Is Duolingo Good For Japanese? (Honest Review 2024)

Although, Japan does not have any official language Japanese is its native language. When I was planning to go to Japan, one thing I knew was to learn Japanese before going there. Without even thinking, I decided to use Duolingo to learn Japanese. There is no doubt that Duolingo has always helped me learn different languages. But the question remains “Is Duolingo good for Japanese?” Undoubtedly, I tried it and was really happy to use it.

I know you want to use it to learn Japanese but are not sure if it will help you. Don’t worry, I will share my experience with you so that you can decide if you want to choose it or not. 

Is Duolingo Good For Japanese?

Is Duolingo Good For Japanese? 

Being a fresher, I was really nervous to use it. I have used Duolingo before, but I was not sure if it would work similarly for Japanese. It is commendable how it worked for the Japanese. If you are a fresher and are tight on the budget, you can think of using Duolingo for learning the Japanese language. However, if you are at an intermediate level, you may not enjoy it. As I was a fresher to this language, Duolingo made it too easy for me. I was easily able to learn the language without having any difficulty. The only thing that it does not cover is the grammatical explanations. It will more focus on increasing vocabulary knowledge.

What are the Benefits of learning Japanese with the help of Duolingo?

Learning a new language is not an easy task. But with Duolingo, the path will become too easy. Thus, further, we have discussed the benefits of learning Japanese with the help of Duolingo

  • As the language is very different from English in writing and speaking style, it can be difficult to understand. But, Duoligo makes sure that you learn the language effortlessly.
  • Being a fresher it makes no sense to use a lot of money to learn the language. Duolingo is a platform that provides you with free courses for different languages. Thus if you are tight on the budget you can always think of using this platform.
  • There is a special feature known as a writing system tool (which we will discuss later) that helps in practice writing the Japanese Language. You will get various exercises to learn how to write the symbols of a particular language. 
  • With the help of a writing system tool, you will develop an understanding of how to write different characters which is important to learn. Without learning how to write the basic characters, you will not get the active version.
  • Another feature of learning a language is Japanese stories. These stories are helpful in boosting your listening, hearing and reading skills for Japanese languages. 
  • All the activities to learn the language on this platform, are in a fun manner. Thus if you want to enjoy learning, this platform is for you. 
  • If you do not complete your lessons for a long time, you will see Duolingo Owl to motivate you to complete the lessons. You will also see various Duolingo characters at different points of time to make you stay active.

What are the drawbacks of learning Japanese with the help of Duolingo?

Anything that has advantages, comes with drawbacks. Thus, the following are the drawbacks of learning Japanese with the help of Duolingo-

  • Japanese is an extensive course and needs to have a deep understanding. However, the lessons in the course are very short and you will not be getting a lot of deep understanding. You can always take advantage of other apps to start learning Japanese.
  • When you learn a language you will have to learn all the basics of the language like Vocabulary, grammar, etc. However Japanese courses on Duolingo usually lack grammatical understanding. 
  • It will only help you in reading and listening to this language. This means that it is not a good platform for speaking skills in the language. Though you will be getting speaking exercises, they are less in number.
  • If you are using the desktop version of Duolingo, there is a heart system. In this system, there are only 5 chances to practice. Whenever you make a mistake, you lose your life.

How are Duolingo Japanese courses structured?

Just like High Valyrian, Dutch, etc. Japanese courses follow the same path which is also referred to as Duolingo Tree. In the tree, you will see that the course is divided into different sections. Each section has a different set of units that help you to learn Japanese starting from basics and ending with intermediate-level topics. Each unit has different assignments which are again grouped into a number of lessons. You will also see stories and speaking exercises in between your lessons.

The duration of each lesson is generally short up to 5-10 minutes. There is a total of 6 different units which have 131 skills in 655 crowns and 786 legendary skills. These legendary skills will help you to get the crowns in it. Additionally, if you already know some words in the language, you can also take a placement test for it.

Is Duolingo Good For Japanese?

What are the features you get when you learn Japanese with Duolingo?

When you learn Japanese you will get different features to help you learn the language. Let me tell you one exciting thing about Duolingo. Duolingo is not safe for every course. Some features are not available for each of the courses. In some courses like Spanish, you find features like Stories, podcasts, audio lessons and other challenges. But while learning Japanese, you will only get the story feature. An additional special feature that you get is the writing-system tool. Further, I have discussed both of the features one by one-

Japanese Stories

The stories found on the platform are in the Japanese language which will help to build writing, listening and hearing skills in the Japanese language. Currently, there are 30 stories that you can find on the platform. While taking part in it, I get questions in the Japanese Language and have to answer them all. All the stories are created for users from different levels and will help you to learn the language more easily. Also, you may find funny statements in the stories to help you stay engaged with the content.

Writing-system tool

This is my favourite feature as not all the platforms have a writing system tool. With the help of this feature, you will learn to write the Japanese language. Though other languages use only one writing style, Japanese is the only language that uses a mixture of two styles – Hiragana and Katakana. The writing system tool will help you in learning both styles in an easy manner. You can practice every symbol with different exercises like tracing, sound matching, typing what you hear, etc. 

What are the other features that you get while learning Japanese with Duolingo?

Is Duolingo Good For Japanese?

The above features are only offered in some of the courses. But, there are many other features that you will get in all the other courses. Below are the common features that you get while learning Japanese that are similar to other languages and are mentioned below-

1. XP Score

Once I start taking up lessons and completing them, I start getting an XP score. Every activity that I perform on the platform gives me some XP points. However, I noticed that completing the lessons gave me most of the XP points. If you want to win the leagues you will need to get them. Another way by which you can get it is by taking the XP ramp-up challenge.

2. Gems

When you are learning a course on Duolingo, you will have to unlock different lessons. To unlock a new lesson you will need to have Duolingo Gems. These gems are like a virtual currency that will help you to unlock new features and lessons on the platform.

3. Friends

Using Duolingo helps you to create more friends. Not only will you be learning Japanese, but also be creating more connections. You can follow random users and can also keep a check on your progress. If you follow others the chances of finishing the course will increase by 5 times. When you get friends on the platform, you are able to complete the friends quest.

4. Super Duolingo

Duolingo is a free platform but also has a subscription plan. It uses a freemium model where it offers both types of versions. The subscription plan is also known as Super Plus, earlier known as Duolingo Plus.

As we discussed above Duolingo provides a subscription plan which was earlier known as Duolingo Plus. With the help of this subscription plan, you will get rid of some features like ads and get more interesting features like unlimited health. However, with the latest update, you can get unlimited health if you are using the platform on the Android app.

Update: Unlimited heart system was earlier part of the Desktop version. Currently it is only offered to android users.

Is Duolingo Good For Japanese?

5. Leagues

League is a weekly competition in which you will be participating randomly along with 29 other users. These leagues help you to earn your Gems which you can further use to unlock the lesson plans. 

What are the alternatives to learning Japanese?

Duolingo alone can not help you learn the language. You must check some other apps to learn it. Following are some of the free platforms that you can use to learn-

1. HelloTalk

HelloTalk is a platform that allows you to have conversations with other people. I have been using this platform for quite long. It not only helped me to improve my conversational skills but also helped to build new connections. I can guarantee you that you will enjoy this platform and definitely will improve your communication skills.

2. Tandem

Tandem is another similar kind of platform to HelloTalk. It is a platform that will again help you to have conversations with other people. You will be connected with a native speaker of the Japanese language. You can either send them text messages or voice notes to connect with them. When there is no one to connect with on HelloTalk, I usually look for people on Tandem or vice versa.

3. YouTube

I really don’t need to tell about it to you. The first thing that we check if we have any doubts is YouTube. YouTube is a perfect place for you. You can get anything you want to relate to the language. As with Duolingo, there was less grammatical knowledge, I always used Youtube to learn it.


Duolingo is a platform on which you can learn different languages and Japanese is one of them. While learning Japanese on Duolingo, I find it an easy language despite being not. The platform helped me to learn a lot of vocabulary and also its writing style. The writing system tool made me realize how easy it can be to write Japanese language. As I was a beginner, I really had fun using Duolingo. Despite being free it works really well. However, the only problem I faced was that there was no content for intermediate learners.


Can you become fluent in Japanese with Duolingo?

Duolingo is a good platform to learn the Japanese language. If you want to become fluent in the language, Duolingo is not the platform for it. You learn from the basic to intermediate level but will not become fluent in it.

How many crowns are in Duolingo Japanese?

There is a total of 6 different units which have 131 skills in 655 crowns and 786 legendary skills in Duolingo Japanese.

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