Nihongo icon


a modern Japanese dictionary and study tool
Links & Contact Latest press releases

What is Nihongo?

Nihongo is Japanese dictionary and study toolkit built to move you beyond "top 1000 most common words" decks, and study the words you're actually seeing in books, TV, manga, video games, etc.

Nihongo was built with the idea that having context for the words you study is the key to long-term retention. So every time you look up a word, a flashcard is created automatically for it. And if you paste text into the app via the Clippings feature, it will automatically create a deck of flashcards from words in the text. Plus, it creates links in the dictionary back to where you’ve encountered every word, so you’ll always be able to remember where you encountered a word in the past.

Who is Nihongo for?

Nihongo is great for anyone trying to look up words in Japanese, but its advanced features focus on learners who are hoping to read at a higher level and expand their vocabulary.

Nihongo doesn’t aim to guide you through a set of content the way apps like Duolinguo do. Instead, it’s a great companion tool for students learning Japanese in a classroom, expats living in Japan, or anyone self-studying at home.

Who made Nihongo?

Nihongo was made by Chris Vasselli, an independent app developer based out of Putney, Vermont, USA. 👋

Nihongo was originally a tool I built for myself, to study Japanese more efficiently when I was living in Japan. I wanted a tool that would allow me to focus on studying the words I was encountering everyday living in Japan, rather than word lists from a textbook or shared by others on the Internet.

Nihongo was launched in 2014, and I left my Silicon Valley job in 2018 to focus on it full-time. I still use it every day to study, but now I’m joined by thousands of others who use it every day as well.

How much does it cost?

Nihongo is free to download, and the dictionary part of the app is free to use without ads.

Users can subscribe to Nihongo Pro to unlock various features, marked below with [Pro]. Nihongo Pro is available as a quarterly, yearly, or lifetime subscription, and prices depend on the territory. In the USA, as of December 2021 it is priced at $2.99/month, $19.99/year, or $49.99/lifetime.



  • Over 180,000 words, 165,000 example sentences, and 6000 kanji entries.
  • Every word clearly marked as common, uncommon, or rare.
  • Add your own notes to any dictionary entry.
  • Quickly identify transitive/intransitive word pairs.
  • View and draw-along with kanji stroke order animations.
  • Audio pronunciations of words and example sentences [Pro]


  • Take a photo of Japanese text to look it up.
  • Intuitive interface — just tap on words.
  • Text recognition uses Google’s industry-leading cloud OCR for very high accuracy for both handwritten and typed text, even in difficult lighting conditions.


  • Adds furigana or romaji to text pasted into the app.
  • Tap on any word to see its definition without leaving the clipping.
  • Flashcard deck automatically created so you can study the new words in a clipping.
  • Display text horizontally or vertically.
  • Have Nihongo read any clipping out loud.


  • Flashcards automatically generated from words you lookup in the dictionary or paste into the app.
  • Nihongo learns what words you know, and won't bother you again with words you've mastered.
  • Built-in kanji flashcard decks based on Japanese grade school levels, and JLPT levels.
  • Kanji drawing flashcards automatically detect incorrect stroke order.
  • Intuitive spaced repetition flashcard system for vocabulary and kanji drawing.
  • Level up flashcards by studying every day.
  • No penalty for missing a day of study, come back anytime.
  • Attach photos to flashcards to remember where you saw each word.


  • Search using English, Japanese, or romaji.
  • Supports searching for conjugated words in both English and Japanese.
  • Search for kanji using radicals and stroke counts.


  • Add furigana or romaji to webpages.
  • Tap on words to see definition without leaving Safari.


  • User interface and dictionary definitions are available in English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Dutch, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.

Continue to images or videos

Contact email
Latest press releases