What is the JLPT?

JLPT stands for Japanese Language Proficiency Test and it is the primary test to measure and certify the Japanese-language proficiency of those whose native language is not Japanese. The test is conducted worldwide annually with an average of about 600,000 participants per year.

JLPT logo

JLPT Levels (N1 ~ N5)

The JLPT is composed of 5 different levels, from 1-5 with 5 being the most basic, and 1 being the most advanced.

The content on this website is organized and divided based on these ability levels, so you can easily find lessons specific to your level.

Click on any of the following boxes for more information & lessons specific to that level.

N1 N2 N3 N4 N5

*Prior to 2010, only 4 levels of the JLPT were offered. This website will focus on the new JLPT, which is composed of 5 levels.

Do I need to take the JLPT?

The JLPT is not for everyone. Unless you are seeking employment or education advancement in Japan, there really is no advantage in receiving the certification other than personal satisfaction or bragging rights.

What level do I need to get a job?

In general, N2 certification is considered the minimum proficiency for basic jobs with N1 being required for more advanced positions.

N5 and N4 do not hold much value other than to show personal improvement or to show that you are interested in and working towards attaining Japanese proficiency.

N3 is sort of a middle ground and, in general, will not land you many jobs, but it does help to open a few more doors and some employers might be willing to accept you with the expectation that you will soon achieve JLPT N2 or higher.

JLPT Pass Rate Statistics

How difficult is it to pass the JLPT?

I wrote a detailed post about JLPT pass rate statistics here.

What are the benefits of taking the JLPT?

  1. Increased Employment Opportunities
    • English teaching jobs are not too difficult to find in Japan, but if you want to get a job doing anything else, JLPT results are usually a prerequisite to even apply to most jobs. From my experience, most jobs require at least N2 proficiency. However, there are some exceptions for lower levels if you show quick progression and a strong interest.
  2. Increased Salary
    • Typically, the better your Japanese ability is, you will be able to negotiate for a better salary.
  3. Individual Ability Gauge
    • Even if you are studying just for fun, the JLPT is a good assessment to personally track and test your Japanese ability level.
  4. For …. Fun??
    • Maybe you enjoy taking standardized tests…

Disadvantages of the JLPT

The JLPT is not a complete test and really only focuses on understanding Japanese: listening, reading, and grammar. It does not test speaking ability and barely tests writing ability.

Many people expect that just because they passed N2 or above that they will be able to get any job that they want. Interviews will most likely be conducted in Japanese so you will need to make sure that you can not only comprehend Japanese, but also speak Japanese equally as well.

Learn more about the JLPT at their official homepage


Cruise works full time at a Japanese company in Nagoya, Japan. He worked for 4 years as a University lecturer teaching English before making the move to a 100% Japanese speaking environment to continue improving his Japanese. In his free time, he is either cycling around Japan making YouTube videos or adding new Japanese lessons to this blog.