About Little Charo

The 2011 Nintendo DS title 「えいごで旅する:リトル・チャロ」(Little Charo Travels in English) is, in my opinion, one of the best games for Japanese learners. Actually reading REAL Japanese is one of the best ways of learning, but there isn't a whole lot of content out there that is easy enough for beginners to take on. Plus, unlike most other begginner's material, the story is actually pretty good!

This title is basically a visual novel. The majority of the "game" is just reading the story, and there are a couple of puzzles every now and then. This game was created as a way for Japanese people to study English, but it still works great the other way around! The story is written entirely in both Japanese and English, and you can swap languages instantly at the touch of a button. This means that whenever you see a word you don't know, you can just switch over to English to try to get the gist of it, rather than spending time looking things up in a dictionary. The audio is only voiced in English, so you may want to turn the sound off while playing. This is also quite a long game, and took me the better part of a year to finish.

The game is region free, and the cartridge can be played on any Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, or Nintendo 2DS system. You can buy the game from Amazon, or try playing the rom on an emulator if you like. If you are playing on an Emulator, here is a fully completed save file, which will allow you to access any episode of the story. I have put a playthrough of the first Episode on Youtube so you can see what the game is like.

A Japanese walkthrough of the game can be found here, which is useful if you get stuck at any point in the game. While the main game is fairly straightforward, there are a couple of points where it can be tricky or confusing as to how to proceed. There are also a number of bonus episodes that are unlocked by finding hidden coins in the levels. The walkthrough can be particularly helpful for some of the trickier coins.

The difficulty of the text is probably appropriate for someone who is around JLPT N4 or N3 level. The game does use Kanji, and does not include furigana to help with the readings. It is not particularly heavy on the Kanji though, and most of the Kanji words are ones that are fairly important to learn anyways.


I have ripped the entire script from the game and put it into a spreadsheet. This can allow you to easily use tools like rikai-chan/yomichan to look up words, or import it into Anki. You can find the spreadsheet version here, or an html version here. If you want to just download a zip file of all of the spreadsheets in CSV format, here you go.


Frequently Used Vocabulary

You might want to review these words prior to playing each episode.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Bonus Episode 1

No new frequent vocabulary

Episode 3

No new frequent vocabulary

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Bonus Episode 2

Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9

No new frequent vocabulary

Episode 10

Episode 11

Bonus Episode 3

Episode 12

Episode 13

Episode 14

Episode 15

Bonus Episode 4

Episode 16

Bonus Episode 5

Episode 17

No new frequent vocabulary

Episode 18

Bonus Episode 6

Episode 19

Episode 20

Bonus Episode 7

Episode 21

Episode 22

Bonus Episode 8

Episode 23

Bonus Episode 9

Episode 24

Episode 25

Episode 26

Bonus Episode 10

No new frequent vocabulary