Hiragana & Katakana
Japanese Calligrapher Takumi: Probably the best video to learn how to write Hiragana correctly and beautifully.
Japanese Calligrapher Takumi: Probably the best video to learn how to write Katakana correctly and beautifully.
タイピング練習道場 (Taipingu Renshuu Doujou): A website where you can practice (reading and) typing Hiragana and Katakana. They have 3 different levels for each alphabet elementary, intermediate, and advanced.
Note: This is an online journaling website that is (mostly?) used by Japanese creators and users. They upload their personal journals, diaries, or sometimes even completely written novels and books there.
NHK News Webs Easy: A website provided by NHK where you can read their news in easy Japanese (やさしい日本語). The Furigana over the Kanji can be turned off and you can also listen to the news article read by a Japanese female voice.
にほんごたどく (Nihongo Tadoku): This website offers a range of Japanese books and stories that you can read for free. They have categorized them into five different levels from Level 0 to Level 5. You can also download them as PDFs and listen to the books being read on Youtube.
西日本新聞 (Nishi Nihon Shinbun): Another news website where you can read news articles in easy Japanese provided by Nishi Nihon Shinbun. The Furigana can’t be turned off on this site.
Line マンガ (Line Manga): I’m afraid this might only be available in Japan so I’m really sorry about that! However, if you live here and have LINE definitely register for this. You can read tons of manga for free every day. Even famous ones like Naruto and One Piece.
Since there are gender differences in spoken Japanese I recommend you listen to female speakers when you are a woman and to male speakers when you are a man. Especially at the beginning stages of learning Japanese.
きりまる (Kirimaru): Really fun girl talking about her boyfriend, love, relationships, and insect traumas after introducing herself briefly. She talks really fast so you might have to reduce the speed.
なるチャン (Naru Chan): Very cute and positive girl comparing the beauty standards in America and Japan and all kinds of other things. She usually has a beautiful message. Every now and then she uses a bit of English.
ひろゆき, hiroyuki: He usually does very long streams (2~3 hours) where he gets messages from his readers and tries to answer them as best as he can. He talks about all kinds of topics also more serious ones.
恋愛きりぬきDaiGo (Renai Kirinuki DaiGo): Funny guy giving relationship advice and talking about the perfect timing for confessing on your first date. He also talks rather fast, especially at the beginning of his videos.
Conversations & Podcasts
エミリンチャンネル (Emirin Channeru): A collab between Emirin and DaiGo where she is asking him for love and relationship advice and he is giving consultation. The whole video has Japanese subtitles so it’s easy to read along.
「アニメタイムズ」公式 (「Anime Taimuzu」Koushiki): YouTue Channel where you can watch all or specific episodes of an anime (e.g. FAIRY TALE, Captain Tsubasa) for a limited period of time. There are Japanese subtitles but only auto-generated ones.
フル☆アニメTV (Furu☆Anime TV): YouTube channel where you can watch all or specific episodes of an anime (e.g. Tokyo Revengers) for a limited period of time. There are Japanese subtitles but only auto-generated ones.
『転生したらスライムだった件』 第1話 (『Tensei Shitara Suraimu Datta Ken』 Dai 1 Wa): I just added this specific anime because I like it so much. Also, I think the first episode is rather easy to understand except for some of the technology terms at the very beginning.
Try shadowing your favorite Japanese YouTuber.
Talk to yourself about something you like.
Summarize or talk to yourself about the books, manga, texts, anime, and videos you have consumed.
Find a tandem partner on X (Twitter) hashtag #タンデムパートナー (#TandemuPaatonaa).
Start your own journal (or diary) either handwritten or digital.
You could also start a public journal on X (Twitter).
Formulating thoughts in your head is also part of the writing process so start thinking in Japanese whenever you can.
I’m personally not the biggest fan of courses and textbooks. However, they usually provide a nice, structured approach to learning Japanese which can be beneficial at the beginning. Just be aware that you will mostly learn textbook Japanese not the “real” spoken Japanese.
まるごと日本語オンラインコース (Marugoto Nihongo Onrain Koosu): A free course that teaches you basic conversational Japanese.
It’s best to learn Kanji in context meaning just read something written in Japanese, check and pick up the new words you want to remember, and immediately learn and memorize them written in Kanji, not in Hiragana. (Teaching and) learning them in Hiragana first is honestly just a waste of time.
When you read a lot you will automatically memorize even difficult Kanji because they work like symbols that you will just recognize over time with enough exposure and practice.
Most learners don’t have to learn how to write Kanji even when they are planning to live and work in Japan because most of the time you only have to write your name (in Katakana), your address (in Kanji), and every now and then the word 本人. This is experience from someone living in Japan for more than 8 years.
However, if you want to or have to learn how to write Kanji “Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters” by Heisig is by far the best book. And sorry but this is not a free resource.