Best Japanese language learning apps

Jun 1, 2010

I’ve lived here in Japan for ten years, and I’ve studied Japanese off and on (bit on the lazy side), still, I certainly know good Japanese learning material when I see it, and here’s the top six in my opinion.

iKana touch – Hiragana and Katakana study tool

Actually never used it, as I already knew my kanas very well when it came out, but after having used their iKanji Touch, I’d have no trouble vouching for their software. Anyways, if you’re completely new to Japanese, then the kanas are the place to begin.


iKanji touch – Japanese JLPT Kanji Study Tool

Excellent software that breaks the lessons down into ten kanji a lesson, and then tests you on kanji readings, stroke order, and meaning of the kanjis, and even includes a bit of kanji compound work. Lessons grouped into JLPT or grade levels.



Once you know your kanas, this is without doubt THE BEST dictionary. Unknown kanji readings are not a problem, highlight the kanji you need the reading for, and it’ll jump to that entry, giving you the kanji reading. Bookmarks and history can help with reviewing words you looked up. Cycle through head words, idioms utilizing that word, or even example sentences. Also the best dictionary to have on hand when teaching English, example sentences make finding which of many meanings of a word you wish to get across to students. It’s a little on the expensive side, but don’t skimp!



I’d actually recommend a kanji dictionary by Enfour, but since that’s been temporarily pulled from the app store, this is the next best, and it’s still a very decent dictionary. Look up kanji with the SKIP method, or by one of the traditional methods (need a bit of basic kanji knowledge to do that). The kanji stroke order animations are easy to follow, it’s easy to jump to other kanji entries, and the compounds list under a kanji entry are great to have on hand. The actual dictionary itself is alright.

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Japanese Flip

A very decent flashcard app for learning Japanese vocabulary. Great interface, and a method to keep track of your progress that’s easy to follow. Also based on JLPT.


A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar Builder

Probably one of the best apps to learn basic Japanese grammar structures. Great to have on hand when you’ve forgotten how to say something like ‘I have to do something’ or ‘we can’t do that’.


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