Apps

There are a lot of apps out there for learning Japanese–a lot. Here are some of the favorites, categorized by what you’re looking for. Note that some of the information is taken from other websites that have already written excellent reviews, such as FluentU’s “16 Best Apps for Learning Japanese Like a Boss” and “The 5 Best Kanji Apps Made by Native Japanese Speakers for Native Japanese Speakers.” You may also want to check out their “The 30 Best Online Language Courses for Any Budget or Level” article as well! Not all the apps featured in these articles are listed here, so make sure you check out these articles for even more apps and info!

Vocabulary & Grammar

Japanesepod101.com Apps:

FluentU: “FluentU takes real-world Japanese videos—like music videos, movie trailers, documentaries, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.”
Suitable for: all levels
App Store || Google Play

Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese: “The application is set up like a book, and is exactly as the title reads: a guide. The guide is written for any learner who wants to learn, review or increase their grammar and vocabulary. The guide is broken into different lessons that introduce new grammar, structures and vocabulary.”
Suitable for: beginning to upper intermediate levels
App Store || Google Play

Mango Languages: Mango is like having an interactive textbook right on your smartphone for dozens of languages, including Japanese. While it doesn’t seem to teach writing systems (it will push you straight into the 3 scripts for Japanese), it has features to help you master that pronunciation from the get-go, dialogues which the lesson builds itself around, color-coded literal and natural English translations, (honor-code) quizzes to test your progress, phonetic assistance, and more. The Japanese section has 3 courses, the most developed one being the core course consisting of 20 chapters with 218 lessons ranging from emergency situations, Dating 101, and using the bank and post office. Check if your home library has a connection with this service!
Suitable for: beginning to intermediate levels
App Store || Google Play

Memrise:

Brainscape:

ビノバ国語:

Social Networking

HiNative: Powered by Lang-8, this is like Twitter Q&A for language learners. Ask any question about a language or culture you’re studying, either by typing or speaking, to real native speakers all over the world!
Suitable for: all levels
App Store

HelloTalk: “HelloTalk allows you to talk with others from around the world. You can write a brief summary about yourself in your profile, choose your native language and select the language and level that you’re currently learning. After, you’re able to search for native language partners from around the world! …That platform that you use to chat is very much like any other texting application. What sets HelloTalk apart from similar language exchange apps are some of its useful features. Native speakers can edit your messages and correct your grammar while you chat … Users are also able to transcribe a voice message, so you’re not always reading and writing, but can practice speech and comprehension as well.”
Suitable for: all levels
App Store || Google Play

Lext Talk: “allows users to connect to language partners from around the world. Once your profile is complete, you can select which language you speak and which language you’d like to learn.

A very convenient feature that Lext Talk offers is its map. Users can browse and navigate through Lext Talk’s map for language partners in their area, or to find a partner in a specific region. That means things get a whole lot easier if you’re looking for someone who speaks 関西方言 (Kansai dialect).

Lext Talk also provides chatrooms with various themes like “Let’s Learn English” or “Jpop Fans United”, where you can meet friends with similar interests and chat in your desired language.”
Suitable for: all levels
App Store

ePenPal: “Liked the sound of Lext Talk but you have an Android phone? …ePenPal allows its users to share voice messages, photos and more. Like other language exchange apps, you can easily browse maps to find a language partner in the same area, or in a selected region.

This application also allows you to filter through its users’ profiles so you can easily find someone within your age group, who lives in your city or next travel destination, or even someone who shares the same interest in kabuki.”
Suitable for: all levels
Google Play

Dictionaries

Imiwa?: This is the app you’ve been hearing all about, based on Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC. “Imiwa? is a powerful dictionary that allows you to make searches using kanji,kana or romaji. Words are accompanied by example sentences (with furigana provided) so users can see how new vocabulary is used in conversation. You can also tap a word and hear how it’s pronounced. Other features include verb conjugation charts, notebooks to keep track of your favorite words, JLTP vocabulary lists and more.”
App Store

IMI FREE: Basically the Andriod version of Imiwa? above. “IMI [furthermore] plans to release more features in the future that include quizzes and mini games, and the ability to sync study collections across multiple devices.”
Google Play

Japanese: This is a dictionary that is honestly like imiwa? but with a couple improvements, most noticeably the complete conjugation chart for all verbs and many counters. I’m not sure if it is permanently free or not, but get it while you have the chance.
App Store || Google Play

Google Translate: While this shouldn’t be your main, go-to dictionary, sometimes there are some words and phrases you’re faced with that your other dictionaries just don’t have. Furthermore, Google Translate has a very useful feature that allows you to scan and translate text using your phone camera.
App Store || Google Play

Reading and Writing/Kanji

MONDO: This app helps you improve your reading speed and vocabulary by presenting you with authentic new articles specified by your interests and reading level. While reading, tap a word to show its reading and English equivalent. The Smart Scrolling feature is what really helps you test and push yourself to improve your reading speed and comprehension.
Suitable for: upper beginning to advanced levels
App Store

Kanji Senpai: “uses spaced repetition system (SRS) which means that once you learn a kanji character it doesn’t go away forever. The characters will come back in later courses to ensure that learned characters don’t slip away from your mind. Kanji Senpai incorporates characters that will show up on all levels of the JLPT, and offers several ways to study different characters. Users can practice writing characters, create and download custom vocabulary lists and review vocabulary through different quizzes.”
Suitable for: all levels
Google Play

漢字検定・漢検漢字トレーニング: This app was designed for Japanese adults aspiring to take the Kanji Aptitude Test. The app is divided into 6 levels testing kanji from the 5th grade (elementary school) level to past high school level (by the Kanten’s standards, levels 2-6). Under each level you can choose to practice writing, reading, radicals, okurigana, synonyms and antonyms, homonyms, and compilations/yojijukugo. Each section is further broken down into chunks of learning for your to practice/test only a few kanji at a time so you don’t overload and overwhelm yourself. Therefore, you not only learn new kanji, but also their use in context.
Suitable for: upper intermediate and advanced levels
App Store || Google Play

読めないと恥ずかしい大人の常識漢字: From the same app makers as the above, this one is divided into 6 levels (easy to hard) and focuses only on the ability to read the words in the kanji provided. What stands out in this app is that after you guess the correct reading of the word (or give up), it will show the definition of the word, thus improving your vocabulary!
Suitable for: upper intermediate and advanced levels
App Store || Google Play

漢字検定・漢検漢字チャレンジ: Take the basics of the 漢字検定・漢検漢字トレーニング app above, and put it into 2 games: Survival Mode and Arcade Mode. In the former, you have to quickly answer as many questions correctly without “dying,” while “Arcade Mode” is just your normal study tool as above. Think of this (Survival Mode) as a good self-test for what you studied with the apps above.
Suitable for: upper intermediate and advanced levels
App Store || Google Play

Others

Active Voice:

Pronounce:

Elevate: 

Apps we hope will get Japanese additions soon

Duolingo:

Babbel: