Japanese Language Learning

The resources below offer on-line language learning and searchable databases/links for learning Japanese.

CULCON provides this list as an informational resource only; inclusion on this list is neither an endorsement nor a recommendation of any specific organization or program.

  •  About.com: Japanese Language: An online resource for learning about the Japanese language and Japanese culture.(http://japanese.about.com/od/japaneselessons/u/StartLearning.htm)
  • American Association of Teachers of Japanese: A non-profit organization providing information on national Japanese language exam, special interest groups involved in Japanese language learning, etc.
  • Denshi Jisho: A Japanese-to-English and English-to-Japanese and kanji online dictionary.
  • Digital Dialects: An online website of vocabulary building games and an online book available in English, romaji, hiragana, and kanji.
  • Erin’s Challenge: A free online tool for learning Japanese through video clips, pictures, and games.
  • Guide to Japanese: An online guide to learning Japanese containing different resources and language learning materials.
  • HelloTalk: A language exchange app where users can chat with other language learners, and correct each other’s sentences.
  • HiNative: A website and app where language learners can ask questions about native speakers’ language and culture.
  • Italki: An online language learning website which connects language learners to teachers for 1-on-1 lessons with a native speaker.
  • Japanese Language School Database:  A database of Japanese language schools located in Japan accredited by the Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education.
  • Lang-8: An online blogging platform for language learners where native speakers correct entries in their native languages and vice versa.
  • Learn Japanese Online: A free on-line tool for Japanese language learning.
  • Mango Languages: Online language courses for many different languages, including Japanese, which is accessible for free through many U.S. public libraries.
  • NCC’s Subject Guides Portal:  A hub for Japan-related research and study guides sorted by academic discipline.
  • Nihongo o Narau:  A free on-line tool for Japanese language learning.
  • Nihongo-e-na: An online resource that directs Japanese learners to more Japanese language and culture resources.
PODCASTS (For Language Learning and Immersion):



  • NHK Easy Japanese 

    “‘Easy Japanese’ is a program of Japanese language lessons produced by Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK WORLD-JAPAN. You can learn basic grammar and useful expressions. You can download texts for the lessons.” 

  • News in Slow Japanese 

    “Each week we discuss important news in simple, clear Japanese. We read it slowly to give you a chance to hear every word and we provide easy popup translations for not just the difficult words but whole phrases along with the readings of the Kanji.” 

  • JapanesePod101 

    Short audio and video lessons for rapid learning of Japanese. 

  • JLPT Stories 

    These 2-3 minute stories help you prepare for various levels of the JLPT. 

  • Let’s Talk in Japanese! | Podcast on Spotify 

    This podcast is run by a Japanese teacher who speaks in Japanese about various topics and has labeled each episode with its appropriate JLPT level. 


    This podcast is primarily for beginner to upper beginner learners of Japanese. It presents useful vocabulary words and follows with an example sentence for each. “Use shadowing, repetition, and sentence break-downs to fully understand the Japanese.” 


    “A podcast for Japanese language learners and culture enthusiasts.”  


    This podcast is a natural conversation in Japanese regarding a variety of topics such as instant ramen, TV, children/raising children, etc. 

  • にほんごのたね (Nihongo no Tane)

    Yumi talks about various topics such as Japanese culture, fun idioms, and cats. Good for practicing listening comprehension with natural but slightly slowed down Japanese. 

  • Japanese with Shun 

    Shun talks about various topics including travel, Japanese culture and his experience learning languages. He tried to use mostly grammar from the textbook Genki 1 (JLPT N5). Episodes are about 5 minutes of talking in Japanese, with a round-up of new vocabulary (with English translations) at the end. Great for beginners with a few months of study under their belts, who want to start listening to Japanese-only content beyond the textbook. 

  • Nihongo con Teppei 

    Teppei chats about various subjects in Japanese. The podcast is in Japanese only, so it’s not for complete beginners, but his way of speaking is pretty easy to understand. The podcasts are short and easily digestible. A great first step when you’re ready to go beyond ‘lesson’ style podcasts and start immersing yourself more in natural Japanese.


  • よ・み・き・か・せ JXTGグループ 童話の花 

    This podcast delivers one story per month, reading a fairy tale for parents and children to enjoy. The fairy tale read aloud is a creative fairy tale with the theme of “heart-to-heart contact,” which won the JXTG Fairy Tale Award. 

  • FUN Japanese Listening 

    Dr. Asuka Tsuchiya Asuka sensei’s Fun Japanese Listening podcast comprises 5-10 minutes introducing a different expression or grammar concept. A great bite-size podcast to learn Japanese for upper beginners. 

  • The Miku Real Japanese Podcast 

    Miku chats about language learning and Japanese culture. Many of her podcasts are conversations with other Japanese teachers and YouTubers. They speak casual, everyday Japanese. I find sometimes the speaking speed is a little fast, but the podcasts are fairly short so they’re a great way to ease into listening to natural Japanese. 


  • Kevinvin Sleepy Japanese 

    Kevinvin, a Japanese instructor living in Tokyo, records short monologues on various topics. His calm and deep voice makes these podcasts ideal for listening to as you fall asleep – although of course you can listen to him at any time! All in Japanese, but he speaks fairly slowly and occasionally provides translations for difficult words. 

  • 日本語 with あこ (Nihongo with Ako) 

    Ako-sensei’s podcasts are short chats in Japanese only at intermediate and advanced level. Look for the handy emoji guide in the podcast titles: 🚲:A little easier than other episodes. Most grammar is N4 level. 🚃:About N3 level 🚀:For advanced learners 👥:Interview At the lower two levels she speaks slowly, but the advanced and interview podcasts are closer to natural speed. 

  • Learn Japanese with Noriko 

    Regular short episodes discussing Japanese culture, language learning, travelling, Netflix shows and all kinds of other things! All in Japanese. 


  • Kemio No Mimisouji Club 

    A big internet personality in Japan, known for his high-energy personality and videos, he has started a podcast in which he invites popular Japanese guests and discusses everything from life philosophies and various industries to trends in social media.  

  • Tofugu 

    The Tofugu podcast teaches you how to study Japanese more effectively. It also discusses matters related to travel and lifestyle in Japan.  

  • ひいきびいき 

    Although this podcast terminated a while ago, it’s a very relaxing immersion into Japanese conversation. This podcast is more a tune-in to a natural conversation as opposed to an audience-centered experience, and so you can play it as background noise while you do other things.  

  • Let’s learn Japanese from Small Talk! 

    Two female Japanese students chat about various topics. All in Japanese, but they occasionally explain difficult words. They also provide a word list at the end of the podcast and on their website! I like this one as it reminds me of listening to my Japanese friends chatting over coffee. They speak at a fairly natural speed so it’s great for exposure to natural Japanese. 

  • YUYU no Nihongo 

    Yuyu chats in Japanese about subjects such as Japanese history, Japanese university life and job hunting. You can find the same episodes with subtitles in Japanese on his YouTube channel. Great podcast for listening practice at the upper intermediate level. 


  • Coten Radio 

    Coten Radio is an online radio delivered by three history lovers who through the lens of history, seek to decipher “what is a human being,” “the worries of us modern people,” and the flow of the world.” This is a funny and entertaining take on history curation that won the Japan Podcast Award Grand Prize of 2019 as well as the Spotify Award winner.  


    Broadcaster Peter Barakan and assistant announcer Sachiko Shibata have guest talks and introduces a wide range of music every week.  

  • History of Japan 

    Isaac Meyer, a former PhD student at the University of Washington, specializing in modern Japan, speaks about Japanese history (prehistory to the present day).  

  • Kyotopia 

    “A Kyoto based podcast for expats, travelers, and anyone seeking to elarn more about what it is like to be a stranger in a far away land.” This podcast is “dedicated to the language culture, music, and events of Kyoto Japan.” The host speaks in both Japanese and English.  


  • Ogiue Chiki: Session 

    Led by Chiki Ogiue and broadcasted on TBS Radio, this podcast focuses mainly on current affairs and political issues. The program started with a vision to enter an era of news that presents hints for “absorbing it and thinking” instead of “leaving it to complain.”  

  • NHK Daily News 

    Daily news podcast provided by NHK. 

  • Bilingual News 

    This is a free bilingual English and Japanese news podcast. “Casual and unedited colloquial language learning experience through a weekly review of relevant news topics!” 

  • Deep Dive from The Japan Times 

    “Deep Dive is a weekly podcast that will go behind the headlines, focusing both on what’s trending and what matters in Japan.” 

  • Japan on the Record 

    “The podcast where specialists of Japanese studies react to issues in the news.”