Best podcasts to learn Japanese (19 free shows reviewed in 2024)

Best podcasts to learn Japanese

Japanese is a subject-object-verb language, meaning ordinary sentences are structured a little differently to English.

For example, in English you would say I listen to podcasts – that is a subject-verb-object language.

But in Japanese the same sentence would be structured I podcasts listen – a subject-object-verb language.

Yep, learning Japanese is going to get tricky!

But you can do it!

Anyway, that’s enough from us. Time to hear from the real experts.

We’ve uncovered and reviewed 19 great podcasts to help you learn Japanese. There’s a podcast on this list for people at all levels – from beginners to advanced learners.

If you’re looking for more great language learning podcasts, check out the following Podbam lists.

Best Podcasts to Learn Japanese

Learn Japanese Pod (for beginners and intermediate learners)

The Learn Japanese Pod is an exceptional resource for any native English speaker who wants to learn Japanese.

The Podcast has three hosts, Ami, Alex and Asuka who are all fluent in both English and Japanese. This makes their English explanations of complex Japanese phrases, vocabulary, and grammar easy to understand for beginners and intermediate learners alike.

Podcast episodes cover the spectrum of beginner basics, for example; how to be polite in Japanese, common Japanese verbs, and how to discuss health symptoms with a doctor.

Often there are also interviews with people who are doing interesting things related to Japan and Japanese culture.

Episode length is 20-30 minutes and you can expect new content to be released weekly. There are also some great additional resources and Japanese learning challenges on the Learn Japanese Pod website. – Beginning Japanese Phrases (for beginners)

This is a top podcast for beginners to learn basic Japanese words and phrases. The podcasts comprises of succinct 2 minute episodes which cover a single phrase or word.The host, Makoto, does a great job helping listeners with pronunciation, so it’s likely in just 2 minutes you’ll have mastered something new in Japanese!

Over 150 episodes have been published since this podcast was launched in 2021. So there’s a rich library of content to explore and currently new episodes are published every week.

Useful show notes, videos, and paid membership options can be found on The Japanese Page website.

Learn Japanese with Masa Sensei! (for beginners)

Every episode on the Learn Japanese with Masa Sensei podcast is a valuable learning experience.

Host, Masa, describes herself as a “language geek”. She can speak five languages, and it’s her articulate English explanations of Japanese words and phrases that really shines in this podcast.

Episodes usually feature one vocabulary subject aimed helping English speakers interact in Japanese. Masa also discusses interesting topics related to Japan, with some of the discussion topics suggested by supporters on Patreon.

New podcast episodes are released every fortnight and run for around 10 minutes. The experienced language instructor also regularly publishes video to YouTube where she has a large following.

Japanese Swotter – Speaking Drill + Shadowing (for beginners)

For Japanese language beginners, the Japanese Swotter podcast can be a helpful resource.

The podcasts follows a unique format in which listeners are asked to follow each episode’s description, where English language translations are posted, then shadow the Japanese speaking hosts by repeating words and phrases spoken by native Japanese. They call these exercises ‘drills’.

There are over 100 episodes available and the accompanying transcripts and translations let you check your comprehension as you progress.

Episodes are short – deigned for learning on-the-go. A new episode is published each week.

Learn Japanese | (for beginners)

While there aren’t regular new episodes, Learn Japanese by JapanesePod101 is a great resource for Japanese language beginners.

The podcast which is hosted in English, currently features a catalogue of 21 episodes covering Japanese language basics such as ‘How to introduce yourself in Japanese’, ‘Asking for help in Japanese’, and many more focussed on specific phrases or words to help introduce listeners to the Japanese language.

Listeners who want to continue improving are encouraged to take up paid Japanese language courses on the JapanesePod101 website.

EASY JAPANESE PODCAST Learn Japanese with everyday conversations! (for intermediate learners)

The Easy Japanese Podcast is a good option for intermediate learners. Episode are almost entirely in Japanese, with the occasional English interjection from multi-lingual hosts, Masa and Asami.

The hosts are experienced language instructors which shines through in their clear explanations of importnat Japanese words and phrases.

In addition to the language education, everyday topics such as weekend plans and workplace gripes are discussed in easy and natural Japanese which helps learners to further develop their Japanese vocabularly.

Masa and Asami also have a very popular YouTube channel which is a helpful additional resource for anyone wanting to learn Japanese.

The Bite size Japanese Podcast (for intermediate and advanced learners)

A go-to podcast for intermediate learners with a busy lifestyle. Episodes of The Bite Size Japanese Podcast run for 10 minutes or less as host Layla Nihongo shares practical tips on speaking Japanese like a native Japanese speaker.

While highlighting key grammar and vocabulary points, Layla dives into a spectrum of topics such as lifestyle, personal development, careers, and travel – wholly in Japanese. This allows learners to stretch their comprehension muscles in a low-pressure environment, while her likeable personality makes listening and learning great fun.

Layla’s language lessons are extremely popular on social media and other platforms. She has over 170,000 instagram followers and over 30,000 YouTube subscribers.

Learn Japanese with Noriko (for intermediate and advanced learners)

Noriko is a fully-qualified Japanese language teacher. Her podcast began in 2020 and has now ticked over 500 episodes.

Norika is a highly engaging, positive, and upbeat host. She creates a great environment for intermediate learners to take the next steps towards Japanese fluency.

Through various techniques such as unraveling traditional proverbs, sharing relatable stories, discussing hot topics and examining Japanese language nuances, Noriko provides a wealth of practical language advice.

She also offers paid private lessons and access to a community of Japanese language learners on the Japanese with Noriko website. New podcast episodes are published every week.

Everyday Japanese Podcast (for intermediate and advanced learners)

This is a great podcast hosted by an experienced Japanese language teacher named Sayuri.

Sayuri says she believes “understanding the language, culture, and people of a place enhances the travel experience manifold” – and that is a key motivation for her podcast and popular YouTube channel which currently has almost 16,000 subscribers.

On the Everyday Japanese Podcast, Sayuri brings listeners a variety of topics – there are discussion about intriguing Japanese social norms, Japanese culture, events, along with useful insights into Sayuri’s personal observations and experiences.

The discussions are entirely in Japanese and there’s a mix of solo episodes and interviews with worldly guests. Common guests are fellow content creators, travelling experts, and Japanese culture enthusisasts. But at heart of each episode is language education, with Sayuri helping guide listeners through the intricacies of the Japanese language.

A new episode is published each week.

バイリンガルニュース (Bilingual News)

Bilingual News is a top resource for anyone wanting to improve their Japanese.

Every Thursday a new episode is released in which hosts Michael and Mami discuss the latest global news in a mix of Japanese and English. It’s a high quality production and an innovative approach to Japanese listening comprehension.

Michale and Mami are great hosts that bring a mix of friendly banter and informed views. Their discussions help listeners pick up natural speech patterns and modern vocabulary on trending topics.

Supplemental transcripts and even the podcasts’ own application are available on the Bilingual News website.

Interestingly, we’re told this podcast is used as a listening material at Kyoto University.

The Miku Real Japanese Podcast | Japanese conversation | Japanese culture (for intermediate and advanced learners)

Miku promises to help listeners learn real Japanese to help with real-life conversations.

The passionate language teacher shares conversations on topics such a personal development, culture and society that highlight grammar and expressions used daily by native speakers. From tongue-in-cheek jokes to thoughtful cultural revelations, her diverse dialogues make grasping authentic speech patterns feel seamless and fun.

For dedicated learners, paid courses and additional resources like vocabulary lists and transcripts are available on the Miku Real Japanese website.

A new episode is released each week.

Let’s Talk in Japanese! (for intermediate and advanced learners)

This is a podcast by a highly experienced Japanese language teacher named Tomo.

Tomo is one of the best podcasters when it comes to adapting his Japanese language dialogue to make it easy for learners to follow along and develop their language skills.

Episode topics include interesting stories about happenings in Japan and discussions about language and life. This podcast’s listener engagement stands out – listeners are encourage to request topics to be discussed, or send in questions for the host.

A new episode is released each week. Scripts and additional resources are available on the Let’s Talk Japanese website.

日本语の聴解のためのPodcast (Akane’s Japanese class) (for intermediate and advanced learners)

This is a podcast by a popular Japanese language teacher known as Akane. Akane lives in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture and operates a successful online language school.

Akane’s podcast is wholly in Japanese and designed to help intermediate learners improve their listening comprehension skills.

The native Japanese language teacher shares great language insights, but also unpacks Japanese culture and lifestyle, providing listeners a well-rounded educational experience.

Episodes are bite-sized. They rarely running for more than 5 minutes and a new episode is published each week.

Akane also has a very popular YouTube channel with over 500,000 subscribers.

YUYUの日本語Podcast【Japanese Podcast】(for intermediate and advanced learners)

This engaging Japanese language podcast provides a natural approach to everyday Japanese comprehension. As a bilingual speaker the host, Yuyu, selects topics of interest to intermediate learners and discusses them conversationally in crisp Japanese.

The commentary aims to provide listening practice and highlight how native speakers chat about hobbies, travel, society, and culture. Yuyu’s upbeat tone keeps the learning mood light and entertaining.

Learners are also invited to suggest their own dialogue themes, making content feel tailored and interactive.

Multiple new episodes are published every month. Yuyu also has popular YouTube channel with over 250,000 subscribers.

Slow Japanese (for intermediate and advanced learners)

Slow Japanese is a podcast for intermediate leaners who want to continue developing their Japanese language skills.

It is hosted by qualified Japanese language instructor, Akari Piotrowsk. Akari discusses various interesting topics about life, culture, history, and current affairs in Japanese while consciously monitoring her rate of speech. By enunciating clearly and limiting swift streams of syllables, she enables learners to hone active listening skills.

Akari also has a website, where she publishes free transcripts and key English vocabulary translations. We think this is a great resource for listeners.

There are new episodes published every month. Episode length is usually 5-10 minutes.

Nihongo con Teppei Z (for intermediate and advanced learners)

An entirely Japanese-language podcast for intermediate learners seeking to develop their conversational fluency.

Nihongo con Teppei Z delivers authentic and entertaining language lessons that aim to showcase practical spoken Japanese.

The podcast is hosted in fun and engaging way. Content ranges from cultural insights to current affairs. The broad range of topics provides a good insight into how average Japanese speakers discuss daily topics.

There are multiple new 10-20 minute episodes released every week and host, Teppei Z, offers lessons and transcripts on his website and via Patreon.

Japanese with Shun (for intermediate and advanced learners)

Another great podcast for intermediate Japanese learners, hosted by New Zealand-based language instructor Shunsuke Otani.

Shun’s concise podcast episodes, which run for around 10 minutes offer an ideal blend of education and entertainment. As an experienced teacher, he adeptly navigates grammar and vocabulary nuances while maintaining an upbeat, engaging tone. His smooth conversational style allows listeners to absorb practical speech patterns and phrases.

Episode topics are usually Japanese language discussions about everyday life such as, ‘Talking about Tinder’, ‘Japanese numbers’, and ‘Daily routines‘. These are designed to help listeners pick up useful Japanese words and phrases. Shun also occasionally interviews a special guest.

Japanese with Teppei and Noriko (for intermediate and advanced learners)

For a taste of authentic Japanese conversations, join Teppei and Noriko. This language learning duo invites you to immerse yourself into their Japanese language conversations and share laughs as they discuss cultural curiosities and current events.

All dialogue is in Japanese, so this podcast is only suitable for intermediate learners and above. It can be great for helping you understand idioms, slang usage, and even regional dialects.

Episodes usually run 15-120 minutes, and subscribers can expect two new episodes each month. Teppei and Noriko have published over 400 episodes since launching this podcast in 2020.

Thinking in Japanese Podcast (for intermediate and advanced learners)

The Thinking in Japanese Podcast features the thoughtful, deep and philosophical contemplations of host Yuka.

Yuka speaks entirely in Japanese, so this another podcast on this list of best podcasts to learn Japanese for intermediate and advanced learners.

Here are some recent episodes to provide you with an idea of the type of content to expect; ‘85% of what you’re worrying about won’t happen’, ‘How much free time do we need?’, and ‘What makes our life happy’ are all recent episode topics.

The host speaks slowly and explains complicated vocabulary nuances to help listeners improve their Japanese. Supplemental learning tools, including transcripts and vocabulary lists are provided via Yuka’s Patreon page.

Good luck learning Japanese!

We hope you find this list of the best podcasts to learn Japanese to be valuable. As you can see there are some exceptional Japanese language experts providing tips to help learners of all levels.

Podcasts are a great tool for helping you learn a language. You can listen from anywhere and incorporate the content into your everyday life – such as while commuting or exercising!

If you think we’ve missed a great Japanese language learning podcast, reach out to us on X.

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