and app have great short 10-15 minute videos and podcasts with lessons from beginner to advanced levels, flashcards, dialogues, grammar break-down, and vocab lists. Premium plans give access to a tutor for accountability and faster progress. 

Effectiveness: ****

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost: $$ 

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Rocket Languages has great audio content, comprehensive vocabulary-building tools, pronunciation training, solid grammar breakdown, and a steady path for progression. It's a pricier course and somewhat trickier to do on the go, but it's incredibly well-structured and effective.

Effectiveness: *****

Easy-to-use: ***

Cost: $$$ 

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Mondly is a fun game-style app that teaches you vocabulary through core words and phrases. The app breaks the learning process down into short lessons and puts them into themed packs. It has great visuals and is easy to use if your schedule is too busy for more structured or intensive courses. 

Effectiveness: ***

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost: $

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Learning a language successfully is impossible without interacting with native speakers and getting lots of speaking practice. This app gives you access to thousands of professional and community teachers, and you can book private online courses with them for as little as US$ 5 an hour!

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Effectiveness: ****

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost: $

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This is my favorite app to train my memory and retain vocabulary in Japanese. It uses spaced repetition system to help you remember words and phrases more effectively. It also has a great game-like interface, making this app a fun and exciting pass-time. And you can complete a session in as little as 5 minutes, making it very easy to practice your Japanese on a break or during a commute. 

Effectiveness: *****

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost: $$$

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This fun app helps you learn languages with short stories, audiobooks, and music. It shows texts in two languages, side by side, so you can compare the two and learn the language in context. And all texts have audio narration! The texts go from fairy tales and news to science papers and novels, and new ones are added every week. You can listen to a native speaker narrate at your preferred speed (even with your phone locked or while offline) and take tests to assess your comprehension.

Effectiveness: ****

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost:  $

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This online course has the most impressive innovative way to teach you Japanese through immersion into an addictive and super-fun story. Rather than following a standard curriculum of grammar, sample dialogues, etc., the teaching happens by engaging you in a creative story context, and it's surprisingly effective! Although access to this course is on the pricier side, it's one of the best investments you can make to help you learn Japanese, and it's totally worth it.

Effectiveness: *****

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost: $$$

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This is my favorite podcast for learning Japanese, provided by Japan's public media organization NHK. Its 10-minute episodes teach useful vocabulary, everyday phrases, grammar, and culture, and do so in a progressive and easy-to-follow way. There are almost fifty episodes for beginner and intermediate learners. Additional podcast episodes focusing exclusively on conversation are available from the Castbox app here. The podcasts are completely free. 

Effectiveness: *****

Easy-to-use: ***

Cost: - 

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This Conversations course from StoryLearning.com helps you understand real Japanese and transform your listening skills. It's based on recorded short conversations on a variety of topics between two native speakers who speak the way people actually speak on the street, so you really get an ear for the sounds. This course is quite pricey, but its quality and great results justify this price and make the course worth it. 

Effectiveness: ****

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost:  $$$

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Enjoy this free YouTube channel with excellent Japanese classes from JapanesePod101. Their content is engaging, fun, and really effective! The hosts of the vlog cover the basics as well as more challenging grammar concepts. This would be an excellent complement to other learning tools you are using. The authors of this vlog also have comprehensive and very good paid courses on their website

Effectiveness: ***

Easy-to-use: ****

Cost:  -

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