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I typically don’t live life with regrets, though if I was pushed to name one regret, it would be not being able to speak a foreign language.

Especially since I used to be able to.

And to be honest it’s quite embarrassing. Being in a foreign country where the locals are making all the effort to speak in English and I can’t string a sentence together in theirs.

Telling people that yes, I did learn Japanese in High school, but now it’s all but disappeared.

So on my most recent trip to Japan I decided that enough was enough. I was done with feeling ashamed and guilty that I hadn’t put the effort into retaining Japanese as a second language, and I wanted to replace that with a feeling of pride at being able to thrive in real world conversations.

I told myself I wasn’t going to travel with a portable translator, and a couple of months before I left I downloaded Rosetta Stone on my desktop and phone.

How I Relearnt Japanese With Rosetta Stone (The Best Way to Learn Japanese)

Best way to learn Japanese Rosetta Stone Review

The Rosetta Stone

If you’re wondering where you’ve heard of Rosetta Stone, it’s either from high school history, or among other travelers raving about how quickly they learnt another language.

For those who paid attention in history, the Rosetta Stone is massive stone slab that was found in Egypt in 1799. It was inscribed with an ancient declaration in two different languages (Egyptian and Greek), and three different alphabets.

The top and middle inscriptions are in Ancient Egyptian using hieroglyphic script and Demotic script, while the bottom is in Ancient Greek.

As the three inscriptions only had minor differences, the Rosetta Stone made it possible to finally decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs. It unlocked an ancient language people had been trying to decipher for hundreds of years.

It only seems fitting then that the world’s best language learning app would  assume the name Rosetta Stone.

Learning a Language With Rosetta Stone

Learning Japenses with Rosetta Stone

When I decided I wanted to relearn Japanese, it wasn’t even a question of which course I was going to buy. Rosetta Stone has learning courses in 30 languages, and they’re the most widely used and recognized company among travelers, schools, and businesses alike.

It’s very easy to write off learning a second language by telling yourself that you just don’t have the aptitude for it (this has been one of my favorite excuses), but at $10 a month none of my excuses were really good enough to justify not giving it a try.

And as someone who had convinced myself that I wasn’t ‘one of those people‘ who was able to learn another language, I was really, really surprised.

With its excellent user interface, clear instructions, and wide variety of games and challenges, I found Rosetta Stone to be immersive, interactive, and, at the risk of being labelled the classroom nerd, learning was actually fun!

They’ve created a dynamic and immersive methodology that is really effective at tapping into our brain’s natural learning ability for languages (like when we were young).

Rosetta Stone Japanese Review

Whether you’re learning Japanese, Spanish, French, or Hebrew, every language on Rosetta Stone follows the same course structure, and focuses on immersion as the best way to learn.

And immersive it is!

You won’t be memorizing a long list of vocabulary. You’ll be seeing, hearing, speaking, reading, and writing in your new language alone; while learning new words and phrases based on real-world context. That way, you’re ready for real-world conversations that don’t follow a script.

Upon starting my first lesson I was waiting for the English instructions. Spoiler alert: there are none!

That said, after it hit me that I wasn’t having my hand held, it was pretty easy to figure out what I was meant to do: multiple choice to associate the photos with the right word/sentence that is written and spoken.

Screenshots of the Lessons

Rosetta Stone Japanese Review

Rosetta Stone Japanese Review

Rosetta Stone Japanese Review

Lessons and Exercises

Throughout each unit the lessons build upon the words you’ve already learnt and slowly start introducing them into sentences.

For instance you begin by learning the words for boy vs girl, and man vs woman; colors, foods, and basic objects, and will then match sentences to a choice of 4 photos.

As you’re learning words and sentence structures, the exercises jump between reading (matching words with photos), pronunciation (you repeat a word or sentence and get scored for your pronunciation), and writing (filling in the blanks with the correct characters).

The difficulty increases as you go along, though you can take it all at your own speed, and repeat the units and exercises when and if you want.

Each lesson has around 34 exercises, and you get a score at the end for how many you got wrong / right. Personally, I’m competitive, so found myself repeating them until I got 100%!

It’s very reminiscent of how we first learned a language as a child, and the interactive activities are very powerful in learning to associate words with sounds and images.

Beyond Standard Lessons

Home cooking in Japan; confidently following instruction!

What makes Rosetta Stone so unique is that you learn the actual language, not just the words.

It’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. That way, you’ll be ready to handle any situation and sound great doing it.

Whether you’re brushing up on common social phrases, reading interesting stories, or having actual conversations with native-speakers tutors (tutoring sessions not included with all languages), Rosetta Stone goes beyond standard language lessons, with an aim to set you up to handle real-world conversations.

I personally loved the inclusion of pronunciation modules, because there’s no point in knowing the words if no one can understand what you’re saying.

If you enable your microphone, their TruAccent technology helps fine-tune your pronunciation and accent. That way, you’ll be confident that you know what to say and how to say it. And who knows, you might just get mistaken for a local!

Course Structure

Every language course on Rosetta Stone has 12 – 20 units; Basics, Greetings and Introductions, Work and School, Shopping, Travel, Past+Future, Friends and Social Life, Dining, Home and Health, Life and World, Everyday Things, Places and Events.

Within every unit is 12 lessons, and within every lesson is an average of 34 exercises, games, and activities. It’s around 200 + hours of high quality language learning content, and unlike other courses, you can access everything at once.

Rosetta Stone provides you with immediate access to all of the units and content within the course. If you’re a beginner, you’ll naturally start with Unit 1, however if you want to brush up on certain things like travel, or places and events, you can skip straight to that content without having to go through everything before it.

Everything is unlocked allowing you to customize your learning in exactly the way you want.

In addition to the units, you can schedule online sessions with native-speaking tutors for refining your conversational skills, and there are stories and downloadable audio lessons in their original language to listen to and read aloud with.

No Excuses

Rosetta Stone is a genuinely incredible product, and they’ve created their courses in such a way that there’s literally no excuse for not being successful in your learning.

One of the most common excuses for not learning a new language is that we don’t have enough time. But Rosetta Stone is so flexible, that you can’t even use this excuse.

Between the phone app and the desktop, Rosetta Stone allows you to learn a new language on your schedule, with any device, from anywhere in the world. You can log on anytime.

You can pick up where you left off regardless of the device, the time that’s passed, and if you don’t have an internet connection, the courses can be downloaded in advance to work offline.

Because they’ve made it fun, it doesn’t feel like a chore, and the cost isn’t even an excuse, with plans starting at $10 a month. You can sign up for a free demo too, and get your first lesson comped.

15 Minutes a Day for Guaranteed Results

Best way to learn Japanese Rosetta Stone review

Like anything in life, your level of success will largely depend on the amount of time and dedication you’re willing to put in. But I found that using the app for at least 15 minutes a day was a good way to see guaranteed results.

You may actually find that you’re having so much fun that you get caught up in the learning and spend more time!

Repetition is one of the biggest keys to help strengthen the learning process, so developing a routine is a really good way to set yourself up for the best chance of success.

In a matter of 3 months I was confident enough to start speaking Japanese again, and on my recent trip could carry a conversation and actually understand what other people were saying.

Rosetta Stone is an absolute winner for me when it comes to learning languages. It’s easy, fun and immersive, offers highly flexible language learning, and is practical in that it sets you up to thrive in the real world.

Have you always wished you could speak another language? Why not give Rosetta Stone a try!

Try a Free Demo


Japan travel guide

Lonely Planet Japan

Japan travel guide

DK Eyewitness Japan

Japan travel guide

National Geographic


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. This is awesome. Japanese is no easy language to learn either. Good for you. My wife picked up quite a bit during her year in Hiroshima a decade ago but noted it was tough to learn. Speaks to your persistence and to the effectiveness of Rosetta Stone.

    • Thanks Ryan! It definitely helps when the content is presented in such a fun way, very different to the experience I remember learning in High School lol! High Schools around the country should all bring in Rosetta Stone!!

  2. That’s awesome to hear! I’ve been learning Japanese myself…How long have you been studying?

    • Fabulous! About 3 months now – I studied in High school but that was 10 years ago, so some of it was familiar but started again from scratch :)

    • Awesome! Around 3 months is where a lot of people quit. It doesn’t seem like your quitting anytime soon, so congratulations haha

    • It helps when I put something out publicly like this blog post too because then I feel like I’m accountable to stay motivated lol :D

    • Haha I’ll keep an eye out for you then ?

  3. WTG! This is terrific to hear. We need to get it for a couple of languages we struggle learning.

    • Thanks Viv! I can highly recommend Rosetta Stone, it really does make languages so easy and so much fun :)

  4. That is really impressive. Thanks for the tip. I need to learn Spanish.

    • I can highly recommend it… Spanish is a good one, Mike learnt Spanish in high school and its come in so handy throughout so many countries :)

  5. Awesome! ?

    • Thanks Nadeem :)

  6. I’ve been loving Rosetta Stone Italian!

    • That’s awesome! Italian is one I would love to learn… Such a beautiful language. Congrats!

  7. Wow! Well done!

    • Thankyou so much! Do you speak a second language?

    • I’m working on Francais and Dansk. But, I still wonder if I’ll ever get close to being conversational. I need to give it more priority.

    • I made a point of doing at least 15 minutes a day, I tried to channel the time I usually procrastinate on Facebook for this instead. Was a pretty effective strategy :D

  8. That’s fabulous, would love to speak more than the few phrases that I do for our travels there. Is the content focused to travellers?

    • Absolutely, there are over 200 hours of content which is awesome because you can tailor your learning to whatever you want to brush up on. There’s a whole unit just for travel, and you can start anywhere in the course, everything is unlocked and accessible straight up :)

  9. I ❤️ Rosetta Stone! It has helped me prepare w/the language basics bf many trips ?

    • Fabulous! Everyone I spoke to before I jumped on had incredible things to say about them, and I now understand why! :)

  10. Mind blowing

    • Thanks Jalil, Rosetta Stone really does work!

  11. How long did it take?

    • Around 15 minutes a day for 3 months to get a confident handle on it. They make it really fun with a lot of interactive games and challenges, so it doesn’t feel like work at all :)

  12. Congrats!

    • Thanks Jill! Do you speak another language?

  13. Nice one. I’ve used Rosetta Stone to learn French and it’s wonderful :)

    • Nice one! Maybe French can be my third … probably getting ahead of myself there though lol :D

  14. Impressive, I learned Japanese in high school too. Are you going back soon?

    • Hopefully! It’s one of my favorite countries :)

  15. That is great! I’m horrible at languages. Frank wants to learn Spanish, he has a bit but wants to be fluent.

    • Thanks! You’d be surprised, I thought I was horrible at languages too until I decided to give this a go. Have Frank try Rosetta Stone and see what he thinks, you can tailor it to your level of difficulty which is why it’s so fab :)

  16. That’s great. Japanese should be interesting

    • Thanks! It’s very interesting indeed :)

  17. Congratulations!!

    • Thanks Callie! Do you speak a second language?

  18. I’m currently learning Japanese and German with Mondly. Rosetta Stone has a lot of experience in language learning, I remember their CDs back in the day, probably the best language learning course available back then.
    But now, I don’t know, I don’t really dig their software (app). There are plenty of alternatives, I’m currently using Mondly for my German learning.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Tyler, the first time I’ve heard of Mondly; it’s definitely great that there are programs and courses out there now to suit everyone, it means people have options :)

      I remember the Rosetta Stone CDs back in the day too, we used to use them in High School actually. I think it’s great that they’ve managed to adapt their product and still hold a firm grip through the technology boom.

      All the best with your German and Japanese – huge kudos for learning two!

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