Learning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (2023)

In this guide, you’ll find all of the resources you need to go from a beginner to a low-intermediate level of Japanese.

While this guide is for beginners, it assumes you already know the basic fundamentals of Japanese. If this is your first time learning Japanese, check out our getting started guide: How to Learn Japanese: A Complete Guide for Absolute Beginners

Beginning Japanese Course : Skills Needed

At this level, you should know

  • Japanese Pronunciation
  • How to Read and Write Hiragana
  • 100 – 300 Vocabulary Words
  • Simple Grammar (my name is, I like, etc.)
  • How to Do a Self-Introduction in Japanese

What You’ll Learn in This Guide

  • How to Learn More Vocabulary Words (at least 500 new words)
  • How to Practice Reading Japanese
  • More Grammar Patterns
  • The Fastest Way to Learn Japanese
  • Numbers (1 – 10,000 and above)
  • Introduction to Kanji

Step 1: Learning KatakanaLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (1)

By now, you should be able to read and write all of the hiragana characters. Now it’s time to learn katakana, another one of Japan’s writing systems.

The good news is that the characters aren’t hard to learn. Just like hiragana, each katakana character represents one syllable in Japanese. We published a complete guide with videos on learning how to read, write, and pronounce all of the katakana characters. You can check out our step-by-step guide here: The Complete Guide to Learning Katakana

Part I: A Quick Overview of KatakanaLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (2)

You might be thinking to yourself, “why do they have two writing systems to express the same alphabet (syllables)?”

Learning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (3)

Good question.

Basically, hiragana is used to express Japanese words. Either words that are natively Japanese, or words that have integrated into the Japanese language. Hiragana is also used in combination with kanji (Chinese characters) to express different words and ideas in Japanese.

Katakana is mainly used to express foreign loan words. This also includes non-Japanese names. So if your name isn’t Japanese, it will be written in katakana.

Foreign loan words are almost always written in katakana. For example, “pan” is the word for bread. “Pan” came from the Portuguese language. Since it is not a native Japanese word, it is written in katakana (パン).

The good thing about foreign loan words is that many of them should sound very familiar to you. In fact, you probably already know hundreds of words in Japanese, because many of them come from English.

Check out a few examples:

  • チーズ (chi-zu): Cheese
  • コーヒー (ko-hi-): Coffee
  • ノートブック(notobukku): Notebook
  • プレッシャー (puressha): Pressure (psychological pressure)

If you ever visit Japan, knowing how to read and write katakana can be very helpful. Many hotels in Japan have “foreign” names, so they will be written in katakana (even the word “hotel” is written in katakana – ホテル). If you ever get lost in Japan, you can write the name of your hotel in katakana and show it to a taxi or train station employee.

Part II: Complete the Katakana CourseLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (4)

Here is a free katakana course that will teach you how to read and write each character. Be sure to follow all of the steps for the reading, writing, and typing lessons.

The Complete Course on How to Read, Write, and Type Katakana

How to Read and Write Katakana Video Lesson

If you would like to see how the katakana characters are written and how they are pronounced, check out this video. It’s the perfect resource to use with the katakana course above. With both of these resources, you should be able to learn all of the katakana characters in a few days.

Learn ALL Katakana in 1 Hour - How to Write and Read Japanese

How to Learn KatakanaLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (5)

Just like with hiragana, you should practice writing each character. Writing helps you to learn faster with a deeper level of understanding than if just read each character.

Writing katakana is an art form. The way you write the character is important. So be sure to follow the correct stroke order. If you can afford to get a katakana book, that is a great way to learn. However, the free course listed above is pretty good as well.

You’ll also be using katakana a lot as you study more advanced Japanese, so you should take the time to master it now.

Be sure to write out each character several times. Repetition is your best friend when learning katakana. Making flash cards is a great way to learn katakana.

(Video) Learn Japanese in 4 Hours - ALL the Japanese Basics You Need

Here are some katakana sheets you can use to practice writing. Print them out and you’ll have all you’ll need to learn how to write the characters.

Katakana Writing Practice

Katakana Writing Sheets

Step 2: Increasing Your VocabularyLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (6)

If you completed our absolute beginner guide, you should know at least 100 vocabulary words in Japanese. We want to take that to the next level and remember at least 500 more.

In addition to learning nouns, it’s time to learn adjectives (descriptive words like big, small, blue, pretty, etc.).

Learning Adjectives

Learning adjectives will allow to express your feelings and opinions, as well as being able to describe things and situations. Knowing how to describe things will make speaking Japanese much more fun and free. Here are some awesome free resources to learn adjectives in Japanese.

Part I: How to Use Adjectives in Japanese

This guide will teach you how to conjugate and use adjectives in Japanese sentences.

Puni Puni Japan: Japanese Adjectives

Part II: List of Useful Japanese Adjectives

After completing the lesson above, check out this list of adjectives from Coscom below. All of the adjectives on this list are used often in daily conversations, so be sure to learn them all.

Coscom List of Japanese Adjectives

Part III: Video Lesson on Japanese Adjectives

After you finish studying the material in part I & II, check out this video lesson. It will help you to understand the material much better. You’ll also learn how to use adjectives in sentences.

Japanese Language Lesson 15 - Adjectives

Part IV: Other Vocabulary Words

In addition to adjectives, you should learn other vocabulary words as well. I highly recommend you remember words that are interesting to you. Study words that are related to your hobbies or things you are interested in. A good place to find a lot of words to study that are organized into categories is the vocabulary list page on Japanesepod101.

Just memorizing a list of words can be useful for learning Japanese, but let’s face it…that’s boring as heck. So instead of just memorizing endless lists of vocabulary, let’s take a look at another way to learn Japanese words and grammar.

Step 3: A Great Way to Learn JapaneseLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (7)

An awesome way to learn new vocabulary words, grammar, and natural Japanese is through context. This means you’ll learn natural Japanese by using real-life materials. This way of studying is common sense and has been done for years, but few people actually do it. . Learning through context by reading works really, really well.

Not only do you get to see how Japanese is used naturally, but learning through context allows you to study things that you are interested in. Instead of forcing yourself to remember a list of random words, you can read a blog about something you love and pick up new words from that.

When you read real-world material like Japanese books, magazines, or blogs, you do more than just learn new words and grammar. You also learn something even more important that very few textbooks teach. You learn nuance. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of what a word or expression means, and learn how to use it correctly.

Learning Through Context: What You’ll NeedLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (8)

Make sure you have a good dictionary at hand so you can look up any words you don’t know. If you have a smart device, I highly recommend the app, “Japanese by Renzo.” It’s the best Japanese dictionary app I have used, and as of this writing, its free!

After you look up the meaning of a word, write it down in a notebook or make flashcards so you can review them later.

This method of study also works with music, tv shows, or movies. You can listen to songs and study the lyrics. Watching TV or movies are actually one of the best ways to learn Japanese on your own. Not only do you get to hear natural Japanese being spoken, but you can to see the gestures and expressions of the actors.

I really loved watching and studying crazy Japanese shows like “Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai” and other variety shows. There’s quite of bit of slang used (especially kansai-ben, a dialect of Japanese spoken in the Kansai region of Japan that is used by many comedians), but I learned a lot by watching these shows and actually studying them.

If you have a Netflix subscription, there’s a lot of Japanese shows you can watch. If you don’t, YouTube has tons of Japanese TV shows you can watch and study.

What to Read: Free Japanese Stories

Unfortunately, it’s hard to find topics you’re interested in at this level of Japanese. However, here are some resources that are great for practicing reading while keeping things interesting.

Japanese Stories in Hiragana

(Video) Introduction - Japanese Lesson 1

Stories and Fairy Tales with Audio

Unlimited Japanese Study Material: The Power of the InternetLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (9)

I’ve said this many times in my articles about learning Japanese. Reading blogs or articles about things you love is not only an awesome way to learn Japanese, but it’s also free! And you can find pretty much anything with just a Google search.

The only problem is that most blogs or Japanese websites use lots of kanji and more advanced grammar patterns.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to wait until your Japanese reaches an advanced level. You can go ahead and get started now. If you use a laptop or desktop computer, you have the ability to read almost any material in Japanese right now.

You’ll need to install an add-on to either Google Chrome or Modzilla Firefox.

For Firefox


For Chrome


This is super useful add-on. All you need to do is hover you mouse pointer over a kanji character or word, and it will give you the reading and definition of it. This makes reading any Japanese page online much, much easier.

Try it out and you’ll be able to read and study material in Japanese that is at a more advanced level.

Another great way to read multiple sentences or even paragraphs of Japanese is by using the text glossing feature on the famous “Jim Breen’s Japanese Page.”

All you need to do is copy and paste words, sentences, or even paragraphs of Japanese in the text box. It will translate all of the kanji compounds and most of the words into English. It’s great for when you want to have all of the translations on one page.

Step 4: Learn More GrammarLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (10)

In our absolute beginner guide, you should have completed the first 24 lessons on the NHK World Website . For this guide, you will continue where you left off, and finish the remaining 24 lessons.

After completing all of the lessons, you’ll have a good foundation of the basics of Japanese grammar.

Complete all 48 Japanese Lessons Here: NHK World Japanese Lessons

*Note: While you’ll know some useful Japanese grammar from the NHK website, it does not teach things in a systematic, organized way. They concentrate more on useful Japanese that you’ll probably use as a foreigner in Japan. These lessons are great, but they leave a lot of holes by not covering many grammar patterns at a beginning to low-intermediate level of Japanese.

That’s why I recommend getting a book to supplement your lessons, or better yet, check out the audio and video lessons at Japanesepod101. They are the some of the best lessons out there, and the best part is that a lot of them are completely FREE! You just need to sign up with an e-mail address. When you do, you’ll have access to the first 3 lessons of EVERY section on their website. There are dozens of sections, which means you’ll have free access to hundreds of lessons.

If you can afford it, I recommend using one good book and a premium membership at Japanesepod101. These two things alone is all you need to reach an advanced level of Japanese.

Step 5: Unlocking the Most Powerful Way to Learn JapaneseLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (11)

You now have enough knowledge of Japanese grammar, vocabulary words, and expression to have very short conversations. Even though you can’t express a lot of what you want to say yet, you should start speaking.

Speaking is the best and fastest way to improve your Japanese. No questions about it.

The more you speak, the better your Japanese will become. It is that simple.

Now I know speaking is scary. We fear making mistakes and just don’t like being nervous. But if you want to super charge your Japanese, you must practice speaking.

Speaking will put all of the random pieces of Japanese you learned together, turning it into a beautiful picture. You’ll not only learn new words, expressions, and nuances from speaking, but you’ll also learn how to USE what you know. You’ll see how everything fits together, and you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how Japanese works. You’ll also be training your mouth and facial muscles to pronounce Japanese clearly and smoothly. Speaking is just the best way to learn Japanese, period.

There are two drawbacks to this though:

  1. It costs money or time to find someone to speak with
  2. It can be nerve-racking to speak to someone in Japanese

Drawback # 1

You have to find a good person to speak Japanese with. By this I mean someone who can speak at your level, and also explain things to you to make things clear. Basically, you want a Japanese teacher. If you can afford it, I highly, highly recommend you hiring a Japanese teacher for private lessons online. It’s fast and easy to find a good teacher, and the prices aren’t that bad. You’ll probably learn more Japanese in a few private lessons than weeks or months of studying a textbook or taking classes at school.

Another option would be to hire a private tutor instead of a certified teacher. Some tutors can be just as good as professional teachers. The great thing about this is that tutors are usually much cheaper to hire than a certified teacher. Some tutors can even teach group lessons. So if you have friends who want to learn Japanese, you can all split the cost to make things even cheaper.

Where to Find Teachers/Tutors OnlineLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (12)

Two great places for finding online Japanese teachers/tutors is Italki and Verbling.

If you don’t want to hire someone, you can go on Japanese friend sites to find people to speak with. Unfortunately, many sites also cost money, and it takes a lot of time to find someone cool that you click with. It’s actually very difficult to make friends on sites like these. First of all, there’s lots of competition (especially if it’s a cute girl or guy) for making friends with someone. Second, even if you find someone to communicate with, it’s very rare that you’ll find someone who can actually teach you Japanese.

(Video) Learn Japanese in 75 Minutes - ALL Basics Every Beginners Need

In my opinion, it’s not worth the time, money, and effort. If you want to make friends, then go for it. But if you want to learn Japanese, hire a teacher or tutor instead.

Other ways to find Japanese speakers for free:

  1. Creating a language group on Facebook or Meetup.com
  2. Going to your local university/college to see if they have a Japanese club
  3. Finding and volunteering for Japanese events near you

If you want more details on how to meet Japanese people, we’ll be publishing a guide on that soon.

Drawback #2

Speaking with a stranger is scary, especially when it’s in another language. It’s just something you have to do. However there are a few ways to can improve your Japanese without speaking to someone.

Even speaking to yourself can improve your Japanese. Check out our guide here: How to Practice Speaking Japanese by Yourself

Eventually though, you’ll want to speak to other people. You just can’t beat having real conversations with people.

If you still feel shy about talking to people, check out our “How to Speak Japanese if You’re Shy” guide.

Step 6: All About NumbersLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (13)

It’s time to learn numbers in Japanese. There’s some good news and some bad news.

The bad news first. Just like with the multiple writing systems, there are different ways to count in Japanese as well. For example, the number 1 can be expressed in a few ways: ichi, hitosu, tsuitachi (for the first day of the month), etc.

There are also a special words (counters) you use to count objects. If you are counting long, slim objects like pencils, you would use the counter “hon.” If you are counting small animals, you would use the counter “hiki,” and so on.

The Good News

The number system in Japanese is much more systemized that in English. This makes it easier to learn.

For example, the basic way to say “1” in Japaese is “ichi.” The way to say ten is “juu.” Do you know what the word for “11” is? If you said “juu-ichi,” you would be absolutely correct. 11 = 10(juu) + 1(ichi).

The one tricky thing about Japanese numbers is that larger numbers are grouped in units of 10,000 (pronounced “man” in Japanese). In America, we use 1,000 as a unit.

For example, the number 100,000 is many English speaking countries would be read as “one-hundred thousand.”

In Japan, 100,000 would be read as “juu-man,” or literally “10 ten-thousands.”

How to Learn Numbers in Japanese

You can learn how to count in Japanese using our guide here: Learning Numbers in Japanese Guide

Part I

Read and study the Japanese number page and learn how to count to 10,000 (or higher) in Japanese.

Part II

In addition to learning the basic numbers in Japanese, you also need to learn the “kun,” or Japanese reading of numbers (hitotsu, futatsu, mitsu, etc.). This way of counting is very, very useful if you ever go to Japan. There is a chart listing all of these numbers and video lesson in our guide mentioned above, so be sure master this way of counting.

As mentioned earlier, counting objects in Japanese requires that you use special counters along with the number. This counter word changes depending on the type of object you are counting.

For example, for thin, flat objects (like paper, cards,etc.) the counter is “mai.” The way to count one piece of paper would be “ichi mai” two pieces would be “ni mai” and so on.

That’s why using the kun, or “tsu” way of reading numbers are so great. You can use them without knowing any other specific counters.

For example, if you go to a restaurant and want 3 hamburgers, 2 salads, and a coke, you could just use these numbers to order them (ハンバーガーみっつ hanbaagaa mittsu, サラダふたつ – sarada futatsu, コーラひとつ – ko-ra hitotsu).

The only drawback is that these numbers only go up to 10. However, in my many years living in Japan, I never once ordered 10 items of anything in a restaurant, store, or buying tickets. Unless you have a big appetite and eat more than 10 hamburgers at a time, you’ll probably be just fine getting around in Japan knowing these numbers.

Check out this video to learn about these numbers:

Learn Japanese Counters - Tsu - 日本語の助数詞を学ぼう - つ

(Video) Learn ALL Hiragana in 1 Hour - How to Write and Read Japanese

Step 7: Learning KanjiLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (14)

By step 6 of this guide, you should already know how to read and write both hiragana and katakana. You should also have a solid foundation of basic grammar and vocabulary words.

It’s now time to get your feet wet in the big ocean of kanji. Kanji, or Chinese characters is something that is both exciting, and extremely frustrating. Unlike the English alphabet with 26 characters, there are thousands of kanji characters. You’ll need to learn around 2,000 characters just to be able to read at a high school level. To make this worse, most characters have several different ways to read it. Talk about a challenge!

As students of Japanese, learning thousands of different characters seems almost impossible. But believe me, it’s not. It will take time, and lots of it. But once you start learning kanji, you’ll see that it’s not bad at all.

There are so many different ways to learn kanij, but I highly recommend the book “Remembering the Kanij” by James Heisig.

This books teaches you how to write and remember the meaning of each kanji. It does not teach you the Japanese readings at all. It breaks the kanji down into similar parts, and then groups the together to make memorizing them easier.

I really like this method because I feel that traditional methods make remembering kanji difficult. With traditional study methods, you learn everything at once. You learn the meaning of the kanji as well as how to read and write it. Trying to remember all of this at once overloads yoru brain. I could never remember the characters I studied for more than a week.

The Heisig method allows you to concentrate on just the meaning of the kanji, and how to write them. The system he has for remember the meanings of the kanji is probably the best method out there.

If you want to know in detail why I like this method the best, check out the “Best Way to Learn Kanji” guide.

Before you dive head first into that book, I recommend you go through a free online kanji course first.

How to Learn the Basics of Kanij for FreeLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (15)

Part I: An Introduction to Kanji

Before you begin with the kanji course, read this article to learn the basics: Introduction to Kanji

Part II: Complete the Kanji Course for Beginners

After you’ve finished reading the introduction to kanji above, it’s time to get right into it. Let’s learn how to read and write some basic characters. As always, be sure to practice writing each character to help you remember it better and quicker. Complete all 8 parts of this course and you’ll have a good basic knowledge of kanji.

Learning Basic Kanji: Beginning Kanji Course

**Note: The table of contents for this beginning kanji course shows 13 parts (lessons). However, as of this writing, there are only 8 kanji lessons and 3 drills. This is fine. Just complete all 8 lessons and you’ll have a good knowledge of what kanji is and how it works. Do the drills if you can, but many people have trouble getting it to work. If you can’t get the drills to open, don’t worry. Focus on learning all the material from the 8 lessons and you won’t have to complete the drills.

Step 7: Resources to UseLearning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (16)

Here are resources for learning Japanese that will help you on your journey

1. Dictionary

You need a dictionary to look up new words that you hear and read. You could use a real dictionary, but electronic versions are much better.

For Smart Devices (iPhone, iPad, etc.):

Japanese by Renzo App – This is the best dictionary app I have used. I still use it all the time. You can search for kanji and make flash cards to study too. The best part? It’s absolutely free! But get it soon…it used to be a paid app and it’s possible that it will be that way again so get it for free while you can.

For Computers

  1. Jim Breen WWWJDIC Page: This website is all you need. You can search for words in both English and Japanese, or use the text glossing feature to translate paragraphs of Japanese at a time.
  2. Rikaichan for Modzilla Firefox: This add-on makes reading websites in Japanese a breeze. This is the perfect tool when reading and studying blogs or articles in Japanese.
  3. Rikaikun for Google Chrome: Same add-on as above but for Google Chrome

2. Flashcard Programs for Studying

Anki: This is a very simple flashcard app, but it’s very effective for learning Japanese. There’s tons of pre-made flashcards with Japanese vocabulary, grammar, and kanji you can download.

The desktop version is free, but the app costs money.

If you’re like me and use public transportation to get around, the app is perfect for studyign on your commute. The one big negative about the app version is that you can’t create flashcards from the app. You need to either download pre-made flashcards or use a desktop computer.

3. Japanese Audio & Video Lessons

Japanesepod101: My favorite way to study Japanese. There’s an amazing amount of material on their website, ranging from complete beginners to advanced. If you could only choose one way to study Japanese, this would be the best choice.

There’s a ton of free lessons available, but getting a premium membership to access all of the material is the way to go. Check out my Japanesepod101 review to see all of the pros and cons of the program.

4.A Good Notebook

While there are apps for taking notes, I actually prefer the real thing. Taking notes and writing things down will help you remember things much, much better. This will make it easy to review all of the material you studied as well.

5. A Good Japanese Book (Just One!)

You don’t need 10 different books at this level. One good book is all you need. Check out our list for the best books for beginners. However, if you use the lessons on Japanesepod101, you probably don’t need a book at all.

6. A Good Japanese Teacher/Tutor

Yes, you can learn Japanese completely on your own. However, if you can afford private lessons from an online teacher or tutor, you’ll learn Japanese much, much faster. If can’t afford it, don’t worry! Master the lessons in this guide and remember have fun! Listen to Japanese music or watch Japanese movies and TV shows. Read blogs or websites in Japanese that interest you. Just doing these things can really improve your Japanese a lot! If you’re interested in finding an online teacher or tutor, I recommend either italki or Verbling.

For More Resources

Resources for Learning Japanese Page

(Video) How to learn Japanese FAST? Tips from a native speaker 🇯🇵📚✨🌎✈️

What Should You Do Next?Learning Japanese for Beginners: A Complete Guide - The True Japan (17)

If you finished all of the steps in this guide, congratulations! You’re now at a low-intermediate level of Japanese.

At this level, speaking should be your biggest priority. If you don’t have any opportunities to speak with someone, concentrate on reading. In addition to this, keep learning more vocabulary and grammar skills. One of the best resources for learning grammar at this level is Tae Kim’s Japanese Guide.

If you would like me to create another guide to learn Japanese for low-intermediate level students, please contact me or leave a comment below. If I get enough requests for another learning Japanese guide I’ll be sure to create one for you guys! Thanks and have fun learning Japanese!


Is 40 too old to learn Japanese? ›

You may have heard recently that it's now impossible to study in Japan if you are over 30 years old. Luckily for those who fall in that category, this isn't actually true and it's actually never too late to chase your Japanese language dreams.

Can I learn Japanese in 10 days? ›

While it may not be possible to become fluent in Japanese in just ten days, it IS possible to learn the basics of speaking in a short period of time and move on to becoming fluent. Don't be discouraged. You can and will learn Japanese much faster than you expect.

Is learning Japanese difficult? ›

The Japanese language is considered one of the most difficult to learn by many English speakers. With three separate writing systems, an opposite sentence structure to English, and a complicated hierarchy of politeness, it's decidedly complex.

Which app is best for learning Japanese? ›

What Is the Best App for Learning Japanese?
  • Pimsleur Japanese. ...
  • JA Sensei. ...
  • Human Japanese. ...
  • HelloTalk. ...
  • Duolingo. ...
  • Honorable Mention for Kanji Study: WaniKani.
19 Apr 2021

Can orphans live alone in Japan? ›

Japan is considered safe, a country where kids are allowed from a very early age to be independent. Neighbors and the wider community foster this autonomy through the general acceptance that children in Japan, much more so than in other countries, are able to look after themselves.

What is the age limit to work in Japan? ›

Minors. Article 56. Children under 15 full years of age shall not be employed as workers. 2.

What is the age limit to study in Japan? ›

Q: Is there an age limit for getting a student visa? There's no strict limit but if you're middle-aged or older (over 30 years old) your reason for studying Japanese and your school history will be more carefully evaluated.

How many hours a day should I study Japanese? ›

How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese on Average? With consistent studying and speaking, for about 30 minutes to an hour a day, you could speak at a conversational level in Japanese in about 3 months. It's all about using the right method, and I'll say it again: speak from day one!

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Japan? ›

In more rural areas you can certainly find such apartments, but in any city you should expect to pay 50,000 yen or more. The average rent for a studio apartment in Tokyo is about 90,000 yen!
Cost of Living Expenses.
Other expenses¥6,576
Excess entertainment expenses​¥12,934
Total expenditures¥148,351
13 more rows
8 Mar 2021

Which language is hardest to learn? ›

15 of the hardest languages to learn, for English speakers -...
  • Russian.
  • Hindi.
  • Vietnamese.
  • Thai.
  • Korean.
  • 13. Japanese.
  • Mandarin Chinese.
  • Arabic.
7 Nov 2021

Can you learn Japanese without writing? ›

Well, the truth is that you can learn Japanese without kanji. You can just concentrate on learning hiragana and katakana. This is because as long as you have a good understanding of hiragana and katakana, you can communicate to an extent in Japanese.

Why is Japanese so fast? ›

Because the consonants above are pronounced in the same place, this is what allows native Japanese speakers to speak so fast. The front part of the tongue barely has to move between these consonants compared to English words which have far more consonants and places of pronunciation (AKA places of articulation).

Is Japanese or Chinese harder? ›

Japanese is slightly easier to learn. But, Chinese is much more widely spoken. Both languages have their pros and cons.

Is Japanese harder than Korean? ›

This makes learning Korean much easier than Japanese. Japanese has 46 letters in its alphabet. Meanwhile, Korean only has 24. If you're looking for which is easier to learn between Korean or Japanese, Korean wins this round too.

How can I learn Japanese fast and free? ›

How to Learn Japanese Online for FREE
  1. Duolingo.
  2. JapanesePod101.
  3. NHK World Easy Japanese.
  4. Japan Foundation's Marugoto course.
  5. Learn Japanese Free.com.
11 Nov 2018

How can I become fluent in Japanese? ›

7 tips for learning to speak Japanese fluently
  1. Don't rush the basics. For some learners, the three Japanese writing systems can be intimidating. ...
  2. Find media you love. ...
  3. Practise with native speakers. ...
  4. Record yourself speaking. ...
  5. Set goals. ...
  6. Use mnemonics. ...
  7. Stay positive.

What is the easiest language to learn? ›

15 of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers - ranked
  • Frisian. Frisian is thought to be one of the languages most closely related to English, and therefore also the easiest for English-speakers to pick up. ...
  • Dutch. ...
  • Norwegian. ...
  • Spanish. ...
  • Portuguese. ...
  • Italian. ...
  • French. ...
  • Swedish.
24 Oct 2021

Can a 12 year old live alone in Japan? ›

The minimum age to rent a property is 18 starting from April 1st, 2022, and people under that age are required to get parental consent. In addition, several documents are required to prove that you are able (financially) to pay your rent.

Are there poor areas in Japan? ›

These include larger numbers of unstable jobs, high divorce rates and many single-parent households, as well as the cost of living. The prefectures of Okinawa, Kagoshima and Kochi are the nation's poorest and particularly struggle with these issues.

Do Japanese kids go out alone? ›

Japanese children usually do not go to school and back alone, but with other children from their school, and unaccompanied by adults. Doing so builds reliance on themselves and their friends, not just on parents and teachers.

What jobs are in high demand in Japan? ›

Top 15 Highest-Paying Jobs in Japan
  • English Teacher.
  • Hostesses in Service Sector.
  • Automobile Engineers.
  • Researcher.
  • Japanese Translators.
  • Wholesale Retail Buyers.
  • Au Pairs.
  • Country Managers.
4 Sept 2021

How many hours is full time in Japan? ›

Since 1987, Japan has adopted the principle of a 40-hour week. If people work over eight hours per day, 40 hours per week, or on holidays (and one "weekend" day a week), or at late night (10pm to 5am), they are entitled to overtime pay.

How long can you stay in Japan without a visa? ›

A passport and onward/return transportation ticket are required. Visas are not required for tourist/business stay of up to 90 days.

Is it hard to get Japan visa? ›

The Japan visa requirements for Indians have become pretty straightforward, with typically a processing period of 4 working days at VFS Japan – the official visa application centre for the Japan Embassy in India.

How much bank balance is required for Japan visa? ›

Stayed in Japan for 8 days, at least 50,000 balance in bank certificate. Applied for 15 days max – at least Php 70,000 available balance.

How much does a student visa to Japan cost? ›

How Much is the Japan Student Visa Fee? The fees for Japan Visas are as follows: Single-entry visa: 3,000 Yen. Double-entry or multiple-entry visa: 6,000 Yen.

How many words do you need to be fluent in Japanese? ›

Around 30,000-50,000 words will give you native level reading proficiency, equivalent to a college-educated Japanese. Of course, this level is only attained by a tiny fraction of non-native Japanese speakers.

How long learn Japanese fluently? ›

Learning Japanese isn't easy and it will take time. It's probably fair to say that you can expect a commitment of at least three years in order to achieve something resembling fluency. The average learner gets to the advanced level in three or four years.

Can I learn Japanese in 2 years? ›

The average length of time to learn advanced Japanese is 2-3 years. At the intermediate level, you can understand most of what your teacher says, and you can follow along with TV programs. When it comes to using the language with other Japanese speakers, however, you still have some limitations.

Is it cheaper to live in America or Japan? ›

The average cost of living in Japan ($1171) is 45% less expensive than in the United States ($2112). Japan ranked 43rd vs 6th for the United States in the list of the most expensive countries in the world.

What is the cheapest city to live in Japan? ›

Kyoto and Kawasaki are among the cheapest places to rent in Japan, and Tsushima city and Fukuoka boast some of the lowest living costs for utilities, groceries, and eating out.

What is the number 1 language in the world? ›

1. English (1,132 million speakers) Like Latin or Greek at the time, English is the universal language of today. It is the default language in international business, tourism, technology, and much more.

What is the 2nd hardest language to learn? ›

2. Arabic. Arabic is the queen of poetic languages, the 6th official language of the UN and second on our list of toughest languages to learn.

What is the best website to learn Japanese for free? ›

Linguti is a free gamified language learning website offering Japanese, Chinese and Korean, among other major languages. If you're a beginner, you can start at “Unit 1” and complete quizzes based on vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing and listening to unlock subsequent content.

Can I learn Japanese by listening? ›

Listening to learn Japanese can be a very effective way to immerse yourself in a new language. Another bonus: audiobooks are super convenient. No matter how busy you are on any given day, it's easy to find the time to throw on a Japanese audiobook and just allow yourself to be immersed in the language and its cadence.

What is the best Japanese online course? ›

11 best online Japanese courses
  • Udemy: Best for beginners.
  • Memrise: Best for technology.
  • Japanese Online Institute: Best for group classes.
  • NHK: Best for free resources.
  • All Japanese All the Time: Best for self-study ideas.
  • Kanshudo: Best for games and flashcards.
  • Nihongo Master: Best for quick lessons.
20 Sept 2022

Is it OK to skip kanji? ›

The RTK books contain some characters that are just a complete waste of time for a beginner. This is why I recommend skipping any kanji that you feel you don't need to know. RTK also includes the stroke order of each character. This gives you writing practice which I highly recommend you do.

Can I skip kanji? ›

I see so many posts with people asking if they can skip learning kanji, 🤦🏻‍♀️ and the answer is no you cannot. Just because each kanji has a reading that can still be read with hiragana, does not mean the kanji itself is insignificant.

How can I learn Japanese in one day? ›

How to Learn Japanese in 5 Minutes a Day: Tips for Beginners - YouTube

How do Japanese people talk? ›

The most widely spoken language in Japan is Japanese, which is separated into several dialects with Tokyo dialect considered standard Japanese. In addition to the Japanese language, Ryūkyūan languages are spoken in Okinawa and parts of Kagoshima in the Ryūkyū Islands.

What are the slowest languages? ›

Mandarin is the slowest recorded language with a rate as low as 5.18 syllables per second.

Why do Japanese talk slowly? ›

Japanese is not a fast language.

Until your Japanese reaches a higher level, Japanese sounds very fast. The lower the level you are, the faster it sounds. As you improve, the language starts to sound slower. This is an illusion.

What do I need to know before learning Japanese? ›

If you're ready to learn Japanese, here are eight tips for beginners.
  • Don't Worry Too Much About Handwriting. ...
  • Take Advantage of Manga and Anime. ...
  • Embrace Your Inner Karaoke Diva. ...
  • Listen A LOT. ...
  • Instead of Grammar, Focus on Patterns. ...
  • Start Cooking. ...
  • Use Full Sentence Flashcards. ...
  • Find a Good Japanese-English Dictionary.
5 Feb 2020

How long does it take to learn Japanese? ›

According to the US Department of State, Japanese is one of the hardest languages for English natives to learn. It doesn't have many similarities in structure to English. They estimate it takes 88 weeks of learning, or 2200 hours, to reach fluency.

Is duolingo good to learn Japanese? ›

Duolingo is an excellent free resource for learning languages, especially if you consider yourself a beginner who is looking to immerse yourself quickly in Japanese.

What are the basics of Japanese? ›

Basic Phrases
  • Hai. Yes. はい。
  • Iie. No. いいえ。
  • O-negai shimasu. Please. おねがいします。
  • Arigatō. Thank you. ありがとう。
  • Dōitashimashite. You're welcome. どういたしまして。
  • Sumimasen. Excuse me. すみません。
  • Gomennasai. I am sorry. ごめんなさい。
  • Ohayō gozaimasu. Good morning. おはようございます。

Can I learn Japanese in 2 months? ›

It will take around 2-6 months to get through most beginner Japanese textbooks. Though, this does depend on how much time you have to spend on your studies and what grammar method you choose. You can even go through a couple different textbooks at the same time, if you want.

What should you not do when learning Japanese? ›

  1. 1: Make sure you have the right resources. ...
  2. 2: Thinking you are going to become a master by watching only anime. ...
  3. 3: Not actually using Japanese. ...
  4. 4: Copying the wrong gender. ...
  5. 5: Overusing Pronouns. ...
  6. 6: Speaking with the wrong level of formality. ...
  7. 7: Using “san” in your introduction. ...
  8. 8: Learning too quickly and getting stressed.
23 Dec 2019

How many hours a day should I study Japanese? ›

For the past 5 years of studying Japanese, I can say that 2 hours a day is more than enough to get you where you want. To give you a perspective on the matter, I would only study around one hour a day—every other day. If by 'fluent' you mean to hold a conversation, then around a couple of years.

How many words do you need to be fluent in Japanese? ›

Generally speaking, you need to know about 3,000 – 5,000 Japanese words to be fluent in the language. But it can't just be any words, as you could simply learn the names of people, places, and Pokémon to hit one or two thousand.

How can I become fluent in Japanese? ›

Want to Become Fluent in Japanese? 6 Stones You Can't Leave Unturned
  1. Study Japanese every day.
  2. Attend a local class.
  3. Read Japanese as much as possible.
  4. Listen to Japanese every day.
  5. Join a club.
  6. Practice conversation every day.
15 Sept 2022

Is Japanese easier than Korean? ›

This makes learning Korean much easier than Japanese. Japanese has 46 letters in its alphabet. Meanwhile, Korean only has 24. If you're looking for which is easier to learn between Korean or Japanese, Korean wins this round too.

Can you learn Japanese while sleeping? ›

yes you can. Listening to a language while asleep can help supercharge your vocabulary. With the Learn Japanese While Sleeping Audiobook, you'll absorb over 430 Japanese words and phrases effortlessly. And of course — learn words passively — in your sleep.

What does Ara Ara mean? ›

Ara ara (あら あら) is a Japanese expression that is mainly used by older females and means “My my”, “Oh dear”, or “Oh me, oh my”.

What is the cutest Japanese word? ›

We can't think of Japan without associating it with the word kawaii! Not only is kawaii (かわいい) an adjective to describe something that is 'cute', 'lovely', or 'adorable', but it is also part of a bigger culture in Japan.

What is the most beautiful Japanese word? ›

These 12 beautiful Japanese words you have to know, for me, sum up how incredible the language is.
12 Beautiful Japanese Words You Have to Know
  1. Shinrinyoku (森林浴) ...
  2. Ikigai (生きがい) ...
  3. Itadakimasu (いただきます) ...
  4. Natsukashii (懐かしい) ...
  5. Wabi-Sabi (侘寂) ...
  6. Kanbina (甘美な) ...
  7. Mono-no-aware (物の哀れ) ...
  8. Furusato (ふるさと)


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