With manga, anime, video games, music, and film, learning Japanese in the U.S.A is becoming increasingly popular due to influence of Japanese culture here in the West! If you like any of the above, you might even be interested in learning more about the Japanese language and culture.

This means that, as a non native, you’ll need to learn kanji (the Japanese characters), the kana syllabaries (hiragana and katakana), and at least some of the basic expressions for having conversations (like asking for the time, introducing yourself, and counting in Japanese).

However, learning a foreign language can take a lot of time and effort, and gaining any degree of fluency in your new language can take even longer. While traveling to Japan is a great way to improve your Japanese pronunciation and comprehension, and to master the language, not everybody can just down tools and go abroad.

So what do you do if you live in New York City and would like to learn Japanese?

Fortunately for you, there are a number of places where you can learn Japanese and study Japanese culture. Whether at college, a language school, or an organization, there are plenty of ways to find language lessons to learn to speak Japanese in the Big Apple.

You'll find language courses where you can study new vocabulary, grammatical rules, and discover new ways to think as you explore a rich and fascinating culture that that’s quite different to our own.

 Japanese Courses in College

A passion for learning a language will often come about from developing a fondness for a foreign culture, and in terms of popular culture, Japan isn’t going anywhere.

Which are the cheapest ways to learn Japanese in New York City?
No cab fare? Private tutors can always come to you! (Source: gratisography.com)

There are so many teenagers spending hours reading manga, watching anime, and playing Japanese video games. Japanese culture is hugely popular with younger generations (and some of the older generations, too).

A passion for any of the above could be your first step towards learning more about Japanese history and Japanese people, as well as studying the Japanese language.

So where can you learn Japanese in the Big Apple? What about learning Japanese in Philadelphia, or other American cities?

If you want to study Japanese at middle school, it’s very unlikely that you’ll find anywhere where the subject is taught. In fact, the number of students taking Japanese classes at middle school or high school has dropped since the 1980s.

However, the number of students studying Japanese in colleges has increased in recent years.

Just as is the case for Arabic and Mandarin Chinese, it should be noted that the number of colleges offering Japanese programs is still fairly low in comparison to languages like Spanish, French, or German.

There are only slightly over 100 different colleges (out of over 4,000) that actually offer Japanese programs. That doesn’t mean you should give up on learning Japanese, though!

You can always choose to learn Japanese outside of the school system. Language classes are available for almost all ages from young children to adults. There are beginners classes available for all ages, too.

If you do pick up Japanese as an extra-curricular activity, and you enjoy it so much that you would like to study it further, you can do so in New York City when you get to college.

A Japanese teacher at college is likely to be a native speaker, or if not, someone who has lived for a long period in Japan.

If you’re looking to study Japanese at college, you have the following options:


You can study Japanese at Cornell’s Department of Asian Studies. Your undergraduate program will take 4 years and during your time there, you’ll learn enough Japanese to comfortably integrate yourself into Japanese society.

Of course, you might have to start with elementary Japanese and learn the basics of the Japanese writing systems, pronunciation rules, and grammar if you have had no prior Japanese instruction.


For those wanting to take a Japanese course at college, NYU’s East Asian Studies Department also offers Japanese courses that focus on the four main language skills: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

As a new learner, you can start with Elementary Japanese I and by the time they finish their third year, you’ll be able to enjoy all aspects of Japanese media. For more information on the program, you should consider contacting the Japanese Language Coordinator.

Columbia University

You can also study Japanese at Columbia University. Much like the other colleges, Columbia’s Japanese program is part of the Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures. This is considered one of the best Japanese language programs in the United States, and the college itself often tops the list of best schools in New York City. Additionally, if you study Japanese at Columbia, there’s a summer MA program in Japanese pedagogy for those who want to teach Japanese. It’s definitely worth looking into!

Bear in mind that it is not just in NYC that you can find college level Language training in Japanese. You can find Japanese classes in Los Angeles, as well as other major cities across the country. Contact the universities individually to find out if there is a local college that offers Japanese tuition near to you.

 Find a Japanese Course at a Cultural Institute in New York

If you’ve been out of school for a long time or just never had the chance to learn Japanese at middle or high school, you can still learn Japanese thanks to a number of specialized organizations. Such organisations can be found across the United States, and not just in New York. For example, if you want to learn Japanese in Dallas, such organisations are on hand to help you out.

For one, they’ll be able to help you learn the differences between hiragana and katakana, the two syllabary systems used in Japanese.

How much are private Japanese tutors in New York City?
You won't need to travel too far to get a taste of Japanese culture. (Source: Fancycrave)

There are a number of choices for those in New York City.

The Japan Society

The Japan Society has helped promote the Japanese culture and language for over 100 years. The language center, which has been around since 1972, teaches a variety of different Japanese classes including:

  • Conversational Japanese

  • Crash Courses for Travelers to Japan

  • Business Etiquette

  • Kanji Workshop

If you’re not sure about your level, you should get in touch with the Japan Society Language Center to confirm it, or consider taking a Japanese trial lesson for beginners. This will help you feel more comfortable in choosing the lesson for you. There are also discounts for members.

Tenri Cultural Institute

The Tenri Cultural Institute is a great choice for those who’d like to practice the language and get better at it. The institute offers beginners classes, intermediate classes, advanced classes, and even classes for children. There are also free sample lessons for beginners.

The center also organizes concerts, workshops, and art exhibitions. After all, if you really want to learn about Japanese, you should also broaden your understanding of Japanese culture.

Japanese Lessons in Language Centers

Just as a popular way of learning Japanese in Chicago is through Language centers, the same is true of New York City. A lot of them offer a variety of classes for a number of different languages. If you’re wanting to learn more about the Japanese language, you should check out a few of these language centers.

How can you learn Japanese in New York City?
If you know where to look, you'll find the right classes for your budget. (Source: pixabay.com)

Amity Language Institute

The Amity Language Institute offers a number of different Japanese classes for a number of levels. In addition to classes for beginners, intermediate, and advanced speakers, there are also preparation classes for students wanting to take the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), lessons for business Japanese, and the option to take private lessons.

Most courses include between 10 and 15 hours of tuition and cost around $300.

Intensive courses are also an option for anyone who wants to become bilingual a lot quicker, or needs to prepare for upcoming exams.

ABC Languages

ABC languages in NYC has a number of different levels. There are introductory classes for total beginners on Mondays at 4:00pm, Tuesdays at 7:30pm, and Thursdays at 7:30pm.

Those with a level higher than beginners will need to complete a group evaluation form so that you can be put into the right class.

Hills Learning

Highly Interactive Language Learning Services (Hills) provides Japanese classes based on their teaching philosophy of:

  1. Target language only.
  2. It’s okay to make mistakes.
  3. Follow your language objectives.
  4. Preview and review.

This philosophy ensures that students learn through immersion and is probably the best choice for anyone who needs to learn Japanese quickly. There are beginner, advanced beginner, and pre-intermediate group classes. There are also private classes for children, teens, and adults. All their teachers are experienced Japanese natives, too.

 'Japanese Lessons Near Me': Classes with a Private Tutor

Do your most recent internet searches related to Japanese lessons nearby? Are group classes not really your thing?

Sometimes it’s much easier to learn in the comfort of your own home, without the pressure of having to keep up with everyone else in the classroom. If that’s the case, you should probably consider enlisting the help of a private Japanese tutor.

How long does it take to become fluent in Japanese?
It's never been easier to find private Japanese tutorials in New York. (Source: pixabay.com)

Why not check out Superprof in order to find the private Japanese tutor you’re looking for. You should tell them what your level is in Japanese and what level you’re trying to reach.

There are private tutors who are also experts in Japanese history and culture, and who are well-versed in the grammatical rules of the language.

In any case, your tutor will teach you how to read and write in Japanese as well as help you correctly pronounce words, master speaking, and give you all the useful expressions you’ll need to visit Japan or even move there for work or study. Apart from being a great way to learn about Japanese culture because the tutors are also usually passionate about it, private classes will help you to communicate in Japanese so that you can hold a conversation with a native speaker.

Your tutor might even be a Japanese native or somebody who knows the country really well and be able to tell you the best places to go in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, or Nagoya, etc.

The rates of private Japanese tutors will vary depending on their methods, experience, and qualifications. In some cases, their rates might even vary depending on how many lessons you reserve with them at any given time.

All you have to do is get some school supplies and wait for your tutor to get to your place.

Don't forget to check out Superprof if you are looking to study Japanese in Houston, or any other US city.

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