Japanese podcasts on iTunes

I recently discovered this trick to get Japanese podcasts on iTunes with my student during one of my private lessons. It involves the most unintuitive UI I’ve seen in a while.

1. Go to the iTunes Store and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and find the round icon to the right, which is supposed to be the flag of the country you’re in.

2. Select the Japanese flag (or what to me looks like a “stop” button). When I first tried this, my version was already on Japanese by default and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out that the “stop” button was actually clickable and was supposed to be the Japanese flag.

3. Click on “Podcasts” and enjoy more audio learning material than you probably know what to do with.

Man, you kids have it so good. I remember having to scrounge around for any tiny piece of Japanese learning material I could back in the day. Of course, being that it’s Apple, all of this awesome content is locked up in their walled garden so I don’t know of any easy way to browse this stuff with an Android device besides using iTunes and manually copying the URLs.

12 thoughts on “Japanese podcasts on iTunes

  1. Holy crap, I tried to find Japanese podcasts on iTunes a while back and couldn’t find anything. Calling the iTunes interface “unintuitive” gives it far too much credit. Thanks for the info!

      • Pretty good, actually. I’ll be studying abroad in Japan this Fall quarter. I got some scholarships, too, so it’s going to be a pretty cheap experience for me. You can always check my Lang-8 page if you’re interested: http://lang-8.com/36205

        You said that smartphones are handy for using the internet and holding a baby at the same time. I assume you’re not speaking of Chewie, so things must be going pretty well for you, too (^_^)

  2. Tae先生のお陰なんだよ。本当にありがとうね!

    Just don’t let your little one puke all over your new smartphone (^_^)

  3. That is an awesome “trick”, isn’t it? Nothing like getting tons of free, quality podcasts in Japanese from iTunes directly to your iPhone, smartphone or mp3 player. Although I would recommend staying away of anything from the “language learning” category and just focus on listening normal podcasts instead. One of my favorites is the “Junk Podcast”… damn, those guys are funny! xD

    Thanks for sharing! 😀

  4. Sorry if this is obvious, but I’ve never used apple stuff, like itunes so it’s very unfamiliar territory for me. I’m a PC guy, through and through. I have been learning Japanese for about three years now but am stuck because I just get bored so quickly with grammar exercises and kanji practice. I’d love to listen to random Japanese podcasts and just improve my listening skills overall.

    Two questions: firstly, is there a way to find Japanese podcasts without the entire place being in Japanese? What I mean is, my Japanese is so basic I get lost trying to navigate Japanese webpages. Secondly, the whole thing just seems overwhelming. Any really obvious pointers towards finding free Japanese podcasts to download and pop onto my mp3 player without this whole itunes stuff? Kinda lost, ashamedly. :/


    • Hi there Gecko! First, you can download the Windows version of iTunes right here:

      You don’t even need to own an apple device to use it, it’s free! Install it, head over to the iTunes store and familiarize yourself with the Podcast interface. Subscribe to a couple of podcasts in English if you wish so that you learn how it works. Then head over to the bottom-right corner of the iTunes store and click the little circle with a flag on it. Then look out for the Japanese flag and click on it. It will lead you to the Japanese iTunes store, where all the FREE Japanese podcast goodies are in. I know, the interface of the store will be in Japanese (except the ‘Podcasts’ tab); it doesn’t matter. Fight your way to a podcast that has an interesting picture and subscribe to it!

      Another resource where you can find real-sounding podcasts is LingQ: http://www.lingq.com

      Finally, I completely understand your situation. “I just get bored so quickly with grammar exercises and kanji practice”. I had a very similar experience… 2 & 1/2 years of drilling kanji and doing grammar exercises… and nothing to show for it at the end. That’s why I decided to write this:


      Please, let me know if this information was useful to you!! 😀

  5. I found iTunes podcasts easy to access years ago. Just type in the search field “Japanese podcasts”.

  6. I remember finding this when I first got an ipod touch. I was absolutely ecstatic! It’s seriously great to have access to hundreds of hour of listening for free from anywhere with wifi. Even if you switch back to English, when you select “Get more episodes…” you can, well, Get more episodes for your favourite podcasts without having to switch between languages (why do that though? The more immersion the better).

    Also, for the record, you can get audio dramas and audio books for free – not just podcasts.

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