10 Best Online Japanese Courses & Classes

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Written By Francesca Stephens

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

In today’s article, we’re bringing you the 10 best online Japanese courses.

Japanese is one of the most popular foreign languages to learn, and it’s also very interesting and fun.

And with these online Japanese classes, your learning process can be even more enjoyable.

All of these courses are based on proven, effective methods, and they are designed to keep you motivated.

However, some courses are based on video lessons, some will teach you kanji, and others are focused on audio tracks and listening. And some use different formats such as virtual reality.

Today we’ll show you different types of courses, so everyone can find something to their liking.

So, are you ready to start? Or shall we say: 準備はいいですか?

10 Best Online Japanese Courses and Classes

1. Rocket Japanese

Rocket Japanese course online

Rocket Japanese is hands down one of the best and most popular Japanese classes online.

It’s reliable, well-structured, and highly effective.

Rocket Japanese Features

Rocket Japanese is focused on the development of all four main language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and Japanese writing systems.

The program is mostly based on audio lessons, but there are also videos, exercises, and other useful study tools.

You can check your progress, find your current Japanese level with the Benchmark tool, and create your own Flashcards sets.

The Dashboard is very neat and easy to navigate. You can choose different levels – each level contains linear lessons, but you’ll be free to skip ahead.

There’s also an inbuilt leaderboard to keep you motivated.

And you can use the program on any device. You just have to purchase some of the packages.

There are currently three packages to choose from. Each package consists of different levels and a number of lessons, and that’s why prices also vary.

Content and Benefits

Rocket Japanese will take you from the basics to the more advanced lessons.

On the Rocket Japanese Dashboard, you’ll notice several sections in each level: Interactive Audio, Language & Culture, and Writing.

Most of these lessons will teach you Japanese through everyday dialogues. This will help you pick up new words and phrases as well as prepare you for real-life conversations.

The Writing lessons will introduce you to different Japanese writing systems. You can learn Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji characters.

Learning Japanese phonetic alphabets is crucial if you’re planning to travel to Japan.

Also, the Survival Kit lessons contain some extra vocabulary. They cover different topics, and they’re a nice way to start studying more advanced materials. However, there aren’t any truly advanced lessons in the curriculum.

Rocket Reinforcement activities are also a nice touch. They will help you to test what you’ve learned so far. You can earn points for your badges along the way, which adds a gamified element to the program.

Who is Rocket Japanese Best For?

Rocket Languages is a fantastic Japanese course for anyone searching for reliable, well-structured Japanese lessons.

It’s suitable for beginners and intermediate Japanese learners.

2. JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101 online Japanese classes

If you prefer to study by listening, you’ll probably like what JapanesePod101 has to offer.

It’s a podcast-style course that will teach you about the language as well as the culture.

JapanesePod101 Features

This Japanese course is audio-based but it also offers video lessons and all different study tools.

It’s designed for fast and easy learning, and it’s focused on reading, writing, grammar, and cultural insights.

However, it’s mostly about dialogues. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and the hosts will break it down for you line by line.

There are also Line-by-line Audio and Vocabulary features to help you out when needed.

And if everything starts to be confusing, you can choose a pathway to help you navigate your lessons and get more structure.

Flashcards, Word Bank, quizzes, and slideshows are also quite helpful.

Content and Benefits

In essence, JapanesePod101 will help you improve your listening comprehension.

Even though you’ll be learning grammar, there aren’t many writing and reading exercises.

On the other hand, you’ll learn everything that’s necessary to have a fluid conversation. Practical vocabulary, phrases, expressions…

And the program’s voice-recording software will allow you to work on your pronunciation.

Moreover, if you become a Premium subscriber, you’ll get additional lessons and features.

But one of the biggest advantages of the Premium Plus subscription is personalized guidance from a teacher. You can get valuable feedback, corrections, and suggestions via private messenger.

All in all, JapanesePod101 is a very convenient program that will undoubtedly take your skills to the next level.

Who is JapanesePod101 Best For?

JapanesePod101 is a great Japanese learning course for aural learners.

It’s very beneficial to anyone who wants to learn how to speak Japanese by focusing on listening comprehension.

It’s a very practical and useful resource.

3. Pimsleur

Pimsleur Japanese

Do you want to work on your Japanese vocabulary and pronunciation?

You should check out Pimsleur’s popular Japanese course.

Pimsleur Features

First of all, the Pimsleur Japanese course is based on a researched, effective method.

The method is centered around repeating new words at specific time intervals. That’s how how you’ll successfully store a new word into your long-term memory.

With Pimsleur, you’ll be learning Japanese with high-quality audio lessons. Most of them are rather short and digestible, and you can easily complete them by studying for only 30 minutes a day.

That’s not really studying though. You can listen to these lessons while you’re commuting, cooking, running… It’s very convenient.

The platform also looks really nice and it’s fairly easy to navigate.

Content and Benefits

These are some of the things that the Pimsleur Method promises to teach you: to understand what you hear, to respond easily and naturally, and to pronounce words with a near-native accent.

And it promises you’ll speak Japanese at an intermediate level after only 30 days.

One of the ways to progress so quickly is by learning grammar by listening and not studying.

With Pimsleur audio tracks, you’ll listen to two native speakers, while your instructor coaches you on how to respond. You’ll soon realize you can pick up new words and sentences quite quickly that way.

You’ll also be learning about cultural differences.

In other words, Pimsleur Japanese will prepare for real-life situations. It’s a great course if you’re planning to visit Japan anytime soon.

Moreover, you won’t have to study detailed grammar rules. That will give you space to focus on your communication skills and start speaking right away.

Who is Pimsleur Best For?

Pimsleur is the best online Japanese course for people who want to learn Japanese because they’re planning to visit the country.

It’s a very practical and efficient program, and you won’t have to study in-depth grammar if you don’t want to.

4. Japanese Uncovered

Japanese Uncovered

If you like fictional stories and reading, Japanese Uncovered is probably the best way to learn Japanese for you.

Let us tell you how it works!

Japanese Uncovered Features

Japanese Uncovered is based on fictional narratives. So, it allows you to learn Japanese through stories.

Through the so-called guided discovery, you’ll be learning Japanese through context (stories), and find the rules by yourself.

So, you won’t be getting clear grammar explanations and translations right away (like in most of the courses.)

However, you’ll receive clear instructions and a lot of reading and listening practice.

The program is created by polyglot Olly Richards. He believes immersion is the secret to mastering Japanese.

And according to Olly, stories can help you learn a new language up to six times faster than with traditional methods.

So, what will you really learn through these stories?

Content and Benefits

You’ll start by reading and listening to the first chapter. Then you’ll learn the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation related to the chapter.

You’ll get thorough explanations and reference material, but you won’t feel overwhelmed.

There are also quizzes to test your knowledge.

It’s a step-by-step process, and with each chapter, you’ll be introduced to new words and more complex grammar.

And by the end of the course, you’ll be familiar with the whole book!

All things considered, Japanese Uncovered offers a unique way of learning Japanese.

After all, Japan is known for its arts and pop culture, so why not get to know it through fiction?

Who is Japanese Uncovered Best For?

Japanese Uncovered is the best Japanese course for people looking for refreshing and interesting Japanese classes.

It’s great for beginners and intermediate learners.

5. Mango Languages Japanese

Mango Languages Japanese program

Mango Languages is a beautifully designed learning platform that offers online Japanese lessons.

It’s focused on the adaptive learning process.

Mango Languages Features

This online learning program is based on the so-called intuitive chunking approach.

So, the program will adapt to your learning style. That’s how you’ll be able to progress more quickly.

Moreover, it uses colors and semantic color mapping to help you connect Japanese with English.

It also uses grammar and cultural notes to help you immerse in the language.

But let’s make things clearer: Mango Languages Japanese will teach you how to speak Japanese through high-quality audio tracks and various study tools.

It’s very logical and easy to use.

Content and Benefits

Mango Language lessons build upon each other nicely. They are fluid and comprehensible.

You can choose the topics you’re interested in, which is another benefit.

But if you’re just starting out, it’s probably wiser not to stick to a specific topic.

The program contains listening and reading activities, critical thinking exercises, memory-building exercises, grammar explanations, and culture notes.

Each chapter of the course starts with the lesson material being presented by native speakers in a conversational context.

Moreover, Intuitive Language Construction will help you build all four conversational skills: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and culture.

The program’s content isn’t heavy on grammar, which is great if you want to learn Japanese for personal and traveling purposes.

Who is Mango Languages Best For?

Mango Languages is the best Japanese learning program for visual learners searching for a well-rounded, versatile online course.

It lacks depth in advanced material though, so it’s probably most beneficial to beginners and intermediate students.

6. Human Japanese

As Human Japanese creators explained, Human Japanese is your personal sensei in a box.

So, what will this special Japanese program teach you?

Human Japanese Features

Many perceive Human Japanese as an interactive or digital textbook.

So, as you might assume, you’ll be learning Japanese through written texts. And that actually works quite well.

Texts are combined with thousands of recordings. You can simply tap words and characters to listen.

When you complete each chapter, the next one is unlocked.

The program also contains animations of hiragana, katakana, and kanji characters.

And it offers quizzes and games like the classic memory game.

Content and Benefits

As a beginner, you’ll start with the basics.

You’ll work on correct pronunciation, get to know Japanese writing systems, learn greetings, and so on.

You’ll learn hiragana and katakana in an integrated way (with animations, writing tips, and quizzes.)

Also, you’ll be getting chapter reviews, word lists, and cultural notes.

All in all, Human Japanese is a well-rounded course that offers great explanations. You’ll be studying in an engaging yet relaxed atmosphere.

In a way, it will be like an online Japanese school.

Who is Human Japanese Best For?

Human Japanese is a great Japanese course for learners who like clear, linear progression in learning.

It’s also very versatile, and it’s suitable for learners of all ages.

7. Mondly

Mondly Japanese online courses and classes

Mondly offers a slightly different approach to learning languages than our previous suggestions.

You’ll see why in a minute.

Mondly Features

Mondly is known for developing the first Virtual reality language lessons. It’s a very engaging and effective format, and an ideal way to practice conversations (in this case, with their Chatbot.)

But Mondly also offers a standard version of the course. You can use the program on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

You’ll be provided with daily lessons, quizzes, and challenges.

And you’ll be getting points, you can create streaks, and enjoy other gamified features.

So, it’s a very fun, relaxed, and interactive course.

The program uses Speech Recognition technology so you’ll be able to work on your pronunciation too.

Content and Benefits

Mondly lessons are rather short and organized thematically.

You can pick your topic of interest and learn words and phrases related to that topic. You’ll also choose your skill level before you start.

Lessons are delivered through audio tracks (with native speakers), exercises, and visual cues.

There are also dialogue sections in every module. It’s a great way to practice speaking.

Essentially, you’ll learn everything you need to know to have a real-life conversation in Japan. Lessons will prepare you for all potential situations.

Also, you’ll be learning vocabulary through phrases (rather than individual words), which is a very effective way of memorizing words.

Finally, Mondly offers a free plan but you’ll get a lot more content with the subscription.

Who is Mondly Best For?

Mondly is a great source for learning Japanese, both for beginners and intermediate learners.

It’s very fun, versatile, and engaging, and it offers innovative formats such as VR and AR.

8. Marugoto

Marugoto free online Japanese classes

Are you searching for free online Japanese classes for beginners?

Have you heard about Marugoto? You should give it a try!

Marugoto Features

Marugoto is a very simple and basic online learning course. But it’s also very effective and nice to use.

It combines easy tasks, dialogues, writing exercises, and speaking activities.

And it’s completely free!

There is, however, an option to pay for group classes with a teacher. It’s called the Tutor Support Course.

You can also choose the intensity of your class, but more on that in a bit.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a reliable, free Japanese course, Marugoto will definitely help you to improve your skills.

And you can use it on PCs, tablets, and smartphones, so you can practice whenever and wherever you want.

You can also download your study materials in PDF.

Content and Benefits

Marugoto offers two types of courses: the Self-study Course and the Tutor Support Course.

When it comes to self-study courses, you can opt for Katsudoo (best for casual learners) and Katsudoo and Rikai course (intensive program.)

If you simply want to acquire practical communication skills in everyday situations, the Katsudoo course would be great for you.

All content is delivered through videos, photos, short quizzes, and so on. Everything’s very easy to follow.

So, Marugoto will cater to your needs in a way that you’ll be able to choose what type of content you want (basic or more intensive.)

The levels of Marugoto courses are A1 and A2 (by the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education.)

Who is Marugoto Best For?

Marugoto is best for anyone searching for online Japanese courses for beginners.

Marugoto’s course also works nicely as a supplemental learning resource.

9. FluentU

fluentU Japanese course

FluentU offers a comprehensive online Japanese language course.

It will provide you with an extensive library of video lessons.

FluentU Features

FluentU works as a website and a mobile app (iPhone, iPad, Android.)

It features a bunch of video clips and audio files.

There’s also a built-in dictionary, quizzes, flashcards, and lesson a streak feature.

Moreover, FluentU uses space recognition – you can review words that are ready for review according to their SRS algorithm.

So, FluentU has pretty standard features. Nonetheless, it’s a beloved program among learners around the world.

It’s quite affordable as well.

Content and Benefits

FluentU delivers its content through real-life videos.

All these videos have subtitles. You can also tap on individual words to check them.

So, every word is explained through context and you can learn it in a very natural way.  

At the end of the video, there’s a quiz to test your new vocabulary. It’s a very effective method, and it will help you understand the language pretty soon.

The focus is on practical vocabulary as well as cultural insights.

Who is FluentU Best For?

FluentU Japanese course is definitely the most beneficial to visual learners.

It’s suitable for all levels.

10. italki

italki private online Japanese lessons

And if you’re looking for live online 1-on-1 lessons, you should check out italki.

It’s a very popular learning platform that can connect you with a private Japanese tutor.

italki Features

In short, italki connects teachers and learners. And it does that in a very smooth way.

On the italki website, you can find hundreds of profiles of Japanese tutors. You can check their schedule, hourly rate, and qualifications. There’s also a short video introduction.

And last but not least, you can check other students’ reviews. That’s very important. Also, italki tutors succeed based on clients’ reviews, so you won’t come across incompetent teachers.

There’s also an Instant Teacher feature meaning you can find a teacher who’s available right now. So, everything is very flexible.

Also, you can find a conversation partner on italki. You can join the italki community, meet fellow students, and improve your Japanese skills in a fun and immersive way.

Content and Benefits

In italki, there’s no set curriculum or content.

In other words, the type of content you’ll learn depends entirely on you!

Once you find a teacher, they will create your personal study plan based on your needs and goals.

So, whether you want to practice conversation skills or learn hiragana, they can make it happen.

The benefits of private online lessons are numerous. You can get feedback, ask questions, have a real conversation… It’s the closest you can get to hiring a private tutor.

However, hiring a tutor on italki will probably cost you much less.

Finally, italki is a great option if you want to work on a specific skill or accent. You don’t have to dig deeply into grammar if you don’t want to.

On the other hand, your teacher will help you out if you’re not sure which direction to take.

Who is italki Best For?

italki is a great learning platform for anyone who prefers one-on-one lessons.

It’s convenient and effective for all levels and ages, and it can help you focus on what you really need.

How to Choose the Best Japanese Courses Online?

Luckily, there are a lot of great Japanese language courses online.

But that can also feel a bit overwhelming. Which one is the best?

Well, a better question would be: what are you looking for in a course?

Once you establish what type of learner you are, your goals, and your abilities (have you ever learned Japanese before, etc.), everything will be easier.

Each course is designed for a specific learner. And some of them combine formats so they’re suitable both for visual and aural learners.

Online learning Japanese.

Regardless of what type of format you prefer, you should look for a reliable, well-structured course.

It should also be well-designed and easy to navigate. It’s much easier to make progress when you don’t have to waste time on getting to know the whole program.

Everything should be very clear, and if you prefer structured learning, it should be linear.

On the other hand, if you have a specific skill in mind you want to work on (speaking, writing, or something else) you need to make sure that the program you choose allows you to skip ahead or simply aligns with your wishes.

All of this might sound logical, but it’s actually easy to get lost among all the promos, commercials, and promises. Each platform wants to stand out from its competitors.

On the other hand, all of the best Japanese courses we mentioned today deliver what they promise.

After all, your results also (and mostly) depend on your focus, motivation, and amount of time you can invest. Online courses will provide you with knowledge and structure, but you’ll have to know how to use them well.

What Are the Benefits of Online Japanese Classes?

Honestly, we’re not sure where to begin.

First of all, online learning can generally provide you with freedom, flexibility, and efficiency.

You can save a lot of time and probably a lot of money.

Moreover, you can find an online course that suits your learning style. You can also mix different resources and formats. You can learn through stories, interactive videos, games, even virtual reality…

Best online Japanese courses

Japanese is not the easiest foreign language to master, mostly thanks to its different language system and alphabet.

But in an online Japanese class, you can learn all of that in a very relaxed way.

And there’s something really beautiful in learning new characters and ways to write. When is the last time you tried to learn a new writing system?

That will, without a doubt, improve your cognitive skills as well.

Learning Japanese online will also allow you to learn whenever and wherever you are. Do you want to use that time while you’re commuting every morning? Do you want to listen to Japanese podcasts while you’re cooking? With portable Japanese courses, everything’s possible.

Also, if you think online courses are pricey, some of the platforms on our list offer content for free. And most of them have active Youtube accounts with free videos.

Okay, but why Japanese?

First of all, learning Japanese will help you understand another culture. A very fascinating culture, to be precise.

Learning Japanese language

And although it’s a popular foreign language to learn, some areas don’t have many Japanese teachers and classes. Or they don’t have them at all. So, learning a language such as Japanese online is in some cases necessary.

Furthermore, speaking Japanese will significantly increase your career and business opportunities. Especially if you’re interested in technology.

Japan is known for its cutting-edge, innovative technology, and understanding the language will surely help you keep up with it.

Moreover, learning Japanese will provide you with greater language sensitivity. Once you learn basic Japanese, you’ll easily distinguish it from Korean or Chinese.

All in all, learning Japanese will bring you all kinds of benefits and undeniably enrich your life.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you found our today’s article very informative and useful.

We tried to include different types of Japanese courses, as well as point out their most important features and highlights.

It’s easy to get lost in all that Internet has to offer these days. But the variety of options should be a good thing!

Also, it’s easy to take that for granted. We live in a time with endless possibilities for learning, and you should definitely take advantage of that.