Review of JapanesePod101

What is JapanesePod101?


JapanesePod101 is a language learning podcast series founded by in 2005 Peter Galante. It’s main form of teaching is through their podcast; however over time more content has been added.  They’ve also started to add video lessons into the mix. This new content ranges from stripped down versions of the lessons that only include dialogue, pdfs of the lesson, and lesson exercises. It is a very popular Japanese language learning tool with a large database of media separated into seasons.

The podcasts are separated into seasons and also based on the learner level. Ranging from no knowledge up till advanced learners. The podcasts also include native speakers, so when you find a certain person whose voice you enjoy, you can try to follow them within different levels and seasons.

They offer a free trial as well as a free account to allow you to get  a feel for how they work.

How does it work?

In a nutshell, lessons are hosted within podcasts(video or audio), and include a dialogue. Typically a regular speed dialogue is followed by a slower dialogue, then after that a breakdown. Lessons typically range from 10-20 minutes. At a premium subscription level you have access to a dialogue only version of the audio.

There are also PDFs of the lessons included that go over what was in the podcast. Depending on the level they will include the native writing ie hiragana, kanji, katakana.

Some of the higher level lessons include less breakdown and are moreso just conversations with the teacher explaining concepts of culture to you in Japanese.


JapanesePod101 is a subscription based service due to the fact that they are constantly adding new content. There are four levels of subscription they offer.

They are:

  • Free – $0/mo
  • Basic – $8/mo*
  • Premium – $25/mo*
  • Premium+ – $47/mo*

*Discounts offered for longer subscription times @ 3, 6, 12, and 24 months.

Free is mainly for trial purposes as most lessons are locked for a free subscriber.

Basic is the first level where all of the podcasts are unlocked, but all things apart from podcast and show notes remain locked to you.

Premium unlocks additional resources for learning Japanese as well as additional audio resources such as dialogue only mp3.

Premium+ adds an element of a virtual teacher, with 1-on-1 instruction and personalized assistance.

JapanesePod101 does allow you to download their material however. If you happen to cancel your subscription, you will be allowed to keep everything you downloaded.

What Level Learner?

You can start from zero with Japanese and progress till levels where you can be finding your own Japanese media to watch or read.

The guided and step-by-step levels approach should benefit the beginner who likes to go through methodically, but may frustrate someone who likes to rush.


  • Huge database of media
  • PDF for the lessons to be sure of what you’ve heard
  • Japanese language learning community
  • The teachers of the podcast are active within the community and answer questions
  • Has Android and iPhone apps
  • Content separated by learner level
  • Are constantly expanding their database, even have video podcasts and gaining more
  • Lots of extra resources for the right subscription level
  • Quizzes to test knowledge
  • Your own pace
  • Uses kanji, kana, and romaji


  • Varying subscription levels
  • Some teachers may become irritating
  • Some seasons have too much banter between lessons

If you’d like to test it out go to the site subscription page. It includes all subscription levels, as well as a 7 day trial on the page.

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