Japanese Language Lessons in London
Himeji Jo, Japan

Learning Japanese

Testimonial from a current student

Ishibashi-san is an excellent tutor, very patient and with a good sense of humour. His tuition extends beyond language skills with frequent fascinating insights relating to Japanese culture, society, geography, current affairs, and so on as well as his fascinating hobbies. He also very kindly organises informal social events for his students, providing a fun and interesting opportunity to meet new people with a common interest. The key advantage of one-to-one tuition is the ability to proceed at one’s own pace and Ishibashi-san's personally-focused, structured approach will suit any student, but I must emphasise that study outside of the lesson is essential, as Ishibashi-san mentions. Armed only with a large amount of enthusiasm and virtually no knowledge of the language at the outset, I have now spent 12 months studying with an average of around an hour's personal tuition plus several hours of homework and self-study each week. I have enjoyed it immensely so far and very much look forward to expanding my knowledge further. I would highly recommend Ishibashi-san to help you attain your language skills goals, whatever your ability.

The focus of your learning will typically be on speaking and listening as having these basic skills will make it easier to extend your knowledge. The Japanese language uses three different character sets - Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. It is recommended to at least learn Hiragana (it's not as difficult as it looks) as this will increase your understanding of the sounds or phonemes used in Japanese. This can be added to as your learning and confidence develops with the katakana characters and Kanji (Chinese characters) - indeed I can help you learn up to the 2,000 characters in common usage by most native Japanese and more.

All teaching is done through the English language.

Dependent on your needs, we may forego reading and writing if not thought necessary.


You should only expect limited progress if you depend solely on the teaching activities. I will usually give tasks for you to do between lessons so that you can also be learning independently and reinforcing what you’ve been taught in your own time. The best time to do this is either straight after the lesson or just before the next one.

Text Books

I would typically follow a text-book based structure to your learning and am familiar with most books used in the UK (e.g. Japanese for Busy People, Minna no Nihongo, Genki etc.), so if you have already started learning with one book, then we can continue with it.

Our recommended course book however is "Japanese For Everyone - A Functional Approach to Daily Communication" by Susumu Nagara (Gakken) with its Workbook, Kanjibook and Tapes and we occasionally use the additional supporting resources e.g. listening and task based materials, such as "楽しく聞こう” or "にほんご きいて はなして".

These textbooks are obtainable only from Amazon for relatively low prices, though the workbook and kanji book for "Japanese For Everyone" are out of print but second hand books are still available from Amazon UK. Please check the Learning Materials section of this website.

Where you require tuition to support your studies for a formal qualification e.g. GCSE/A Level or JLPT exams, then the appropriate set books for that syllabus will be used.