Can I learn Japanese with JapanesePod101? - The truth about it and better alternatives in 2024

March 18, 2024
Can I learn Japanese with JapanesePod101? - The truth about it and better alternatives in 2024

In the digital age, the abundance of resources for learning Japanese is both a blessing and a curse. Among the myriad of options, JapanesePod101 often emerges as a common choice in discussions about mastering the Japanese language. Yet, plenty of bad online reviews only lead to the lingering question: Is JapanesePod101 an effective tool for learning Japanese, or are there superior alternatives available?

Embarking on the journey to learn Japanese opens the gateway to a realm filled with vast opportunities. To achieve fluency in Japanese, it's crucial to select the most suitable learning resource from the vast array available today. JapanesePod101 has gained recognition as the go-to place, promising to guide learners through their Japanese language journey.

However, plenty of bad online reviews have the pressing question: Can JapanesePod101 genuinely facilitate the learning and mastery of Japanese? In this article, we aim to uncover the reality of JapanesePod101, examining its strengths and weaknesses, and comparing it with other methods for learning Japanese. Let's dive into the details!


Advantages of Learning with JapanesePod101

1. Vast and Varied Content for All Levels

JapanesePod101’s audio and video lessons available for Absolute Beginner Students
Photo taken from

JapanesePod101 stands out with its extensive archive, offering a rich selection of audio and video lessons tailored to every level of Japanese proficiency. This platform is designed to facilitate a personalized learning pace, supported by an array of supplementary materials including detailed vocabulary lists and spaced repetition flashcards for enhanced retention.

With an impressive tally of 2,544 audio and video lessons and 461 assessments available through its free plan and a 7-Day Premium trial, JapanesePod101 covers a wide spectrum of topics from conversation and literacy to vocabulary, grammar, and cultural nuances.Β 

The platform is committed to content freshness, consistently updating its library with newΒ  lessons. Here's a quick look at what each level offers:

  • Absolute Beginner: 92 lessons and 130 assessments
  • Beginner: 129 lessons and 79 assessments
  • Intermediate: 99 lessons and 66 assessments
  • Upper Intermediate: 100 lessons and 62 assessments
  • Advanced: 183 lessons and 124 assessments
  • Bonus Content: An extra 1941 lessons across various themes

Content access varies with your subscription model, with Basic, Premium, or Premium PLUS plans unlocking additional materials and features for a more comprehensive learning experience.


2. Online Accessibility

The platform's interface, although hard to understand and clunky, ensures access to a broad spectrum of learning materials. JapanesePod101's flexible delivery formats, including audio lessons, video tutorials, and downloadable resources, mean you can learn whenever and wherever suits you best. The free-to-download app further enhances this flexibility, making it simple to weave Japanese study into your daily life.


3. Dynamic and Interactive Learning Approaches

JapanesePod101 utilizes a mix of learning methods, combining audio and video content with real-life conversations, cultural insights, and essential vocabulary to keep learners engaged.

To further enrich the learning experience, JapanesePod101 incorporates interactive elements like lesson notes, quizzes, and flashcards. This diversity in content and teaching style is promoted as a way to cultivate a stimulating and immersive educational environment, making JapanesePod101 a considered choice for students seeking to master the Japanese language.


Disadvantages of Learning with JapanesePod101

1. Subscription Costs

Subscription Costs at JapanesePod101
Photo taken from

JapanesePod101 offers a variety of subscription plans, with monthly fees ranging between US$4 to US$47, influenced by the selected plan and subscription duration. While the Free Plan grants access to a wealth of resources including audio and video lessons, vocabulary lists, and flashcards, full access to the platform's extensive lesson library and additional features requires a paid subscription. This cost barrier could be significant for learners seeking comprehensive resources without the financial flexibility.

In comparison to other Japanese learning platforms, JapanesePod101's fees may appear steep. For budget-conscious learners aiming for high-quality instruction, exploring other platforms might yield more affordable or even free alternatives that still offer substantial Japanese language content.


2. The Lack of Live Interaction

Contrasting with platforms or schools like Japademy that provide live sessions, JapanesePod101's model is heavily reliant on pre-recorded materials. While these resources are somehow for building a passive vocabulary and familiarizing oneself with Japanese speech, they fall short in offering immediate speaking practice. Active verbal practice, essential for language proficiency, would still need to be sought elsewhere, such as through conversations with peers or instructors, unless one opts for the Premium PLUS membership.

The absence of live interactive opportunities means missing out on the immediate feedback, spontaneous conversational practice, and listening and speaking skill enhancement that come from real-time engagement. This gap could hinder learners from effectively applying their language skills in conversational settings and receiving the kind of personalized correction and guidance that facilitate rapid learning.


3. Navigating Through Abundant Content

While the sheer volume of lessons available on JapanesePod101 can be seen as an advantage, it also presents a potential challenge of information overload. Newcomers might find themselves daunted by where to begin amid the expansive catalog of content.

Although JapanesePod101 boasts an impressive and ever-growing library of Japanese language materials, the platform's organization might not suit everyone's learning style. To mitigate this and ensure a well-rounded learning experience, it might be beneficial to complement JapanesePod101 with other structured courses. This approach can help maintain motivation and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the Japanese language without feeling lost or overwhelmed.


JapanesePod101: A Look Behind the Curtain

Free to access Japanese Vocabulary Lists at JapanesePod101
Photo taken from

Now, let's explore the lesser-known aspects of JapanesePod101, those insights that only come to light after truly immersing yourself in its offerings. We present the shared experiences of our Japanese language learners who, after moving on from JapanesePod101, chose to continue their journey with Japademy.


Marketing Reach and Online Presence

JapanesePod101 has established a significant footprint in the landscape of online Japanese language learning, which seems to be largely attributed to its substantial marketing efforts. With an unparalleled budget allocated to paid advertisements on platforms like Google and Facebook, the platform ensures high visibility among potential learners. Furthermore, its expansive YouTube channel and SEO strategy, bolstered by numerous blog articles and backlinks, contribute to its widespread fame.


Initial Engagement and Subscription Model

The platform entices new users with the promise of free access, a strategy designed to introduce learners to the JapanesePod101 ecosystem. Once registered, users can expect to receive frequent communications, encouraging them to upgrade to premium subscriptions. This marketing approach, while aggressive, aims to highlight the extended benefits and resources available beyond the free tier. It is common to see reviews online questioning the aggressive marketing tactics of JapanesePod101.


User Experience and Content Organization

Critiques have emerged regarding the platform's user interface, specifically pointing out that the vast repository of content, comprising both new and older lessons, may not always follow a clear sequential order. This can lead to some users feeling lost or overwhelmed without explicit guidance on navigating through the lessons towards achieving structured learning objectives.


Exploring Better Alternatives With Live Japanese Lessons

Japademy: Personalized and Cost-Efficient Learning

Students learning Japanese with Japademy’s 10-week Japanese Online Courses
Photo taken from

Japademy distinguishes itself as a leading Japanese language school by offering comprehensive 10-week online Japanese courses. Our edge lies in our committed team of native Japanese teachers, who bring their extensive qualifications and teaching experience to provide live, interactive lessons online. With a minimum of three years of experience, our educators are equipped to support students from beginner to advanced levels, tailoring lessons to individual learning styles and objectives. Our curriculum covers daily conversations, grammar, and vocabulary, all while offering personalized feedback to foster a supportive and motivating learning environment hosted by our native Japanese teachers.

Our 10-week courses are priced competitively at US$14 per hour, making Japademy an affordable option for engaging directly with native instructors. Beyond the live courses, we enrich our students' learning experiences with additional resources, including PDF handouts, flashcards, blogs, and free access to Japanese video courses. Interested learners can reach out to us at or visit for more information.


Akamonkai Japanese Language School

Akamonkai is renowned for its live lesson format, providing an interactive and personalized learning experience under the guidance of skilled Japanese instructors. The school's focus on immediate feedback and custom-tailored lessons helps students effectively improve their Japanese skills, allowing them to monitor their progress and adapt their learning strategies in real-time.

For those seeking value without sacrificing quality, Akamonkai offers a 16-week program with three weekly 1.5-hour lessons at US$910 (Β₯135,000), translating to an affordable hourly rate of US$12.6. This pricing applies to online group lessons, highlighting Akamonkai's commitment to providing high-quality education at a reasonable cost.


Coto Academy

Coto Academy sets itself apart with a team-oriented teaching philosophy. The academy's instructors work closely together, sharing insights on students' progress and offering tailored corrective feedback to ensure effective learning. This collaborative environment fosters a supportive atmosphere for mastering Japanese.

Coto Academy's unique monthly subscription model, based on a point system, offers flexibility in lesson scheduling. Each 60-minute online private lesson costs US$37.5. While this rate may seem steep for some, the exceptional educational quality and personalized attention justify the investment for those dedicated to learning Japanese.


Concluding Thoughts on Learning Japanese with JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101, celebrated for its wide-ranging content, ease of access, and dynamic teaching methods, stands as a formidable tool for those embarking on their Japanese learning voyage. Yet, it's essential to carefully evaluate both its benefits and limitations before opting for a paid membership to ensure it aligns with your needs and doesn't lead to regret over time or financial resources spent. While the platform's extensive lesson library is impressive, considerations such as its subscription model, the absence of live interaction, and the risk of feeling overwhelmed due to the sheer volume and disorganization of content may impede your progress in learning Japanese.

Feedback from users highlights a significant marketing push behind JapanesePod101, drawing in learners with the allure of free access only to later bombard them with prompts for premium subscription upgrades. This aggressive advertising, coupled with the challenge of navigating through unordered and outdated lessons, can leave learners feeling swamped and discouraged.

In light of these insights, we encourage the exploration of alternative paths to language acquisition, such as Japademy, Akamonkai Japanese Language School, and Coto Academy. These platforms offer more personalized and economically sensible learning experiences, potentially better suited to your individual learning style, goals, and budget constraints.

Choosing the right platform for learning Japanese is a deeply personal decision, influenced by your unique preferences, learning objectives, and financial considerations. Each option has its own set of strengths, with the ideal choice being the one that most closely matches your personal learning requirements. We advise taking the time to thoroughly investigate which language learning solution will not only offer the most effective Japanese lessons but also genuinely support your journey towards fluency in Japanese. Here's to a fulfilling and successful learning experience!

Start learning Japanese. Join the June 2024 intake for our Japanese 10-weeks Online Course while seats available. Don't wait more!
Kanami Iwasaki, Japademy Founder

Japademy | Learn Japanese

We are a Japanese language school with students in worldwide and native Japanese teachers located in 7+ countries. We provide students with high quality engaging lessons from beginner to advanced levels. Start learning Japanese with us today.

Join our newsletter

Receive learning material, tips, and exclusive content about Japan and its culture.
Arigatou! You have joined our newsletter!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
By joining, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and to receive our email communications, which you may opt out at any time.
Join our newsletter
Get 30-days Free access to our Japanese video course for Beginners.
You will receive access to our video course soon!
Oops! Something went wrong...
Receive learning material and exclusive content to improve your Japanese.