Here you can find a list of all the Japanese resources that I’ve found useful. Let me know if you think I’m missing any important ones!
NHK World: Easy Japanese full textbook (PDF) – 61 pages; contains 48 lessons as well as some grammar notes and hiragana and katakana charts at the end. Easily the most comprehensive free resource I’ve found to date; the audio of each lesson lasts 10 minutes so the lessons can take anywhere from 10-40 mins to complete. You can also download the audio here.
NHK World: Easy Japanese vocabulary lists – Divided by lesson, the lists include words that are not written in the textbook, but are said on the audio. This means it’s a good idea to at least skim the lists if you’re going to be doing the vocabulary quizzes that are also on the site, as there will be some words you haven’t seen yet. It’s good to have a look around the Easy Japanese section of the NHK World site generally, as they seem to add new resources quite regularly.
Jisho: Japanese dictionary – This is the first Japanese dictionary I found and it’s been fine for the few words I’ve had to look up, but I’m willing to concede that there may well be a better one out there. However, it does give you a lot of information for each word and you can search for a word using a variety of methods.
Memrise: Basic Hiragana courses – Part one is here and part two is here. I used these courses to reinforce the hiragana I had learnt and found this to be a very useful method. Of course, if you don’t like to use Memrise then there are most likely some Anki decks you could use instead.
Japanese Audio Flashcard Lessons – Honestly, I haven’t used these yet because I found some YouTube videos; but they could be useful I think. There seems to be around 36 lessons available, along with a grammar guide and some other useful bits and pieces.
YouTube: JapaneseSocietyNYC – They have four playlists that I think are particularly useful for a beginning Japanese learner:
- Waku Waku Japanese Language Lessons
- Japanese Language Lessons
- Learn to read and write Katakana!
- Learn to read and write Hiragana!
I’ve found the Japanese Language Lessons playlist particularly useful; it’s helped to practise listening and get the repetition I need to learn new words.
YouTube: JapanesePod101.com – Lots of different videos; I haven’t used too many of them yet, but there’s a large selection of videos designed for different stages of your language learning journey. My saved playlist from their channel is the Speak Japanese Basic series one.
Tofugu: Learn Hiragana: The Ultimate Guide – Certainly the most extensive free resource I’ve found for learning hiragana, though I kind of lost interest halfway through. Still, what I learnt stuck very well; so if you can stay focussed for a while, then it will probably be great for you. There’s also a Learn Katakana: The Ultimate Guide on the same site, as well as plenty of other posts about learning Japanese.
Meguro Language Center Japanese Language School: Hiragana and Katakana Worksheets – This is a 29 page PDF that I found through the MLC Twitter account (@mlcjapanese) and seems to quite extensively cover hiragana and katakana. I haven’t gotten around to using it yet, but it appears as though it will be incredibly useful.
[Last updated: 18 April 2016]