Online Japanese Classes for Kids

26 Feb

What a year it has been! When COVID-19 shut down our schools in March 2020, I thought for sure my kids would be attending school and other activities “like normal” by the fall. Instead, they have been going back-and-forth from remote-learning to in-person learning (with social-distancing and masks), and most after-school activities have been cancelled or on Zoom.

To be honest, I was very skeptical of online learning at first. And indeed, there was a big learning curve in the beginning for both students and teachers (many tears were shed). In-person learning is ideal for most situations BUT I’ve learned that online classes are not all bad. Creative and innovative teachers around the world have stepped up to the plate and made online learning WORK. Technology has allowed us access to amazing classes and teachers, and we have saved so much time and money by not having to travel to lessons.

The Japanese Language School that my children attend is now all on Zoom, and many other Japanese Schools around the world have also gone online. Some have open enrollment, meaning anyone can sign up. I have seen an increase in Japanese class offerings on popular educational sites like Outschool. So while travel to Japan may still not be possible at this time, we can use technology to our advantage and have Japan come to our homes.

Here are a few online resources I recommend:


I am a fan of Cafetalk! I have blogged about them before (read here). My children took private Japanese lessons and their teachers were excellent. I thought the pricing was reasonable and scheduling was easy. Not only can you take Japanese language lessons, but you can also learn other skills (in Japanese!) like music, dance, abacus, art, etc.


I have personally not used Outschool before but have heard many great things about their classes. I have actually considered teaching for them, and can tell you that they have high standards for the teachers they hire. They have several beginner and intermediate Japanese classes currently available.

3) Classes by JASC (Japanese American Service Committee)

Donguri-Kai by JASC

Their Winter II classes have just begun but you might still be able to sign up.

“Donguri Kai continues to provide Japanese education through online classes for children from kindergarten to elementary school. Class meets in a live online classroom once a week to fortify reading, pronunciation, conversation, and communication in Japanese. Teachers interactively guide students to enhance their communication skills. Students interact on-screen to stimulate and encourage each other through various learning activities.”

Tampopo Kai

“Tampopo Kai is an online Japanese cultural program for preschoolers. Through various engaging activities such as singing, storytelling, and arts & crafts, children and their parents are exposed to the richness of the Japanese language and culture.

Topics that will be covered in Tampopo Kai classes are, but not limited to: Japanese holidays, customs, traditions; Japanese vocabulary words (e.g. colors, numbers, shapes, sizes, family members, greetings, seasons, weather, body parts); Japanese arts (songs, kamishibai-style Japanese story boards, origami).”

They currently meet twice a week on Zoom! Sign up here.

4) Free, self-paced lessons

I think the best way to learn Japanese, especially for a beginner, is to have a real-life teacher who interacts with you. But if you want to learn at your own pace, or want to learn for free, some of the following resources might be for you!


My 12-year old uses this app to help maintain her Japanese. It is great for learning and reviewing vocabulary.

Easy Japanese Conversation Lessons by NHK

A wonderful series of 48 lessons that teaches basic conversational skills as well as teaching about the Japanese culture.

NHK for School

I’ve shared this resource before (here) but it’s worth repeated mentions. Hundreds of 10-minute videos covering a wide range of subjects such as Japanese grammar, math, history, science, and bullying. Videos are for preschool though high-school students. Often, there are accompanying printable worksheets and questions you can use along with the videos.

And then of course, there’s many YouTube channels and even Instagram pages that teach Japanese. Those are all awesome supplements and fun/entertaining but I find that it’s easy for kids to watch them mindlessly instead of putting in the work of learning Japanese.

Are you aware of any other online classes for learning Japanese? Please share in the comments section!

Be sure to follow Hiragana Mama on facebook for more frequent updates!

7 Responses to “Online Japanese Classes for Kids”

  1. Naomi Negi February 28, 2021 at 11:11 PM #

    Hello Hiragana Mama!

    My name is Naomi and this is my very first time peeking into your blog.
    I’m in charge of Tampopo-kai at JASC, by the way.

    A student mentioned your name and introduced me to your blog.
    Then I found out that you have Donguri-kai, our sister program, on your list.
    While Donguri-kai offers classes to children of school age, Tampopo-kai offers Japanese cultural classes to much younger age children of 0-5 years old.
    instead of taking our class as a language class, you can consider us as a program that introduces Kids to Japan.
    It’ll be nice if we can make it to the list of Online Japanese Classes for Kids.

    Much appreciated,

    Naomi Negi
    JASC: Japanese American Service Committee
    4427 N. Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60640

    • Hiragana Mama March 3, 2021 at 12:53 PM #

      Thank you for letting me know! I will add it to this list.

      • Naomi Nego March 3, 2021 at 1:51 PM #

        Thank you so much for adding Tampopo-Kai on your Japanese program list.
        Very much appreciated!

        Naomi Negi
        Japanese American Service Committee
        4427 N Clark Street
        Chicago, IL 60640

  2. Ines Vidal Tanto August 14, 2021 at 6:28 AM #

    Hello Hiragana Mama..
    I’m Ines. I read your blog, really informative and wonderful.
    I have two children, 33 months old and 10 months old. I want my children can speak Japanese fluently. But there’s no one in our home speak Japanese.
    I wanna asked you about what is the best online japanese course would you suggest for my children in that age? Because they still can not focus on online learning program. I want she indirectly learn Japanese while playing and finally familiar with Japanese.
    Thank you for your suggestion..

    • Naomi Negi August 14, 2021 at 5:44 PM #

      Hello Ines,

      My name is Naomi and I am in charge of the children’s program called Tampopo-kai at the JASC in Chicago.

      We shifted our program from In- person to Online last April and we are planning to continue the online class this Fall. During the months of July and August, our regular classes are closed, however, we are running the summer special. It’s called Tampopo-Kai’s Japanese story time and more and we have two more classes this August, 18th & 25th.
      It’s Wednesdays, from 10am to 10:50 am, Central time. The fee fir the class is $10 per family.

      Please drop me a line at
      I’ll put you on the mailing list and will send you an ID and passcode for the next zoom meeting. I have people joining from CA, Texas, and Rhode Island!
      I can send you the latest flyer of the Tampopo-Kai that explains the summer special class.

      Naomi Negi
      JASC: Japanese American Service Committee

  3. Jaypee N eneng October 15, 2021 at 10:41 PM #

    i want to teach and share my knowledge for kids and to help them to learn a basic japanese and english languge.

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