BIG Collection – Free Online Japanese Courses for Beginners

Topic: Online Japanese Course

Hi there,

Some people like to learn Japanese with textbooks.

Others? They prefer to play only with little word-game apps. And then, there are smart people like you who want an online Japanese course. You want something that will teach you everything from ZERO…

…until you’re speaking and understanding the language.

So, here are the must-have online Japanese courses.

For each one, you will learn

  • it’s strong points
  • who’s it for
  • the price (most are free or have free options)
  • and what you can expect.

online japanese course

1. JapanesePod101.com

What is it?

JapanesePod101.com is a famous “audio/video” online Japanese course has been around since 2005.

online japanese course

What are its strong points?

You join, you pick your level (Absolute Beginner to Advanced) and then it feeds you audio/video lessons. Want to learn travel phrases? You can learn for travel. Want to skip grammar? Yes, you can skip grammar. You get what you want, and all you have to do is press play and start learning.

That’s how it works.

  • Great for listening and speaking skills
  • Engaging and easy (3-15 minute long) audio/video lessons that are easy to finish
  • App to learn on the go
  • New lessons + PDFs sent weekly to all members, for free

In my opinion, audio and video are great for consuming language. You just take it in, instead of doing hard work and looking up words in dictionaries.

online japanese course

So, who is it for?

  • Anyone interested in Japanese – young and old
  • Brand new learners, Beginners, Intermediates and Advanced. I can only say this because they have lessons for ALL levels inside.

What kind of results you can expect:

  • If you speak NO Japanese, you probably will speak your first Japanese words with them
  • You can go from Beginner level to Advanced. They have 2,000+ lessons after all
  • You can learn to speak and understand entire conversations.

What’s the cost?

  • Free, Basic and Premium accounts. From as low as $4/month. They also offer discounts if you’re smart enough to take advantage.

So, click here to visit JapanesePod101 and get your free lifetime account.

What’s next?

2. NHK Easy Japanese

NHK is a public TV channel over in Japan.

Plus, they have their own online Japanese course for beginners.

online japanese course

Now, this is a limited, small course – just 48 lessons long, but that’s a good thing. Why? It means you can actually finish it! You get audio lessons and lesson pages with the text, grammar and scripts.

What are it’s strong points?

  • Very beginner friendly.
  • Easy to finish. Once you’re done, move on to other stuff.
  • Good resource for beginners to get started on.

Who is it for?

  • Definitely an online Japanese course for beginners

What results can you expect?

  • Learn beginner words and phrases
  • Learn beginner grammar

What’s the cost?

  • Free

Note, you’ll still be a a beginner when you finish this online Japanese course.

But, hey, that’s okay!

Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know. Everything is a step that will bring you closer to your goals.

3. Learn Japanese for Beginners: The Ultimate 100-Lesson Course

A big collection of video lessons. 100 video lessons!

Udemy is famous for online courses and this includes online Japanese courses. This course covers the majority of beginner level stuff: writing, reading, grammar and listening.

online japanese course

In total, about 8 hours of lessons.

It’s a well rated course too — 4.5 stars out of 5, so you know it’s legit.

One complaint users have is that there isn’t enough “pure grammar” lessons, like this is rule 1, then this is rule 2, and so on.

What are it’s strong points?

  • Video is easy to absorb
  • 100 lessons can be easily finished

Who is it for?

  • Beginners.

What results can you expect?

  • learn to read and write
  • beginner words and phrases

What’s the cost?

  • $13. It varies. Udemy prices go up and down. You’d need to pay up front as there’s no free trial.

Note: Yes, you’ll still be a beginner when you finish this.

4. Learn Japanese: Rosetta Stone Online 

Rosetta Stone is a pioneer of language learning software.

And here’s their online Japanese course.

You can get 12 or 24 month access with this.

Strong points: Rosetta teaches you the language just like how children learn language. You see something. You’re given the word for it. You repeat it. And it does this through picture quizzes and courses based on topics like: dining out, meeting people, common phrases and much more.

online japanese course

Who is it for:

  • From beginner level and up. I think mostly beginners would benefit from this friendly approach. Advanced learners would want something faster.

What results can you expect?

  • Learn words and phrases the way children do.

What’s the cost?

  • Check pricing on Amazon. $179+ was the last time I checked.

5. Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese

Strong points: Tae Kim is not Japanese. But, he became fluent in Japanese so he’s a valuable voice in language learning. You’re learning from someone that has done it.

As such, his site is a collection of lessons, all made by a proven learner.

Yes, it’s great to learn from natives. But, it’s also great to learn from people that know how to learn and what to do.

Who is it for:

  • Beginners & Intermediate learners

What results can you expect?

  • Learn grammar

What’s the cost?

  • Free. But he does have a book if you’re interested.

6. Japanese-Lesson.com

This is another great online Japanese course for beginners.

Why do I think it’s great?

Strong points: Because it’s limited and easy to finish. Here, you simply have courses on Hiragana, Katakana and Basic Phrases.

Who is it for:

  • Beginners

What results can you expect?

  • Basic words and phrases

What’s the cost?

  • Free

7. Busuu

Funnily enough, busu means ugly in Japanese.

Just saying.

But, this is indeed an online language course and includes Japanese. And it’s very nicely designed, so it’s not ugly.

Strong points: It keeps learning interactive. You can go from matching words to filling in the blanks to moving around words to their correct spots. Overall, this is great for learning words and phrases and keeping you active. It’s a word/phrase course.

Who is it for:

  • Beginners

What results can you expect?

  • Words and phrases

What’s the cost?

  • Free and from $5.41 a month

Note, this is NOT a complete course but mostly word and phrase-based. So, you will still want something that exposes you to conversations. It’s one thing to learn a word. It’s another thing to hear conversations.


Enjoyed this collection of online Japanese courses?

Be sure to share this with anyone who wishes to learn Japanese one day.

All they need a push and some good resources.

Perhaps they, or you, can find some here!

Also, I will add more Japanese programs and courses and update this article when I find new ones.

– To your fluency

The Main Junkie

P.S. What do I recommend? JapanesePod101.

Click on the fun image below to get your free lifetime account!

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