Best Japanese Language Courses Reviewed

10 Best Japanese Language Courses Online Free + Paid [2021]

Last Updated On: July 4, 2021
Posted In

Ohayō! Japanese is the ninth most spoken language in the world, with 128 million native speakers globally. 

In 2012, when I started watching anime, “Ohayo” was the first Japanese word I had learned and I liked it pretty much! But when I thought about learning the Japanese language, I got scared to be truthful. 

Also, I had a dream to study in Japan and I needed Japanese language clearance to get my desired uni. I started digging the whole internet and finally found some mesmerizing Japanese learning courses which are very easy to complete and gonna make you fluent in Japanese. 

Japanese is easy to love but hard to learn. So, we got the top 10 Japanese Language Courses where you can learn Japanese from any level you want to start. And each of them is an online Japanese course that you can complete easily by sitting on your comfy couch!    

If you are an anime lover or a Japanese language enthusiast searching to brush up your skill of Kanji, an intermediate learner with knowledge of Hiragana and Katakana, or a beginner without any Japanese language skills, then this list is perfect for you to dive into the realm of the Japanese Language!

10 Best Japanese Language Courses Online

  1. Learn Japanese by Japanesepod101
  2. Complete Japanese by Busuu
  3. Japanese Level 1-5 Courses by Pimsleur
  4. Japanese Uncovered Beginner by Japanese Uncovered
  5. Attain Corp. Udemy Japanese Courses by Udemy
  6. Japanese Language Course by Nihongo-pro.com
  7. Rocket Japanese by Rocket Languages
  8. Learn Japanese Online by Loecsen
  9. Learn Japanese by LingoDeer
  10. Japanese Immersion Online by FluentU

All of the courses are good enough to help you achieve your goal. But it might be confusing for you to choose the one that best suits you. So I’ll share what I liked about them and what I didn’t. Still, if you are confused, check out my special recommendation section at the end of the article.

Disclosure: The site might contain affiliate links. This helps us create high quality content for you. Learn more.

10 Best Japanese Language Courses Online: Free and Paid

1. Learn Japanese by Japanesepod101

Japanesepod101 japanese language course review to learn japanese online
Japanesepod101 Language Learning Review
  • Rating: 4.8
  • Certificate: Yes
  • Level: Beginner 
  • Study Material: 92 lessons and 130 assignments
  • Projects: Practise sets and Exam papers along with graded professional assignments 
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Cost: From $4 to $23 per month / Free courses available with huge resources

What You Will Learn

  • Professional Japanese 
  • Japanese for any purposes you want
  • Educational courses for JLPT levels N5, N4, N3, and N2.
  • Grammatical methods for writing and speaking
  • Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana- basics to professional level 

Why you should enroll

  • Largest Japanese Language portal in the world. 
  • You can start learning from any level and use any method you like to use.
  • Listening to native Japanese conversations will help you to understand Japanese even faster.
  • You will get different methods of learning including Audio, Video, Flashcards, Quizzes, Daily word lists, Practice tests, Pdf books, Youtube streams, Podcasts, etc. 
  • Communicate with a professional Japanese language teacher.
  • Be a part of one of the biggest language enthusiastic communities and take feedback from scholars.
  • Get free resources and practice anytime you want. 

Top Review

“I would highly recommend JPod for anyone interested in learning a language from the ground up or as preparation to get into college courses. It is far better than most of the other kinds of software and websites I have been to, mostly because the videos are very well organized and presented, with comprehensive learning material teaching the basic workings of the language as well as the grammar structures along with vocabulary.”

- said by a Japanesepod101 user

Currently, japanesepod101 is playing the biggest role among all the Japanese language learning platforms and ensuring proper Japanese language training to people around the globe. With scientific language training modules, day by day japanesepod101 is taking the lead in online Japanese language training ordinates. Their podcasts are an amazing source to build up your listening skill as they helped to build mine too!

Anyone, belonging to any level of knowledge, can enjoy learning Japanese online through japanesepod101 with smooth guidelines and a flexible timetable to work with. If you already know some of the Japanese languages, you can directly enroll in their Intermediate or Advanced Japanese Language courses. 

Their advanced programs are designed to brush up your Kanji skills especially. Also, they have quality content to make Japanese easy and interesting to the learners. So, there’s no chance to feel tired or irritated while learning in japanesepod101.

2. Complete Japanese by Busuu

Busuu japanese language course review to learn japanese for beginners
Busuu: Japanese Learning Platform Review
  • Rating: 4.9
  • Number of Courses: 1 Japanese Course
  • Certificate: Available 
  • Level: Beginner 
  • Time To Complete: Around 7 weeks at 10 hours per week
  • Projects: Exam and Projects Available 
  • Prequistic: None
  • Cost: Free /Premium subscription starting from $6.87 per month up to $7.85 per month.

What you will learn

  • Complete Japanese 
  • Hiragana, katakana
  • Fluent communication in Japanese 
  • Reading, listening, and writing in Japanese 
  • Key grammatical structure
  • Native speaking 
  • Huge range of interactive vocabulary 
  • Japanese for travel ( for those who are interested only in traveling)

Why you should enroll

  • Provides free courses, audio recordings 
  • Low subscription cost comparing to facilities
  • Free help from native speakers
  • Get in touch with professional instructors
  • English translation to understand and point out grammatical errors.
  • Get McGraw-Hill Education certificates
  • Practice set and test exams available 

Top Review 

 “ For me, I LOVED Busuu’s Japanese course… up till lesson 70 or something. Before lesson 70, it’s mainly alphabets. They paired them nicely with pictograms and grammar, occasionally with a bit of cultural background info too. New words are always explained. The recordings are clear and slow-paced. I was very motivated and managed to complete them all in a week.”

Busuu is one of the most trustworthy platforms in online Japanese language programs. They have strong structured programs for learning Japanese vocabulary. Though Busuu’s communication team is trying to develop their services into the top satisfactory level day by day, the strong Japanese learning programs and features have already turned Busuu into one gigantic digital platform to learn Japanese

They have a total of 100 million users registered on their website who use Busuu to learn a new language. You can track and monitor your performance in their dashboard. Their every lesson is connected like building blocks, so you won’t learn anything randomly.

And the best part? In the end, you will get conversations with real Japanese native speakers! That’s why Busuu has gained the trust of its users. Moreover, their premium pricing is comparatively cheaper than other language learning platforms. Also, one can access the app for free.

With 11 other languages, Busuu is mainly famous as a Certified Japanese Language Learning Platform. Interactive audio-video lessons are created to help learners visualize and memorize their learnings. 

Even if you find any bug in their app, their online Japanese Learning Platform is pretty flawless and gives you clear instructions on how to move forward with the Japanese language. Overall, if you're a novice in the Japanese language, Busuu can help you to start and eventually grow better at it.

3. Japanese Level 1-5 Courses by Pimsleur

Pimsleur for learning japanese online
Pimsleur Japanese Learning Review
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Genre: Audio Based Learning Platform
  • Number of Courses: Total 5 Complete Courses
  • Certificate: Available 
  • Study Material:  Audio CD (150 lessons), Digital Reading Booklet
  • Level: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Time To Complete: 2 months at 10 hours per week
  • Lessons: 150 Audio Lessons; 100 Reading Lessons 
  • Prequistic: None
  • Cost: $575 (Level 1 to 5 at once) or $150 per level

What you will learn

  • Formal Japanese
  • Speaking in Japanese at a functional level
  • New vocabulary with syllable by syllable method
  • Conversational skill in Japanese 
  • Grammatical rules of speaking Japanese
  • Pronunciation skill 

Why you should enroll

  • Designed for speaking Japanese
  • To gain Listening skill
  • Opportunity to practice complex vocabulary with cards 
  • Repeat your lessons as much as you want with quizzes
  • Get a CD with 150 lessons for self-study and a digital account to keep all the contents. 
  • Use from anywhere, sync any device with cloud storage
  • Proven learning method based in Science and Research
  • Can share your course with up to 3 additional household members
  • Activated car mode for easy driving and learning 

Top Review

“I enjoyed that the Pimsleur program had many aspects. The main part of the program is listening to audios and practicing with them. As you listen, it prompts you to use the words and reminds you of their meaning. After the daily lessons, you could practice vocabulary using flashcards and quizzes. It made the review fun and allowed you to see as well as hear the words.” 

Pimsleur is one of the oldest Japanese Language Learning Platforms in the world. For 50 years, Pimsleur has stood high with its Language Learning Method to help people learn Japanese around the globe. 

Their training method is proven and was researched in Harvard by Dr.Pimsleur. Pimsleur will provide 30 minutes lessons at a time and help you to review more by yourself and definitely, it’s going to make your memory rock solid! 

Being a complete audio-based site and app, Pimsleur can’t help much in reading and writing in Japanese but it's the best online platform to learn speaking in Japanese with a total of 84 hours of Japanese Language Practice Module. Though Pimsleur is highly expensive for students, it can be a good alternative for travel and business enthusiasts.

4. Japanese Uncovered Beginner by Japanese Uncovered

Japanese uncovered  learning review japanese course for beginners
Japanese Uncovered Language Course Review
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Genre: Story-telling Based Learning Platform
  • Total Number of Students Enrolled: 500,000
  • Study Material: 100+ Video Lessons; Practice sheets
  • Level: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Time to Study: 150+ hours
  • Lessons: 20 Module; 6 lessons each
  • Prequistic: None
  • Cost: $397

What you will learn: 

  • Knowledge about Japanese culture in the Japanese Language
  • Speaking and understanding of Japanese Language
  • Reading and writing with creativity 
  • Japanese regular phrases and vocabulary to enrich your communication skill 
  • Grammatical Points and pronunciation 

Why you should enroll

  • Self-guided online course with a creative learning structure
  • Professional online tutor to give guidelines and one on one video lessons.
  • Great illustrations to make your learning easy and fun
  • Story-based video lessons to help you visualize 
  • Will be able to monitor own progress through a written progress report 
  • Have conversation exercises to make you fluent in the Japanese language 
  • Can download all the video files to watch and practice later along with PDF files.
  • Get a huge range of additional resources with lifetime access. 

Top Review 

“After completing the first chapter of Japanese Uncovered, I'm pretty hooked! I have learned some Japanese in the past, but nothing sustainable and nothing that stuck with me. So far I've gotten into the story and the approach that Olly uses to teach the lessons. I love that I can go through the activities and work through the story at my own pace. I'm already learning more than I had previously.”

- Rebecca O.

Among hundreds of Japanese Language Learning Programs, Japanese Uncovered is the most unique and creative platform to learn Japanese. Their interactive lessons and eye-soothing graphics can make anyone fall in love with the Japanese language. 

Japanese uncovered prioritizes the core of Japanese culture through their lessons. And the most exciting thing is for anime and manga lovers. They wouldn’t even feel that they are learning while watching or reading the stories from Japanese Uncovered.

Anyone learning on the platform will get the true essence of the Japanese Language rather than only getting formal learning techniques. The price range may feel a little bit high but you can rest assured that you’ll not become disheartened. But, before getting enrolled in the platform, you need to keep in mind that the platform is mainly designed for beginners, not for the advanced level.

5. Attain Corp. Udemy Japanese Courses by Udemy

Japanese learning at attain corp. Review for jlpt
Attain Corp. Udemy Japanese Courses Review
  • Rating: 4.6
  • Genre: E-learning Based Company
  • Total Number of Students Enrolled: 64,421 
  • Total Courses: 74 ( Based on different topics)
  • Study Material: 570 Video Learning Materials
  • Level: Beginner/Advanced
  • Time to Study: Differs with courses 
  • Lessons: Differs with courses
  • Certificate: Available 
  • Prequistic: None for basic level
  • Cost: Around $12.99 per course

What you will learn  

  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test ( JLPT) complete preparation
  • Reading, writing, and understanding the Japanese Language with proper pronunciation. 
  • Formal Japanese for official purposes 
  • Business and IT terms in Japanese 
  • Proper grammar rules for examination 
  • Proficiency in conversational Japanese 

Why you should enroll 

  • Proper guidelines for completing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test
  • Best platform for scholarship students to learn Japanese 
  • Compatible with Educational curriculum 
  •  Suitable for Foreign Employee 
  • Advanced videos to explain the complexity of the vocabulary

Top Review

“The "Online Japanese" courses by Attain Corp (Online Japanese N5, Online Japanese N4, etc) are phenomenal. They are like having a textbook in visual form. They teach everything in Japanese with English subtitles. Each lesson begins with a sketch done using the grammar points and vocab that will be introduced in the lesson. A series of videos going into depth about each grammar point. The Attain Japanese courses are my happiest Udemy purchase by far.”

- said a Reddit user

Attain Corp. is one of the largest e-learning language training platforms on the internet providing Japanese language training both for teachers and students. They have separate courses in Udemy for cracking JLPT levels starting from N5 to N1. Also, providing professional courses for employees in different Japanese companies. 

Their beginner course is extremely helpful for novice learners to start. They also have separate courses for writing in Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Even if you’re a language teacher, you can check their teacher’s training program to brush up on your teaching skills.

Anyone can enroll in their Language Training Program either from Udemy or from their official website. They are providing different courses ranging from Basic Japanese Courses to Professional or Academic Japanese Courses.

I would especially recommend their courses for JLPT as they’re conducting the courses with proper instructions and guidelines to crack the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Scholarship holders can try these courses on Udemy before attempting their tests and I’m pretty sure these Japanese Language Courses will help you to get your desired test score.

6. Japanese Language Course by Nihongo-pro.com

Japanese language learning program nihongo-pro
Nihongo-Pro Japanese Language Course Review
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Genre: Online Japanese School based on one-on-one style
  • Study Material: Audio and Video Lectures with practice sheets.
  • Level: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Time to Study: Customized by the teachers
  • Lessons: Customized
  • Examination: Tests are available 
  • Prerequisite: None 
  • Cost: $28 to $35 per 50-minute lesson, depending on how many tickets you buy

What you will learn 

  • Listening skill for understanding native Japanese 
  • 20,000+ new sentences with proper pronunciation 
  • Fluent speaking and reading skill
  • Academic curriculum-based Japanese Language 
  • Preparation for cracking JLPT (N5-N1) 
  • Professional Japanese to continue formal conversations

Why you should enroll

  • Well designed classroom and customized lessons 
  • Better than average college or high school courses
  • Will give private lessons according to the learner's goal and schedule if needed
  • Multiple dictionaries available
  • Get in touch with teachers online and take their feedback on your performance
  • Will find all the most popular textbooks and study guidelines 
  • You will get new quizzes every day along with getting tons of previous question sets

Top Review

“Fast response and sorted the problem in no time. 🙂 very happy with the service.”

Nihongo-Pro is an online Japanese Language Learning School for academic and professional level learners. Teachers from professional language teaching backgrounds are available here to deliver one-on-one lessons accompanied by private lessons costing $25 to $35 per 50 minutes. 

The only problem you may face is that sometimes the teacher schedules are full and you may not find a slot right in time. It’s better to check their slots regularly if you have an urgent schedule to learn Japanese. You can check the teacher's profile on the website and join their classes by buying the tickets.

Nihongo-Pro is quite different from other Japanese Language learning Platforms because of its module and structure. One can practice 24/7 on their platform in chats or video conversations to eliminate their fear of speaking Japanese and take effective feedback from teachers. Overall, you will get an academic environment online in Nihongo-Pro and will be able to maintain your regular schedule along with academic modules.

7. Rocket Japanese by Rocket Languages

Rocket japanese language learning platform review to learn japanese
Rocket Japanese Language Course Review
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Genre: Software-Based Online Language Platform
  • Total Number of Students Enrolled: 1.2 million  
  • Total Courses: 3 Level of Japanese
  • Study Material: Audio and Video lessons
  • Level: Beginner
  • Time to Study: 4 months at 10 hours per week for one level
  • Certificate: Available 
  • Examination: Short tests available; Quizzes
  • Prequistic: None for basic level
  • Cost: $99 - Level 1; $249 - Level 1 & 2; $259- Level 1, 2 & 3

What you will learn

  • Writing in Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji
  • Formal Japanese language 
  • Sports, Literature, Culture-based Japanese language
  • Perfect pronunciation

Why you should enroll

  • Get free mobile app access with full download ability
  • Courses are structured and learner-friendly 
  • Get involved with the Japanese Language Learning Forum 
  • Learn easily with Flashcards, games, and quizzes 
  • Always updates the courses with current situations 
  • Can monitor your friend's performance along with other peoples on the leaderboard.

For more than a decade, Rocket Japanese has played a vital role in the field of Japanese Learning Programs. Their software-based structured Japanese courses are quite interactive compared with other programs. They provide Complete Audiobooks for all 3 complete courses with CD. Also, you can access your courses offline! 

Their app is up to date with the current curriculum and you can check other resources on their website. Also, you can order their books or files on Amazon. They have some Free Japanese Language Tutorials for Japanese Language enthusiasts.

There is another reason to recommend Rocket Japanese, as they've earned some prestigious educational awards for their contribution to the Japanese Language Teaching Module. Overall, one can surely rely on Rocket Japanese to start his Japanese Language Learning journey.

8. Learn Japanese Online by Loecsen

Learn japanese free by loecsen course review
Loecsen Learn Japanese Course Review
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Genre: Free Online Language Learning Platform  
  • Total Courses: 1 Course of Japanese
  • Study Material: Audio Lessons
  • Lessons: 17 Themed Lessons 
  • Level: Beginner
  • Examination: Short tests available; Quizzes
  • Prequistic: None 
  • Cost: Free

What you will learn

  • Essential phrases to use in daily life
  • Will learn Japanese for beginner level 
  • Alphabets to write perfectly
  • Pronunciation of vowels and consonants

Why you should enroll

  • Satisfactory Free Language Course
  • Get MP3 and PDF for free
  • Available in offline
  • Easy to learn 

Top Review 

“I love it. I have learned so much from this app especially because it tells you what it means how to write it in that language and tells you how to pronounce it.” 

If you’re a newbie in the Japanese language and searching for a place to start for free, Loescen is the perfect place for you. They are one of the best Free Japanese Language Courses available Online. You won’t find many courses of high quality but for free like Loescen.

Their lessons are planned and easily understandable. You won’t feel any stress while learning in Loeschen. They will teach you Japanese through illustration and audio lessons along with providing the necessary PDF and MP3 to sharpen your listening skill. 

Loecsen is designed for beginner level only. Without any prior knowledge of Japanese, you can enroll here and start learning in a friendly way. So, if you’re trying to learn Japanese completely, you may try the other sites too. Otherwise, Loecsen is perfect for its quality content with free access to all.

9. Learn Japanese by LingoDeer

Learn japanese by lingodeer course review
Lingodeer Japanese Learning Course Review
  • Rating: 4.3
  • Genre: Online Language Platform 
  • Total Courses: 2 Level of Japanese
  • Study Material: 110+ lessons
  • Level: Beginner/Advanced
  • Time to Study: 2 months at 10 hours per week 
  • Examination: Short tests available
  • Prequistic: None for basic level
  • Cost: Paid ; $3.49/mo to $8.99/mo ; $69.99 for lifetime access

What you will learn 

  • Grammatical notation 
  • Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji
  • Speaking, Listening, Writing, Reading in Japanese 
  • Pronunciation 

Why you should enroll:

  • Will get a perfect review system 
  • Easy to maintain 
  • Structured programs
  • Fun and interesting graphics 
  • High-Quality Audio 

LingoDeer is the latest name among Japanese Language Learning Platforms. But their structured and developed learning programs are going to take the lead shortly. Anyone interested in smooth learning programs can undoubtedly enroll in LingoDeer to make a head start.

They have smooth programs to grab the learner’s attention and make them comfortable with the Japanese course modules. They will start training with reading and listening along with preparing students to move forward with speaking and writing. 

Their programs also focus on the authenticity of the Japanese language. If you start learning there, you will get introduced to the culture as well as the language.

10. Japanese Immersion Online by FluentU

Learn japanese course by japanese learning platform fluentu review
Learn Japanese Course by FluentU Review
  • Rating: 4.0
  • Genre: Video learning Based Platform
  • Total Courses: 1 Japanese Course 
  • Level: Beginner/Intermediate 
  • Lessons: 100+ Video Lessons 
  • Certificate: Available 
  • Prequistic: None for basic level
  • Cost: $30 per month or $240 per year

What you will learn 

  • Day to day communication 
  • Vocabulary based on a real-life conversation
  • Strong grammar 
  • Strong grasp over writing and reading Japanese
  • Hiragana, katakana, Furigana 

Why you should enroll 

  • Impressive teaching style with video and audio lessons 
  • Practice sets with Flashcards, Games, and Quizzes 
  • Learner’s friendly with English subtitles 
  • You can set your goal and move forward with it 
  • A Build-In dictionary to take help at any moment 

Top Review 

 “I think it's great, it helped with Japanese sentence structure. I used it every day for 4 months and got from "newbie" to "intermediate". After that there aren't any more lessons, just videos. Oh, it's also kinda buggy, some lessons looped infinitely and I was never able to complete them.” 

FluentU is comparatively unstructured than other topmost platforms. Also, it has a lack of speaking practice, but the video lessons are quite engaging. As they use videos from youtube, movie clips, and anime clips to teach the learners, their lessons become clear to understand as well as to learn. Their flashcards, quizzes, high-quality audio will help you to memorize your lessons.

Again their blogs are also helpful for learners to know more about the Japanese Language. They have blogs introducing you to the techniques, methods, hacks of learning a new language. Even if you don’t enroll in their courses, you should check their blogs regularly to know more.

Special Recommendations

All of the 10 listed online Japanese courses create different levels of value. This might be overwhelming for you and you might be confused about where to spend your time and money. Here’s a quick guide for you. Check out which course or course bundle suits you the best!

If you’re learning Japanese just because you liked it, then Japanese Uncovered Beginner by Japanese Uncovered is the perfect one for you.

Conclusion

From my overall experience, I've prepared the list above and I'm pretty sure it will help you to embark on your Japanese Language Learning Journey. Just to give you some free advice, don’t lose your consistency and stick to your Japanese Language Classes.

Make sure you meet your daily goals and make a notebook of your learning outcomes. Keep monitoring your record and try to evolve more. And the main thing is Don't Fear the Japanese! Happy Learning to all.

Recommended Reading