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The Best Podcasts for Learning Japanese: Perfect for Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced Learners

The Best Podcasts for Learning Japanese

Learning a new language can be an incredibly exciting yet challenging experience. For those delving into the captivating intricacies of Japanese, podcasts can be highly effective learning tools. They bring the language to life by providing learners with real-world context and a glimpse into its culture. This guide will delve into the best podcasts for learning Japanese, each tailored to different proficiency levels.

The Advantages of Using Podcasts for Japanese Language Learning

Podcasts are an effective and convenient way to immerse yourself in the Japanese language. They offer real-life dialogue and cultural insights, making them an essential tool for language learners. These audio programs offer real-life and natural-toned dialogues and cultural insights essential for any language learner, not just Japanese learners.


What Makes a Podcast Suitable for Beginner Learners

A very important criterion that makes a podcast beginner-friendly is its speech pace. Beginner-friendly podcasts should have a slow pace and pronounce each word clearly. For absolute beginners, it could be even more beneficial to have English explanations to support learners and not make them feel lost.

Podcast Recommendation for Absolute Beginners

Learn Japanese with Masa sensei!

Are you new to Japanese and looking to start your journey with podcasts? Then Masa sensei is your teacher! She introduces you to the basics of the Japanese language very gently yet thoroughly. Each episode covers basic phrases, grammar points, and common vocabulary by using real-life scenarios that beginners can easily relate to. The explanations are provided in English, which helps newbies understand the context and nuances of the Japanese language without feeling overwhelmed and lost.


Podcast Recommendation for Middle Beginners

Japanese with Shun

"Japanese with Shun" is a choice for you if you've already grasped the basics and are ready to move forward. Shun uses a storytelling approach. With this approach, he introduces you to new vocabulary and grammar points in an engaging way. His clear pronunciation and practical examples help you reinforce what is being taught. There is no English explanation in the episodes, so you need to have some basic understanding of the Japanese language. You can also utilize the transcript available for each episode for better understanding.

Podcast Recommendation for Upper Beginners

Japanese Podcast for Beginners (Nihongo Con Teppei)

Japanese Podcast for Beginners (Nihongo Con Teppei) has a unique and fun conversational style. Even though the title of the podcast has the word “beginner” in it, it is definitely not for absolute or middle beginners. The speech pace is slow but not too slow to make you bored. The combination of his sense of humor and a wide selection of topics ranging from everyday life to Japanese culture, will keep you engaged while also teaching you rich context for language acquisition. Many learners find this method helpful in improving their listening and comprehension skills.


What Makes a Podcast Suitable for Intermediate Learners

Podcasts targeted towards intermediate learners delve into more complex grammar and vocabulary, minimizing English explanations. They aim to replicate conversations, providing listeners with a greater challenge.

Podcast Recommendations for Intermediate Learners

Sakura Tips

"Sakura Tips" offers short yet captivating lessons on different topics related to Japanese culture and daily life. You will get to be introduced to intermediate vocabulary and grammar in relatable contexts which make it easier to remember and understand. All episodes are scripted, so you can go back to them any time you want. Most importantly, the episodes are released regularly and there are over 600 episodes available up until today (Dec 9th, 2023). The host Mari’s clear pronunciation and concise speech pace make this podcast a great resource for learners who want to improve their listening skills.

日本語 with あこ - Nihongo Picnic Podcast (Nihongo with Ako)

Ako offers short monolog-based episodes each covering a variety of topics. All episodes are at N4 to N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (日本語能力試験), it is perfect for intermediate learners. Each episode consists of the host Ako talking about different topics based on her own experience. The in-depth explanations of informative topics and a slow speech pace offer a mix of challenges and support for intermediate learners. The episodes are released almost every week which makes it great for something to follow long-term.

Anzucotty Japanese

Anzucotty’s podcast covers topics ranging from everyday life, and norms in Japan to even controversial matters such as gender inequality, and stereotypes in Japan. The episodes are very engaging and well explained making it a popular choice for learners aiming to enhance their language skills while also deepening their knowledge of Japanese culture and norms. The only downside to her podcast is that she hasn’t released any new episodes in nearly 2 years. Currently, there are 35 roughly 10-minute episodes available (Updated on Dec 9th, 2023). If you are looking for something to follow for a long time, this may not be for you.

Japanese Grammar Tips with Yuya Sato

This podcast consists of concise episodes targeting different grammar points. Yuya goes through a wide range of grammar rules and tips with plenty of examples. No new episode has been released since April 2022 but there are 116 episodes available up until today (Dec 9th 2023). It is a great resource for someone who has already grasped the basics and wants to learn Japanese grammar thoroughly.


What Makes a Podcast Suitable for Advanced Learners

Podcasts at an advanced level should challenge learners with fast-paced and complex dialogues that simulate real-life Japanese conversations while delving into cultural nuances.

Podcast Recommendations for Advanced Learners

Nihongo Con Teppei Original Archives 1-700

This right here is Teppei’s first Japanese podcast. There are 700 episodes each covering different topics delivered in conversational Japanese. It is a treasure trove for advanced learners who are looking to challenge themselves with casual Japanese. Teppei’s podcast is guaranteed to entertain you while also enhancing your fluency and comprehension of the conversational and spoken Japanese language.

わたなべ夫婦のふたりごと (Watanabe fufu no futarigoto)

This podcast features a couple providing insights into the daily life, family matters, and culture of Japan through informal conversations. Each episode goes by Watanabe couple answering the letters and questions from listeners. It is highly recommended because of its natural dialogue structure and cultural significance, allowing learners to listen to casual Japanese spoken in a family context. Because it is hosted by two people rather than one person speaking, you also get to see the flow of real conversations between native Japanese speakers.


YUYU talks about many different topics mostly based on his own experience in a fun and casual way. Some episodes have very unique yet silly topics which is actually a good opportunity to learn some uncommon and unique vocabularies. The podcast episodes on his YouTube channel come with the transcript on the screen which makes it perfect to improve your listening and reading at the same time. This podcast is perfect for those who want to take their proficiency to the next level.

Let's learn Japanese from small talk!

Let's learn Japanese from small talk! is an enjoyable and entertaining podcast that is ideal for learners who want a break from structured lessons. The hosts engage in casual conversations, allowing listeners to hear natural Japanese spoken in a relaxed setting. It's a great way to learn expressions and pick up on everyday language nuances.

Final Thoughts

Podcasts are an asset on your journey to mastering the language. Each podcast offers a combination of education and entertainment, which can make the process of learning a language both manageable and enjoyable. Whether you're new to Japanese or already have some experience, you'll find the right podcasts that cater to your needs. Best of luck, or as they say in Japanese がんばれ!

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