6 Best Online Japanese Courses & Classes [2022 Updated]

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Learn Japanese from the 6 popular online Japanese courses. We compare the 6 online Japanese courses by features and prices that helps you find the best way to learn Japanese!   
japanese courses

Why Learn Japanese Online?

When it comes to learning Japanese, people think of learning from a real class or learning online.
Internet is widely adopted nowadays. More and more Japanese learning resources and courses are shared and spread online. Thus, a lot of people now prefer to learn Japanese online. Also because it’s more convenient and time saving than attending a real Japanese class, online Japanese courses are gaining more popularity along the time. 
As various types of online Japanese lessons are available, it’s hard to judge the quality of every lesson. In today’s article, we select 6 popular online Japanese courses and analyze the pros and cons of each online course. Hopefully, you will get a better picture of each online Japanese course. Pick the right one for you and master your Japanese in the near future. 


6 Best Online Japanese Courses

This is a language learning website/app that offers more than 10 different languages, including Japanese. The concept of learning Japanese, and any other languages, on Duolingo is to “learn by play”. 
In the very beginning, you can set a daily goal which is how regular are you going to learn on Dulingo. There are options of 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes per day. In the next step, you get to start from a beginner level or take a quick placement test to know which level to start with. 
The courses are classified into various topics. Once you finish a topic, you will be able to unlock the next topic. If you fail to pass one, you will lose your “blood”. You can’t proceed your Japanese lesson until you are refilled with new blood. 
Every time you pass a course/topic, you get golden coins as rewards. You can follow up with your learning progress from your fluency score. 
Price: Free
Suits for: All level
  • According to the official website, a research claims that completing 34 hours of Duolingo Japanese course equal to 1 semester of Japanese courses in university!
  • The design of “learn by play” is quite motivating for Japanese learners.   
  • Totally free with no hidden fee or premiere membership
  • The courses can be taken on website or app  
  • There are several student learning group where you can discuss grammar, vocabularies and any other question related Japanese with other users
  • You can practice Japanese listening, reading, writing (typing), and speaking 
  • Some student point out that some of the Japanese characters are supposed to have more than one pronunciation, however, in Duolingo each character only have one sound. 
  • Duolingo is more like a tool that facilitate your Japanese learning process. For beginners, you still need a more organized text books or courses to build up the basic of Japanese.
  • Sometimes questions in each topic repeat    
Duolingo is good to try out Japanese and see if it’s really a language you want to learn, but once you’ve made that decision, I think it’s best to use a combination of resources. (by E. Contreras)
Rocket Japanese online courses are provided by Rocket Languages, which is started in 2004! Back in 2004, Rocket Language was the first online language learning platform that offer only audio and PDFs lessons. Now, they offer more than 10 languages including Japanese with more than 1 million registered users.
Rocket Japanese courses can be accessed on the websites and the app. You are able to sync your learning process on both your mobile app and website. There are 3 levels of Japanese lessons, you can choose from one of the three packages: level 1, level 1-2, and level 1-3. Like on Duolingo, you can track your learning progress anytime on Rocket Language.
Price: $99-259 (60 days money back guarantee)
Suits for: All level
  • Includes a variety of learning methods in the courses, such as audio lessons, voice recognition system, videos, flash cards
  • Members Q&A forum allows students interact with each other, practice Japanese and solve Japanese problems
  • Lifelong membership
  • Download and use the courses offline
  • Abundant learning resources for each level of lesson
  • Rocket Japanese learning forum is not very active. Sometimes a question may remain unanswered for a long while after it is posted.  
  • Audio lessons are not 100% taught by Japanese native speaker
  • Hard to really improve your Japanese communication ability through this type of course
  • No placement test to test your Japanese level. For those who already know some Japanese, it could be hard to tell where to begin the course with.  
This program is great for new learners and has helped me vastly in learning Japanese. On top of that the voice lessons are great and are downloadable so you can practice and learn wherever you go! (by E. Waters)
Rocket Japanese has a few flaws but it still stands out as the most comprehensive and useful online audio course available (by D)

3. Udemy


This is a platform where people can find all types of paid courses, including languages, computer science, art and so. There are 30 millions students and more than 100 thousands courses on Udemy. You can find a wide range of Japanese courses with different topics ( backpacker’s Japanese,  Kanji character…) and level (beginner to advanced), each with up to 100 lessons. You can choose the course depending on price, number of students taking the course, student reviews, and contents of the course. After completing the whole course, you will get a certification that proves how many Japanese learning hours you get.    
Price: starting from $12.52 each course
Suits for: All level
  • For each course, you can view students’ reviews which is way more reliable than the “official user reviews”
  • Udemy offers regular price discounts. If you often track the price change, you may buy the courses with lower prices. 
  • There is a Q&A section in every courses where teachers will answer your questions  
  • Lifelong access to the course (including updated contents)
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Access on mobile app and TV
  • Course quality is not very stable
  • No placement test
  • Not many Japanese Courses on Udemy comparing to other types of language
  • Most of the courses are for beginners 
Learned a lot and was very useful for self-teaching. Lots of information and easy to understand. Sometimes long videos can be tedious, but overall totally recommended. (by O. Belda)
It’s great! Easy to understand and well explained. I just wish there were more quizzes (maybe a pdf file with a few questions?) to practice? I know you can just get the mock exam, but I mean for practice before you finish, or to focus on something specific. (by C. Mortemer)

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4. Alison 


Alison is a for-profit social enterprise that offers free online lessons and skill training to people around the world. The company’s core value is to make free education possible for everyone. Although it’s free, Alison still offers various types of courses, including certificate  courses and diploma courses. The categories range from IT, language, marketing to lifestyle.  
For every online Japanese courses, you can see the number of students enrolled, the score rated by the students, the level of the course and the potential jobs that links to the skills learned from the courses. Each course lasts for about 10-15 hours with quiz to assess your learning progress.  
Price: Free
Suits for: Beginner
  • Free lessons and certificates provided once you achieve 80%  or more in each course assessment.
  • You can show your Japanese course certification to the world, which also allows the employer to know your achievement
  • You are able to know what to expect after completing all the lessons of the course from the “outcome” section of each course
  • Course reviews are available
  • Not many online Japanese courses options
  • Only courses for beginners
  • Not many reviews from students 
  • Students’ comments are too general that it’s hard to get any valuable comments from those reviews
  • Alison certification is not widely accepted by the employers
  • You need to sign up to take the courses
Alison Courses are very well structured and well presented and prepared by highly reputed publishers in the world. However, speaking of the value Alison courses have, it all depends on what you are learning and what skills you are seeking. (by B. Alkhatib)
This is a free Japanese audio lessons provided by a famous Japanese radio, NHK World Radio. You can learn basic Japanese grammar and useful expression from the audio lessons. The audio lessons are based on a story line where virtual Japanese characters presenting throughout the courses. They hire a Japanese professor to supervise the audio lessons to make sure the quality of the lessons. Different stories take place in each lesson. Every audio lessons last about 10 minutes, so people can listen to it while commuting. 
Price: Free
Suits for: Beginner
  • The audio files and scripts can be downloaded
  • Available on podcasts
  • Every sentence in a dialog can be replay separately
  • Supplementary Japanese leaning resources can be found in the website
  • Vocabulary list and quiz are available
  • Repeated course format cause boredom 
  • Only suitable for Japanese beginner
  • Few interaction during the lessons
  • No access to a real teacher 
  • No placement test 
I really like the conversational nature of the podcast and the focus on language functions that still highlights grammar. The only thing I would change would an extra repetition of the conversation and a transcription of the covered material in the show notes/details. I feel that would really be helpful, especially with kana and kanji added. (by jake.ts)
Japanese-lesson.com is a online platform where people can learn Japanese for free. Contents of the websites are quite organized and are provided by a professional native Japanese teacher who passed the Japanese Language Teaching Competency test. There are 4 sections in the website, including courses, character, vocabulary and resources. Courses consists of two types: character and conversation. Except the main course, the other 3 sections served as supplementary learning resources that will be used along the courses. 
Price: Free
Suits for: Beginner
  • Courses follow the standard guideline issued by the Japanese official cultural institution 
  • Audio lessons are recorded by experienced voice actor 
  • They provide a clear guideline of how to use the website 
  • Some suggestions of how to study for different levels of Japanese (elementary, intermediate and advanced)
  • Well organized courses and simple web page design
  • YouTube channel with a plenty of Japanese learning resources   
  • Do not provide student forum 
  • Only elementary courses provided
  • No access to a real teacher
  • No placement test  
 I used this website 3 years ago when I first started learning Japanese, it really helps! (from YouTube comment)

Looking for more online Japanese courses?

check out more online Japanese lessons with price and reviews 

Seeking Japanese tutors online/in-person, see:

Top 6 Japanese Tutor sites- How to get free lessons & discounts


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