These are the products I most recommend, organized according to whatever method you’re using. I use them on a regular basis, as my own method is a bizarre mix of all the methods, and vouch for them as being worth your money.
This page contains affiliate links to 3rd party sites. Not all products and websites here are affiliate links, but there are some, which are designed to support this website. Unlike some, I’m not promoting products that…suck.
All or Mix
All About Particles: A Handbook of Japanese Function Words is the book I recommend more highly than anything else on this website! It works for any method and is absolutely indispensable as a reference book. Read my full review here.
Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji, Volumes 1 and 3 are my other recommendations. You really don’t need the second one, especially is you’re an inputter, although academic people might enjoy it. This book tends to be a bit controversial amongst language learners, so check out my full review before buying. I recommend it, as I think having English keywords associated with kanji makes the whole process much, much simpler.
I unfortunately don’t have a full review for The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast, but it’s a mix of the input and output methods for learning a language, and Khatzumoto claims to have been influenced by this book when developing his own method for learning Japanese. The author is a US Army Green Beret (I have no idea what that means) who often travels to other countries on short notice and must be able to communicate with government officials and such who usually don’t speak English. This is an excellent guide to getting proficient in a language quickly, and I use it myself for certain languages, such as Finnish.
Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese is a free website that’s kind of like an online textbook. It only covers basic grammar, although there’s some sprinkles of advanced stuff throughout it, but is great for getting started. If you’re an academic person who wants to get his/her feet wet before buying a full text book, then this site is your best bet. It’s also great for input and output people who need a good reference but don’t want to put forth the money for a textbook. I reviewed the site here.
JapanesePod101 is an excellent site for people who prefer learning via tapes or podcasts. It’s audio-based lessons are numerous and cover all aspects of Japanese, and even come with .pdf files to explain certain things. It’s also incredibly cheap! Read my full review here.
All Japanese All the Time, which I think is a bit better than LingQ, which is great for pretty much every language other than Japanese. I’ve bought pretty much everything Khatzumoto has to offer, except for Silverspoon and AJATT+, and I can say that if you’re trying to get your feet wet in the input method, his site is absolutely indispensable, and his store contains a lot of good guides and sentence packs. You can read my full review for the website (no specific product reviews yet) here.
The Language Hacking Guide by Benny Lewis. This is the bible of learning languages via the output method, and I use it to learn languages quickly for the purpose of overcoming language hurdles when teaching on EduFire. It comes in two editions: an English only edition ($57), and a multilingual edition ($67). I’m working on a full review right now, because this is an absolutely amazing guide for people stumped on the output method. It’s chock full of great advice and can be used by anyone. REVIEW IS UP!
Genki: An Integrated Course into Elementary Japanese is my personal favorite textbook. I never did finish the second one, as I moved on to sentence mining by then, but the first book was excellent for getting basic grammar down. You can read my full review here.
TextFugu is an online textbook created by Koichi of Tofugu stardom. It’s an excellent website that grows with the learner, although it only teaches beginner’s Japanese right now. I reviewed it twice, actually. Here’s my first impression of the site when it first came out (I bought it when it was first promoted), and my second look after it had matured a bit.