JapanesePod101 Review – Learn Real Japanese

JapanesePod101 is one of those courses that I had always heard about, but never tried. So, one day I decided to finally give them a go and see exactly what they’re about. Today I’ll give you my JapanesePod101 review.

Since I want to be as thorough as I can while still sticking to the most important aspects of the course, I’ll first talk about what JapanesePod101 is and who the people behind them are.

Then I’ll talk about what they teach (the course content) and how they teach it. Finally, I’ll let you know what my personal experience has been with them and where you can try them out for yourself if you’re interested.

What Is The Course Like?

In the most simplest terms, JapanesePod101 is a course that teaches the Japanese language. But it’s not like a typical language learning course where you have a certain number of lessons and once you complete them you’re done.

On the contrary, JapanesePod101 is constantly adding new lessons and resources so that their members get a continual stream of new material.

Looking through their different lessons I found that they teach all four of the language learning skills:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Listening
  4. Speaking

These lessons can be accessed through a lot of different means that include their website (this is what I mostly used) and their smartphone apps on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

That’s one thing I really appreciated, that I could access all of the content when I was at home on my computer or through my phone when I was out.

In addition to their Japanese lessons, they have a lot of other resources such as frequency lists and flash cards. I’ll go into more depth on these later on.

Having said all of that, it’s also a community of like-minded people who love the Japanese language and want to get better.

For me, this was a big plus since I had other people I could talk to for advice on grammar or anything else I struggled with.

There are also a lot of professional tutors on their staff that I was able to talk to (in both English and Japanese) so I got answers from the teachers when I needed them.

So when you think about all of that, you begin to see what JapanesePod101 is. It’s a community of teachers and students, with a lot of lessons and resources that help people learn Japanese.

Let me talk a little more about the lessons now.

There Is A Lot Of Content

The first thing I noticed when I logged in to my account was that there are a lot of levels of Japanese. I thought this was awesome because I could skip to the one that was right for me and start learning new things immediately.

They have four levels to choose from:

  1. Absolute Beginner
  2. Beginner
  3. Intermediate
  4. Advanced

So, since I had already been learning Japanese for a while I skipped the beginner stuff and starting looking through their intermediate library.

What I found was pretty impressive.

I was blown away by the sheer amount of content that they have within just this one section. When I looked around on the site, I found out that they say they have almost 3,000 lessons in total!

What was really cool was that these lessons were organized into different categories. One such category was labeled as “Japanese for Everyday Life” which I checked out and went through.

It focused on the words and phrases that most people use when talking to people in situations such as ordering food in a variety of situations, talking to the neighbors, getting a hair cut, and more.

There was also sections for each of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) levels that focused on the vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension that’s needed to pass. It also contains quizzes where I could test my knowledge and see what all I remembered.

Another group of lessons that I liked were the ones that focused on business Japanese. Since working in Japanese is a goal of mine, I felt that these lessons in particular were especially valuable.

I’ve only talked about three of the categories that I went through, but there are a ton more.

The reason why I really liked this is because I could always find lessons that interested me because they focused on either a skill or an aspect that I wanted to get better at in Japanese.

This meant that I was not only getting better at Japanese overall, but I was improving the specific parts of Japanese that mattered most to me.

I think that with their extensive library, they have something for everyone.

How They Teach

They use a variety of methods for teaching. The primary one is a podcast-style lesson where one or two people are talking to one another and discussing new Japanese words, grammar, an aspect of Japanese culture, or something else.

What’s really nice is that there are transcripts for all of these audio lessons, so that I could always read what I was hearing in both English and (more importantly) in Japanese.

In my experience, I’ve found that listening and reading to the same material is the fastest way to learn new words and phrases.

When I see the words, it helps me to understand them and remember them. Then when I hear the words, I not only learn how they sound in natural speech, but I also get some reinforcement for their meanings.

At any rate, there are additional methods that JapanesePod101 uses such as video lessons (they were pretty fun), some quizzes, their system of flashcards, and of course direct conversations with a tutor.

Having access to the other students in the community and the staff’s tutors was really nice since I could get my questions answered really quickly.

There were also many times when another person asked the same question that I was thinking of, and so I got my answer before I even typed it in.

Something else that I should mention is that due to the format of most lessons (the podcast style) and the fact that there’s an app for the course, I was able to access lessons and listen to them when I was away from home.

For me, the two biggest times to listen to JapanesePod101 on my phone was when I was driving and when I was working out at the gym.

I appreciated being able to learn on my own terms like this since some days I didn’t have time to sit down at my computer and go through the normal lessons.

In addition to the main lessons, they have quite a few additional resources available to their members such as:

  • Custom Flash Cards
  • Key Japanese Phrases
  • 2,000 Most Common Words
  • Grammar Bank
  • Kanji Bank
  • Dictionaries

The people at JapanesePod101 have worked really hard at providing their members with all the resources needed to learn Japanese from the absolute beginner level to an advanced one.

My Experience Using It

After using JapanesePod101, I can easily see why so many people recommend them.

They’ve got an endless amount of high quality Japanese lessons that cover a wide range of topics.

More importantly though, I could always find things that interested me and that I wanted to learn. Their lessons were fun and engaging, and having both the audio and the transcript made learning the new material easy.

Something that probably doesn’t get mentioned enough is how great their staff is. I always felt like I could reach out and connect with someone to get specific answers to my question, or to set up a tutor session where I could practice speaking Japanese.

I’ve tried out a lot of courses in the past, and I also own a lot of Japanese books that teach grammar and vocabulary, but since JapanesePod101 had so much content, I felt like it was the complete package when it came to learning Japanese.

In other words, it’s a great way to save on money since there’s no need to buy a dozen books or supplement it with additional Japanese language courses.

It also saves on time since they have their own custom flash card system and dictionaries. There’s no need to have multiple programs running when learning Japanese since those things are all included in this course.

Honestly, I kind of wish I had tried them out earlier when I was first getting started!

Where To Try It Out

In my opinion, JapanesePod101 has the best library of Japanese content to learn from. Not only do they organize it by difficulty, but also by category which makes it easy to find fun and interesting lessons to go through.

I found their teaching methods to be both engaging and effective for learning new words, grammar, and the cultural aspects of Japanese. They made learning Japanese a lot of fun!

It’s the best course I’ve found for learning Japanese from the absolute beginner level all the way to advanced.

Click Here To Try JapanesePod101

If you have any questions or comments, let me know!

16 thoughts on “JapanesePod101 Review – Learn Real Japanese”

  1. Japanesepod1 is a website that houses a series of Japanese lessons in audio format. It works on a freemium model, meaning that some material is free (sneakily offered to you as a “free lifetime subscription”). But most of the good stuff requires you to buy some subscription…thanks a lot for sharing ths awesome article i hope it helps others

    • Yeah, that’s actually the model that pretty much everyone is using these days. You give people a free version, or a trial version, so that they can get started and see for themselves if they like the material. Some people like it, some people hate it, but at least there is no risk for the end user. 

      If they try it out and find that it’s not a good fit, then all they have to do is stop using it. This is a lot better than how things used to be back in the 2010s when you had to just buy a whole Japanese language course for several hundred dollars and hope that it was a good one.

  2. Thank you very much for the insightful thoughts in this post. i must commend your friendly tone as it comes across easily and like you’re just talking to a friend. getting back to this article on japanesepod101 review, the details that you have given are really clear and i appreciate it. i want to share this article with my friends too.

    • Hey, it is my pleasure! I try to just give my thoughts and experiences with the topic in (what I hope is) an easy to read manner. Please do share with your friends! Anything on social sites or just a personal email is certainly most welcome, thanks!

  3. I majored in Foreign Languages in college, and one I’ve always wanted to earn but never gotten to yet is Japanese. This sounds like a really excellent program. I like that it’s double organized by level and category. And all the resources in one place sounds great. Out of curiosity, do you know if there are other languages taught in this format?

    From your description, it sounds like it’s more immersive than the typical textbook. Would that be accurate?

    Do they teach the Japanese script and writing system, too? 

    • You’re right on the mark when you say it’s a more immersive type of learning. They do not teach the script and I believe they recommend that people be at the intermediate or advanced level before trying to use the book due to the lack of explanations on the basics like grammar, particles, scripts, etc.

      I’m sure there are other books like this for other language, since this is really just a bi-lingual book which would be fairly simple to make for other people to learn from. 

  4. There are many people I know who are very interested in learning Japanese, I think this article might be useful to them. I will check it out myself and share it with my friends so that they can give it a shot. Is there a free trial, or do you have to pay in order to check it out? Thank you.

    • Hey, yeah there’s a free version where you can access lessons and check out all of what they offer. I think some of the features like access to a tutor and some of the videos are premium only, but the best way to know for sure would be to check around and see.

  5. It is great that with the advent of the internet, many people are finding innovative ways to teach language to people who would otherwise be unable to learn. I wondered to myself, aftering reading about the amount of lessons available, if it wouldn’t be a case of information overload though. Sometimes, in attempting to share information, instead of using byte size lessons, too much is given immediately. This can prove a turn off to some people as they feel overwhelmed by the amount that needs to be learned and understood quickly. I hope that this has not been your experience. For someone wishing to live in Japan, learning the language will always be an advantage though so I wish you all the best. 

    • Yeah, information overload is certainly a concern when learning Japanese and using a course that has a lot of material in it.

      I guess what I would recommend people do is just find a group of lessons that is at the right difficulty level and that covers a topic they are interested in, and then just focus on doing the lessons inside of it. 

      Hopefully that can give them some focus and avoid getting lost.

  6. The fact the JapanesePod101 course does not end at some point in time makes it very appealing and learning a new language such as Japanese needs lots of practice on all levels.

    Being found on different apps and devices make JapanesePod101 learning on the go system, one can benefit from idle time to learn and practice.

    Having an extensive library of courses makes it very cost-effective and the way to go.

    I will recommend it to my friends working for Japanese automotive companies as it will enhance their careers and benefit them hugely. 



    • Hey Jordan, yeah I suppose it would make sense to learn Japanese if you work for a company that is owned by the Japanese. That’s one skill that could help advance your career or even create new opportunities.

  7. There are so many options out there on how to learn languages, but I really appreciate the work and effort you put into this review.

    I have been interested in learning Japanese for many years but as you know, time is always the main factor when doing something new, but I think I will try this one out.

    • Yeah, it seems like most people cite limited time as their main hurdle when it comes to learning a new language. I think being able to combine learning with something else that you normally do is the best way to find extra time.

      That could be listening to the new language while cleaning the house, taking the dog for a walk, driving in the car to work, and so on.

  8. Hi, it sounds like this is a pretty good one By the looks of what you’re saying here. I recently quit studying a second language. I was many Chinese before. I find that it is mentally exhausting. to me the most important thing is that it has to be fun and I have to enjoy it. If I’m not enjoying it then I just can’t seem to put in the necessary time everyday.

    • Yeah, I agree. If you don’t enjoy the process of learning a new language, then you’re not likely to stick with it until the end. 

      Both Japanese and Chinese are considered extremely hard for Westerners to learn, which is why it’s even more important to have fun while learning! If you feel like you’re making progress, then you will tend to stick with it.


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