Top 10 Free Apps for Japanese Learning: A-Z Important Facts You Need to Know

Top 10 Free Apps for Japanese Learning - EDOPEN Japan

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

If you are eager to learn Japanese, then our media is 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 here with us!

Now to the topic of this article. As we all know, 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 improve your Japanese quickly. Just swipe and tap to improve your Japanese!

In addition, if you are looking for other methods to learn Japanese that are better and more fun, please have a look at our interesting discussion below!

Read also:
What is the Best Japanese Learning Website?
The Best Books to Learn Japanese for All Levels
8 Most Popular Manga to Learn Japanese

The Advantages of Using Apps to Learn Japanese

The Advantages of Using Apps to Learn Japanese - EDOPEN Japan

There are several advantages to learning Japanese with an application. This is what makes Japanese learning applications so popular with many people to this day. What are the benefits you can get? Check out some of them below!

  1. You can use your free time very effectively to learn Japanese.
  2. You can access many Japanese topics anytime, anywhere without any restrictions.
  3. Highly interactive learning will really help you learn consistently.
  4. Various interesting and very useful features in the Japanese language learning application will make it very easy for you to accept any material provided.
  5. This new content and method will definitely give you the impression that learning Japanese is fun. You certainly won’t get that if you learn Japanese with other conventional methods.

For those of you who like challenges, some Japanese learning applications also offer gamification features. Not infrequently, various materials from the beginner to the advanced level are presented in the form of games that are interesting and activate our enthusiasm and motivation to complete each challenge. This will indirectly make us dissolve into the material provided.

As a result, you will not feel that the Japanese material you are studying is difficult. In fact, you will continue to be addicted to completing various types of challenges because it is very enjoyable when you can complete each challenge, let alone win and receive prizes for doing so.

This is what you will not get if you learn Japanese formally. Boredom, monotony and loss of motivation in the middle of the process are very dangerous. Because learning Japanese requires consistency and commitment.

If you are a person who finds it difficult to maintain consistency and commitment to various things, for example when learning Japanese, then trying to learn Japanese using an application that presents Japanese material with gamification elements may be the best choice for you! Although it is usually very difficult to find applications that discuss material up to an advanced level. However, for mastering the basic to intermediate levels, there are already many applications with gamification elements available!

Best Guide for Effective Japanese Learning with Language Apps

Best Guide for Effective Japanese Learning with Language Apps - EDOPEN Japan

To get maximum results when you decide to learn Japanese with an application, you really need the right guidance so that your decision and time are not wasted. The following are tips that you can use when learning Japanese with an application so that your learning can be effective, precise, and have a good effect on your Japanese language development!

  1. You must decide in advance what goals you want to achieve in a given time. For example, start learning basic material within 1 month. After 1 month, start evaluating the content of the material you have learned and how far you can master it.
  2. Decide on a schedule for opening the application. For example, you can set a special schedule to study Japanese by using an application at 7:00 a.m. and start studying 15-30 minutes before going to school, for example. Or you can set a special schedule such as before going to bed and other times.
  3. Try to review any material that is consistently studied by yourself by writing it down or telling it to others. This can help you really understand the material you’ve studied and can be your way of checking how good or bad you are at retelling the material you’ve learned.

In addition, try to practice any Japanese material you have learned as often as possible. To do this, you will need friends or a community that can help you grow. Find friends or Japanese learning communities that can be your place to review any material you are studying or even get new material and tips on how to learn Japanese better than other people. This will certainly have a very positive effect on you.

Top 10 Free Apps for Japanese Learning

Top 10 Free Apps for Japanese Learning - EDOPEN Japan

1. 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 addition, 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

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 also get an abundance most common examples there. There are positive, negative, and ~masu conjugations where relevant and many more!

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

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? You will be able to 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

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.

In addition, you can learn 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. Aldo,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

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? It is perfect for learning Japanese writing and reading. This app offers hiragana, katakana (the two basic Japanese alphabets), and kanji (the devilishly difficult logographic writing system of the language).

In addition, it offers you a friendly and simple design. There are many features like sections for alphabets, vocabulary, particles, and many more. It is also 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!!

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 as well as 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

9. Lingodeer

Lingodeer is currently the #1 app for learning Asian languages, including Japanese. So far, more than 20 million people have used this application. There are 12 languages you can learn including Japanese.

For those of you who like interesting learning in a short time, you can consider this application. You will get short but interactive Japanese lessons in 2 minutes every day. You can learn to read and write with a unique and very interesting alphabet system. To help you understand difficult Japanese grammar, you will be provided with very powerful tips and notes.

In addition, there are audio recordings of native speakers that you can listen to directly to learn pronunciation and intonation. You will rarely find this in other applications.

Pros: There are many features such as audio recordings, flashcards, quizzes, goals, and more.
Cons: You have to pay for more extensive materials and features.
Availability: iOS and Android

10. renshuu – Japanese learning

For those of you who don’t like ads that suddenly appear and break your concentration while learning Japanese, you must download this renshuu – Japanese learning app! Plus, you’ll get a fun learning experience with lots of cute illustrations that will make you spend your time without even realizing it.

Moreover, this application is free and does not force you to pay to enjoy the available material. For those of you who don’t know any Japanese at all or who have studied Japanese before, trying this application is very valuable.

There are features for learning hiragana, katakana and kanji that are rarely found in other Japanese learning applications. For grammar, the topics covered are also very diverse, comprehensive and unlimited.

Pros: Ad-free, cute and funny illustrations, completely free.
Cons: Grammar is a bit formal, but good for a first step.
Availability: Android

The Most Common Mistakes to Avoid when Learning Japanese with Apps

The Most Common Mistakes to Avoid when Learning Japanese with Apps - EDOPEN Japan

The following are the most common mistakes you can avoid if you have decided to learn Japanese with an application.

  1. It’s hard to study consistently. The strength of most apps lies in the fun illustrations, but in such a short amount of time. You need to do it consistently every day. If you are just learning how to use the application, or if you are lazy and only do it once a week, then it will have no impact on your Japanese language development. Study consistently every day, even if it is just a little.
  2. Study too much material at once. Begin to really understand the material you are studying instead of focusing on the amount of material you can learn at that time. However, how deeply you understand each available material. Therefore, continue to study consistently every day, even if it’s just a little, but review the material you’ve learned.
  3. Learning the material too quickly. So that you don’t get overwhelmed and the material you’ve learned doesn’t just evaporate, don’t study too fast. For those who learn by playing games, they usually subconsciously forget the material being studied and pass it by without leaving anything in their minds, easily forgetting it. Therefore, try to review all the material you studied at that time and don’t just skip it.

Some of the points above may not apply to you. Or it could be that only 1 of them happened to you. Don’t worry, this is just a reminder so that your decision to learn Japanese with the help of an application is not in vain and actually has a positive impact on the development of your Japanese skills.

FAQ about Learning Japanese Using Apps

FAQ about Learning Japanese Using Apps - EDOPEN Japan

The following are questions you may have about learning Japanese with an application. Please refer to our answers and discussion. Hopefully this can be a useful point for you to better understand how to learn Japanese using an application.

Which app is best for learning Japanese for beginners?
The 10 applications above provide beginner level material. All are the best. Please choose according to your needs, abilities and goals for learning Japanese.
Which is the best app to learn Japanese free?
We have selected the 10 applications above and they are free, although there are some applications that require a subscription to remove restrictions, but you can install more than 1 application to get material that you cannot get in 1 application.
How can I learn Japanese myself?
Learning Japanese is one of the ways you can learn Japanese on your own. Choose 1 or more of the 10 best apps we have selected above to learn Japanese.
Which app is better for learning Japanese?
Each application has its own advantages and disadvantages. Choose according to your needs, abilities, and goals for learning Japanese. Installing more than 1 application is also not a bad choice to expand the material you can learn.
What is the most easiest way to learn Japanese?
Learning Japanese with an app can be a good choice. Many people do it because it is very easy and free. Choose 1 or more of the 10 best apps for learning Japanese above according to your needs, abilities and goals for learning Japanese.

What do you think? Do you have any other questions about learning Japanese with an application? Please share them in the comments section below!


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.