JapanesePod101 Review: Freatures, Pricing, and Alternatives

Clara Williams

japanesepod 101

If you have ever heard a Japanese Native speaking, then you probably know that they speak fast. The Japanese language has one of the highest syllable-per-second rates in the world. In addition, it probably doesn’t help that the language has three different types of alphabets.

All this makes the language scary to study for most foreigners who want to learn Japanese. However, this shouldn’t be the case if you have a language learning app that takes you step by step with audio and video lessons.

JapanesePod101 is your go-to tool for a hassle-free study plan incorporating Japanese culture into most lessons. In this comprehensive JapanesePod101 review, we will cover everything you need to know about the language learning tool.



Video and audio lessons to make you confident in Learning Japanese

Practice makes it perfect, and JapanesePod101 ensures Japanese learners get enough of it with audio and video lessons. It sets a clear path that all the lessons follow, which makes the path to learning Japanese personalized. The audio-heavy approach might not be the best for an absolute beginner, but all other Japanese learners will appreciate JapanesePod101.

JapanesePod101 web

JapanesePod101 Review Summary

⭐ Rating:8.4★★★★★
🥇 Available languages:1
📈 Suits best for:Intermediates
🛒 Payment options:Monthly
💵 Price:$4 – $552
⌚ Hours of lesson time:345+
🔄 Refund policy:60-day money back guarantee
🎁 Free Trial:✔️

Besides Japanese, Language POD 101 includes: Afrikaans, Arabic, Bulgarian, Cantonese, Chinese, Cezch, Danish, Dutch, English, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese.

Our Evaluation

Total score:


User Experience
Quality of Content
Features Available
Value for Money



Disclaimer: Lingomee is an independent review site that may benefit from affiliate programs. Buying through our links makes our efforts possible without additional costs to you. Learn more here.

Related Language Apps

Quick Overview of JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101 is one of the 34 languages provided by Innovative Language Learning for 18 years now. The app classifies Japan as one of the most popular languages on the platform. And this is true because there’re over 125 million Japanese-speaking people worldwide.

It means there’s a need to learn Japanese to participate in global social, cultural, and economic affairs. With thousands of audio and video lessons, plenty of detailed PDF lesson notes, and downloadable content, JapanesePod101 is well-positioned to teach Japanese because of the following.

It’s left entirely to you to decide your mastery level in speaking Japanese. There isn’t any internal placement test. Instead, learners must select from five levels before starting any class.

It’s good they don’t bore beginners with tests right away. Still, they may disadvantage intermediate and advanced learners, who may have trouble accurately placing themselves in the correct language level. We should also mention that this is the best app to learn Japanese with audio lessons.

JapanesePod101 Review: Main Features

The JapanesePod101 has the learning paths feature that identifies a series of courses you’re supposed to take for your level eliminating beginner confusion. The Dialogues feature help to acquire native language speaking techniques.

The vocabulary feature helps learners learn how to write Kanji, learn commonly used words, and pass the JLPT test. Lesson notes allow for revision through repetition of grammar points so that learners commit Japanese to memory.

With the knowledge that Japanese is a fast-paced language, the features discussed here help learners of all levels to grasp Japanese quickly.

Lesson Pathways

JapanesePod101 is great because it has plenty of PDF notes, videos, and audio in the form of Japanese language learning podcasts. However, such information is useless if you don’t know where to start. That’s where the lesson pathways feature excels.

JapanesePod101 learning paths
JapanesePod101 learning paths

The feature guides the learners step by step, which is important in breaking down hard-to-understand content into small, easy-to-understand chunks. As learners become more proficient in the language, they’re exposed to more intermediate and advanced lessons. For example, learners learn the different forms of formality in Japanese.


If you wish to know how to speak Japanese, hearing it being spoken in a culturally set scenario may help you better understand it. Dialogue features work similarly by providing conversations about topics like phone etiquette, family well-being, and national holidays.

JapanesePod101 audio lessons
JapanesePod101 audio lessons

Dialogue feature, therefore, helps learners with listening skills and understanding Japanese language use in certain contexts. A native Japanese speaker breaks down the language in small 10 to 20 seconds videos explaining every bit of the conversation. 

It also helps that most of the dialogues are animated series in video format, which helps to keep the course fun. Another great way to get speaking practice are apps like Preply, italki, Busuu, or Verbling.


Japanese has three different types of Alphabet: Katakan and Kanji. They make up the building blocks of Japanese words and vocabulary.

JapanesePod101 vocabulary lists
JapanesePod101 vocabulary lists

JapanesePod101 provides a list of common words it deems essential to know in Japanese. They’re words from various cultural aspects such as food, animals, plants, cities and many more. They also vary across levels. For example, absolute beginners get 100 core words. Beginners get 800 core words, and so on.

As learners complete their lessons, they can save particular vocabulary words on to their WorldBank vocabulary feature. They can practice saying the words later to improve their comprehension of Japanese.

Lesson Notes

JapanesePod101 can incorporate traditional learning methods like lesson notes in the study plan. lesson notes is an important feature as it helps more advanced learners study the inner grammatical rules of Japanese, which it provides as a summary.

JapanesePod101 notes to learn Japanese
JapanesePod101 notes to learn Japanese

Also, the app offers lesson notes in PDF format, making them easily downloadable, which you can use while offline. It’s a convenience that learners appreciate, especially if they wish to continue learning Japanese on the go.

Since JapanesePod101 provides lesson notes in every lesson, it helps learners to boost their Japanese reading skills.

Lessons Quality

JapanesePod101 isn’t the only language-learning app in the market. However, we found that it still compares favorably. That is why it remains a favorite go-to language application for most language students.

The whole process when you learn Japanese is smooth, especially when you follow learning paths. Learners take around 2 to 10 minutes to listen to audio and videos. A series of lessons can take 15 to 25 hours. In short, learners can easily find themselves finishing the coursework within two months when they are dedicated to audio and video lessons.

Perhaps the big letdown with JapanesePod101 is that it doesn’t have speech recognition technology to help with speaking skills. Learners mainly rely on self-validation of their abilities, which may be biased. Other times learners may try to imitate the fast-paced native speakers and mispronounce the words.

Grammar Instruction

We found the app to give an authentic experience when dealing with grammar. It made learning the three alphabets in Japanese easy, even for beginners. The systems of instruction incorporating audio and video instructions by native speakers also enhanced the apprehension of grammar at all levels.

Teaching grammar is ideal, especially for intermediate and advanced learners who get to know amazing and interesting stuff about Japanese grammar. For example, Japanese language learners get to know there’re no plurals in the language or many ways to say “I”.

Verbal Practice

Verbal practice in the app is lacking. An ideal way to practice speaking Japanese is through speech recognition software to give learners instant feedback on whether they’re correctly saying a Japanese word.

Currently, in the app, verbal practice is through self-teaching or the My Teacher feature available when you subscribe to the Premium PLUS subscription.


We found that reading practice was sufficient in the app because of the availability of plenty of material in different formats. For example, the PDF notes provide a good basis for going through content, especially for new learners who are mainly familiar with the traditional notes learning style.

Transcripts from video lessons are ideal for all levels of learners in case they miss out on important details while listening to the video and audio lessons.


We found the language learning app lacking in this area as well since the app is aimed at audio lessons. There’re quizzes and assessments spaced after some lessons though most are multiple choices questions.

Writing practice is available for learners in JapanesePod101 though you need to subscribe to a premium package. It opens up more writing practice through assignments and tests that your Japanese teacher gives you.


Abundance of vocabulary words is a selling point for the app as it wins in this area. The app lists words grouped into certain aspects of the Japanese culture for easier finding and association.

Learners can also build vocabulary lists to practice reading and speaking at their own time through the My Word bank feature.


We found that the app does its best to engage users and make the learning process as enjoyable as possible. For example, the instructors are friendly, lively and happy to help. It’s also interesting to hear about different aspects of Japanese culture.

However, we also found that the lessons’ structure in the pathway tends to become repetitive across levels. Learners may be forced to complement JapanesePod101 with the traditional classroom learning style.

JapanesePod101 Review: Ease of Use

JapanesePod101 has a fairly easy-to-use interface that shouldn’t give you problems even when you’re new to the app. The signup process is quick and fast. And afterwards, you choose your level and start the lessons.

The interface that learners interact with is also simple, and the tabs to open different features in the app are clearly labeled at the bottom of the homepage. The first is the dashboard, which has the My Word Bank section. Other tabs include the lessons, My Teacher, and menu sections.

Generally, the interface may seem dull, especially compared to other apps to learn Japanese. It has a black background with white, blue, and yellow labels for different features. The font used in the app is also tiny, meaning that learners may struggle with reading practice.

We also found that the video and audio lessons took time to load for the first time, slightly reducing the user experience.

JapanesePod101 Competitors and Alternatives

JapanesePod101 vs Rocket Japanese

Rocket Japanese focuses on interactive audio lessons with cultural insights and grammar resources. In comparison, JapanesePod101 resembles podcasts more and is less user-friendly. Although a bit more expensive, Rocket Japanese might be a better option for you. Find more information in our review of Rocket Japanese.

JapanesePod101 vs Lingopie

Lingoepie website

Lingopie gives you a chance to effortlessly learn a language by binge-watching TV. It’s nothing like podcasts of JapanesePod101 or traditional language classes. If you are more engaged by visual cues and reading subtitles, find more information in our review of Lingopie program.

JapanesePod101 vs Mondly

Mondly website

Mondly is perhaps the most innovative language app out there with its virtual and augmented reality games. Not to say that the audio lessons of JapanesePod101 aren’t engaging, but Mondly is on another level when motivating students to learn. Learn more about this program in our in-depth review of Mondly app.

What Could Be Improved?

The app excels in teaching Japanese lessons even with a free account. However, to get more features, you’ll need to subscribe to one of the monthly plans available to get more features. The app lacks a payment plan that covers a more extended period. For example, unlike other apps, there’s no 3,6, or 12-month payment plan.

Instead of the small efforts they make, like offering discounts every once in a while to relieve new and continuing users of the platform, the app should offer discounts more often. It also sends emails when your subscription is nearing completion so you can renew it. 

Another downside of the app is that it scores low in speaking practice. For the price of $23 for the more expensive Premium PLUS subscription, users should get speech recognition technology that helps learners practice speaking Japanese.

However, JapanesePod101 does try to compensate for this by providing a My Teacher feature where learners can interact with native speakers who help them with Japanese pronunciation.

Extended Payment PlansIntroduce extended payment plans, such as 3, 6, or 12-month options, to provide users with more flexibility and cost-effective subscription choices beyond the current monthly plans.
Enhanced Discount OffersIncrease the frequency of discount offers to make the app more financially accessible. By providing discounts more regularly, the app can incentivize both new and existing users, fostering a positive user experience and encouraging subscription renewals.
Diversified Subscription EmailsEnhance the email communication strategy by introducing more varied and engaging content in subscription renewal emails. This can include personalized recommendations, progress highlights, or exclusive offers to make the communication more valuable and encourage timely renewals.
Improved Speaking PracticeEnhance the app's speaking practice functionality, especially for users subscribed to the more expensive Premium PLUS plan. Consider integrating advanced speech recognition technology to provide more robust and effective speaking practice opportunities for learners studying Japanese.
My Teacher Feature RefinementFurther improve the My Teacher feature by incorporating additional resources or structured exercises. This ensures that learners not only interact with native speakers for pronunciation assistance but also receive comprehensive support in honing their speaking skills in Japanese.

JapanesePod101 Pricing

Learners can get various subscription plans suited to their budget. Users can get a free lifetime account, a Basic membership, a Premium, or a Premium PLUS subscription. The subscription pricing is for a one language-one month fee and is as follows.

With JapanesePod101, the more you pay, the more features you get. For example, the $4 Basic subscription gets learners access to all lessons and in-depth notes.

Basic$4Charged Monthly
Premium$10Charged Monthly
Premium Plus$23Charged Monthly

A $10 Premium subscription gets you line-by-line audio dialogue, premium lesson tracks, and spaced repetition flashcards. A $23 Premium PLUS subscription gives learners access to a native-speaking teacher, hand-graded assignments, and personalized assistance.

Free Trial

Upon signing up, Japanese learners don’t have to worry about making payments for the first seven days. During this period, they get the Premium subscription features and test them out before deciding if they want to proceed to pay extra for the features.

The free trial also includes over 50 free lessons on survival phrases, weekly new lessons, and 100-plus vocabulary lists.

JapanesePod101 Coupons and Discounts

Occasionally, JapanesePod101 may offer discounts on all or some of their subscription packages. When writing this review, we saw there is a current 40% discount on Premium and Premium Plus packages, meaning that instead of $10 for the Premium, learners pay $6. PrS subscribers pay $13.73 per month instead of $23.

Refund Policy

Innovative Language Learning company has a money-back guarantee if you feel unsatisfied when using JapanesePod101. It runs for 60 days after buying any of the three paid subscriptions.

Getting a refund is hassle-free if you take advantage of the 60-day grace period. All you have to do is email customer support at Innovative Language. They get back to you within one business day for refunds to ensure a timely service.

JapanesePod101 Pricing Compared to Competition

Generally, JapanesePod101 compares favorably with most Japanese learning apps. For example, it’s basic price of $4 compares to apps like uTalk’s $3.99 and MosaLingua at $4.99.

However, the app compares unfavorably to apps like Pimsleur, Duolingo Plus, and Rosetta Stone. They have speech recognition technology at less price than that of the JapanesePod101 Premium PLUS subscription. The speech technology is a convenient feature for practicing the fast-paced pronunciation of words in Japanese.

However, the app does make up for this with plenty of content and cool fun ways to learn Japanese using audio and videos.

JapanesePod101 Ratings from Around the Web

  • Google Play Store4.6 (1M+ downloads)

  • Apple App Store4.7 (30.6k Ratings)

  • Trustpilot3.0

JapanesePod101: Customer Support

The main way to contact JapanesePod101 is through email. We found that it takes 1 to 2 days for them to get back to you and begin working on your problem.

Whether you need assistance with account activation or your payment doesn’t give you a subscription, the professional customer care should promptly address your concerns.

There’s also the FAQs page that answers questions from users. It’s the primary solution since most questions from users are usually covered in this section.

Is JapanesePod101 Worth It? Conclusion

We found that JapanesePod101 does indeed help to learn a fast-paced Japanese language. The step-by-step way of learning is useful for any learner as it helps prevent overload and make the language learner not feel overwhelmed.

Frequently Asked Questions

JapanesePod101 app stands out for its dynamic lessons, cultural insights, and innovative teaching methods, providing an immersive and effective learning experience.

JapanesePod101 app offers lessons ranging from beginner to advanced levels, ensuring tailored content for learners at every stage of their Japanese language journey.

JapanesePod101 app offers a rich array of vocabulary-building resources, including audio lessons, flashcards, and thematic lessons focused on practical vocabulary.

Absolutely, JapanesePod101 app caters to diverse language goals with specialized pathways, such as business Japanese, travel essentials, and cultural insights, ensuring learners focus on areas relevant to their objectives.

Certainly, JapanesePod101 app provides content aligned with proficiency levels required for language exams like JLPT. It also offers tips, practice tests, and guidance for those pursuing Japanese language certifications.