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I think the most difficult thing for a foreigner to do when studying Japanese for the first time is to find the best study method, one which fits them. If you start studying without knowing your learning style, you may end up wasting your money.

In this article, we will introduce an efficient study method based on our actual experience of obtaining N2 in the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test).

The need for self-study

There are many things that are necessary for people to learn Japanese, but the most important thing is to make self-learning a habit.

Japanese is completely different from English, so it takes a lot of time for your brain to get used to the Japanese structure. You have to make it a habit while continuing to study every day. There are ample resources available for foreigners to learn Japanese, and anyone can easily access the materials they need via the Internet.

Therefore, excuses such as living abroad or not having enough money will not work.

The best way to study Japanese

Use online teaching materials:

Youtube is one of the best ways to learn. There is a lot of video material available and it is suitable for all levels. You don’t have to spend money on Rosetta Stone and the like, because Youtube has quality materials and you can study for free.

We especially recommend While we said free, we would recommend paying for this service. Even if you pay for a yearly subscription, it’s not expensive at all compared to other materials. is the one we used the most in conjunction with real-life lessons when we first started studying Japanese. It has hundreds of 15-20 minute video lessons (with natural Japanese scripts), with plenty of vocabulary and grammar explanations.


Reading can help you form your vocabulary and Japanese brain if you work on it continuously every day. However, it is not recommended to read difficult materials right off the bat.

NHK News Web Easy is a good place to start. It is updated daily with news articles written in easy Japanese. When your reading level reaches the intermediate to advanced level, we recommend that you read books, manga, and play games in Japanese. Learning what you like in Japanese and immersing yourself in the language is one of the most effective ways to study.


One of the most effective ways to self-study is to use flashcards.
You can make your own flashcards or download those made by other users using the app Anki.

Conversation practice:

Even if you don’t have any Japanese friends around you, you can still practice your Japanese conversation skills. This is because as long as you have an internet connection, you can connect with Japanese people through many websites and apps.

We recommend HelloTalk. HelloTalk is a language exchange social networking app that allows you to connect with native speakers from around the world. The writing correction is especially useful, and native speakers will correct your posts. This app is useful for both speaking and writing, and you may even make native friends.

Self-learning is an important part of learning Japanese.
Nowadays, with the Internet, it is easy to access the materials necessary for self-learning, but the most important thing is to make it a habit.
In other words, learning Japanese must become a part of one’s daily rhythm. This requires discipline.
Even if you are busy or don’t want to study, you need at least a brief review. Even if it is just 15-30 minutes of flashcards, you need to give your brain some form of Japanese stimulation every day. If you don’t, you run the risk of falling out of the habit you have built and you will stop studying.
At first, it may seem like a daunting task, but once you get into the rhythm of life, studying for 30 minutes to three hours a day will not be a hardship. If you keep at it, I believe your Japanese will improve.

If you need help with your learning, Toranomon Language School is ready to assist!

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