If you are considering studying Japanese and aren’t in Japan, or are in Japan but don’t have the time to go to a language school this is a compilation of our advice and notes on studying Japanese. Your mileage may vary, if you have advice on studying the Japanese language please leave them in the comments section.

Getting Started with Japanese

Without a doubt, the fastest way to learn Japanese is with an immersion program in Japan. Preferably somewhere NOT in Tokyo. The reason is simple, too many people speak English in Tokyo. When one of our staff first came to Japan to study Japanese, every opportunity in Tokyo he made to try to practice was met by someone who just as eagerly wanted to practice English. So your best bet to improving your speaking ability would be to go live for at least three months in a city outside of Tokyo and go to a language school everyday. We highly recommend studying in Osaka.


Studying Japanese online

If you can’t get to Japan there are a few online alternatives. The most comprehensive is Japanesepod101.com because it has hundreds of situational lessons with native speakers and explanations in English. There is so much content on there that it is a little overwhelming and slightly unorganized. But they allow you to download some of the audio files so it could be a very useful resource, especially if you are about to visit Japan. The charge $10 a month for the service.

Another alternative would be a Japanese language skype friend. Community site, Worldfriends.tv has a large number of members in Japan who are looking for language exchange partners. You can find a native Japanese speaker on that site and practice live conversations using Skype. You have to weed out the people using the site for dating purposes, and find someone who will be available during your free hours, but worldfriends is by far the best source of finding Japanese language exchange partners.

Kanji Study

The bain of our existence. At The Tokyo Times we have tried nearly every form of kanji study possible but the fundamental issue will be that you WILL FORGET most of what you learn. It happens to native Japanese speakers after spending a year abroad, so it’s really nothing to be ashamed about. The best method of learning Kanji is situational. Meaning:

  • Study the Kanji you receive in email, if you communicate in Japanese in business
  • Ask your penpal (from worldfriends.tv or similar) to email you in Japanese and translate their emails
  • Keep a spreadsheet of all the kanji you encounter and don’t recognize, study the spreadsheet on a regular basis. See Michael Panda’s study tips
  • Using a sp


The Tokyo Times provides online education and learning for those interested in studying the Japanese language.

The courses were developed by some of the leading language instructors in the country and can help you go from an absolute beginner to advanced level in a matter of months.

iPhone Applications

In addition to PC based education courses, please visit our iPhone Japanese language learning applications. These are some of the most popular Hiragana and Katakana language learning utilities available on the iTunes store. The training application was developed in a casual way to make learning Japanese fun and exciting.

Recommended Resources

If you are interested in learning Japanese in addition to our courses there are also a number of highly qualified company providing quality education. These include: