Four of the Best Apps to Learn Japanese Reading

Learning to read Japanese or just practicing for the JLPT? This blog post will summarize most of the convenient and free applications that you can make use of.

Japanese Reader Applications

Japanese Grammar Applications

There are several applications that are good for improving your Japanese reading ability – Regardless of whether you are looking for an app that will help you pass the JLPT or just to help you read more comfortably – these apps will help you to improve your vocabulary through multiple materials.

Tango Risto

Website (Opens a new window)

Tango Risto
A Japanese learning app that will allow you to pick the materials that you would like to read and then turn the words into different vocabulary levels.
Example of Tango Risto's interface
Tango Risto is a graded reading application that is developed by an engineer and researcher of language processing – and on top of a cool story about how it became developed – it has some pretty cool features.

  • Sort articles by their difficulty level
  • Tap a word to see its English translation
  • Furigana for all words + adaptative display by JLPT level
  • Highlight vocabulary by its JLPT level
  • Verb conjugation identifier
  • Bookmark documents to read later
  • Bookmark words
  • Extracts vocabulary list for each text organized by JLPT level and part of speech
  • Quick links to look up each word on reference sites like, Tangorin, Japanese Exchange, etc.
  • Tap-to-reveal furigana mode new!
  • Night Mode new!
  • Listen to audio tracks directly from the app new!

This app is unique because you can use it to import your own documents and then read them in Japanese.  So if you like learning Japanese through reading a certain series of books – or if you need to be able to understand technical documents you can also do that.
It is great for studying the JLPT because vocabulary and the dictionary is color coded based on Japanese level.  There is also a flashcard / quiz setting inside the app which will allow you to practice JLPT vocabulary and grammar points over time.
Back to top


Website (Opens a new window)

App: Mondo
Mondo is a very similar app to Tango Risto and has a feature set that is similar.  One of the main differences is the sources of the news articles that can be read by using the app.
The app’s design and user interface is similar in terms of being able to click on a Japanese word and then have an external dictionary feed you the meaning of the word. You can also star words and add them to lists.
One major difference between Tango Risto and Mondo is the social aspect of the “Handshake” feature. It allows you to match with language partners within their learning app network. The maker of this app also has an English reading app in Japan that helps Japanese people learn English.  They have used this unique benefit to their advantage by providing a matching feature for users of the App.
Mondo's interface
Some of the unique features of Mondo


MONDO automatically records your reading time and words. It helps your continuous learning.
And MONDO lets you create an individualised reading program based on your interests and reading level.

2. Smart Scrolling

Articles display the expected reading time, so you can choose to read shorter or longer articles based on your available time.
Articles can scroll automatically at your desired reading speed, to help improve your natural Japanese reading comprehension.

3. One Tap Dictionary

If you find an unknown word in an article, tap the word and it will be shown in Hiragana and English. This enables you to understand an article even if there are many kanji you cannot yet read, while helping you improve your kanji study at the same time.

4. Word Tests & Flash Cards

Words you look up are automatically saved into your wordbook. This creates an automatic dictionary of new words you are learning, for future reference and study.
And MONDO can create automated quizzes for you based on the words in your wordbook, to help you truly learn the meaning and the kanji.

5. Hand Shake

You can find Japanese friends, and friends are learning Japanese language.
When you shake hands with other user, you can connect with them and see their study logs.

We recommend mondo as a great way to spend time reading on the train or learning new vocabulary.  It also could be a great way to meet new Japanese language exchange partners.

Back to top

Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese – Learning Japanese

Website (Opens a new window)

App: Tae Kim's guide to learning japanese
The application formerly (still) known as Tae Kim’s guide to learning Japanese is a useful electronic textbook / reference app that you can use to teach yourself Japanese grammatical concepts in a linear fashion.
Tae Kim’s Guide is a comprehensive reference guide for learning Japanese grammar that has been on the internet for many years now.

Topics covered

  • The Japanese Writing System (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji)
  • Basic Japanese Grammar (Particles, Gobi, Tense, etc.)
  • Essential Japanese Grammar (Polite Forms, Conditionals, etc.)
  • Special Expressions (Causative, Amounts, Honorific, etc.)
  • Advanced Topics (Formal Expressions, Volitional, etc.)

Tae Kim's interface
Back to top



Website (Opens a new window)

App: Bunpro
Bunpro is a new online platform for Japanese grammar learning that combines the concept of SRS Flashcards (Spaced Repetition Software).
It has a linear leveled approach that will give you example sentences, quizzes, and lessons for each grammar point that will appear on every level of the JLPT Exam.
Bunpro's interface
There is also progress tracking and automatic reminders so if you fall behind in your studying you can easily catch up.
Bunpro's interface for JLPT practice
We highly reccommend this application for those that are studying for the JLPT – although right now there is only an online version – the ios application is currently in beta testing and you can request a copy by applying through the form on the website.
Back to top
If reading isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are also plenty of Japanese flashcard games and video games out there of which you can check out! Also, here are also some applications that you might want to check out if learning on the go is something of interest to you!

Want to master Japanese? Start taking Japanese lessons with us!