8 Resources to Improve Japanese Listening Skills

Resources to Take Your Listening From Zero to Hero

Want to improve your Japanese listening skills?

Not sure where to start, or want to look for new resources to practice with?

Today’s post has you covered.

We’ll be covering 8 resources to improve Japanese listening skills in several formats and for a variety of levels, from podcasts to dramas and beginner to advanced level resources!

There’s also a bonus entry at the end too!

So what are the resources?

Let’s go see…

Improve Japanese Listening | Nihongo Con Teppei (Beginner and Intermediate)

Improve Japanese Listening | JLPT Stories (All Levels)

Improve Japanese Listening | Easy Languages (Beginner)

Improve Japanese Listening | 日本みじかい昔話 (Intermediate)

Improve Japanese Listening | Crunchyroll (All Levels)

Improve Japanese Listening | Netflix (Intermediate, Advanced)

Improve Japanese Listening | Viki (Intermediate, Advanced)

Improve Japanese Listening | NHK Radio News (Advanced)

Improve Japanese Listening | BONUS ENTRY

Improve Japanese Listening | FAQ’s

Discover our favourite Japanese TV Shows with Layla

Japanese Listening Practice // Nihongo Con Teppei

Nihongo Con Teppei (translating to “Japanese with Teppei” from a mix of Spanish and Japanese) is a podcast with two levels, beginner and and intermediate.

At the beginner level, called Japanese For Beginners (Nihongo Con Teppei), Teppei has several hundred episodes (521 and counting), all about 3-4 minutes long.

As the episodes are bitesize and use very simple Japanese, spoken at a relatively slow speed, they’re a great resource for beginners!

I’ve personally used Teppei’s beginner podcast, and it’s a great way to get your ear used to hearing and understanding auditory Japanese.

Teppei is a bit quirky sometimes, but always entertaining.

He talks about a variety of topics, from education to holidays to travel, so it’s easy to skip around between the episodes to whatever sounds most interesting to you.

He also has an intermediate podcast, Nihongo Con Teppei, with 700 episodes, which has branched off to Nihongo Con Teppei Z, which has 40+ episodes.

These episodes range from 10-15 minutes on average, and are spoken at a slightly faster speed, with more advanced topics and varied vocabulary and grammar.

And best of all? It’s all free!

His podcast is available on his website, as well as Apple Podcasts and on Android.

Recommended Level: Beginner (N5-N4)

Price: Free!

A Guide to the JLPT // Everything You Need to Know Thumbnail

A Guide to the JLPT // Everything You Need to Know

Need a complete guide to the JLPT? This post will answer the questions such as “what is the JLPT?”, “when should I take it?” and “why should I take it?”

Japanese Listening Practice // JLPT Stories

Like Nihongo Con Teppei, JLPT Stories is a podcast.

Unlike Nihongo Con Teppei, it’s graded by JLPT levels, with each story marked as N5-N1.

There aren’t anywhere near as many episodes – 48 in total – and episodes are about 3 minutes each.

It’s a nice, free resource to practice listening in preparation for the JLPT, or Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

While the podcast hasn’t been updated since 2020, the content is still good quality.

I would recommend it as a supplemental listening resource for learners of all levels, but especially beginner to intermediate (N5, N4, N3) students looking for material at a comprehensible level to practice their listening skills.

I would argue that N2 and N1 learners should listen to native media instead, not resources geared towards learners, although JLPT Stories does have N2/N1 stories.

The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, among other places.

Recommended Level: Beginner, Intermediate (N5-N3)

Price: Free!

A Guide to the JLPT // Everything You Need to Know Thumbnail

A Guide to the JLPT // Everything You Need to Know

Need a complete guide to the JLPT? This post will answer the questions such as “what is the JLPT?”, “when should I take it?” and “why should I take it?”

Japanese Listening Practice // Easy Languages

So, what is Easy Languages?

Easy Languages is a YouTube channel which features someone interviewing people on the street on various topics.

It has a variety of languages, not just Japanese.

To get to the Japanese content, go to Playlists -> Asian Languages -> Easy Japanese.

The videos are around 5 minutes on average, with 19 videos in total. Topics range from weather, love and also Japanese slang words.

This is perfect for beginners, especially as the channel features English and Japanese subtitles!

Recommended Level: Beginner (N5-N4)

Price: Free!

One of Easy Languages’ videos on Japanese Student Life

Japanese Listening Resources // 日本みじかい昔話 (Short Japanese Fairy Tales)

みじかい昔話(むかしばなし)is a gem of a podcast that I found recently!

It features 18 episodes, on average 5 minutes long, covering various (often more obscure) Japanese folktales.

So no more Momotaro or Urashimataro!

The narrator speaks a bit quickly, and the grammar ranges from N5-N3.

The podcast is made for native Japanese speakers, and the host tells a story and then talks about it afterwards.

It’s a very fun podcast, and is great for learning about Japanese folk tales and practicing your listening at the the same time!

It’s available on Apple Podcasts. There are transcripts available in the individual episode descriptions.

Recommended Level: Intermediate to Upper Intermediate (N3-N2)

Price: Free!

Japanese Listening Resources // Crunchyroll

I don’t think I need to explain what Crunchyroll is, but for the uninformed, it’s a website where you can stream anime.

Most of the time, it’s done with subtitles, but you can turn the subtitles off and watch anime in order to practice your Japanese listening!

Crunchyroll features all kinds of content which includes shounen, romance, slice of life, sports, action, etc.

For those transitioning from, for example, Nihongo Con Teppei, who are at an N4 level, I would recommend starting with slice of life or sports anime.

Recommendations for N4 Learners:

  • Flying Witch (slice of life; fantasy)
  • Ace of the Diamond (sports; baseball)
  • Shirokuma Café (slice of life)
  • Say I Love You (romance)

Some learners will watch the episode once without subtitles, picking up what they can and looking up words they don’t understand, and then watching the episode again with English subtitles.

Others will watch the episode without subtitles again afterwards, or only watch it once without subtitles and move on. It all depends on your patience and preferences.

Please also note, anime dialogue is often not used in real life.

If you want to learn Japanese that you can use in regular conversations, you should watch either slice of life anime or dramas.

Recommended Level: N4-N1

Price: Free (with ads) or 7.99/month

Learn Japanese Online

Japanese Listening Resources // Netflix

While you might know Netflix more for its K-drama selection, it also has a selection of Japanese dramas and some anime!

In particular, Netflix Originals are great for learners because you can use the Language Reactor plugin on Chrome (we prepared a great article on how you can use Language Reactor for Netflix to improve your studies).

This plugin lets you watch with double Japanese and English subtitles, or with just Japanese subs, but you can click on words for definitions.

Dramas are fantastic for those who want more natural, everyday Japanese rather than anime dialogue.

Recommendations: Midnight Diner, Switched, Atelier, Dad of Light, Good Morning Call

TOP TIP | Use a VPN to access Netflix Japan and get access to a humungous catalog of Japanese anime and dramas, often with Japanese subtitles! If you use Language Reactor with them, it’s a breeze to watch and improve your skills!

Recommended Level: Intermediate to Advanced (N3-N1)

Price: 9.99 USD/month

Japanese Listening Resources // Viki

Viki is an app/website specifically catering to streaming Asian dramas.

While its Korean and Chinese catalogs are larger, it also has Japanese dramas and movies!

It has around 80 Japanese dramas, enough to keep you busy for ages!

Viki even has a Learn Mode, where you can enable double subtitles and use arrows to move back and forth between them, as well as replay the segment you just watched to better grasp what was said.

Dramas can be watched with ads for free or without ads if you pay for premium.


  • Hey Sensei, Don’t You Know
  • Mischievous Kiss
  • You Are My Destiny
  • From Five to Nine
  • An Incurable Case of Love

Recommended Level: Intermediate to Advanced (N3-N1)

Price: Free (with ads) or 4.99 USD/month without ads

Japanese Reading Practice // Resources for Starting to Read in Japanese Thumbnail

Japanese Reading Practice // Resources for Starting to Read in Japanese

So you want to know about resources for starting to read in Japanese? You’re in the right place! We’ve for the best Japanese reading practice resources.

Japanese Listening Resources // NHK Radio News

If you’ve read my article on resources for beginning to read in Japanese, you may remember NHK Easy News, where NHK News rewrites their articles in easy Japanese for Japanese learners.

NHK Radio News is from the same company, but is the radio version of their daily news, available on Apple Podcasts.

New episodes are released daily, and it’s a great way to keep up with the news (especially in Japan) while improving your listening skills.

It’s definitely for advanced learners, those going for the N2 or N1, who want to practice their listening skills.

The speaking speed is quick and the vocabulary and grammar are challenging.

Recommended Level: Upper Intermediate to Advanced (N2-N1)

We hope you found this list of Japanese reading resources useful.

Japanese Listening Resources // BONUS

Just to finish off we also wanted to point you in the direction of our monthly Instagram lives.

Our @ltl_japanese account has partnered with the wonderful Layla from Bite Size Japanese where we run a monthly lesson for free for our Instagram followers.

It’s another place to interact with likeminded students, learn some new stuff, and engage with Layla who is a native Japanese speaker.

Follow us both on Instagram to find out when our next live is:

@nihongo_layla - Types of Reel

Don’t forget, if you want to study Japanese with native speaking teachers, we are here for you!

Flexi Classes gives you the ability to speak with live teachers, 24/7, no matter where you are in the world.

No awkward time zones, no difficult planning – complete flexibility. We are 5 star rated online and can’t wait to welcome you along.

Listening in Japanese // FAQ’s

What resources are out there to practice my listening skills?

Podcasts, YouTube, Netflix, Crunchyroll, and Viki are all great options!

Can LTL help me improve my Japanese skills?

Yes, please check out our Flexi classes, where you can learn from native speakers and take classes at any time of day!

Can I watch anime as a beginner?

Yes, but I’d recommend also using resources like the Nihongo Con Teppei podcast and Easy Languages’ YouTube channel because it can be demotivating when you don’t understand much at first.

You should also start with slice of life or sports anime, which use easier, more everyday vocabulary you’ll be learning early on in your studies, rather than specialized fantasy or science fiction vocabulary.

Why should I use these resources to practice my listening skills?

They’re fun, many of them are free, they’re easily accessible, and many people use them!

Can I immerse as a beginner?

Yes, but I’d recommend using Nihongo Con Teppei’s beginner podcast or Easy Languages’ channel because you’ll be able to understand more and have more fun!

How often should I practice my listening skills?

As often as you’d like!

For example, you could listen to an episode of a podcast or watch an episode of an anime daily, or do it once a week – it’s up to you!

Want More From LTL?

WANT TO LEARN JAPANESE? Check out our online Japanese courses here.

We offer a 7-day free trial to all new students where you can study 24/7.

What about studying Japanese in Japan instead? We’ve got your back. Our Japanese courses in Tokyo can either be taken in small groups of no more than 5 students or individually for a more tailored experience.

We even offer incredible homestay experiences in Tokyo as well.

Come and be a part of this amazing community.

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