TOP 8 Most Powerful Free Japanese Learning App

As the ninth most spoken language in the world, learning Japanese is very important. The ability to speak Japanese brings a number of advantages. It provides better opportunities to understand Japanese culture. It opens up opportunities for you to build your professional career in Japan. Learning Japanese would open up the possibility for us to appreciate our own language and culture.

If you are eager to learn the Japanese language, then our media are the best place for you. Our media have a wealth of comprehensive articles that are sure to help you learn Japanese. You can learn many important topics for learning Japanese. Find them here.

Now let us get to the topic of the article. As we all know that we are all glued to our cell phones. Why don’t we use our screen time to learn Japanese with powerful Japanese learning apps? When you learn Japanese with an app, you will quickly improve your Japanese. Just swipe and tap, and you can improve your Japanese! Here are the Top 8 Most Powerful FREE Apps for Learning Japanese in 2022.

1. Duolingo

Source: Duolingo

Duolingo is the world’s most popular way to learn 35+ languages, including Japanese. This app is the best for anyone who wants to spend 5 minutes a day with an easy, fun lesson. Duolingo welcomes beginners. Learn with Duolingo and start with the basics of reading, writing, and speaking Japanese.

In my opinion, Duolingo is of course not a perfect Japanese app that covers everything to reach a higher level of Japanese. But it is a really fun and effective way to learn the basics of Japanese. If you take just five minutes a day using this app, you will have the opportunity to learn Japanese. You can also learn Japanese basic grammar with this app. Overall, it is well suited to cover the JLPT N5 level.

  • Pros: Effective, Efficient, Fun Lesson, Easy. Most suitable for expanding Japanese vocabulary.
  • Cons: Only covers the basic level.
  • Availability: iOS and Android

2. Challenge with Erin

In the second place, I would like to recommend the app Challenge with Erin. The Japan Foundation has developed this app with a variety of features. This app is very good for young learners of Japanese around the world. Not only can they learn with this app, but they can also take comprehensive tests to measure their users’ abilities. The app is suitable for those who want to learn vocabulary and expressions at the beginner level in an engaging way. Moreover, Card games, mangas, and quizzes make learning even more fun.

In addition, this app is best for learners who have just started learning Japanese. It is up to those who are in the first half of the basic level. People can use this app from the level where kanji, hiragana, and katakana have not yet been learned.

  • Pros: Fun Lesson & Easy. Most suitable for memorizing Japanese vocabulary.
  • Cons: Only provides a first half elementary level.
  • Availability: iOS and Android

3. Imiwa? – Dictionary

Source: Imiwa? App

Imiwa is a very handy multilingual iPhone app that translates Japanese to and from several languages. They are English, Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Korean, and Russian. It’s extremely easy to use, works offline, and best of all, it’s completely free! It is compatible with iPhone, iPad as well as iPod touch.

In my opinion, Imiwa is really The Most Powerful English-Japanese Dictionary out there. In fact, it’s the best cross-language dictionary I have ever used. Imiwa allows you to create multiple lists. I usually keep lists of funny or unique phrases, cool words, kanji of course that you might need to learn, and (when that was important) words for the various JLPT levels.

  • Pros: Extremely Comprehensive & Easy to Use. Free. Covers All Levels & JLPT.
  • Cons: Only available on iOS.
  • Availability: iOS

4. Shirabe Jisho – Dictionary

The other dictionary is still installed and becomes the most visited app on my iPhone. That is the Shirabe Jisho. Do you know what it is? Shirabe Jisho is a Japanese dictionary app for iOS users, however. There you can search over 170,000 dictionary entries in both Japanese and English. There you can use handwriting, radicals, and Romaji.

Additionally, each entry is comprehensive. What’s more that you can get in this app?

  • Stroke order diagrams for several thousand kanji.
  • Sample sentences from the Tatoeba project. You can get an abundance most common examples there.
  • There are positive, negative, and ~masu conjugations where relevant.

You can create your own word list or choose from the pre-made lists. As well as including common words, expressions, slang terms, colloquialisms, JLPT levels, and word types. Unfortunately, the app uses text-to-speech pronunciation, then you cannot hear how a Native speaker speaks.

Furthermore, the lists of similar kanji under each kanji entry are very helpful. It is especially for spotting possible confusion. For Apple users, Shirabe Jisho is 100% free. Also, it is an ad-free dictionary option that is well worth your time.

  • Pros: Extremely Comprehensive, Easy, Free. Strong at common examples of sentences. Covers All Levels & JLPT.
  • Cons: No Speech Pronunciation. Only available on iOS.
  • Availability: iOS

5. Drops

Source: Drops

Drops is the most popular app among every Japanese beginner learner. If you have always wanted to learn Japanese, but never had enough time or patience. I think you should consider trying this app.

Similarly with the Duolingo concepts, in just five minutes a day, you’ll learn Japanese. Using this app, you can study Japanese with the help of beautifully illustrated, immersive, and engaging lessons. You’ll focus on the part of Japanese that matters most – the words. It’s effective, fun, and 100% free. What you can get using Drops?

  • Learn 2,000+ Japanese words with Drops.
  • Drops helps you make visual associations with new words that you can remember.
  • Drops helps you practice your vocabulary and review the words you learn.
  • Start with just five minutes a day and make language learning a habit.

In addition, please take a look at the following points to consider further about this app:

  • Pros: Easy, Fun & Visually Beautiful. Best for Beginner.
  • Cons: No Speech Pronunciation. Need to Purchase for Premium Version. Only focus on Vocabulary.
  • Availability: iOS and Android

6. Benji

Source: Benji App

Next, in fifth place, I would like to introduce Benji – the Japanese learning & dictionary app. This app is very simple. It will help you improve your vocabulary, reading, and writing skills. Benji is a comprehensive app. It combines a dictionary, a notebook, and a quiz app. Many users think that this feature makes memorizing new vocabulary much easier.

What can you achieve with this app?

  • Quizzes: Through interactive quizzes, you can learn how to read and write Japanese. The app covers all levels, from basic to advanced, N5 to N1 JLPT.
  • Customize: You can create your word lists, add sentence examples and translations to focus on what you want to learn.
  • Dictionary: This app covers well over 100,000 words and phrases.
  • Full-sentence search: This is the most powerful feature of this app. Just copy and paste a news article, and Benji will translate all the words in it. After that, you can easily create a list from it.
  • Review quiz: Benji watches your learning process and knows which words you need to practice the most.

However, you are only allowed to have two-word lists in the FREE version. You need to purchase more services.

  • Pros: Easy, Comprehensive. Covers All Levels. Full-sentences search and translation.
  • Cons: Need to Purchase for Premium Version.
  • Availability: iOS and Android

7. Obenkyo

Source: Benji App

Next, I’d like to introduce you to another powerful app, Obenkyo. Obenkyo is a really great learning app for learning Japanese writing and reading. Unfortunately, it is only available for Android users. It is also a FREE language learning tool. It is useful for approaching the abundance of kanji and vocabulary of the language. However, beginners might find it difficult to use this app.

What can you achieve with this app?

  • Perfect for learning Japanese writing and reading.
  • Offers hiragana, katakana (the two basic Japanese alphabets), and kanji (the devilishly difficult logographic writing system of the language).
  • It offers you a friendly and simple design.
  • There are many features like sections for alphabets, vocabulary, particles, and many more.
  • Very great for JLPT preparation.

Let’s consider the following points to decide whether to use this app or not:

  • Pros: Covers Intermediate to Advanced Level. Perfect for writing and reading.
  • Cons: Difficult for Beginners. For Android Users only.
  • Availability: Android

8. Learn Japanese!!

Source: Learn Japanese!! App

Last but not least, here is the Learn Japanese!! App. This app offers a quick and easy way to learn the Japanese language. You can learn Japanese from scratch with this app as it is very beginner-friendly. It has the version FREE. However, if you want to remove the limitation, you need to purchase more features. The app comprehensively covers hiragana, katakana and kanji learning lessons.

What can you learn with this app?

  • Writing lessons with all hiragana and katakana.
  • Lessons with vocabulary and grammar.
  • Quiz with review and repetition.
  • Simple show and quiz-style teaching method.
  • English-Japanese and Japanese-English translations and much more.

Please consider the following points for better understanding:

  • Pros: Covers Beginner Levels. Perfect for Fundamental Japanese Learning.
  • Cons: Need to Purchase to remove restrictions.
  • Availability: iOS and Android


In light of this information, let us wrap up this article in the following points:

  • Learning Japanese with an app will help you improve your Japanese quickly.
  • The above 8 most powerful and mostly free apps are perfect for every learner, from beginner to advanced.
  • Combining 1 to two or even more apps to improve your Japanese would be great.

That’s it from me. I would like to thank you very much for reading all parts of this article. For any queries, feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you! See you in the next article.


Representative Director of Reboot Japan Co., Ltd., which operates EDOPEN JAPAN. Founded the company in 2018, which provides Japanese language education and assistance for studying in Japan. Started the company after living with international students at a Japanese language school. He enjoys learning about new people and cultures and has lived in Australia and Malaysia. Graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Sophia University.