Best Japanese Learning Tools – Part 2: Websites

Japanese learning websites

Photo by Dan_H on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our list of helpful Japanese learning books. In this part we are going to talk about several websites that really help you learn Japanese online. Let’s do this!

Top Japanese Learning Websites

Even if you’re taking Japanese classes in a traditional classroom environment, supplementing with a few good websites can help a lot. And for those that are learning completely on their own, finding quality online tools to learn Japanese is a must.

Since there are so many websites out there that brand themselves as the best Japanese learning tools online, we thought we’d give you some of our top recommendations.


iKnow website


iKnow has been through some changes in the last year, going to a subscription based service was the biggest change, but I still find it one of my favorite sites for learning Japanese.

iKnow works great as a vocabulary building tool. By going through their core Japanese lessons you can work through a list of some 2000 or more essential words. This is all done using their flashcard-like tools that space words out using a pattern optimized method. Ideally that means you’ll be quizzed on the word just when you are starting to forget it. Doing this will hopefully make it stick in your long term memory.

The quizzes are fun and can even be synced with an iPhone or Android app. And although I haven’t tried it yet, they’ve recently introduced a Brainspeed game that tests how quickly you can recall the words.

Check out my longer review of iKnow here.


JapanesePod101 website


JapanesePod101 was the first Japanese learning website I ever spent money on. And over the years it’s served me well.

The website is filled with tons of Japanese lessons from the beginner to advanced stages. Each lesson focusses on a particular theme and is typically conducted in a fun, light manner while introducing several words or phrases to build your Japanese vocabulary.

On top of that, there is a word bank and flashcard style tool for studying your words as well a great Japanese/English word dictionary. There are so many tools here that you may end up getting lost :)

The one negative thing I have to say about JapanesePod101 is that they could really use a total upgrade and overhaul. When they introduced a new flashcard system they almost completely broke it for several months. It got so bad that I had to give up using it for my daily testing. It seems like they’re trying to cram as many tools into their old framework as they can. While I applaud their efforts to expand their tool library, if the tools come out only half working, it may be time to re-haul the entire site.

Either way, it’s a great service that is packed to the rafters with useful Japanese learning tools.

I can hear you saying “Is that it? Only two websites?” And yes, that is it for my Japanese learning website recommendations. There are plenty more onine tools that I have to recommend, and we will talk about in our final part of the series. These tools will be helpful additions to learning Japanese but I wouldn’t say they’re a complete standalone website. So we’ll have to talk about them in Part 3 :)

If you have any recommendations for Japanese learning websites, I really want to hear them. I’m always on the look out for new sites to subscribe too.

3 Responses to “Best Japanese Learning Tools – Part 2: Websites”

  1. Leszek  on April 3rd, 2012

    JapanesePod101 has a very confusing membership system that tricks you into paying more than you think you would and the only way I found to cancel was through mailing the admins.

    Learn Japanese Pod is a fun and trustworthy resource, I found it long before coming to Japan. Has a promotion now (until April 6th):

  2. Travis  on April 4th, 2012

    Thanks Leszek! I’ll have to check that site out.

  3. hardkoretom  on April 4th, 2012

    Kanjibox is a great site for learning by either JLPT level or by school grade. They also have sections for vocabulary and grammer. The only downside for the kanji section is the lack of a stroke order so you would have to learn that after learning the kanji itself.

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