Learning Japanese is not an easy task, but there are lots of resources available online to help your study. Here we have a list of free online Japanese study resources - feel free to add to this list too!

One thing that happens every so often is the good free study sites grow and aquire a following and create a greate study tool then suddenly they aren't free any more. This makes sense and you can't really complain as there are people or even teams and companies behind these sites that need to get paid so make the most of these free Japanese study tools while you can before they go user-pays.

Online Japanese study resources

  • Read the Kanji - a flash card system for studying hiragana, katakana and kanji. This really is an amazing flash card system, and you can choose a level based on JLPT levels. I almost didn't put it in here because it is not free for all levels, but I remembered if you just want to study kana or JLPT 4, you can use it for free. Really worth trying out. Easy to study, easy to navigate, fast and fun to use and fast loading. 8/10
    Personal experience
  • Memrise - a flashcard system for learning Japanese or what looks like any other language you could wish to learn. This is a really well made site with the features you want though in a very simple and easy to use layout. The only thing (I just descovered) I can complain about is when they test your memory of how to type the word in Japanese - the input if you use Romaji is terrible. おもちゃ becomes omotiya (and should really be omocha). This site is currently free to sign up and use but because of how great it is it is obviously made professionally and once they have a solid user base I expect it to go the way of smart.fm (which is now iknow.jp) and turn to subscriptions. Still, use it while it's free! 8/10
  • Renshuu - this site comes recommended by a friend. So far it seems to have a lot of study options and a ton of content, but it doesn't seem to flow as easily as it might. It takes a little while to set up and get used to, but all the different option mean you can set it to how you want it (although personally I subscribe to the keep-it-simple philosophy). My base for comparison in Japanese study sites is ReadTheKanji.com and renshuu.org has a kanji study feature similar to what ReadTheKanji does as a site, although it requires you fiddling with settings to get it right. ReadTheKanji does what it does really well and except for more example sentences (which is where renshuu comes out on top), the kanji study feature of renshuu.org is ok but doesn't quite measure up. However, renshuu.org isn't just a kanji study tool. It has a lot of other features, the problem is many aren't available unless you start paying for the pro version. However, it looks like it would be a great site and once you get beyond beginner level, it may be worth paying for. 8/10
  • Kanji Damage - this site seems to have been made by one guy but it is still pretty good. Suitable for kanji beginners, his take on learning kanji is to learn them based on what they look like and how you write them, rather than their meaning. For example, the 5th kanji you learn in 子 (こ or ko) as in child. The 6th is 女 (おんな or onna) as in female. The 7th kanji you learn puts these two together to form 好 (こう or kou) as in like. It makes sense to me! However, you should be warned the author of this site is pretty crass and some of his obviously original example sentences are eyebrow raising. Take a look for yourself. 7/10
    Personal experience
  • Ippatsu! - another site I haven't explored properly but you can sign up for free, but even if you don't you can still do a new free test every day, for your level.
  • The Japanese Page - another site I haven't had the chance to explore, but stumbled on to this page and that caused me to add it here straight away. Seems to have lessons categorised into grammar, kanji and vocabulary. Has audio for some lessons. 6/10
  • RhinoSpike - a place to request recordings of a sentence/phrase you are trying to learn, so you can hear it in the correct pronunciation and enunciation. (can't rate it as haven't used it)
  • JapanDict - this place is a very easy to use dictionary with an interesting radical look up feature, as well as a very easy to use kanji look up feature.

Helpful Blogs

  • My Setsuna - this is a pretty cool blog where what seems to be some guy with a pretty good handle on Japanese is writing and translating either to or from Japanese. It seems the blog ended in 2012 but it's still up and it's a great read if you want to try reading some Japanese and then get an idea of what it might mean in English.
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