Our Favorite Japanese Learning Resources for 2022: January

Last Updated on 11.01.2022 by Coto Japanese Language School

How’s your Japanese study going? Whether you are looking to pass the JLPT or practicing conversational Japanese, we’ve compiled 16 of our favorite Japanese learning resources for 2022. From interactive Japanese learning games to cute egg-shaped chatbots, we hope these resources make your Japanese learning fun and something you look forward to.

You can find them all online, and most of them are free.

Online Websites and Blogs to Learn Japanese

Lately Japanese

Lately Japanese is a personal blog about a gaijin’s take on the Japanese language. It’s not your run-of-the-mill learning blog about grammar points and particles. He makes Japanese learning fun through his “Did you know?” articles. Most of them are about popular Japanese slang words and culture. The articles are short and easy to navigate with both English and Japanese written.

Included in the blog is also an “Ask Me” post which allows visitors to the page to ask the blogger questions related to Japanese culture and words.

Kanji Koohii

Our Favorite Japanese Learning Resources for 2022: January

Kanji Koohii is a completely free Japanese learning resource. Koohii or コーヒー is actually the Japanese word for “coffee”. The web teaches you kanji through their method called “Remembering the Kanji“. They break down how complex kanji characters smaller, simple parts using a mnemonic system.

Through these “mini-stories”, you’re less likely to force yourself to remember the whole kanji, and instead understand them in a way that makes sense.

Features of Kanji Koohii:

  • You can edit and share kanji mnemonics (Short Stories)
  • Improve memory with kanji flashcards and a spaced repetition system (SRS)
  • Track your progress to stay motivated
  • Learn words based with the smart dictionary

Click here to learn more about Kanji Koohii

Bretmayer.com

bretmayer.com Favorite Japanese Learning Resources for 2022: January

Created by — surprise, surprise! — a guy named Bret Mayer, BretMayer.com is for those looking to master Japanese kanji. That said, it might not be the perfect option for beginners. The content is more complex and advanced, demanding a bit of high kanji proficiency. Even upper-beginner to intermediate learners might find it hard to keep up with the content.

However, Mayer mastered the Japanese language by himself, back when he was in high school. Because of this, he provides hints and helpful tips to learn kanji easily. His site contains non-standard kanji, Japanese idioms, proverbs and useful vocabulary. All of them are leveled.

If you’re looking for a fresh, albeit challenging, perspective and practice on learning kanji, this site is a good fit for you.

Online Books and Libraries to Learn Japanese

Yomimono

yomimono Favorite Japanese Learning Resources for 2022: January

Yomimono is an online Japanese textbook built for beginners. It’s easy for us to fall into the rabbit hole of buying Japanese study materials. This is both inconvenient (who can carry 5 textbooks all day?) and ineffective. Still, some of us can’t just abandon our love for the traditional.

Yomimono transfers features of the conventional textbook to modern-day technology. You can create a free account to access their grammar content, track your progress and store your records. How they work is simple: you complete a practice unit to get “stars”. Gaining all the stars allows you to unlock the next lesson test.

The website is also free of advertisements, so you can say goodbye to those annoying popups. Additional features like an integrated spaced repetition system are only available with a subscription.

Costs: Free | Paid (USD$4.99 / MONTH)

Aozora Bunko

Japanese Learning Resources

Aozora Bunko, also known as Blue Sky Library, is a free online library with thousands of Japanese books that can be easily downloaded without any legal issues. The book in Aozora Bunko is completely in Japanese and is catered towards more intermediate learners of Japanese. You can access the books as HTML, plaintext, or eBook and easily convert them to PDF online.

Learnnatively

Japanese Learning Resources

The struggle to find the perfect Japanese textbook is real. LearnNatively is an online website that helps you find one for your level. It is essentially an online database filled with Japanese books and written resources that have been categorized into 6 levels of difficulty. The difficulty level ranges from beginner to advance and is aligned correspondingly to the 5 levels of the JLPT.

The difficulty ratings are given by the community grading system. This is where the reader will grade their completed books by comparing two books at a time.

The site also has many different categories of books such as manga, children’s books, novels and textbooks. Included is also a special category where you can search for books that are free, award-winning books that have and even those in the WaniKani book club.

Online Japanese Learning Games

Slime Forest Adventure

Japanese Learning Resources

Slime Forest Adventure is an interactive role-playing game. The aim of the game is to teach players how to correctly write Japanese in hiragana, katakana, and kanji. The free version of the adventure game will teach you the very basics, while more advanced content requires a payment for the upgraded version of the game. Still, the free version of the game is more than sufficient for basic learners.

In the game and through story quests, to fight slimes and save the princess you would need to use the Japanese writing systems and learn them as you progress. Once you have completed the game, you will be able to distinguish over 2,000 kanji and 3,000 example words.

Check the game here

Katakana War

Katakana War is an ideal game for anyone looking for an introduction to the Japanese language. The game features anime characters who embark on an exploration journey of learning and action. As the name suggests, katakana is the core focus of the adventure.

You don’t have to know Japanese at all to play the game. You’ll learn new katakana characters at each “battle”. The cherry on top? The katakana-shaped enemies. To defeat them, you need to correctly translate the meaning. You can even find friends as you progress, who can join you on your next adventure.

Check the game here

Free Japanese Learning Apps

Someties, having access to Japanese learning resources on the go is what we need. We’ve also made a list of our favorite learning apps in 2021. Check them out here.

Mondly

Japanese Learning Resources

Mondly is a language learning app with over 33 languages and 40 million users around the globe. The app uses a combination of course materials, augmented reality (AR), and chatbots to help learners master the Japanese language.

MondlyVR is Mondly’s virtual immersion tool. Using VR technology, you will be put into a simulated real-life situation. For example, if you’re practicing conversation at a “Restaurant”, the VR tool will put you in a restaurant with a waitress for conversation.

MondlyAR will take a scan of your room and use augmented reality (AR) technology to show a teacher and animations for the words that you’re learning. This is similar to classroom learning but instead from the comfort of your own home and still a 360-degree view of the classroom.

Using a point system, Mondly has daily lessons that unlock every 12 hours. Once you have completed an entire week of daily lessons, you will get a lengthy weekly test. Missing a day will disrupt the chances of unlocking the weekly test. Based on how many stars you have left at the end of the lesson, you will get points. Starting from the beginning will earn you three stars. Making a mistake will cause you to lose a star. You can also compare points with other learners by checking the leaderboard.

Download the app here

Japanese

Japanese is one of the best on-the-go language dictionaries that are available in the app store. It has over 175,000 Japanese words and 58,000 example sentences. The application has a clean and modern interface, making it easy to navigate. It runs offline as well, so you need not worry about having an internet connection. Japanese also comes with broken-down explanations of each kanji and flashcard study tools for you to master Japanese as you go.

Main features of the application include:

  • Handwriting recognition that allows you to write kanji in any stroke order.
  • Individual breakdowns with meanings and readings of each kanji.
  • Easy-to-use flashcards for study reminders & custom bookmark folders.

Download the app here

Eggbun: Chat to Learn Japanese

If you are looking for more of a conversation-based study program, you can try out Eggbun. Unlike many other Japanese learning apps, Eggbun is an automated Japanese learning chatbot that allows users to converse in Japanese anytime and anywhere. Eggbun teaches how to read, write and converse in simple steps.

Download the application and get the chance to speak one-to-one with their native-speaker mascot, Lenny (yes, the one that looks like an egg). This is where Lenny basically becomes your own personal tutor and uses real-life conversational tools to teach you Japanese, complete with real-person audios. The application also includes a weekly dashboard for you to track your progress as you go.

Conversations with Lenny will progressively get harder as you go. Each educational lesson has multiple levels and quizzes to guide you along as well as pre-recorded audio and word lists to read and study. Eggbun also has a culture cards section that introduces the different aspects of Japanese customs with fun illustrations and useful tips.

For a more upgraded version with more Japanese learning resources, Eggbun offers a monthly subscription for USD $3.99, a 6-month subscription for USD$19.99, or an annual subscription for USD$29.99.

Download the app here

YouTubers to Learn Japanese

Of all the many gathered in the digital creative landscape, we’ve collected 50 of our top Japanese YouTube channels you should subscribe to. A lot of them provide free online Japanese learning resources.

Japanese Ammo With Misa

If you are interested in conversational Japanese learning resources, especially grammar, check out Japanese Ammo With Misa. She posts all kinds of content on both formal and informal registers of Japanese. All her videos are fully in Japanese with English subtitles.

For example, in one of her most recent videos, she teaches you 5 funny idioms textbooks don’t teach you. In the video, she gave in-dept explanations of verb usage and examples.

Masako no Nihongo

Masako no Nihongo is a relatively new channel that started about 5 months ago (August 2021). She posts educational videos about Japanese words and phrases that you would not see in a Japanese learning textbook. Her videos are often no less than a minute long, and she inputs lot of example sentences.

This is perfect for those looking to study more conversational-based Japanese and but do not want to go into the techniques behind the different words and phrases.

Dogen

Dogen’s videos aren’t like your typical Japanese learning resources. He’s is an American Youtuber based in Japan who is best known for his comedic skits in Japanese. His contents are mainly short videos in Japanese. He covers all kinds of topics from politics, food culture to daily struggles. He also teaches Japanese focuses on standard pronunciation way of talking. “The 7 different ways to pronounce ん / 「ん」の7つの音” is one of his more popular videos. In recent years, Dogen has started a Patreon. By subscribing, you can send videos to him to review your intonation and pronunciation.

Fischer’s (フィッシャーズ)

With over 7 million subscribers and at least an average of 2 million views per video, Fischer’s is a channel run by seven Japanese guys who take on weird and crazy challenges. They have a firecracker group dynamic that makes their videos exciting. Fisher’s is not explicitly about language learning. Their more popular videos feature them eating crazy amounts of food, hunting for pirates’ treasure, as well as testing out water parks in Japan.

Best Spotify to Learn Japanese

We’ve also scoured Spotify to find the best Japanese podcasts that beginner-intermediate students. You can preview some of the episodes by playing them directly.

けんと レイディオ CHANNEL (Kento’s Radio Channel)

“けんと レイディオ CHANNEL” translates to Kento’s Radio Channel. The podcasts are run by bilinguals (English & Japanese): a 4-year-old Kento and his dad. In their podcasts, the pair discusses a wide range of topics related to learning English, current affairs, and children-related topics. They have also started a Patreon, where they host Q&A sessions with their subscribers.

Kevinvin Sleepy Japanese

Are you looking to listen to something to calm and relax your mind before you go to sleep? Check out Kevinvin Sleepy Japanese. Known for his soothing and calming voice, Kevinvin’s podcasts episodes have a wide variety of topics from learning Japanese, dialects in Japan, anime, and music. Kevinvin also has a beautiful singing voice, so don’t be surprised if you catch him singing in one of the episodes.

Studying Japanese? Take Free Japanese Level Assessment Test

At Coto Japanese Academy (our Tokyo, Yokohama and online language school), we want you to learn the “real” conversational Japanese. For that, we want to hear more about your goal, preference and Japanese level. Sign up to get a free level assessment and lesson consultation.

Coto Japanese Academy is a unique Japanese Language School in Iidabashi Tokyo. We offer relaxed and fun conversational lessons for all levels of Japanese learners. Coto Japanese Academy prides itself on its community atmosphere and fun lessons that focus on the creation of opportunities to speak and learn Japanese. If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo, please visit our contact page.