24 Top Podcasts for Learning Japanese

If you are learning Japanese, you will love these 24 best podcasts for Japanese learners.

Learning Japanese doesn’t have to be a difficult and tiresome process. Luckily, learners can simplify, make it enjoyable, and benefit significantly from the podcast.

Learning languages with pre-recorded audio isn’t something new form of study. On the opposite, this approach has long been a practical approach to studying.

This is how children learn languages during their primary schooling. In this way, the brain is imitated similarly, resulting in the same effect. So, correctly pronouncing sounds is more true-to-life and authentic.

Technological progress, smartphones, and the internet have made several language tools available.

One of them is podcasts for Japanese learners. As a result, students worldwide can now explore possibilities they didn’t even imagine before.


Advantages of learning Japanese with podcasts

Japan has significantly influenced other countries, particularly in art, electronics, automobile, technology, aerospace, fishery, and popular culture.

As an outcome, there is plenty of usefulness in learning Japanese.

Podcasts from Japan with transcript

Knowing where to begin is challenging for most language learners. This is because studying Japanese takes time and devotion.

Of all the choices, Podcasts can be a valuable resource for knowing Japanese. It offers a unique opportunity to practice listening and comprehension skills and learn new vocabulary and grammar rules.

Here are some apparent benefits of Japanese language podcasts. 

  1. Listening practice: Podcasts are an excellent way to improve your listening skills. By hearing native speakers speak Japanese, you can become more familiar with the natural rhythm and intonation. You can also train your ear to pick up new words and phrases.
  2. Vocabulary acquisition: Many podcasts cover various topics and use different words, which can help you expand your Japanese vocabulary. Also, some podcasts offer transcripts or show notes that include new terms with their definitions.
  3. Grammar practice: Podcasts often include natural conversations between native speakers. This can help improve your understanding of Japanese grammar. You can also hear how different sentence structures are used in context.
  4. Cultural immersion: Most Japanese podcasts cover cultural topics and current events in Japan. This gives a window into Japanese culture and society. Thus, it helps you know the context in which the language is used and deepen your understanding of Japanese culture.
  5. Convenience and flexibility: Podcasts are easy to access and can be listened to anytime, anywhere. You hear them while commuting, workout, or doing chores. You can also pause, rewind, and repeat to reinforce your studies.

Overall, incorporating podcasts into your language learning routine can be an effective and enjoyable way to improve your Japanese skills.

Is it possible to learn Japanese from podcasts?

Both yes and no.

Japanese is a difficult language. Thus, it has a complex system of politeness and honorifics, reflecting their society’s hierarchical nature. It is an agglutinative language that uses affixes to build words and convey grammatical information.

The verb always comes at the end of the sentence in Japanese, and there are several verb forms to express politeness and respect.

If you’re interested in this language, many resources are available to encourage you to study. For example, textbooks, offline or online courses, audio, and video lessons, anime, good apps for learning Japanese, songs, music, etc.

Besides entertaining you, podcasts can also educate you. They can help you learn Japanese and help you stay motivated and forward-moving!

Pre-recorded digital audio files and podcasts have many incentives and fun aspects. But, unfortunately, no matter what language you learn, you cannot achieve meaningful proficiency.

Ideally, it will supplement other educational resources. It is a unique tool for improving and advancing your Japanese language proficiency. This is good enough by itself.

Where to listen to Japanese podcasts?

Japanese language learning podcasts

There are hundreds of podcasts available. Several are only available as paid memberships, which require a premium membership. Despite this, most of them are free.

Sometimes you may have to pay for a recurring service on the platform. A subscription upgrade gives you exclusive audio, ad-free music, and better sound quality. But that’s all.

Many Japanese podcasts are available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. In addition, there are dozens of other platforms to choose from.

Creating new content is a common practice among educational and private groups. As a result, the podcast is always up-to-date.

How to use Podcasts to improve your Japanese skills?

Set specific learning goals: Decide what you want to achieve from listening to the podcast, such as learning new vocabulary or practicing listening comprehension.

Take notes: Write down new words and phrases you learn from the podcast, and review them regularly.

Repeat and imitate: Repeat words and phrases you hear in the podcast, and try to replicate the speaker’s pronunciation.

Use subtitles or transcripts: If available, use subtitles or transcripts to follow along with the podcast and help you understand the language better.

Practice actively: Try to use what you learn in the podcast in real-life situations, such as speaking with native speakers or writing in the language.

Listen regularly: Make listening to the podcast a regular habit, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Consistency is critical when it comes to language learning.

Experiment with different podcasts: Try other podcasts to find the one that suits your learning style and interests best.

Be patient: Learning a new language takes time, so be patient with yourself and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate progress.

With these podcasts, you can get on the fast track to fluency in Japanese much more quickly.

24 Amazing Podcasts for Japanese Learners

Podcasts have become a popular and effective tool for language learners to practice listening, comprehension, and gain vocabulary. It also offers a unique chance to immerse oneself in the language and culture of Japan.

By incorporating podcasts into their language learning routine, learners can improve their language skills while staying up-to-date with the latest happenings in Japan.

Countless Japanese language podcasts are available on various topics, from news and current events to amusement and pop culture.

Here are 24 Podcasts for learning Japanese across the board (beginners, intermediate, and advanced).

Podcasts to learn Japanese

Japanese Language Podcasts for All Levels

Many Japanese language learning podcasts are available for absolute beginners to advanced learners. Here are some of the notable ones that are suitable for all levels.

1. Storylearning By Olly Richards

StoryLearning is a Japanese podcast series created by Olly Richards, a language teacher, and polyglot. The series features stories in Japanese, accompanied by English translations and explanations of grammar and vocabulary.

The stories are designed to help learners improve their comprehension and speaking skills in Japanese. The series covers a wide range of topics and is suitable for both beginner and intermediate students of Japanese.

2. The Japanese Page

The Japanese Page is a popular website that offers various resources and lessons for learning Japanese, including a podcast series. Clay and Yumi Boutwell, experienced Japanese language teachers, host TJP.

The podcast covers many Japanese language and culture topics like grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and reading and writing skills. The hosts use a mix of English and Japanese in their lessons, making them accessible for learners of all levels.

TJP includes interviews with native Japanese speakers, where listeners can hear real-life examples of the language and culture. The podcast is free on various podcast platforms and the website, where listeners can find additional resources and study materials.

3. JLPT Boot Camp

JLPT Boot Camp is a podcast that provides resources and tips for people preparing for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

This is a standardized test that measures the Japanese ability of non-native speakers. The test is offered in five levels, with Level N5 being the easiest and Level N1 being the most difficult.

The host, Mac, is an experienced Japanese teacher who has helped many students pass the JLPT. On the podcast, he provides tips and strategies for each test level, practice exercises, and sample questions. He also covers topics such as grammar, vocabulary, and kanji.

It also offers a website with resources like study guides, flashcards, and vocabulary lists. The website also includes a forum where students can ask questions and discuss the test with other learners.

Best podcasts on JLPT

Whether studying for JLPT or simply looking to improve your Japanese language skills, JLPT Boot Camp is a valuable resource to help you achieve your goals.

4. JapanesePod101

If you are looking for a Japanese podcast to take your speaking to the next level, check out JapanesePod101.

This well-known podcast delivers a comprehensive learning experience for Japanese language learners. The lessons are well-structured and easy to follow, making it an excellent resource for all levels, but primarily for beginners and intermediate learners.

With over 1,000 episodes, it covers a wide range of topics, from grammar and vocabulary to cultural insights and current events. Further, it offers clear explanations and plenty of examples to help listeners improve their language skills.

5. Let’s Talk in Japanese

“Let’s Talk in Japanese” is a popular Japanese podcast aimed at helping learners of the language improve their listening and speaking skills. The podcast is produced by the Japan Times.

It features a variety of hosts and guests who speak slowly and clearly to help listeners understand the language. The podcast covers many topics, including grammar, vocabulary, culture, and everyday conversation.

It also includes transcripts and translations of the episodes, making it easy to follow along and learn new words and phrases. It’s a good resource for anyone looking to improve their Japanese language skills.

Best Beginner level Japanese podcasts

This list contains podcasts for those learning various elements of the Japanese language. Even if we only know a few words and Japanese characters, such as Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, or have some initial conversation skills, this can be helpful.

For the beginner’s Japanese podcasts listed below, you will need some of the materials you have been provided with for your studies.

6. Sakura Tips

Even though this podcast is entirely in Japanese, feel free to listen! Mari, the host of Sakura Tips, uses simple vocabulary and speaks Japanese very slowly.

It is suitable for beginners who wish to learn Japanese but feel that TV series and flicks for Japanese learners need faster dialogue. The episodes are short (around 4-5 minutes), so you won’t have to worry about getting distracted.

Thanks to slow and soft speech and mellow background Japanese music for learners, you’ll always look forward to tuning in again. You also won’t get bored with stories since they cover everything from daily life activities to general topics.

7. Learn Japanese with LinguaBoost

Improve your speaking and comprehension skills in Japanese with LinguaBoost. Each lesson offers practical phrases related to a specific topic, allowing you to learn the language in a meaningful context, not just single words.

The materials are translated and spoken by native speakers, providing a more authentic learning experience.

8. Learn Japanese with Noriko

Teppei and Noriko are two prolific podcasters who understand learners’ challenges when studying Japanese. They host a beginner-level solo podcast that includes natural, unscripted conversations.

This might seem challenging initially, but it is more realistic, provides more exposure to beginner-level vocabulary and phrases, and also help prepare for conversations with multiple people.

Be aware that the audio quality of earlier episodes could be better. Still, it gets better over time as you move ahead.

9. NHK Easy Japanese

NHK Easy Japanese is a podcast series created by Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, NHK. The series is aimed at beginners and intermediate learners of Japanese and features stories and dialogues spoken in easy-to-understand Japanese.

Japanese podcasts for beginners

The episodes are accompanied by English translations and grammar and vocabulary explanations, making it easy for listeners to follow. The series covers a variety of topics and includes cultural information about Japan, as well as tips for daily conversation.

The podcast is available on the official NHK website and other podcast platforms.

10. Manga Sensei

Manga Sensei is a Japanese podcast series created by the team at the website of the same name. The podcast is designed to help you learn Japanese through anime.

This improves your listening and comprehension skills in Japanese by using manga (Japanese comics) as a teaching tool. The episodes feature natural Japanese dialogues, English translations, and grammar and vocabulary explanations.

The series covers various topics, from everyday conversation to more advanced grammar and cultural matters. The podcast is suitable for all levels — beginners, intermediate and advanced learners of Japanese and is available on different podcast platforms.

Manga Sensei team also provides additional resources such as transcriptions, vocabulary lists, and quizzes to help listeners practice what they’ve learned.

11. Beginning Japanese

Beginning Japanese is a Japanese podcast series designed for beginners learning the language. The episodes feature slow and precise Japanese dialogues, English translations, and grammar and word explanations.

The series covers basic grammar, vocabulary, and common phrases and expressions used in everyday conversation. The podcast also includes cultural information about Japan and tips for learning Japanese.

The episodes are available on different podcast platforms, created by a team of experienced Japanese teachers or native speakers. They aimed to make learning Japanese as easy and accessible as possible for beginners.

12. Learn Japanese Pod

Learn Japanese Pod is a podcast series created to help learners improve their Japanese listening, speaking, and comprehension skills. The episodes feature natural Japanese dialogues, English translations, and grammar and vocabulary explanations.

The series covers various topics, from everyday conversation to more advanced grammar and cultural subjects. The podcast is suitable for beginner to intermediate learners of Japanese and is available on different podcast platforms.

It was created by a team of experienced Japanese teachers who aim to make learning Japanese fun and engaging for their listeners.

13. Fun Japanese Listening

It has only 20 short and sweet episodes, filled with textbook-style dialogue even shorter than the episodes.

This series is packed with a surprising amount of basic grammar and vocabulary. While it won’t replace your Japanese textbook or course, it will give you more listening practice.

Best Intermediate-level Japanese podcasts

Want to take your Japanese study to the next level? Need audio lessons? If you are a lower or upper-intermediate learner, check out these podcasts!

Students above the elementary level can listen to podcasts of this type. This can also help you prepare for the JLPT Intermediate (N3). Check out these top picks!

14. Bilingual News

Bilingual News is a free English and Japanese news podcast. It’s a great way to practice listening comprehension and learn about current events in Japan.

Best podcasts to learn Japanese

Hosts Mami and Michael present Japanese and English news stories worldwide. It is presented as a bilingual conversation between them where they explain and express their opinions about the news.

Casual and unedited colloquial Japanese learning experience via a weekly review of relevant news topics! Each episode’s transcript is available via the Bilingual News. Plus, you can find it on most major platforms, such as iTunes.

15. Nihongo con Teppei

This podcast is hosted by Teppei, a Japanese language teacher who teaches about Japanese culture and lifestyle.

Each episode of Nihongo con Teppei features a conversation between Teppei and a guest. The topics range from Japanese culture and lifestyle to current events and personal experiences.

One of the unique features of Nihongo con Teppei is its focus on natural Japanese rather than a textbook or formal language.

Teppei speaks entirely in Japanese but provides explanations and translations as needed to help listeners understand. It is a splendid resource for lower and upper-intermediate learners who want to enhance their listening comprehension and speaking skills.

16. The Tofugu Podcast | Japan & Japanese Language

The Tofugu Podcast is a podcast produced by Tofugu, a website that provides resources for learning Japanese. The podcast covers various topics related to Japan and the Japanese language, including language learning tips, cultural insights, and expert interviews.

The Tofugu Podcast is aimed at learners of all levels, from beginners to advanced speakers. It is designed to help listeners improve their understanding of the language and culture.

The episodes are primarily in English but with some Japanese. They provide a great source of inspiration and motivation for anyone learning Japanese.

17. Japanese Swotter – Speaking Drill + Shadowing

Looking to boost your speaking skills while learning Japanese? This Japanese Swotter podcast helps you practice speaking Japanese while doing daily activities.

The podcast features plain-style dialogue, commonly used in daily life and anime. It is tailored to help improve speaking skills for learners of all levels, from beginners to advanced speakers. 

18. Let’s Learn Japanese from Small Talk!

Enhance your Japanese language skills with the “Let’s Learn Japanese from Small Talk” podcast, explicitly designed for learners. This is hosted by George Trombley, the author of the famous “Japanese from Zero!” series of textbooks.

Japanese podcasts for intermediate

The episodes feature real-life Japanese conversations in a fun way, with new episodes released every Saturday. Each focuses on a specific word list or grammar point and has many examples and practice exercises.

The podcast also provides a vocabulary list for each episode online, making it an ideal tool for learners who want to improve their vocabulary and comprehension. Follow this podcast regularly to acquire the skills needed to master the Japanese language.”

19. Nihongo Switch

Nihongo Switch is a Japanese podcast series created by professional Japanese teachers and language learners.

The podcast aims to help learners improve their Japanese listening, speaking, and comprehension skills through various methods, including storytelling, Q&A sessions, and discussions.

The episodes feature natural Japanese dialogues, English translations, and grammar and vocabulary explanations.

The series covers various topics and suits beginner and intermediate Japanese learners. The podcast is available on different podcast platforms.

Best Advanced level Japanese podcasts

Advanced learners may benefit if they need more encouragement to reach near-native proficiency.

Are you an advanced learner who needs more listening exercises? Words that are less common, more complicated grammar rules, and exposure would be helpful.

You’re in the right place if that’s the case. These advanced Japanese podcasts can also help you study for the JLPT N2 or N1 and the NAT-Test Q5 or Q4.

Native speakers create some of them. The result is in-depth knowledge, a natural speaking pace, slang, and a deep understanding of cultural differences.

This is what you need!

20. Japanese Classical Literature at Bedtime

Japanese Classical Literature at Bedtime is a podcast that offers an entertaining way to improve your Japanese language skills while enjoying classic Japanese literature. Each episode features a different story, read by a native Japanese speaker, with Japanese and English translations.

The stories featured on the podcast are all classic works of Japanese literature, ranging from folktales and fairy tales to more complex novels and short stories. Some authors include Natsume Soseki, Akutagawa Ryunosuke, and Murasaki Shikibu.

This Japanese learning podcast also offers a unique opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture and history. Many of the stories featured on the podcast are deeply rooted in Japanese traditions and customs. It shows listeners a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Japan.

21. Rebuild

Rebuild is a popular Japanese podcast hosted by Tatsuhiko Miyagawa, a well-known blogger and tech entrepreneur. The podcast covers various topics related to technology, culture, and society in Japan and often features interviews with experts and thought leaders in multiple fields.

Podcasts for Japanese learners

The podcast is entirely in Japanese and is aimed at natives. So, it is tough for non-native speakers to follow along. But for those with advanced Japanese skills, it is an ideal resource to learn about current events and trends in Japan and gain insights into the country’s culture and society.

Some episodes are free on various podcast platforms. In contrast, others require a subscription. They also have a website where listeners can find show notes and other resources related to each episode.

22. News In Slow Japanese

“News in Slow Japanese” is a Japanese podcast aimed at helping language learners improve their listening and comprehension skills by providing news stories spoken in a slower, more straightforward way.

The podcast covers many current events and topics from Japan and worldwide. It also includes a transcript of each episode to help listeners follow along and understand the vocabulary.

This podcast is perfect for intermediate to advanced learners who want to improve their listening comprehension and stay informed about current events in Japan.

It’s a great way to practice listening to authentic Japanese and improve your understanding of the language and culture.

23. Japanese Listening Advanced

In this podcast, Japanese natives speak at their natural speed, using street slang and colloquialisms.

You will keep your language skills alive by listening to this podcast even if you do not live in a Japanese-speaking country.

You can download transcripts in Japanese with English translations if you find any parts of the conversation difficult.

24. Coten Radio

This is a Japanese podcast produced by Conte Company. It features conversations between two hosts, who are also company employees, about various topics such as technology, business, lifestyle, and current events in Japan.

The Coten Radio is entirely Japanese, so it is best suited for advanced learners looking to improve their listening comprehension and learn colloquial Japanese expressions.

Japanese podcasts for advanced

The show’s format is similar to a radio talk, and the hosts provide their opinions and insights about the topics they discuss. Also, they sometimes invite guests to share their experiences and knowledge about specific subjects.

Overall, this is a fabulous way to stay informed about what’s happening in Japan and to learn more about Japanese culture and language. This is available on various platforms like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Final thoughts on Japanese language podcasts

Japanese language and culture can be studied, practiced, improved, and explored through podcasts. Authentic and fascinating resources combine in this collection. You will better understand this beautiful language as you become familiar with it.

This list contains every Japanese podcast currently available.

Lastly, you should be consistent in your learning process. So, once you’ve found your favorite podcast, stick with it.

Following a routine will help you retain what you learn. As you gain new material, your knowledge of Japanese will also expand.

Are there any top-quality Japanese learning podcasts I missed? Is there a favorite of yours? Feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments.

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Vikash Gupta
Vikash Gupta

I’m a linguist, lifelong learner, educator, blogger, and fun-loving guy. I write at studyfrenchspanish.com, languagenext.com, joyofkorean.com, joyofchinese.com, joyofjapanese.com.

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