Learning Japanese – What Are Your Options?

4月 17, 2022 0コメント

As it is one of the top ten most spoken languages in the world, learning Japanese is big business, and there are plenty of options out there. This can perhaps be attributed to the popularity of Japanese pop culture such as manga and anime. It could also be because Japan is considered one of the most desirable countries for immigrants. As the world’s third biggest economy, it’s a country that offers a lot of opportunities.

Interesting Facts About The Japanese Language

The Japanese language is unique and interesting. Perhaps you didn’t know that:

  • There are no plurals or articles in Japanese.
  • Sentences follow an SOV pattern (Subject-Object-Verb), whereas English sentences are SVO (Subject-Verb-Object).
  • Although Japanese is not a tonal language, it does make use of a pitch accent.
  • Japanese is the third most used language on the internet.

Learning Japanese definitely opens you up to a lot of opportunities. However, it’s also a notoriously difficult language. Let’s look at the options and resources available to you, such as:

  1. Language schools
  2. Short-term Japanese university courses
  3. Learning through language exchange with native speakers
  4. Learning through volunteer classes with native speakers
  5. Studying on your own

1. Language Schools

Japanese language schools

In recent years, there has been an increase in foreigners arriving in Japan on a student visa in order to learn Japanese. They are usually able to do so with the help of Japanese language schools.

Some of the best-known Japanese language schools are:

They Offer:

  • Part-time courses
  • Full-time courses
  • Intensive courses
  • Unique courses focusing on, for example, traditional Japanese culture or contemporary Japanese pop culture

You can choose between:

  • Short-term or Long-term courses
  • Online or in person lessons
  • Individual lessons or group lessons.


Minimum 2, 500 yen to 3000 yen per 50-minute lesson. The price can be significantly more as well, depending on the type of class and package you choose.

2. Short-Term Japanese University Courses

Short-Term Japanese University Courses

If you are planning to study towards a degree in Japanese, using language school courses towards university credits are a great option. In addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees in Japanese, many universities in Japan also offer short-term Japanese courses. Some examples are:

It might be possible to apply for a scholarship as well – be sure to check your chosen university’s requirements.

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3. Learning Through Language Exchange With Native Speakers

Learning Through Language Exchange With Native Japanese Speakers

Any language learner will tell you that the textbook doesn’t always reflect the reality on the ground. Communicating with native speakers in a relaxed atmosphere may be more beneficial. You’re sure to find plenty of people who are willing to teach you Japanese in exchange for help with English, making language exchange a good option.

Find Language Partners Online

There are a number of websites and apps that can help you find a language exchange partner, such as:

Many of these services allow you to choose who you’d like to match with – for example, male or female, student or professional, and so on. Caution is always advised when meeting online strangers in real life, but it can also be an opportunity to make new friends. If you do not feel comfortable meeting face-to-face, there are also many people who would be happy to do online language exchange.

4. Learning Through Volunteer Classes With Native Speakers

Learning Through Volunteer Classes With Native Japanese Speakers

If you are already in Japan, another great way to learn Japanese is through volunteer classes at your local ward office. These lessons are more often than not free or very cheap. They are usually run by friendly, enthusiastic local retirees who enjoy meeting foreigners and teaching them about their culture. These sorts of classes tend to be group lessons, so you also have the opportunity to meet others who live in your area and are trying to improve their Japanese as well.

5. Studying on Your Own

Learning Japanese on Your Own

If you are disciplined, learning Japanese on your own is a great option. There is a wealth of information on the internet to help you study and practice for free. Let’s take a closer look.


Apps are great for learning on the go as short lessons can be done anywhere on your phone. These apps are great for vocabulary and sentence building, but it should be taken into account that they do not go in-depth with grammatical explanations. Some top recommendations are:


There are also some great YouTube channels that teach Japanese at any level, such as:

Other online learning platforms

If you’re looking for a step-by-step course, or a place to practice kanji, the following websites are great:

No Nihongo, No Worries

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