9 Best Japanese Learning App 2021

by Erika Shinomoto
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Want to learn Japanese? Here are the best Japanese learning app. Check it out!

There may be several reasons for you to learn Japanese. For me, learning Japanese was a way to get closer to the cultural traditions, and everything else related to Japan. Whether you will be visiting Japan soon or are already living here but are not well versed in the language, this is the perfect guide for you. 

Best Japanese Learning App — Quick Summary

Best Japanese Learning AppAvailable On
Kanji RecognizerAndroid
WaniKani iPhone

It can be quite difficult and overwhelming to start learning a new language, however, with the help of the right tools you can make this job extremely easy as well as enjoyable.

It is the age of technology and so many of us do not prefer learning from textbooks. Instead, we try to use our phones for this purpose and so, I have brought you some of the best Japanese learning apps that you can download on your smartphone and learn the language in a fairly new environment. 

These apps give you a range of resources for learning everything related to the Japanese language such as conversation, grammar, and vocabulary. Check out some of my favorite learning as and try them out for yourself.

Top Japanese Learning App


 Best Japanese Learning App

I personally love this app because it helps you create a very solid base and speak Japanese right from day one. The app works more like a game and so, learning with it is extremely enjoyable. The lessons are planned in such a way that they focus on grammar and vocabulary. 

The lessons also help you revise everything that you learned previously. There are also several methods of testing. LingoDeer comes with audio from native Japanese speakers which is absolutely fantastic because it helps you listen to Japanese words, sentences, and culture from the local point of view. 

You can also slow down the speakers’ voice so that you can hear it properly and you are able to grasp the pronunciation and the way the words are spoken. You can also study Kanji here. LingoDeer is not entirely free but it lets you learn the basics of the language without any cost. If you want to go on a more advanced level after clearing your basics, you can pay a small fee.


I have used Flashcards a lot throughout my school life to be able to memorize everything. Anki is an app that made me recollect all of those days because this app helps you convert your vocabulary and Kanji to flashcards. 

Learning from this app feels extremely like you’re playing a game using flashcards. When you are given a flashcard, you have to think of an answer and click on it to have it revealed. You can also self-mark yourself. Apart from creating your decks, you will also be able to make use of several other useful features.


Obenkyo is an app that lets you begin from the basics of katakana and hiragana. Once you grasp the basics, you can move on to advanced topics of Kanji as well as vocabulary. 

The app provides a number of quizzes with multiple choice questions as well as writing tests that help you check your level of knowledge. This app is perfect if you want to prepare for your JLPT levels examinations. 

I have learned a wide list of vocabulary as well as different types of words along with grammatical topics such as verbs. The best feature that I found in this app is the handwriting recognizer. By writing on it, the app corrects the form as well as the stroke order.


Along with me, there are several foreigners who absolutely love Imiwa for its offline features. This is a Dictionary that helps you find so many words easily. Working out the dictionary is extremely easy and is also quite user-friendly. 

You can also create your list of favorite words and copy it to the clipboard or export it to email. If English is not your first language, you will definitely love this because the definitions and examples of the words you searched for come up in multiple languages. 

Another fantastic feature that I absolutely loved is the automatic lookup of any text that you have copied. If you are browsing any website and you do not understand what is written there, simply copy it, open the Imiwa app, and you will instantly get your results.

Kanji Recognizer

This is a very simple app but it is extremely powerful. I remember visiting Japan and being unable to understand the Kanji characters there. This app is made exactly for these moments. 

You can swiftly handwrite the Kanji characters that you are unsure about and it will give you its reading, radicals, stroke, and basic meanings. You can also export it to Anki or any other apps that I have listed here to find out the examples. 

You can also use the dictionary app Imawi to get your results. I love this app simply because it is so good at recognizing handwritten Kanji. So, whenever my dictionary app cannot interpret the Kanji characters, I simply open this app and scribble away the Kanji character to get a detailed explanation.


Duolingo needs absolutely no introduction. Today, this is one of the most popular apps among foreigners across the planet to learn any language. I love Duolingo because it does not require me to have any previous knowledge of hiragana and katakana. The lessons here are quite fun to do and they range from different themes such as family and subculture. Duolingo lets you emphasize your Japanese vocabulary as well as sentence structure.


Wanikani is an app that is approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education. It has more than two thousand Kanji and six thousand words that are sourced from the official Kanji guide. There are many levels and you have to assign them to each level depending on your memory. 

Make sure that when you are using this app you already have a very strong grasp of reading hiragana and katakana. The app lets you learn the words using various example sentences that have been provided over here. 

You also do not have to hurry up because the app lets you learn everything at your own pace. The level can also be reset. The first three levels of this app are free after that you have to pay a small monthly fee to proceed forward.


Pimsleur became available as an app only recently. It is one of the most effective ways of learning Japanese in a conversational way. The method used in Pimsleur is quite unique. They have a call/response/feedback method that helps you practice thinking in Japanese. 

With the help of this method, you will also be able to write your own answers and sentences. Speaking practice is also quite spot on. It is actually as good as talking face to face with a native Japanese speaker. 

Learning grammar in this app is also quite fun. It lets you use Japanese grammar by using it in conversations. If you are a beginner, you will begin by learning hiragana by reading texts phonetically. Native audio is also played along with it to make it easier for you. Slowly you start learning Kanji. This is the best approach that there is to learn Japanese.


apps to learn japanese

Japanesepod101 is extremely popular and there is a very good reason for that. The app contains audio lessons that help you understand Japanese in a very different and understandable way. 

There are also tons of features and resources that help you to delve deeper into the language. The written aspect of the app is not quite as good as the learning, vocabulary, pronunciation, and reading sections. Each audio lesson is centered around a conversation between two native Japanese speakers. 

The speakers break down the grammar and vocabulary to help you understand the context as well as the sentence structure. The thing I absolutely loved about Japanesepod101 is that it helped me learn so many new Japanese words and grammar in such a way that I could incorporate them into my daily conversation. 

The lessons are also complete with sentences, vocabulary lists, grammar guides, and more. You will find hundreds of lessons that range right from the beginner level to the advanced level. 

What to Look For in An App to Learn Japanese 

  • Make sure that it doesn’t skip Japanese grammar

The Japanese language is completely different from English. The Japanese language has a system of honorifics, different word orders, sentence objects, and more. So you simply cannot translate your English sentence word by word into Japanese. 

Grammar has to be extremely focused upon. The best app is one that teaches you Japanese on its own terms. The app should break down the language in such a way that it is very easy for the native English speaker to understand and learn.

  • Make sure it also includes the writing system (specifically Kanji)

If you are very serious about learning Japanese, you need to focus on the writing structure as well. The best apps will help you learn writing in a very practical way that you can use on a daily basis. Written Japanese means that you need to learn Kanji, hiragana, and katakana.

These were some of the apps that I have used to help me with my Japanese language. I have benefited a lot from these apps and so I would highly recommend that if you are serious about learning Japanese, download these today.

Also Read

  1. Best Japanese Books

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