YouTube can be an incredible resource for learning Japanese. And best of all, it's free. So we've compiled a list of the best YouTube channels that make learning Japanese fun, effective, and accessible. We've focused on YouTube channels teaching Japanese lessons for beginners and intermediates, but we've also included a few channels for more advanced levels at the end. Hajimemashou!
1. Kaname Naito
- Description: Kaname blew up on YouTube in 2023, and for a good reason. He teaches Japanese in a clear and easy-to-understand way, making concepts usually difficult to grasp a breeze.
- Best For: Grammar, beginners to intermediates.
2. あかね的日本語教室 (Akane's Japanese Classroom)
- Description: Akane's Japanese Classroom is your go-to channel to practice listening to everyday Japanese. She speaks in a clear way and uses simple words and sentence structures, that still represents a challenge for beginners and intermediates. Her vlogs are both entertaining and educational, making it a great channel for passive input. She also has podcasts with the same name, which we personally think are like listening to ASMR.
- Best For: Listening practice for intermediates, everyday conversations.
3. Japanese Ammo with Misa
- Description: Misa, a friendly and engaging native speaker, offers lessons for beginners to intermediate learners. Her explanations in English are clear and concise.
- Best For: Grammar, vocabulary, and common phrases.
4. ToKini Andy
- Description: Andy teaches beginner to intermediate Japanese. He covers textbook lessons, which is great if you're also learning from textbooks as it will help review and deepen your understanding of the vocabulary, kanji, and grammar points included there.
- Best For: beginner to intermediate learning with textbooks.
5. Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com
- Description: Probably the biggest and one of the oldest Japanese learning YouTube channel out there, JapanesePod101 offers a vast array of lessons covering all levels. Their videos are well-structured, making learning both systematic and enjoyable.
- Best For: Listening practice and vocabulary.
Before going to the next YouTube channel in our top, don't forget to check out our unique learning aids at Hirakan. A perfect companion to your studies is our JLPT N5 Kanji Poster. It's a visually engaging tool that simplifies Kanji learning for beginners. Ideal for complementing your video lessons, this poster helps you master the essentials of Kanji right from your wall!
6. Miku Real Japanese
- Description: Miku offers engaging lessons focusing on natural, conversational Japanese. Her videos are ideal for learners who want to sound more like a native speaker.
- Best For: Conversational Japanese and natural expressions.
7. Japanese From Zero!
- Description: George Trombley breaks down the Japanese language into easy-to-understand lessons, great for absolute beginners.
- Best For: Beginners, especially in grammar and reading.
- Description: Onomappu specializes in teaching Japanese slang,natural expressions providing a unique and often overlooked aspect of language learning. The channel is both educational and entertaining, making it easy to learn these expressive parts of the Japanese language.
- Best For: Learning slang, expressions, and casual Japanese.
9. Comprehensible Japanese
- Description: This channel focuses on providing Japanese lessons using the 'Comprehensible Input' method, where learners are exposed to slightly challenging material in a way that's still understandable. This method is great for improving listening skills and overall language comprehension.
- Best For: Enhancing listening skills and comprehension through natural language input.
10. Yuko Sensei
- Description: Yuko Sensei offers a range of lessons covering basic to advanced Japanese. Her teaching style is patient and thorough, making complex concepts easier to grasp. She also includes cultural insights and tips for language learners.
- Best For: All-around Japanese learning, from basic to advanced levels.
11. Sayuri Saying
- Description: Sayuri focuses on teaching conversational Japanese and phrases that are commonly used in daily life. Her lessons are practical and tailored to everyday situations, helping learners to communicate more effectively in Japanese.
- Best For: Practical conversational Japanese and daily life communication.
- Description: Dogen has become very popular on YouTube recently. He specializes in teaching Japanese phonetics and pronunciation. That sounds boring, but Dogen is fun. He has a very unique sense of humor and his videos are short like sketches, making them very easy to watch. And believe it or not, he has a better Japanese accent than Japanese people. Ideal for learners who want to improve their accent and speaking skills.
- Best For: Pronunciation and advanced speaking skills.
13. Nihongo no Mori
- Description: Great for those aiming for JLPT N3 to N1 levels. The channel features native Japanese speakers explaining complex grammar points in simple terms. By going to their older content, you can also find N3 to N5 videos.
- Best For: Advanced grammar and JLPT preparation.
Whether you learn Japanese through manga, YouTube, or anything else, we think learning in a way that is fun for you is key to remain consistent. And YouTube channels offer a wealth of free resources to support your learning journey. So pick a few channels that resonate with you and start watching regularly!