• Japanese Study (Hiragana) helps you study hiragana and katakana
  • Japanese Kanji Study is a great app to study over 6,000 kanji
  • Use Memrise to learn Japanese grammar and vocabulary
  • There are more than 320,000 Japanese sentences available on Akebi Japanese Dictionary 
  • Imiwa? is helpful when you look for kanji using its multi-radical search 

The best way to learn Japanese?

If you are trying to learn Japanese by yourself, your smartphone is the greatest resource. There are numerous apps for learning Japanese, and many of them are free. But it is also true that there are many apps that are not so helpful. In this article, I am going to share five apps that I think are useful based off their content and reviews.

Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji

  • Japanese Study (Hiragana): This app is for those of you who want to learn hiragana and katakana, the basic Japanese characters. Even though the app’s name only has hiragana in it, you can learn katakana as well. The app teaches you how to write each letter stroke by stroke. It also has a sound feature, which allows you to listen to the pronunciations of letters. There are also tests to check your study levels.
  • Japanese Kanji Study: On this app, you can look up more than 6,000 kanjis by searching their stroke counts and radicals. You can customize pages to show romaji, hide the meanings of kanji, and collapse sections to learn kanji in your own way. There is also a flashcard feature, where you can memorize kanji and test your comprehension of kanji. Also, there are writing tests to improve your kanji skills. This app is partially free. The upgraded versions offers unlimited study for kana and kanji with no ads.

Grammar and vocabulary

  • Memrise: This app received the best app award of 2017 Google Play Awards. This app offers a variety of study courses for you to choose from. Example courses include: Learn Basic Japanese, JLPT N series (Japanese exams for foreign people), Genki (Japanese textbook used in many foreign schools), Anime Japanese, and 125 Most Useful Japanese Words. Not only grammar and vocabulary, but also the courses cover kana and kanji learning. Also, you can chat with Membot to improve your conversation skills. In addition, there are multiple choice and typing tests to repeatedly study Japanese words and phrases. If you become a paid Pro member, you can access all the courses and modes unlimitedly.


  • Akebi Japanese Dictionary: This is a dictionary app for Android users. What is great about this app is its vast numbers of kanji, words, and example sentences. You have access to over 6,000 kanjis, 200,000 words, and 320,000 example sentences on this app. Also, there is a built-in Japanese keyboard as well as a custom-built handwriting recognition tool. You can learn stroke orders by watching animated stroke order diagrams. Furthermore, if you want to take a kanji test, you can do it on this app as well!
  • Imiwa?: This app is for iPhone users. It is so cool that you can look up words in the dictionary by typing in any kana, kanji, romaji, or a word in English, Russian, French, or German. Imiwa? offers over 13,000 kanjis with animated stroke order diagrams for more than 6,500 of them. Also, you can look up a kanji by a kanji’s composing patterns using imiwa?’s multi-radical search. Just select the shapes you see in a kanji you are looking for, and imiwa? will narrow down possibilities from 13,108 kanjis. In addition, imiwa? helps you learn conjugations of verbs and adjectives.

Make the most of your smartphone

Instead of carrying a big, heavy textbook or dictionary everywhere with you, you can use apps on your small, light smartphone to make your ten minute break a fruitful learning time. And they are way more friendly to your budget than the books. Download the apps now to improve your Japanese more conveniently!