The Top 7 learn Japanese language CD audio Programs

Do you want to learn Japanese with CDs?

There are still plenty of Japanese language CD programs out there.  Why do they exist? People enjoy learning with tangible items.

Others prefer to learn with Japanese textbooks or online programs. Everyone has their own tastes.

Here’s a list of 7 best Japanese learning CD for beginners.

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1. Living Language Japanese, Complete Edition: Beginner through advanced course, including 3 coursebooks, 9 audio CDs

With this package, you get a whopping 9 Japanese language CD units inside.

You also get 4 books that complement the CDs. Three of the four books cover Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Japanese. The 4th is about Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana.

That’s a big bargain and that’s why it’s on the top of the list. However, I strongly recommend you use books and don’t just listen to the CDs alone. They were designed to go together.

japanese language CD

2. Pimsleur Japanese Level 1 CD: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Comprehensive)

Pimsleur is a famous language learning company. They’ve been teaching language since 1963 with audio and CD programs.

They’re also very popular with their conversational approach to learning language.

Inside the CDs, you get 30 lessons. Each lesson is about 30 minutes long. About 16 hours of content in total. In the first few lessons, you learn basic words. Then, as the lessons go on, you review past items and start building on your knowledge. You learn more complex phrases and sentences. By the end, you’ll able to greet people, introduce yourself and others, order drinks or food, count, and form complete sentences all in Japanese.

The big plus for me is the fact that you get a ton – 16 hours of lessons.

japanese language CD

By the way, there are cheaper Pimsleur options like the one below, which only has lessons 1 to 10. 

3. Total Japanese Foundation Course: Learn Japanese with the Michel Thomas Method

I also have to mention Michel Thomas.

Like Pimsleur, Michel Thomas is also known for teaching languages. This is their Japanese Language CD program. You get over 8 hours of lessons in total but…

Their teaching style is different. With Michel, you hear a teacher, a native speaker and some students. Essentially, you’re learning along with them. This “total” package alone promises to take you from Beginner to Intermediate.

japanese language CD

If you want a smaller, cheaper package, you can also try the below. However, most learners tend to want to get more after finishing the first CD. 

Or, this Japanese learning CD package. You get 2 CDs inside. 

4. Drive Time Japanese: Beginner Level

Want to learn Japanese while you drive?

This Japanese language CD program was designed specifically for that. You get 34 CDs and 4 hours worth of lessons. The first hour is an intro to the Japanese language.

In the rest of the CDs, you get 17 lessons where you learn basic phrases, vocabulary, grammar and cultural notes. Overall, it’s meant for brand new learners and is a friendly way to start learning.

They advise you to review and repeat lessons as much as possible and take your time.

5. Sing ‘n Learn Japanese, Vol. 1 (Book & CD

This is meant for kids. But, if you’re carefree and an open spirit, maybe you’ll like it too.

The adults in the Amazon reviews definitely enjoyed it. With this CD, you get 23 songs to help you learn Japanese. There’s even a Japanese version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, just so you know what kind of songs you get. 

6. Japanese: The Complete Language Course (Learn In Your Car)

This is another program that lets you learn in your car.

It’s a “listen and repeat” type of course. You get 3 CDs (3 levels of lessons) with this bundle. The first level teaches you words and beginner level grammar. Then, level 2 and 3 are all about teaching you more grammar and stringing sentences and types of thoughts together.

You don’t really need any books for it.

Lessons are about 10 minutes long which means they’re short enough for you to finish.

japanese language CD

7. Japanese For Fun Phrasebook & Dictionary: The Easy Way to Learn Japanese Quickly

Actually, this one is more so about the book. You also get a complementary CD.

You get a 240 page book with 22 chapters. Each chapter covers a real life scenario that you would encounter in Japan. And each chapter gives you the lines, expressions, phrases and vocabulary for that. Like, for example making a purchase or saying hello.

The CD has the recordings of all the words and phrases you learn here. So, what’s so good about this Japanese language CD? Repetition. Songs are catchy, right? So, with that, you get the Japanese songs and Japanese words stuck in your head.

Sounds corny and “uncool” but it really works. 


These are my top picks for Japanese Language CD programs.

If you want to learn Japanese the old fashioned way – on the CD – take your pick. You can always find some cheaper ones on Amazon.

By the way, if you’re also interested in “non-CD” programs, then I recommend JapanesePod101.com. It’s a website that has 500+ hours of AUDIO and VIDEO lessons. They’re divided into levels – Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Plus, you get PDF lesson notes and tons of study tools to help you master each lesson.

Check out the post below to learn more about them.

JapanesePod101.com Review: Learn Japanese Conversations

Have you tried Pimsleur or Michel Thomas? Which CD programs are your favorite?

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– The Main Junkie

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