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Pimsleur Japanese Review – We Like It Because It Makes Me Speak Japanese From Day One

Pimsleur Review Japanese

Pimsleur Japanese

Rating 4.2


Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. There are over 50 language courses available with Pimsleur, and the bulk of the material is taught with audio lessons.

Quality 4.5

The platform is extremely well designed and easy to use. The content seems to be of high quality at all levels.

Thoroughness 4.0

Timely repetition and active practice work well, and lessons build on each other nicely, but the “intermediate fluency in 30 days” claim may be a stretch.

Value 4.0

The subscription option provides good value for some, but there may be more efficient ways to learn some languages.

I Like
  • The lessons are structured well and are an appropriate length.
  • There are both male and female native speakers.
  • Lessons build on each other nicely.
  • The platform is easy to navigate and visually appealing.
I Don’t Like
  • There’s very little visual content.
  • Lesson speed isn’t customizable.

Subscriptions of either $14.95/month or $19.95/month are available for courses with at least 60 lessons. Prices otherwise range from around $20 to over $500. All purchases come with a 7-day free trial.

The Pimsleur Japanese course is a language learning program based on a method that was developed by Paul Pimsleur in the 1960s. It is a language learning program that uses a method called “spaced repetition” (graduated intervals between being taught vocabulary and revisiting it) to teach Japanese to English speakers. The course consists of 30 lessons, each of which is about 30 minutes long. The lessons are audio-based, with native Japanese speakers teaching vocabulary and grammar through conversation.

One of the key features of the Pimsleur approach is that it focuses on speaking and listening comprehension, rather than reading and writing. The course starts with simple phrases and gradually builds up to more complex language as the lessons progress. The lessons also include a variety of exercises and activities to help learners practice what they have learned.

The Pimsleur Japanese course is designed to be flexible and can be used on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets. It is intended for learners who are at the beginner to intermediate level and is suitable for people who are looking for a convenient and easy way to learn Japanese for travel, business, or personal enrichment.


There are a few things you may want to consider before purchasing a Pimsleur Japanese course:

  1. Your learning goals: What do you hope to achieve by learning Japanese? Do you want to learn enough to have basic conversations while traveling, or do you want to become proficient in the language? This will help you decide which level of Pimsleur Japanese course is right for you.
  2. Your learning style: Pimsleur’s audio-based approach may not be suitable for everyone. If you prefer visual or written materials, you may want to consider other language learning options.
  3. Your schedule and commitment: The Pimsleur Japanese course consists of 30 lessons, each of which is about 30 minutes long. You’ll need to be able to commit to this amount of time on a regular basis in order to make progress.
  4. Your budget: Pimsleur courses can be expensive, especially if you purchase all of the lessons in a level. Consider whether the cost is worth it for your learning goals and budget.  The Pimsleur app offers two payment options: a monthly subscription for $14.95 to $20.95, or lifetime access to the lessons for a one-time payment. Lifetime access prices range from $21.95 for 5 lessons to $575.00 for a full 5-level course. Consider your budget and study plan when choosing an option; lifetime access may be more cost-effective for long-term use, while a subscription is more cost-efficient for short-term study. Some users may find this cost to be steep, particularly when compared to other language-learning resources that are available for free or at a lower cost. It’s worth noting that the Pimsleur program has received positive reviews from many users, who have found it to be an effective way to learn a new language. However, it’s important to carefully consider the cost and determine whether it is a good fit for your budget and learning goals before making a purchase.
  5. Your resources: Pimsleur Japanese is an audio-based course, so you’ll need a device that can play the lessons (such as a smartphone or tablet). You’ll also need access to headphones or a speaker to listen to the lessons.

Overall, it’s important to do your research and consider all of these factors before committing to a Pimsleur Japanese course.

Key Features and Benefits of the Pimsleur Japanese Course

Here are some of the key features of the Pimsleur Japanese course:

  • Audio-based lessons: The Pimsleur approach is based on listening and speaking comprehension, with native Japanese speakers teaching vocabulary and grammar through conversation.
  • Spaced repetition: The course uses a method called “spaced repetition” to help learners retain what they have learned. This means that new material is introduced gradually and reviewed frequently to help learners commit it to memory. Spaced repetition has been shown to be effective in language learning because it helps to reinforce newly learned information in long-term memory, which leads to better retention of the material over time. It also leads to more efficient learning. By reviewing material at increasingly longer intervals, learners can review a greater amount of material in a shorter period of time, making the learning process more efficient. Because of this improved retention and efficiency, learners may experience a sense of accomplishment and progress, which can help to enhance motivation and engagement in the learning process.
  • Gradual progression: The lessons start with simple phrases and gradually build up to more complex language as the course progresses.
  • Practice exercises: The lessons include a variety of exercises and activities to help learners practice what they have learned, such as listening and repeating phrases and answering questions.
  • Flexibility: The Pimsleur Japanese course is designed to be flexible and can be used on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets. It is also available in different levels, so learners can choose the course that is right for their goals and skill level.
  • Cultural notes: The course includes cultural notes and insights to help learners understand Japanese culture and customs.

Alternatives to Pimsleur Japanese

Story Learning

The StoryLearning site uses stories to teach conversational Japanese.

Right from the beginning of the course, Story Learning uses engaging stories to teach Japanese from level A1 – Total Beginner to level B2 – Advanced.

While the idea of reading stories might be intimidating if you’ve never studied any of the Japanese alphabets, you don’t need to worry as the reading courses make use of both Japanese script and romaji (Japanese written in the Latin alphabet) to have you reading and understanding Japanese from the moment you log in. This ability to practice reading is something that, as an audio-only course, Pimsleur does not offer. As reading and writing in Japanese can be very intimidating, it is vital to have a course that offers training in those skills.

There are seven different courses for you to choose from (and a seven-day free trial) which makes Story Learning an entertaining way to immerse yourself in the Japanese language.


Japanesepod101 is a language learning program that focuses on teaching Japanese to learners of all levels. It is a comprehensive language learning platform that offers a variety of resources and materials to help learners develop their language skills.

Japanesepod101 offers a variety of subscription plans, including a free basic plan and paid premium plans that provide access to additional features and resources. Some of the resources and materials available through Japanpod101 include:

  • Audio and video lessons: These lessons cover a range of topics and are designed to teach practical conversational skills and help learners build their vocabulary and grammar skills.
  • Grammar and vocabulary explanations: Japanesepod101 provides detailed explanations of grammar points and new vocabulary, as well as examples and exercises to help learners understand and apply what they have learned.
  • Interactive exercises: Japanesepod101 includes a variety of interactive exercises and activities to help learners practice their language skills and track their progress.

Japanesepod101 is a popular and highly-rated language learning program that has received positive reviews from many users. It is a good option for those looking to learn Japanese and improve their language skills.

Nihongo Pro

If you feel like you would benefit from tutor support, then Nihongo Pro might be a good course for you. Nihongo Pro is a website that connects you with a Japanese tutor for 50-minute 1:1 lessons. This means that, for the price of a lesson, you have individualized Skype tutorials to help you learn the type of Japanese you want to, at your own pace.  


– Many people have had success with Pimsleur when learning Japanese. Its use of spaced repetition, coupled with the short lessons that can be completed on the go, make it a very time-friendly way to learn Japanese. However, people who require visual stimuli for learning may find the audio-only format to be limiting, as it does not provide visual aids or written materials to reference.

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