Hello all! JLPT Listening Help?

Hello everyone! Like a lot of people, I’m studying to take the JLPT. I lived in Japan for a few years, but I feel like my language skills aren’t where they should be. From the folks who have taken or are studying for JLPT of any level, how are you preparing for the listening portion?


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I think most people who live in Japan find the listening portion by far the easiest because of the constant exposure? But I would recommend buying some practice books like Kanzen Master and trying the listening CD questions. See how they feel and practice?

By listening to a lot of Japanese.

Some of it should be things appropriate to your level, if possible, but just absorbing anything you’re interested in is important.

I recently saw namste mention the pillows’ lead singer’s podcast, Fool on the Planet, and started listening to that from the beginning. I like science, so I’m listening to the そんない理科の時間 podcast, which is basically a show where Japanese kids can write in to ask science questions. It’s difficult, because of the vocabulary, but I’m motivated to try to understand because it’s a subject I want to know about.


Anime, podcasts, Anki decks.
There are a lot of anki decks with focus on listening, and anime has been a thing more than a week, so there are plenty of easy to find resources there.

For podcasts, however, I quite like
Bilingual News
A young man and woman discuss whatever they find interesting in recent news. Often comes down to science news and politics. The man speaks mostly English while the woman speaks mostly Japanese. It’s one of my favourite podcasts, I just love the hosts.

Discussions and interviews about anime, completely in Japanese. Hard to understand for a beginner, but you get used to it with time and as you learn.

New to this one myself, but I’m really liking it. It’s basically two people, a man and a woman, speaking about whatever, it seems. Last ep before the last was about yoghurt. It’s entirely in Japanese but the hosts speak quite clearly and not too fast, so It’s an easy listen.


Lots of practice on YouTube! People have actually been really cheeky and ripped audio from pretty much every book out there.

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I haven’t passed the test so apologies on that, but I do want to say:

The official JLPT site has 23 MP3 files (plus stuff that goes with it) for N5 - N1


I’m not sure if it’s different from the official, but I like the way it’s done, this site has several different types of practice, including 20+ for the listening section for each level of the JPLT:

And then there’s the YouTube version if you prefer:


I didn’t do any specific listening training for my JLPT exam, all I did was just watch and listen Japanese stuff on Youtube and various podcasts. For starters it might be a good idea to find something that has transcription or slower pace. You didn’t specify what level your vocabulary skills are at so I’m a bit hesitant to give any recommendations and what I think you should do is focus on topics that you yourself enjoy and find interesting. Just remember for N1-N2 level you MUST have real content no anime or kids stuff. I’ll just mention one podcast that really helped me to solidify my listening ability.

This is a pretty neat podcast that I listen, they talk about news, society, politics and are very anti-nuclear. I’m not anti-nuclear power myself but it’s still a pretty fun thing to listen how they manage to tie it in with everything. They have most of their episodes transcribed on their website at http://jiyunaradio.jp/personality/journal/ .

For some reason they stopped uploading to their “official” account on Youtube and now the podcasts are posted at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh7lpub2wGdyEbdht7tQVtA - You can also find them on iTunes or whatever podcasting things you may use.

Also if someone is interested I can throw out a list of some of my favorite Youtube channels and podcasts, it’s mostly politics and such so not sure if anyone is actually interested… :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve just watched a lot of variety programs without subtitles over the years. Sometimes I watch dramas without subtitles as well. I haven’t done any other preparing, but it has worked for me!

Hello, I am here with military resources!

GLOSS is pretty good, though it doesn’t quite correlate - the lowest level is ILR 1, which appears to correspond to N1?

Edit: N4. These numbering systems are weird. :confused: N1 would be ILR 4, I think.

I’d also point you to DLI’s resource page - some doesn’t apply (it’s military), but it should be helpful nonetheless, and I’m sure you can use most, if not all of it.

That’s all I have for now, I’ve been pretty busy, but I’ll come back when I have more.

Would you mind telling me what level that podcast is?

I’m probably too low a level to be able to tell, myself :smiley:

It’s real Japanese radio level stuff. Hard words, pretty fast talking, but it’s all interesting to me and the transcription helped me really test out my listening ability in preparation for N1.

You shouldn’t start with that sort of stuff if you’re only a beginner. I started by watching “let’s play channels” and tech channels on Youtube. They use simple language + it’s very entertaining if you happen to like video games or tech stuff. Watching something like that while you keep progressing on Wanikani and your other Japanese studies, helps your listening ability to stay on par so you don’t form this huge cap between reading and listening ability.

Yes, I thought it might be difficult!!

I like gaming, so 'let’s play’s are a good idea. If you know any good channels it would be great if you could tell me their names! Although understandably you might have forgotten :smiley:

I’m really just starting out so finding something I can concentrate on when I don’t understand the bulk of it is hard.

Sure thing, I still watch them whenever I feel like taking my mind off stuff. :slight_smile:

Here are a few that I’m still subbed to:

https://www.youtube.com/user/LayerQ (My favorite, he speaks with a clear voice and his voice is very similar to mine so it was helpful to me for speaking practice too)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9LckYW1X6h9gDZmnVoG9vA (Mitoku’s let’s plays are really fun and cute)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAjZx0WhDOjIWsoy0owuK4w (Roa’s might be the largest let’s play channel, least out of the female let’s play channels in the Japanese youtube world. She’s quite the turbo mouth and might be hard to follow at first but she’s such a 元気 person that you just love her.)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBWdytYv1k9TqBXIQJ93V7A (Fonimu plays JRPGs only really, but if you’re having trouble falling asleep I recommend his channel! Also good for very polite Japanese listening practice.)


Thanks so much, this is really helpful :slight_smile: Can’t wait to watch some :smiley:

Thanks for those! I’m checking out Mitoku’s now. I wish she wasn’t wearing the face mask so her pronunciation could be just that much cleaner. In the first video I misheard 今回 as こんぱい… ^_^;
I saw one with FF, and the music is making me feel so 懐かしい. I’ll be checking out Roa’s and maybe Fonimu’s too later. I rarely watch Let’s Plays in English unless they’re particularly funny… but this should be good practice, if I can find ones on games I’m interested in/already know.

Hmm, you live in Japan. This might sound dumb but I’m pretty sure formal classes in Japan will get you there quick.Being exposed to Japanese constantly is one thing but understanding it is another, without proper guidance it quite hard to get there.

Well Roa and Mitoku only wear masks when there is a camera, I don’t know why as they’re both pretty and all. They have plenty of videos where they don’t have a camera.

I’m hesitant to ask when you’ve already provided so much advice on this thread, but do you have any recommendations for those trying to bridge the N3-N2 (listening) gap?

I don’t really like giving any specific recommendations since I believe that you improve the most when you’re doing something that you find fun and interesting, so I’ll leave figuring out what that might be to you. My advice is, find a podcast about a topic that you find interesting and start listening to it every day. A podcast that is in Japanese only, none of that bilingual stuff. I’ve found that if you stick to bilingual stuff for too long, you’ll just end up tricking yourself that you’re actually improving and the English just distracts from the Japanese. iTunes is popular in Japan, or you can use things like TuneIn Radio or Podcast Addict on Android to find some interesting podcasts.

Keep in mind that at N2-N1 level you should be listening to things that are at natural speed, preferably about real life topics. Anime and dramas won’t cut it anymore, nothing wrong with watching them still of course, just can’t pretend that you’re actually doing it to improve your listening skills.

To me the biggest gap closers at around that N3-N2-N1 level were 山中さわお’s podcast that @Leebo mentioned, 自由なラジオ LIGHT UP!, which I mentioned in a previous post; and Youtube channels about news and politics. Such as KAZUYA, 岡田斗司 and 竹田恒泰. Close to the test date I spend a lot of time listening to 山本太郎’s antics in the house of representatives.


They said they lived in Japan, past tense. So I am assuming they no longer live there.