There are a number of Japanese language learning apps available for smartphones, including Human Japanese, Japanese Phrases and Start Japanese! Each of these is recommended by the Los Angeles Times and is free to download. They are described as an excellent alternative to other forms of learning, sometimes even for people with no prior knowledge of the Japanese language.
Human Japanese for the iPhone guides users through learning the language in a step-by-step way, breaking the process into chapters on language, alphabet and culture. The app begins with a lesson in pronunciation, explaining common pronunciation errors made by native English speakers when learning Japanese. Users who enjoy the app have the option to upgrade to a paid version.
Japanese Phrases also takes users through the process in coherent steps, with quizzes to test progress at the end of each section. Start Japanese! is more introductory than Japanese Phrases and Human Japanese, offering little tuition for users looking to learn how to read Japanese. However, it is considered a good app for people new to the language to start with.
Another way to learn Japanese without paying for a course is to watch anime, according to FluentU. Although it is unlikely to teach students the complexities of the language, it can be a useful supplementary tool.