Japanese Culture

The Best Program to Learn Japanese

Chances are, you probably are interested in learning the Japanese language as well. I’ve been personally using ​Japanesepod101 for years, and it gave me the skills and confidence to communicate with my step-parents as my wife is Japanese. Also, it made it easier for me to study Karate in Okinawa, Japan.

In this article, I will give you a detailed review of the website I used when I wanted to learn Japanese. I endlessly searched the internet for the best, easy, quick yet effective program to learn Japanese. I concluded that japanesepod101.com is the best program for learning Japanese, and I will tell you why.

Lesson content

First of all, the website is well designed for all levels, especially for beginners. You can easily listen to the podcast in your free time while going to work or coming back.

It is engaging, which will make your time passes quickly when you are stuck in some long journey. The website has over 2900 audios and video lessons, detailed pdf notes, lively discussions that they organize on their platform, and much more. In addition, the site was featured in many popular newspapers and channels like Japan Times, BBC and The New York Times.

Website interface and design

Japanesepod101 has a great design and easy interface to use.

The site’s interface is super easy to use. Every tab on the website is self-explanatory. The design of the site is simple, easy to navigate, and continuously updates to add more new features.

The website interacts with all types of users, and on the homepage, they ask you what level you want to learn so they can show you the relevant level material. By registering with the website, they offer you a completely free 7-day trial. During these seven days, you can get access to their entire lesson library and premium lesson tools.

Apart from this, they are continually offering you the best deals which are not only cheap but a great way to make the most of the website.

Audio Lessons

Audio lessons are the best part of Japanesepod101.

Japanesepod101 works like a podcast system. They offer you to listen to their audio lessons, or you can download these audios which are almost 10-20 minutes long so you can listen to as many as you want whenever you get the time. Each lesson consists of the lesson itself, vocabulary quizzes and lesson notes.

The lesson contains the dialogue in Japanese and English for the ease of the listener within the lesson. Unlike most other programs, the dialogues are amusing and interesting to listen to and tells you a lot about Japanese culture.

These lessons teach you Japanese that you can use and apply in real life, along with the correct and accurate grammatical structures of the words. Each lesson contains example dialogue which the host breaks down in parts to make you understand each word correctly, giving you the advantage of listening and reading simultaneously. That’s a great tool that helped me enhance my vocabulary.

The audio also mentions how to use the word in another conversation. One of the significant advantages is the availability of the tool that enables you to control the speed of the audio so you can slow it down and listen to it carefully. You can also transfer the vocabulary into the flashcards section, which is the most effective way to learn vocabulary as some words are repeated in the process.

At the end of each lesson, they will tell you about the grammar structure used in the audio.

Lesson notes

I just love “lesson notes”, they are very well constructed and greatly useful.

Along with audios, there are notes attached in the form of PDF and word file with each lesson which contains detailed notes on the vocabulary and grammar structure of the associated lesson.

They are very helpful to understand as they provide information about the usage of the word or phrase, and they also cover aspects of audio that the host may have left out.

Through the help of the lesson notes, you can also learn the writing systems used in Japanese such as Kanji, Katakana, and Hiragana which are logographic Chinese characters and used in combination with each other. With the lesson notes, the audio lessons, the dialogues, and the PDF notes are everything you need to learn this language on your own.

Survival phrases

Survival Phrases are a must if you wanna travel to Japan.

There’s a whole section of the site dedicated to Survival phrases. As you probably know, survival phrases are the fastest and easiest way to learn basic language phrases, etiquette, and culture. The native speakers that make the content have also developed the standard series, which includes very useful survival phrases.

JLPT study resources

The website also contains resources for JLPT of Japan-Language Proficiency Test, a standardized test conducted to evaluate the reading, writing, and learning abilities of the Japanese language of non-native speakers. You’ll have access to the necessary material you need to prepare for this test. You will find kanji video lessons, mock exams, grammar bank for almost all levels (N5-N1).

Smartphone App to Study on the Go

I just love Japanesepod101’s mobile app, it’s so convenient.

Their mobile application, Innovative Languages, is also very efficient. You can download the app for free, enter your login details and you can listen to audio on the go. Through the mobile application, you can learn anything from new phrases, vocabulary to slang just on the click of a button.

Like the website you can use the app free for 7 days completely and access important data, you may need to learn Japanese. You can register directly with the app where you will have to make to make in-app purchases which might be costly. 

Anyhow, you still need to buy basic, premium or premium plus package to keep going. Here in the app, you can also get access to audio lessons, video lessons, and vocabulary notes. You can also keep the track of your progress on the app however, you can’t access flashcards, word bank, and the list of top words.

If you are in lesson 4 on the app, you can start from lesson 5 on website which is a very nice feature. This means your lessons are now synchronized between different devices and it doesn’t matter where you are and from where you are accessing the lesson.

All in all, I think an app is a complete tool in itself for learning Japanese on your own. Now you don’t have to sit all day in front of your computer to learn the language.

With this splendid app, you can learn ton of Japanese audio and video lessons every day anywhere. As present on the website, you can get access to the feature of reading along the scripts on the app as well.

Detailed lesson notes are also there to read what you may have missed during the audio or video lessons. By signing up with the website first and registering with app later is going to be very efficient and economical for you. You can buy the subscription at special discounted rates and can get complimentary access to the app which is not possible by registering with the app alone.

And the best part that I find about the app is you can use it anywhere whether going to office or college, in taxi, on sub and you don’t even need internet connection to download the basic lessons.

The reviews left by other customers are also very encouraging, helping and will motivate you to learn the language on your own in no time.

Various Plans

JPOD101 have many plans available for you to choose from.

Japanesepod101 offers 3 plans or packages. Personally, the Premium Plan is enough for me because it provides me with the tools that I need to learn, but honestly, all these packages are very good. None of the packages is heavy on your bank account, so make the most of it.

Basic Plan

Their basic package is as low as $4 per month, which will give you basic access. This includes complete access to audio lessons, in-depth notes, and information about 100 Japanese core words and phrases.

Premium Plan

Japanesepod101’s Premium package is $10 per month, which will give you most of the Premium-level advantages. It includes things like HD-videos, flashcards, engaging quiz sessions, voice recording tools, vocabulary slideshow, and a word bank. That’s the plan that I’m using because I’m a massive fan of the line-by-line audio dialogue option.

Premium Plus Plan

The Premium Plus package is $23 per month and lets you access everything on the website. It’s really a great package where you have access to one to one learning, direct access to a live teacher and customized program tailored just for you. I’m not interested in the one-on-one thing, but some of my friends are and really like it.

What I like about it

There’s so many things I like about Japanesepod101, I don’t know where to start.

There’s so many reasons to like this website, I don’t even know where to begin. Here are just a few.

  • Even if you don’t want to listen to the audio lesson, you can totally rely on dialogues and PDF notes.
  • The hosts are really fun to listen to, after a while, you get to know their personality and it makes the experience more personal. My favorite ones are Peter, Sakura and Natsuko.
  • The “line-by-line audio dialogue” option is one of my favorite features, and it made my learning experience easier and quicker.
  • For those who like it, “my teacher option” is beneficial where you can get help from the native Japanese speaker.
  • The flashcards and word bank are also another favorite features as they are the most effective in learning the language. The repetition system that they have incorporated repeats the word that you will identify quickly.
  • The ability to use the same feature present on the website and mobile application are also remarkable because it doesn’t require you to sit all day in front of a laptop or computer. Instead, you can download the audio lesson on your mobile phone and listen to it whenever you want.

For additionnal tips and tools to learn Japanese by yourself, read my article entitled How to Learn Japanese on Your Own.


All in all, Japanesepod101 is definitely my favorite website for learning Japanese, and I have tried many.

The site is structurally designed catering to the needs of the modern human with the addition of the slang. The resources available on the website are sufficient enough to not only learn the language but also able to pass the JLPT with ease, especially the initial levels. Flashcards are known as the quickest way to learn anything, and they have utilized this feature very well.

The hosts and trainers are very experienced professionals who are very careful and excellent in dealing with problems of beginners as I was one of them, and the way they dealt with me is exceptionally astounding. If the website is crashing or is any problem with the use, you can contact their staff anytime, and they will sort your problem as early as possible.

They have exceptional customer services. If you ever mail them regarding the genuine issue you are facing with the trainer of the website itself, they will reply you within 24-hour, and that is pretty good.

However, this website is my favourite recommendation for anyone who yearns to learn Japanese. If you work hard, you will be able to speak Japanese fluently within no time. I hope you found this review helpful in finding you the best program for learning Japanese. Please leave feedback and let me know what you think of this.

What’s YOUR Japanese level?

Martin Jutras