I love listening to podcasts in Japanese. They’re such great tools for improving your listening! But if you’ve never used podcasts before then you might be a little overwhelmed by the number of podcasts out there.

Here are my recommended podcasts for Japanese learners! These are (roughly) ordered from easiest to most difficult and are separated into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.

If you’d like to learn how to improve your listening skills with Japanese podcasts, check out How to Use Podcasts to Study Japanese!


Podcasts for Beginner Learners
(JLPT N4-N3)

These podcasts are aimed at beginner Japanese level. You should still have at least a strong grasp for N5-N4 level Japanese in order to get the most out of these podcasts.

Japanese with Shun

Japanese Level: N4
Topics: Daily life, travel, Japanese society
Average Episode Length: 6-9 minutes
Format: Monologue

Japanese with Shun is perfect for beginner level listeners, especially those working through the Genki textbooks because all his episodes mostly use vocabulary and grammar from Genki 1 and 2!

Shun speaks very slowly and clearly, but more naturally than mostly of the listening exercises in the Genki books. This is great for becoming familiar with how a native Japanese person would speak, but at beginner level.

I also think he has a nice voice that’s pleasant to listen to for all level learners.

All episodes titles are posted in English with English explanations, so you can easily find topics that interest you without worrying about reading unfamiliar kanji.

There are over 200 episodes so plenty of material to build up your basic vocabulary and grammar with!

The only down side is there are no transcripts available.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube


日本語 with あこ (Nihongo with Ako)

Japanese Level: N4, N3, N2
Topics: Japan and Japanese culture, language, customs, etc.
Average Episode Length: 4-10 minutes
Format: Interview, monologue

If you want listening practice on a wide-range of subjects while only using beginner to intermediate level grammar, then Nihongo with Ako is for you. This is also one of the few podcasts with episodes where two people have a conversation, rather than a single host monologuing.

In each episode Ako discusses a wide variety of subjects—anything from manzai comedy to cosplay, from yoga to VTubers. They almost all focus on Japan and Japanese culture though.

Episodes are only 4-10 minutes long, making them easy to listen to again and again for those diligent learners keen on improving their ear for the language.

Each episode’s difficulty is indicated with emojis—bicycle for N4 level grammar, train for N3, rocket for advanced, and two people for interviews. The discussions are approachable and Ako’s calm and friendly voice makes each episode a joy to listen to.

Ako herself is a Japanese teacher with years of experience. She has also started her own online Japanese language school, Nihongo Picnic.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Nihongo Picnic Website


日本語の聴解のためのPodcast (Nihongo no Choukai no tame no Podcast)

Japanese Level: N4, N3
Topics: Daily life, opinions, Japanese society, language, culture
Average Episode Length: 5 minutes
Format: Interview, monologue

“A podcast for Japanese listening”—this show does exactly what it says on the tin!

Each episode the presenter, Japanese teacher and YouTuber Akane, talks for about 5 minutes on a random topic. Her episodes are unscripted, but she speaks slow and clearly with basic grammar aimed at beginners.

She may touch on advanced topics (like credit cards, or scheduling) but the vocabulary she uses is easily accessible and you can pick up the meaning of new words through context. I think the topics she talks about are very relatable and a great way to hear about things you wouldn’t normally see in a textbook.

The transcripts for each episode are also available on her blog.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube
日本語の聴解のためのPodcast Website


Easy Japanese Podcast

Japanese Level: N4, N3
Topics: Japanese language, culture
Average Episode Length:10-20 minutes
Format: Discussion

This podcast is hosted by Masa and Asami who spend around 10 minutes an episode talking about everyday topics, such as weather, food, and work. Their more recent episodes focus more on Japanese language, which is great for boosting your understanding for some confusing terms.

They talk slowly with polite Japanese, but the vocabulary used makes it a little more challenges. This is a great podcast for people moving from beginner into intermediate level Japanese.

Episodes are available anywhere you listen to podcasts or on their YouTube channel. Transcripts available for Patreon supporters.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube


Podcasts for Intermediate Learners
(JLPT N3-N2)

All of these podcasts are aimed at Japanese learners but tend to be a little faster and use more natural Japanese vocabulary and phrases.

The Real Japanese Podcast!

Japanese Level: N3-N2
Topics: Japanese life, popular culture, Japan
Average Episode Length: 7-15 minutes
Format: Monologue

This popular mono-lingual podcast is aimed at more intermediate level learners, with each episode clearly marked with their JLPT level—most at N3 level. There are a variety of subjects which look at Japanese popular culture, travelling in Japan, current issues, and Haru’s own life.

I really like Haru’s voice. She’s very clear and speaks at a natural pace in a natural way. I think this is a great podcast for listeners who are starting at the N3 level. But they’re also great for all levels because they’re just nice to listen to.

Each episode has a Japanese and English title to make it easier to know the topics ahead of time.

Haru posts the transcripts on her website and vocabulary lists on her Patreon for $3 doners. She’s also a Japanese teacher and offers lessons and shadowing courses through her website.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube
The Real Japanese Podcast! Website


Let’s Talk in Japanese!

Japanese Level: N4, N3, N2
Topics: Japanese culture, society, language, daily life
Average Episode Length: 4-12 minutes
Format: Monologue

This is a great podcast if you’re looking for a variety of difficulty. Each episode is marked with it’s JLPT level ranging from beginner N4 to intermediate N2 level. The episodes aimed at beginners are slow and easy to follow, while the advanced ones are spoken at normal speed. And each episode is clearly marked with it’s level!

There are over 250 episodes, so even if you think the advanced ones would be too difficult there are plenty of other episodes to choose from!

Presenter, Tomo, posts the transcripts on their website, although sometimes there’s a delay after the release of an episode.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify


Learn Japanese with Noriko

Japanese Level: N2
Topics: Japanese culture, society, language, novels
Average Episode Length: 10-30 minutes
Format: Monologue, Interview

Noriko is a Japanese teacher and podcaster, with her own community of language learners called Japanese Together.

She talks at pretty natural speed (not too fast, not too slow) and her episodes feel unscripted and natural. This is great for intermediate level learners to get used to natural Japanese speaking patterns.

Topics tend to focus on Japanese society, daily life, and language but she also has some book recommendations. There are hundreds of episodes to choose from!

Each episode it about 10 minutes long with a few of her interview/discussions stretching to 20-30 minutes. Many of her episodes are available on YouTube too, which is great for visual learners or people who want to improve their reading with speaking as most videos include Japanese subtitles. The YouTube channel might also make it easier to find episodes that interest you as Noriko has grouped them into playlists.

Transcripts are available on Patreon for $5 donators.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube
Learn Japanese with Noriko Website


Azumi’s Easy Japanese Small Talk

Japanese Level: N2
Topics: Japanese news
Average Episode Length: 15-20 minutes
Format: Reading text, monologue

Azumi’s podcast is great if you already listen to NHK’s News Web Easy, or are interested in Japanese news.

Each episode begins with a short segment of “small talk” followed by Azumi reading aloud a news article from the News Web Easy. She then spends about 10-15 minutes discussing the article at a beginner Japanese level. Then she takes up a notch with a more in-depth explanation for intermediate learners.

This is a great podcast for people who want to push their listening skills slowly. You can gain a basic understanding of a topic then listen to a more advanced explanation of it. As this podcast is based on the news it covers a wide range of current affairs, which exposes you to more advanced vocabulary in an accessible way.

Azumi’s website includes a lot of information beyond just her podcast. You can find bilingual articles on learning Japanese, reading in Japanese, and more advanced topics such as social justice.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Azumi’s Website



Japanese Level: N2
Topics: Travel, language, daily life, Japanese language
Average Episode Length: 15-30 minutes
Format: Monologue

If you’re a high-intermediate level listener and want more a challenge, then Yuyu no Nihongo Podcast might be a good choice!

Yusuke talks in a natural speed that’s a little faster than some of the other podcast hosts.

Each episode is about 15-30 minutes long with a wide range in topics. Yusuke discusses a lot of different subjects that revolve mostly around his life and experiences.

Yusuke also posts each episode on YouTube as a V-tuber with the Japanese trascript displayed on screen, which is a great way to improve kanji reading too. Transcript are also available on his Patreon.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube


Miku Real Japanese

Japanese Level: N2-N1
Topics: Japanese culture, society, daily life
Average Episode Length: 20-40 minutes
Format: Monologue, Interview

Miku’s podcast is aimed at people learning Japanese but feels like it’s written for native Japanese speakers.

Episodes focus on different parts of Japanese society and I really like how Miku explains aspects of Japan that you might not be familiar with and gives her opinion on them.

Interviews with other native Japanese speakers are a little faster than her monologues and they flow very naturally.

Miku also posts videos about Japanese language and interviews with other Japanese teachers, YouTubers, and podcasters on her YouTube channel. Again, great for visual learners who like to see people’s body language as they talk.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube


Podcasts for Advanced Learners
(JLPT N1-N1+)

These podcasts are for native Japanese speakers and cover a wide range of topics that’s great for improving vocabulary and advanced listening comprehension.

朝日新聞ポッドキャスト ニュースの現場から

Japanese Level: JLPT N1
Topics: World news, history, culture, religion, Japan
Average Episode Length: 30-60 minutes
Format: Interviews

I love listening to the Asahi Shinbun podcast because they interview reporters about their work and then link to related news articles if you want to read up more on topics. Each interview goes in-depth into one subject or another.

Topics can cover recent news, history, religion, society, education, and more.

This is a great podcast if you’re interested in learning more about the world and Japan as a whole while also improving your Japanese vocabulary and listening comprehension.

There’s also Media Talk which is a spin off where Asahi Shinbun reporters discuss media and its impact on society.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Asahi Shinbun Podcast Website



Japanese Level: N1, N1+
Topics: News
Average Episode Length: 5-20 minutes
Format: News and sports report

If you want to hear the latest news from Japan then there’s nothing better than the NHK Radio News. Episodes are posted regularly throughout the day with the news of the day. That’s it.

I don’t find these as interesting or fun as the Asahi Shinbun Podcast, but I do think they’re good if you’re interested in keeping up-to-date on the latest news.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
NHK Radio News Website



Japanese Level: N1, N1+
Topics: Games
Average Episode Length: 90-120 minutes
Format: Conversation

This is the best Japanese podcast for discussions on video games! However each episode is incredibly long and it can be hard to keep track of the conversation if you’re not familiar with the game(s) they’re discussing.

The presenters, Kohei, Haru, and Dan, also have a tendency to drop spoilers without warning…so consider yourself warned!

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify
Listen on YouTube
ゲームなんとは Website


There are many, many, many, maaaany more podcasts out there for native Japanese speakers on all kinds of topics. If you search your favourite podcast app (I use Podcast Addict on Android) then you can find a lot of recommendations on topics that might interest you.

If you want to learn how to use podcasts to improve your listening comprehension (beyond just listening to them), then check out How to Use Podcasts to Study Japanese.