If you’re anything like me and you struggle to improve your reading then you want to get Tango Risto.

I have always struggled with reading comprehension. It is the hardest part of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and a must need for any level of Japanese. I try to read novels to improve this but that means I lack a core amount of Japanese vocabulary and grammar. Namely, the news.

In the past I tried my own 2 Week Japanese Reading Challenge but going out of your way to find a good article for your level can be hard.

Tango Risto makes finding articles and improving your reading, vocabulary and kanji SO much easier.
Here’s why…

Review of Tango Risuto homepage


Tango Risto is a Must Need App for Any Learner

Breakdown for Your Level

Tango Risto is an app for iPhone and Android devices that helps you improve reading by providing you with an easy to access platform for reading real Japanese texts.

Currently it allows you to access the most recent articles from NHK News Easy, NHK News, Matcha JP and Hukumusume.com.

The program loads articles quickly and gives you a long list of possible articles to read.


On the left of each article is a breakdown of the type of vocabulary (between N5 and N1) you can expect in an article.

For example, the articles below are from NHK News Easy. The top one has a lot of JLPT N5 vocabulary (blue) and the one below it has more N4 vocabulary (green). So you can select articles that are more likely to fit your level.

Review of Tango Risto

Reading Articles

Review of Tango Risto article Review of Tango Risto

When you select an article it’s easy to customization the app to highlight words of different levels, and/or show you the furigana (readings of the kanji).

So say you want to practice reading for the JLPT N3, you can set the app to show the furigana for N2 and N1 vocabulary. But ask it to highlight all the N4-N1 words (which are color-coded) so you know to test yourself on the N4 and N3 vocabulary.


If you come across a word you don’t know you can tap it to show the furigana, then tap again to get the English meaning.

You can then tag words you don’t know which you can use with an in-app feature to study and review!

You can not only look up and study vocabulary, but have the option to include grammar points and particles too!


Additional Features

Review of Tango Risto features

As mentioned the Vocabulary Review is an in-built flashcard program that saves words you’ve tagged. It does not have any spaced repetition programming but still works well for self-study.

Another nice feature is the Text Analyzer. This lets you paste text and links for articles online. So you can add a blog you want to use and the program will break down the vocabulary for you, just like for other articles.

You can also bookmark documents, which will save articles that you tag. This is useful because each day you will get new articles. This makes it easy to collect articles you want to read again later.

And finally, this app has a day-time mode and night-time mode. Which means it’s incredibly easy to read Japanese and study vocabulary just before you go to sleep.


Pros & Cons of Tango Risto

+ Highlight words / readings depending on JLPT level
+ Can tag words
+ Review tagged words
+ Vocabulary lists for each article
+ Can add own texts
+ Daily articles – always something new!


– Ads or $4.99 to stop ads (but that’s not much for a program like this)
– Need internet
– Cannot sync between devices (i.e phone and tablet)


All in all, Tango Risto is a fantastic app. It’s simple, easy to use and great if you want to squeeze in just 5-10 minutes of reading and vocabulary study on a daily basis. If you forget to do any studying during the day you can whip out your phone, read an article easily before you sleep or when you’re waiting for dinner to cook.

An app I highly recommend for all levels.


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