Let’s face it, learning Japanese is tough and it can be a challenge to find new and fun ways to learn this language or the right methods to use that will keep you interested and encouraged.

If you want to get rid of study boredom forever, if you never again want to use flashcards or other mind numbing methods, then Japanese learning games is right up your alley. We’re not talking board games or cards either, we’re talking about video games.

This Japanese language learning hack will definitely open you up to an entirely new method to learning fluent Japanese, and it’s one that’s not only fun but highly addictive as well.

How a 3DS can Help You Learn Japanese

So, how can you learn Japanese by playing video games? By using a Japanese 3DS.

Quick Tip: The 3DS was first released in 2011. This is a handheld gaming platform that allows you to play 3D games without having to wear 3D glasses. These days, the system has come a long way, offering a number of game titles in a wide variety of genres, from simulation and puzzles to fantasy and adventure.

  • Now, you can’t just use a regular 3DS to learn Japanese.
  • It must be a 3DS sold in Japan.

Learn Japanese 3dsSo, why should you spend the extra cash to get a 3DS from Japan? Models from Japan feature a Japanese language option. Which probably comes as no surprise considering these gaming systems were created in japan. In fact, Japanese is the only language option these models offer.

While models sold in North America offer Portuguese, Spanish, French, and English, and European models offer a number of European languages, neither option offers Japanese.

A Japanese 3DS is definitely worth the investment because it’s one of the only gaming systems with a Japanese language option and a wide library of Japanese language specific games to choose from.

Depending on the games you play, the odds are you’ll come into contact with phrases, slang, and vocabulary commonly used in the Japanese language.

For example, fantasy and adventure based games feature some of the most extensive vocabularies because they offer more intricate plotlines, whereas, anime or manga games will introduce you more to casual speech and slang.

Obviously, a Japanese 3DS is only able to play games made in Japan, so if you were hoping to play imported games on your North American model, you’ll be disappointed.

The 3DS is region locked, which means you’ll only be able to play North American games on a North American 3DS and Japanese games on a Japanese 3DS.

However, there is a way around this issue, just as long as you don’t mind playing older DS games. DS games are not region locked, so you’ll be able to freely play any Japanese 3DS game on the old-school DS models or even on the 3DS system.

Because you can add friends or locals to your friend’s list, you’ll also be able to interact with people who live in Japan. You’ll probably be a little intimidated to communicate with anyone at first, or you may need to rely on a Japanese-English dictionary initially, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can pick up the local language.

The Best Japanese Based Videogames to Play

One of the most intimidating aspects of learning Japanese is reading kanji alone. While beautiful, kanji is often a major hindrance to beginners, which is why we love how the Japanese 3DS introduced furigana.

Often most of the beginner friendly games will feature furigana above kanji. Typically, the easier the game, the more hiragana, katakana and furigana there will be. These games are simple to play and figure out, even for users with only a basic understanding of Japanese.

To ensure that you’re studying Japanese as you play, try making a side game out of the language. Be sure to look up every word you’re unfamiliar with, instead of just guessing. Don’t just press the A button to skip the dialogue. If you have to, read and reread the unfamiliar phrase or words until you’re able to comprehend the basic meaning.

With the Japanese 3DS, you’ll likely spend most of your time visiting the menu screen. Like any other gaming platform, in the beginning, you’ll need to go through several different steps in order to set up the system correctly.

Try not to let all of the Japanese instructions overwhelm you. Once you have gotten past the initial setup, the user menu will be much easier to navigate and use and it’s a good place to get a convenient vocal refresher.[/thrive_icon_box]

There are a ton of options on the home menu, most of which are written in a mix of hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

  • Before you start a game, be sure you’re familiar with the user’s menu.
  • Do you know how to add friends?
  • How to access the internet browser? Or how to enable parental controls?
  • If not, spend a little time in this section. We promise it will make using this gaming system much easier.

With this gaming system, you’ll have access to plenty of kanji learning games. Some users prefer games that are more intellectually stimulating. If you’re studying for a proficiency test, the Japanese 3DS will be the perfect resource to prepare you.

How Easy is it to Purchase a Japanese 3DS?

As we have mentioned, this model is sold exclusively in japan. While heading to Japan to buy one is an option, the easiest way for people living outside of japan to obtain one of these systems is through eBay or Amazon. You might even be able to use Amazon Japan, but this usually depends on whatever products are available for international shipping.

Quick Tip: Amazon offers a large variety of gaming systems and games at reasonable prices. In order to locate a Japanese only 3DS, just search for the term Japan Import and 3DS. If you’re a Prime member, the international shipping cost is usually reduced, which can be a big added bonus if you’re on a tight budget.

If you’re fed up with trying to cram vocab and kanji into your brain, using a Japanese 3DS can be a fun, exciting and useful alternative to most of the traditional study methods. You may even find yourself looking forward to studying.