How long does it take to learn Japanese? The truthful answer may surprise you. It is possible to learn Japanese in as little as 90 days. We have seen a lot of students start having in-depth Japanese conversations around this time. If you use the right methods, you will get there quickly.

The average time it takes to learn Japanese depends on whether you want to learn Japanese for anime or not. Or are you attempting to learn to converse? Or to be able to communicate fluently in Japanese? It means a lot depending on your goals, objectives, and reasons to learn Japanese.

Thousands of hours will be required if you want to be an undercover spy who sounds like a native Japanese speaker. Learning basic Japanese to attend the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, on the other hand, will only take you a few hours. So, let’s take a closer look at how long it takes to learn Japanese depending on your end goal.

Learning a language can be difficult or easy depending on the language you choose and its relationship to your native language. For example, if English is your first language, Spanish or Dutch will be easier to learn because they are similar to English. The less similar your target language is to your native language, the more difficult it may be to learn.

If Japanese learning is your desired goal, check out italki. The italki Japanese teachers will help you learn Japanese writing systems, especially kanji in the most authentic and systematic manner possible. Book your preferred tutor online and start the amazing journey of learning Japanese!

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How hard is it to Learn Japanese

Japanese is one of the most difficult languages for English natives to learn, according to the US Department of State. It shares few structural similarities with English. They estimate that learning fluency takes 88 weeks or 2200 hours.

Some estimate that it takes approximately 4800 hours for English-language students (or non-Asian students with no prior kanji knowledge) to achieve true Japanese fluency.

Many “hours” spent earning Japanese are wasted

As you can see, it varies greatly depending on your goal and how many hours you put in each day. But how should those “hours” be defined? Is it time for study, reading, TV, speaking, homework, Japanese class, or a combination of all of the above?

The truth is that most “study time” is less than optimal. Assume you are putting in five hours of classroom study time in college. However, if you don’t use it outside of class or actually speak the language, you are not putting in the necessary amount of time. If you are not clear about how to learn Japanese know that the most important factor is the amount of time you have to speak. That is why we advise you to Speak from Day One.

How long does it take to learn Japanese on average

With consistent studying and speaking for 30 minutes to an hour per day, you could speak Japanese at a conversational level in about 3 months.

It all comes down to using the proper method: speak from day one! You could begin learning Japanese right now. The more you practice speaking Japanese, the faster you will learn it.

Learning Kanji will take you longer

If you want to learn Japanese to an advanced level, you must also learn kanji. You could learn all 2200 jouyou kanji (the “essential” kanji that Japanese children learn throughout grade school) in about 3 months if you only focused on kanji and learned about 30 a day.

To pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1, what level of Japanese is considered fluent? You would need to know every jouyou kanji, 10,000 words, and hundreds of grammar patterns.

To achieve near-native fluency, you would need at least a year of full-time, immersive study. This does not require you to live in Japan, but it does require you to create an immersive environment at home. Even so, it requires an average of 3-5 years to reach this level with intense but not full-time study.

The reason it’s so difficult and time-consuming is that you have to learn kanji on top of everything else. It divides your learning into two parts: speaking and listening, and reading and writing. However, if you are motivated, you can achieve your goals through effective study habits.

So don’t be put off by a large number of hours. That is concentrated on inefficient study hours. You can get there quickly if you know how you learn best, have amazing Japanese resources, and put in the real study and speaking time.

Helpful tips to learn Japanese easily

Set a goal to speak Japanese

Your ultimate goal is important. Determine what “fluent” means to you. If you want to understand anime in Japanese, you must learn the specific vocabulary. The genre of anime is also important.

And, if you want to be able to speak naturally in everyday situations, watching anime won’t help you. The Japanese language in anime is dramatic and not realistic. As a result, you require more “real life” resources and vocabulary.

Divide your goal into smaller chunks

If you can commit to studying 60 minutes per day, you should divide that goal into daily chunks. 10 new kanji per day, 30 new words per day, and 1 new grammar pattern per day. Divide it up based on how much you can learn in a single study session. Alternatively, you could study kanji on Mondays and Wednesdays, vocabulary on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and grammar on weekends, whatever works for you.

Find entertaining Japanese resources

The only way to enjoy studying all the time is to make it enjoyable. And the good news is that you can learn Japanese by doing things you already enjoy. If you enjoy playing video games, change the language to Japanese. Pokemon games are excellent for this purpose. The language is simple, and switching to Japanese is simple when starting a new game.

If you enjoy reading manga, look for it in Japanese. Encourage yourself to read a little bit every day. The more you read, the easier it will be to understand.

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture

In addition to that, Japanese is a contextual and cultural language. To master it, you must first understand Japanese body language, history, cultural insights, and mannerisms. That is not something you will learn in a textbook.

Study the history and Japanese culture as much as you can. Watch the news, and variety shows, and read Japanese message boards or social media. If something confuses you, look it up on Google. You will learn a variety of shorthand, slang, and cultural references. The more you understand them, the better your Japanese will become.

Frequently asked questions

Q. What is the most important in learning Japanese?

A. The most difficult thing about learning Japanese is kanji. 

Q. What are the names of Japanese letters?

A. The Japanese alphabet is actually three interconnected writing systems. These three systems are referred to as hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

Q. What is the easiest level of Japanese?

A. N1-N5


When it comes to learning Japanese, there are numerous variables to consider. However, with the right study habits, effective time management, and consistent commitment, you can learn to converse in Japanese in as little as three months.

Be in love with your Japanese learning process. Enjoy learning new Japanese words and most importantly, incorporate them into your conversations as much as possible. It will improve your Japanese pronunciation and help you move forward.

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