Is Japanese your new passion? Would you like to learn to speak Japanese? Are you starting to get to grips with kanji, hiragana, and katakana?

It’s a good start, I’m sure. However, you probably want to either learn Japanese online or take some Japanese lessons in order improve your level or even just cement the basics (kanji, vocabulary, expressions, introducing yourself in Japanese, etc). For those of you who prefer the classroom, the good news it that you can find Japanese classes across the U.S.A.

Have you been looking for Japanese courses, classes, and ways to learn Japanese for free on the internet but finding nothing?

Everyone has their own way to learn and you need to find the right one that works for you. The “Minna No Nihongo” textbook is rather popular when it comes to learning the Japanese language. However, you’ll also need to know how to pronounce Japanese words and work on your speaking and fluency, something a book probably can’t do for you!

Whether you’ve decided to go and live in Japan, or you’re looking to do a language exchange program as a an international student in Tokyo, you’ll probably need to take language classes, or get a private tutor to help you.

A private tutor will be able to teach you essential Japanese phrases, give you advice on the best resources from around the web, and also help you to study your pronunciation and speaking.

By taking language classes in language schools or via private tutorials, you’ll get the confidence to broaden your understanding of both the Japanese language and Japanese culture and history. After all, you can’t learn a language like Japanese without learning the history of customs of the country.

And if you think it will be hard to find a language school or a private tutor, you are wrong. Whether you want to learn Japanese in Houston, or here in Chicago, Superprof has you covered.

So where can you learn Japanese or take a Japanese course in Chicago?

 Find Japanese Classes at Language Schools in Chicago

It’s not uncommon for people to develop hobbies during their youth. Maybe you or your child would like to take a language course in Japanese at school or at college! There are a few ways you can do this.

How much do private Japanese tutorials cost in Chicago?
Chicago is home to a number of language schools where you can learn Japanese. (Source:

While the Midwest isn’t traditionally known for Japanese migration, you’d be surprised at just how many links there are with Japan and the Land of the Rising Sun’s culture.

The University of Chicago

Traditional lessons are a great way to learn foreign languages. For example, the University of Chicago’s East Asian Languages & Civilizations Department offers a number of Japanese language classes for those who decide to study there.

In addition to Japanese, the undergraduate program also covers the history and cultures of China and Korea. This means that if you’re a lover of all things Japanese, you’ll have the option to learn almost everything you want to know about the country’s language, history, and culture. However, if you’d like to pursue a broader field of studies, you can do that, too.

You’ll be able to learn about linguistic elements such as:

  • Grammar

  • Conjugations

  • Writing

  • Pronunciation

As well as more about the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun like:

  • Cuisine

  • Tea Ceremonies

  • History

  • Geography

  • Art

  • Japanese people

The great thing about studying a language at college is the quality of professors.

Furthermore, since Japanese isn’t the most popular language in middle and high schools, you can start your language learning journey once you get to college.

Of course, since you’re planning on going from zero to undergraduate in a few years, you’ll be expected to put a lot of work into your studies. There’ll be tests, projects, homework, assignments, and exams for you to complete throughout your time at college.

But fear not, classes start at a beginner level, before progressing to intermediate and beyond.

Don’t forget that you first have to be accepted by the college, too. You’ll have to put together an application and prove that you have everything it takes to complete an undergraduate degree in Japanese or East Asian Languages & Civilizations.

Just like learning Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, or even Portuguese, this isn’t a decision you can take lightly. This could be the decision that completely shapes your future, defining where you end up working and living once you graduate. Make sure you do a lot of research into the program! 

You should also make sure that you meet the minimum requirements for admissions. If you’d like to study Japanese at the University of Chicago, you’ll need to meet a number of different requirements. Firstly, you’ll be expected to have attained a high verbal score on the GRE. You’ll also be expected to submit samples of scholarly writing to the Humanities Admissions Website.

If English isn’t your mother tongue, you’ll also be required to provide the results of either a TOEFL or IELTS exam. The minimum requirements for each of these can be found on the admissions website. It should be noted that since the University of Chicago frequently rates as one of the top 10 colleges in the world, and subsequently there’s a lot of competition for places.

Fortunately, the University of Chicago isn’t the only college in the Windy City where you can get an undergraduate degree in Japanese.


You should also consider researching the Japanese program at Northwestern. In addition to being one of the best colleges in the country, there are also a number of interesting options for students wanting to learn more about the Japanese language and culture.

The Japanese language program has been part of the college’s offering since the mid-1970s and the language classes are provided by the school’s Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (ALC). You’ll be taught the four main language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

In addition to learning the language, there are also opportunities for students to participate in study abroad programs. Those wanting to study Japanese at Northwestern who already have some knowledge of the language will be expected to take a placement test.

Don't worry if you are reading this from the West coast-you can find universities who have courses in Japanese in Los Angeles too.

Other Places Offering a Japanese Course in Chicago

You don’t necessarily have to go to (or back to, in some cases) college in order to learn Japanese. Just like studying Japanese in Dallas, New York, or Washington, Chicago has plenty of other establishments that are happy to teach you this fascinating foreign language.

Which are the best ways to learn Japanese in Chicago?
If you change your perspective, you'll see there are several different ways to learn Japanese in the Windy City. (Source:

One of the first places you should consider checking out is the Japan America Society of Chicago. The society is a not-for-profit organization that "fosters understanding between our two cultures, to cultivate personal friendship between our two people". They also have a Japanese language program that you should consider looking into.

There are 8 different types of courses available and they vary depending on your level and the reason you’re learning Japanese. These are weekly lessons for people who are either just starting out in the language or who’d like to improve their Japanese skills.

One of the great things about learning Japanese here is that it’s much less stressful than classes you’d have at school or at college. The lessons take place either at 5:30-7:30pm or 7:30-9:30pm on weekday evenings, and are available to beginners, those of an intermediate level, or those who are looking to perfect their language proficiency.

Additionally, all classes are taught by native Japanese instructors. These classes are great for those who’d like to:

  • Get ready for a trip to Japan or improve their Japanese in order to speak to a Japanese business partner, friend, or colleague.

  • Move to Japan and settle in the country. The native instructors will also help with deepening your understanding of Japanese culture and history. By the time you finish the course, you’ll know a lot more about the country’s language, history, and culture.

Japanese Culture Center

The Japanese Culture Center in Chicago is another place worth considering if you’d like to learn Japanese. The center was established in the late 70s and for over 40 years has provided the Windy City with a gateway to the language and culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.

In addition to the Japanese language classes available, the Japanese Cultural Center also offers a fascinating range of Japanese activities including martial arts such as karate and kendo as well as calligraphy, flower arrangement, and tea ceremony courses.

You’ll find that a deeper understanding of the culture will help you to learn the language more quickly. This it also a great way to meet other people who are interested in speaking Japanese and making new friends to practice speaking your new language.

After all, if you want to learn a foreign language, you have to practice it as often as you can, and reaching a conversational level in such a setting is a great way to build confidence to facilitate the rest of your learning experience.

How can you learn to speak Japanese?
If you've just started learning Japanese, you've got a long way to go. (Source: Jonathan Meyer)

You should consider meeting up regularly with your classmates and attending the center’s Japanese cultural events and using them as an opportunity to speak.

You needn’t move to Japan in order to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. That said, an immersion trip to Japan would allow you to learn new vocabulary and discover even more about the history of the country.

If you’re looking to whet your appetite, you should also consider trying one of the many excellent Japanese restaurants in Chicago.

What about listening to Japanese music or podcasts?

Luckily for those who would like to learn Japanese in New York City, there is a Japanese Culture Center in the Big Apple which offers a similar set up to the one described here.

 'Japanese Lessons Near Me': The Private Tutorial Option

Thanks to Superprof, you no longer need to scroll through the pages and pages of results that show up when you search for Japanese lessons nearby.

The private tutors on the Superprof platform can be found across Chicago, and their rates differ so there is something for every pocket.

If the tutor’s out of your price range, you don’t have to pick them. Pick a tutor who’s rates work with your budget.

What's more, if you’re struggling to study Japanese regularly and you’re not learning as much Japanese grammar as you’d like, you should consider enlisting the help of a Japanese private tutor to complement your other studies.

How long does it take to learn to speak Japanese?
Chicago is home to a lot of people and a lot of private Japanese tutors. (Source:

Whether you want to just learn basic Japanese, have a Japanese conversation, or become a master of Japanese grammar and gain proficiency in the language, there are a number of advantages to choosing to get a private Japanese tutor.

Firstly, you can choose whichever tutor you like the most rather than just having to learn from the tutor who’s taking the class. Platforms like Superprof are here to help you get in contact with private tutors over the internet. You can browse the various profiles in order to find the perfect tutor for you.

Everyone has different requirements and reasons for learning Japanese. You can find tutors who are experts in the Japanese writing systems (kanji and kana: hiragana and katakana) or tutors who effortlessly bring together culture and language in order to make their tutorials a fascinating journey through history, for example

So what are you waiting for? Start your search today and begin your journey into the fascinating world of the Japanese language and its rich culture. And as always, it doesn't matter from where you are reading this article; there are great ways to start learning Japanese in Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, and across the whole country.

Need a Japanese teacher?

Enjoyed this article?

5.00/5 - 1 vote(s)

Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, English tutor, and all-round language enthusiast.