Although I have started to use Duolingo a lot to practice my Japanese, it is only a supplement to JapanesePod101.com. JapanesePod101 is a website that is made to help people of any level practice their Japanese.
Before I decided I was going to learn Japanese, I did a lot of research to see what the best websites to learn from were. Obviously, the first website I thought of was Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone is probably the most popular and well known language learning software, but apparently it is not good for learning Japanese. According to many articles I read, the software for Rosetta Stone just does not translate well to learning Japanese. Therefore, after much deliberation, I decided that JapanesePod101 would be the best choice for me to learn Japanese.
I enjoy using JapanesePod101 because it works on different aspects of your Japanese. I would say the area JapanesePod101 focuses most on is listening, which for me is the most important along with speaking. The main teaching method of JapanesePod101 is a series of dialogue lessons. There are about 100 episodes per level, and each episode goes over useful grammar patterns and vocabulary. These gradually progress to become more complex and varied over time. If you are interested in learning reading and writing too though, there are also typed versions of the dialogue that you can practice as well.
Overall, I do not think that there is any one best way to learn Japanese; instead, it takes a lot of different elements to become successful over time. The easiest way to learn the language would just be to live in Japan, but this is not feasible for everyone. JapanesePod101 is a great starting point, and you can combine it with using Duolingo and watching Japanese TV to improve your Japanese quickly!
JapanesePod101.com Recommendation Rating: 4
1: Something worth checking out if you have time
2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone
3: Something worth prioritizing if interested
4: Something worth making time to check out
5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for