8+ Best Japanese Learning Apps You Won’t See in Other Reviews


Tired of getting recommended the same old Apps?

Apps that are pretty much similar to each other? (You know which ones I’m talking about. They paid a lot of money to be featured.)

Want some unique Apps? Well, keep reading.

Here are the best Japanese Apps for iOS & Android in no particular order.  I made sure to include Apps for different uses and skills… so that you’re not playing translation games on App #1, translation games on App #2, #3,  and playing matching games on App #5.

best japanese learning apps

1. Innovative Language Learning

This is JapanesePod101’s  (read JapanesePod101 review here) App and kind of a “hub” App because it houses their other languages like Korean, Spanish, and so on.

The app has you go through a learning pathway of lessons (podcast-style audio and video lessons) where you learn practical conversations. And they have plenty of supporting tools like transcripts to read along, in-depth explanations and conversation breakdowns and more.

ill app

What separates these guys from most of all the famous language apps is… here, you don’t learn with mechanic/AI based lessons with robotic voices that a programmer created. You’re learning from and listening to real Japanese speakers and real teachers.

  • Type of App: Audio/video lesson based program
  • Strengths: You learn from real native speakers and teachers. You learn practical conversations and learn to speak.


2. Learning Japanese with Tae Kim

This is Tae Kim’s site in App form. If you don’t know who Tae Kim is, well… he has a website that explains a whole ton of Japanese grammar from the point of view of a learner/non-native. And as much as you’d want to learn from natives, sometimes an explanation from a non-native is just as good because they know what trips us up from first hand experience.

And so, this app is his site in app form. Think of it as a textbook replacement (or grammar book.) Great as a reference feature and for learning grammar rules.

  • Type of App: Text-based, reference.
  • Strengths: Grammar explanations.


best japanese learning apps

3. Imiwa? Dictionary

Hands down, this is THE best dictionary App I’ve seen so far.

Why? Well, looking up words aside… you can even paste in Japanese text to have it broken down, word by word. I’ve been using this app consistently for years and if it costed $5, $10, or even $35 it’d be worth it. God knows I’ve wasted more money on coffee over the years that I had this app.

But, it’s free.

Imiwa is iOS only. Don’t worry, there’s a good Android App down below.

  • Type of App: Dictionary
  • Strengths: Duh, everyone needs a dictionary!


best japanese learning apps

4 JED – Japanese Dictionary

Probably THE best Android dictionary App. Easy too look up words, can search in romaji, english etc. Has furigana for kanji, Handy example sentences. This is an Android only app.

  • Type of App: Dictionary
  • Strengths: Duh, everyone needs a dictionary!


best japanese learning apps

5. Skritter – Write Japanese

Normally, I’d dismiss an app that teaches you the Japanese alphabet.

Why? Mostly because you can learn it without an app… and with just a pen and paper…. and you can learn it pretty quickly without fancy apps or tools.

But, Japanese also has Kanji. A lot of Kanji. And if you want to write and master Kanji, well… you will need a lot of help.  And I think that’s where Skritter (hi Fiona, you’re hot!) comes in and teaches you not only the Hiragana/Katakana, but also Kanji from N5 to N1. You can practice writing on your device with your finger.

But wait. Some of you might ask if writing with a finger is even good for practice.

Well, a friend taught me to write out Kanji in the air with a finger (or a pen, or whatever) and it helped Kanji stick. So yes, if you’re practicing the motion, you’ll be able to sail the ocean (of Kanji).

  • Type of App: Writing practice app
  • Strengths: You learn Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji by writing via your smartphone.


6. Anki App

Yes, the world famous SRS flashcard system.

If you haven’t heard of spaced repetition learning, well, you should read up on it. Long story short, it helps you remember better by spacing out your learning and testing you just before you forget what you learned. And yes, backed by science.

You can use this to study Japanese words, grammar, sentences, and anything you can stick on a flashcard.

Sure, this app isn’t flashy and doesn’t have a candy-like design that you’d see on most gimmicky apps, but it works… and dare I say even better than the flashy apps.


7. Japan Radio

Alright, studying aside…

Wouldn’t it be nice to listen to some Japanese radio straight out of Japan?

Of course it would! And that’s where this App comes in.

To be honest, it could be totally useless for one learner and good to have for another, more experienced learner. Useless because if you don’t understand enough Japanese, there’s no point. But, if you are intermediate or above, you can use this to listen to Japanese radio…. keep it on…. and immerse yourself in Japanese.


8. Glossika

Glossika has an interesting approach with learning Japanese.

Basically, you listen to Japanese sentences with a spaced repetition system (instead of looking at just words.) The upside is, you reinforce grammar and learn words in context.

You can also do typing exercises, but listening to audio on repeat is a big plus for me… and why I also like Innovative Language up top.


I’d say it’s good as a supplementary tool… if you’re learning with Japanese textbooks or another program. And this helps drill in the grammar and words you’ve already come across but don’t know quite well.

  • Type of App: Spaced repetition program focusing on audio/sentences
  • Strengths: Helps with memorization, reinforcing grammar and vocab. Teaches you  through sentences.


So, what do you think?

Did I miss an awesome App that should be up here?

Be sure to leave me a comment and a link.

Yes, this top 13 list is barely scratching the surface. There are definitely more. Let’s make it a top 20 or top 30 list.

Image: Blue Hour over Tokyo by Balint Földesi

Hope you enjoy these apps.

– Written by the Main Junkie

P.S. I highly recommend this for Japanese learners. If you REALLY want to learn to Japanese with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at JapanesePod101 (click here) and start learning!learn with japanesepod101


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[…] Over at Lingua Junkie, there’s also a list of really helpful apps to learn Japanese with on your phone. […]

Zhang Er

if youare starting from scratch


Here’s another. It’s called Kana Writing. I have it on my iPod.

Tsai James

I can recommend it may be an good app.

Manuel Dambrine

Very good list.


Have you used these apps to learn Japanese by the way?

Oliver Rose

The best app