Best Dictionaries


From the web - Jisho

For Iphone -     imiwa?

For android -    JED 

Rikakun – Read a lot on your computer? Simply have this add-on enabled for google chrome. Then when you hover your mouse above a word, it will tell you the pronunciation and the English meaning. Great for helping you dissect difficult texts on the computer.


Beginners Material

Japanese with LingQ – Based on how Steve Kauffman learns languages, Lingq is a system built around building up your listening & reading. As being able to click on any unknown word to get its definition and pronounciation (furigana or romaji), LingQ offers a wide range of lessons. But the best thing about this site is that you can import your own lessons, take charge of your own learning and learn from interesting content. Because you can control what you are learning from, this system can be used from beginner right up to the advanced stages

Japanesepod101 – This is a great place to start as a beginners with podcasts, dialogues, full line by line audio, transcripts as well as posts about cultural insights and aspects of the language.
Japanese for busy people: This is a great book to learn natural Japanese effectively. This book doesn't hold your hand and the audio will seem fast at first, but this is a great book to get you to begin to understand naturally spoken Japanese by native speakers. In this version all dialogues are written in Kana, so I highly recommend this as a beginner textbook after learning Kana for people who want to achieve a high level in the language. There is also a romaji version available, which is ideal if you want to become conversational as quickly as possible and are not aiming for a high level in Japanese.
Genki 1 – Probably the most recommended book on Japanese reddit. Genki is as comprehensive as you can expect a Beginner book to be, full of dialogues, transcripts, Kanji exercises and much more.

Intermediate Materials

Japanese Conversations  – Japanese conversations is a series of dialogues based around story at natural speed. Made on Stephen Krashen language theory of comprehensible input, Japanese conversations gives you real Japanese, that you can use in every day life and is based on an engaging story to keep you coming back for more. Each conversation is also accompanied by a transcript (Japanese, Kana and English), as well as vocabulary lists.
Tobira (Japanese and English version) - Good book for intermediate Japanese learners wanting to push towards the advanced stages.

Learning to read & Write Japanese

Remembering the Kana – If you are serious about learning Japanese then you should get away from romaji as soon as possible, as it will only cripple you in the long run. To do this I would spend the first week sitting down and committing the Kana (Hiragana & Katikana) to memory. There are a lot of resources out there, but my personal favorite is Remembering the Kana.
Remembering the Kanji by James Heisig – This book breaks down all of the joyo Kanji (Literally means regular use Chinese characters) in a logical digestible manner using mnemonics, in an interesting way that none of the schools will teach you. There are around 2000 in all, and cover the overwhelming majority of all Japanese texts. Not everyone will like this book, slogging through a list of 2000 odd characters with no pronunciation or context isn’t for everyone. But if you do go for this, you will be able to learn all the characters inside the book in a matter of months, in a way you can’t do with rote memorization alone. What’s more is you will gain the ability to break down any Chinese character you see after that, into it’s much simpler parts in order to remember it. Note: there is a book 2 & 3 of this series, although I would advise against using them. Once you have learnt all the joyo kanji and kana, the best thing to do is get used to real Japanese as much as possible.
Hello Talk – What better way to practice recognizing and using Japanese than practicing with natives. This is a great way to meet people, learn about the culture and practice all at the same time. If combined with the “clipboard reader” on the app pleco, means you can have meaningful conversations with native speakers from relatively early on!



Animelon – Animelon is a free website and an absolute godsend for anyone interested in anime learning Japanese. It works by bringing popular anime to learners, with clickable subtitles to find out what specific words are available in Japanese, Kana, romanji and English. As well as this they also publish a full transcript to each episode on the right hand side of the screen. If used in conjunction with LingQ, you can import entire transcripts for anime into your lesson library to really help you in your learning.

Bilibili – Bilibili is a Chinese website with Japanese TV variety shows on all with Japanese subtitles. The only catch is the entire interface is in Simplified Chinese, so unless you have a friend to help you, or you can already read, this could cause a problem finding what you want.

Japanese the manga way - Teaches grammar by presenting all Japanese sentences as three basic sentence types, and then illustrating each point with real life examples of how real Japanese is used in manga.

Bilingual Manga - This website has a bunch of free manga you can, fitted with a language switcher so you can swap between the original Japanese and English at will.

Google input tools – This add on for google chrome lets you type in Japanese on your computer. It’s very intuitive to use and let’s  you string together long sentences quickly in conversation. This is the best input tool I have found, period. And on top of that it is available in many other languages as well!

Google Japanese Input –  Google Japanese input for android is very easy to use and works similar to google input tools.

Japanese Keyboard on Iphone – IOS has it’s own Japanese keyboard and you can choose between using Kana or romanji to type with.

Do you have any great resources for Japanese that I missed off? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Andy

    Kanji Tree (android app) – to learn or review kanji

  2. Andy

    For learning kanji in the same order that school children in Japan learn them, one of the reference books by Kenneth G. Henshall is useful: either “A Guide to Reading & Writing Japanese” if you want to know the stroke order or “A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters” if mnemonics or the character’s history is important to you. After completing the 1006 elementary school kanji, continue to the out-of-print book, “A New Dictionary of Kanji Usage” published by Gakken, which lists 2000 kanji in the order of frequency or usefulness, with the elementary school characters in a different color (on a chart inside the back cover) so they can be skipped over if desired.

    • Truman

      Hi Andy, thanks for sharing. When you talk about the history of the character do you mean the etymology and why it’s written like it’s written or the history of previous revisions of the character?

      Because I think a lot of the etymology would probably be hard to explain in a Japanese context, as a lot is based of the phonetics in Chinese

      • Andy

        It’s the history of a character, with a mnemonic beneath. Someone sent me a photo of a page from the book, and I forwarded it to you by private message on Facebook today. Personally, I use the other form of the book which contains the stroke orders for writing. Both books have three example words for each character. Instead of mnemonics or the character’s history, I memorize at least one of the example words for each kanji, and that helps me to remember the character’s meaning as well as one of its pronunciations.


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