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33 Best Japanese Learning Books for Beginners, JLPT Study and More (Tried and Tested)

It’s one of the most important Japanese learning decisions you’ll ever make.

Which Japanese textbook should you get?

Whether you’re a complete beginner to learning Japanese or you’ve got your sights set on taking the JLPT this year , it’s crucial that you find the right textbook for you.

In this post, I’ll give you the inside scoop on the best Japanese learning books for all levels and goals.

Best Beginner Japanese Learning Books

1. “genki”, 2. “japanese from zero”, 3. “living language japanese”, 4. “pimsleur japanese”, 5. “minna no nihongo”, best intermediate japanese textbooks , 6. “tobira”, 7. “japanese for busy people ii”.

  • 8. “Yookoso! Continuing with Contemporary Japanese”

Best Books for Speaking Japanese

9. “shadowing: let’s speak japanese”, 10. “nihongo active talk”, 11. “new nihongo keigo training”, best japanese grammar books, 12. “practice makes perfect”, 13. “a guide to japanese grammar”, 14. “japanese verbs & essentials of grammar”, 15. “all about particles”, best books to pass the jlpt, 16. “new kanzen master jlpt n4: grammar”, 17. “try” jlpt series, best books to learn japanese vocabulary, 18. “the handbook of japanese verbs”, 19. “japanese vocabulary”, 20. “jazz up your japanese with onomatopoeia”, best japanese dictionaries, 21. “kodansha’s furigana dictionary”, 22. “kenkyusha’s new japanese-english dictionary”, 23. “a dictionary of basic japanese grammar”, 24. “the kodansha kanji learner’s dictionary”, 25. “common japanese collocations”, 26. “sanseido japanese dictionary”, best books to learn kanji, 27. “new nelson japanese-english character dictionary”, 28. “remembering the kanji”, 29. “basic kanji book, vol. 1”, 30. “the kodansha kanji learner’s course”, best bilingual and parallel japanese-english books, 31. “japanese short stories for beginners”, 32. “short stories in japanese: new penguin parallel text”, 33. “japanese stories for language learners”, where to buy japanese textbooks, physical stores, online stores, and one more thing....

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Check availability on: OMGJapan

Probably the most popular beginner option for learning Japanese, “Genki” books I and II have been around for years and are firm favorites in college “Introduction to Japanese” courses. There’s a good reason for the enduring popularity of this series: They’re well-written, easy to understand, affordable and comprehensive.

  • The series is popular, so there are lots of online posts and user experiences about them.
  • Some extra materials online  are free to use.
  • Workbooks are available and are really useful for helping to consolidate learning without costing an arm and a leg.
  • They’re meant to be taught by a Japanese teacher in class and have many pair-work exercises, so they’re not always great for self-study.
  • Answers are sold separately in an additional book and are all-Japanese with no translation available.

"Japanese from Zero!"

Offering a less intimidating entry point to teaching yourself Japanese, this series has become really popular since its first publication in 2006.

Unlike most textbooks, no teacher is required and an active online community awaits those who want a more interactive approach. The series was written by a native English speaker and a native Japanese speaker, which means that different ways of thinking about language acquisition are considered.

  • The books are designed for self-study
  • The interface of the books and web materials is intuitive and visually appealing.
  • Supplementary materials are available to registered users on the YesJapan site .
  • The cost point is significantly lower than a lot of alternatives.
  • No audio is included in the textbook, though there’s some in the  supplementary materials you can view online.
  • You have to pay extra to access some web content.
  • The slower pace may frustrate busy adult learners with limited time.
  • It’s less comprehensive than some of its counterparts.

Living Language Japanese, Complete Edition: Beginner through advanced course, including 3 coursebooks, 9 audio CDs, Japanese reading & writing guide, and free online learning

Check availability on: Amazon

In this Japanese series, traditional textbooks are combined with a set of audio CDs and online resources to create a comprehensive experience for learning all the basics of Japanese. The Living Language program prides itself on teaching adults new languages through in-depth instruction. 

This is done through vocabulary lists, sample dialogues, lots of chances to practice as well as in-depth grammar explanations that don’t shy away from tough topics. Focus is placed on the essentials of the language, meaning that the vocabulary and grammar you’ll encounter are the most common features of everyday Japanese conversation.

  • Textbooks include CDs for speaking and listening practice.
  • Price is reasonable considering the amount of material.
  • Works well as a stand-alone course for those not enrolled in a formal class.
  • Can seem dated, at times definitely showing its age.
  • Explanations and exercises are often dry.

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

Pimsleur is another well-respected language company that’s been around for years. Their method focuses on speaking and listening through audio, so it’s ideal for students who want to supplement other textbooks or coursework with extra listening and speaking practice.

By breaking down spoken Japanese syllable by syllable and providing authentic dialogue, you’ll get a feel for the natural flow of the language, enabling you to better understand and participate in Japanese conversation. The audio lessons give you a chance to speak out loud and actually use the language.

  • Excellent source of speaking and listening material for those who don’t have native Japanese speakers to practice with.
  • Students quickly gain confidence through speaking and comprehension exercises.
  • Level-specific packages or comprehensive sets are available.
  • On the more expensive side.
  • Since it’s entirely focused on audio, there’s no exposure to Japanese reading or writing.

"Minna no Nihongo"

Another major player for Japanese beginners is “Minna no Nihongo” (translated as “Japanese for Everyone”). This well-established textbook series has a really broad range of offerings.

The book introduces kanji from the beginning and although this may be a challenge, it pays great dividends and makes learning much faster as you move on. The all-Japanese format means that you’ll have to try harder to power through before checking the translation book, which will help you start thinking in Japanese sooner.

  • Answers to some activities are included in the back of the book.
  • Presented entirely in Japanese for true immersion.
  • The series has a very wide range of books, covering many skills like reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  • Because there are so many books, there are many opportunities to practice and focus on the skills you especially need to master.
  • Knowledge of hiragana and katakana is a must before beginning this textbook.
  • Intended to be used in a traditional classroom setting with a Japanese teacher guiding you.
  • You may need to buy additional translation and grammar notes to get past the all-Japanese instruction.
  • Multiple books for each level mean that buying the whole set of books can get quite expensive.


Until “Tobira” was published in 2009 there hadn’t been a significant new textbook for intermediate learners for 15 years. The writers and publishers clearly worked hard to make a resource that was comprehensive, challenging and that supported learners trying to overcome the dreaded intermediate plateau .

Highly recommended by users for bridging the gap between low intermediate and advanced Japanese, this textbook covers all the language skills, including speaking and listening. The book introduces concepts in a thorough but approachable way, helping users to form an understanding of the language, rather than just memorize.

  • It’s comprehensive and logical in terms of contents and learning order.
  • All skills are covered together, including speaking and listening.
  • It’s designed for classroom usage but works well for independent learning, too.
  • It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the pace at which new kanji are introduced, especially when studying independently.
  • You’ll need additional grammar and kanji books to really get the full experience, so the series gets expensive quickly.
  • Big, heavy books make studying on the go impractical.

"Japanese for Busy People II"

There are two versions of this textbook: One is written in romaji while the other uses  kana .  The kana version also includes supplementary kanji lessons at the end. This may put off some students, as the kanji has not been properly integrated nor contextualized for the corresponding lesson, which can be especially problematic considering that Japanese is a high-context language and culture.

However, compared to some of the other books in this post, “JfBP” is relatively cheap. Therefore, if you choose this book, you’ll be getting a classically-renowned learning guide at a low cost.

  • Great for learning Japanese in a short amount of time, especially for a tourist situation
  • Teaches more complex grammar
  • Puts vocabulary in its proper context
  • You need to buy a separate workbook for more exercises.
  • It’s not as helpful for learning kanji .
  • There’s an emphasis on work-related vocabulary instead of being diverse.  

8. “ Yookoso! Continuing with Contemporary Japanese”

"Yookoso! Continuing with Contemporary Japanese"

A well-known text in the area of Japanese language education, “Yookoso! Continuing with Contemporary Japanese” is used in many university classrooms around the world . 

However, it’s not without its critics, especially of the newest 3rd edition. While updates include a supplementary CD and text written in softer font, others include dated pop culture references, and homework sections do not always correspond with the day’s lesson. On top of that, it’s quite expensive: a used book can run as high as $150. Many people suggest that an older edition will work just as well.

  • It takes an in-depth look at Japanese grammar. 
  • There are a lot of helpful cultural notes.
  • You’ll pick up vocabulary for daily life.
  • There aren’t as many exercises on speaking and writing. 
  • It’s pretty expensive, with a hardcover copy ranging from $70 to $150.
  • It covers less than 200  kanji.  

"Shadowing: Let's Speak Japanese!"

As the name implies, this resource uses the shadowing technique  to teach Japanese, which consists of speaking along with a native speaker and trying to match the speed, pitch and pronunciation.

These books’ main strength lies in their practicality: The example sentences contained in both are really useful in daily life. They’re great resources for perfecting pronunciation and learning to automatically speak common phrases in a natural way.

There are two main books available, covering beginner to intermediate and intermediate to advanced. In addition, a specialist book for job interviews  is also available.

  • The books are good quality, well organized and include native speaker audio.
  • The system promotes natural speed, rhythm, intonation and pronunciation.
  • You’ll start speaking from day one.
  • The technique employed yields excellent results compared to other speaking practice methods.
  • You need to speak out loud, so it’s not the best for studying in public.
  • These textbooks are only good for speaking and listening—the texts don’t support any reading or writing practice, or grammar learning.
  • Don’t monitor comprehension or place phrases in the context of longer speech.
  • There are no quizzes or review exercises.

"Nihongo Active Talk"

If your main goal is having conversations and making friends using Japanese , then “Nihongo Active Talk” may be just the ticket. It covers set phrases and beginner vocabulary and focuses on the application and comprehension of simple speaking and listening skills.

The book focuses on grasping grammar basics and applying them in conversation, helping learners study the concepts in context. And since it’s romaji-supported, you can dive right in even without any knowledge of Japanese reading.

  • Romaji-based instruction  makes reading easier.
  • Short and simple exercises mean you can quickly move on, keeping motivation up.
  • Useful vocabulary lists will help you pick up new words and review them easily.
  • Romaji may discourage kana acquisition, which is essential for moving forward in your learning.
  • The focus on conversational skills means it’s less comprehensive than other textbooks.

"New Nihongo Keigo Training"

Keigo , or honorific Japanese, is used to show respect and to indicate one’s place in a hierarchy. It’s an essential feature of Japanese and mastering keigo can mean the difference between being able to work using your Japanese and upsetting a client or failing an interview.

There aren’t many resources specifically dedicated to the topic of keigo, so “New Nihongo Keigo Training” was a welcome edition when it was published in 2014.

  • Furigana throughout means that you can learn to communicate politely without Japanese kanji knowledge.
  • It’s succinct—this book gets straight down to business!
  • There’s a CD included and an audio download is available on the publisher’s page.
  • The minimal English explanations mean this book may not be appropriate for those totally unfamiliar with keigo.
  • There’s limited assistance for speaking.
  • Open-ended practice exercises may make it hard to assess the accuracy of your own answers.
  • Pair work activities aren’t well-suited for solo learners.

Practice Makes Perfect Basic Japanese

As the name suggests, this is a practice-based book. Students learn grammar through a series of interactive lessons that teach all the essentials.

Explanations of verb types, particles, clause modification and more are laid out plain and simple for the beginner. You’ll be able to work right in the book as you go through short lessons and exercises, perfect for even the most time-crunched language learners.

  • Suitable for beginners, easy to get yourself started and easy to understand.
  • Exercises also cover phonetics, writing and other often-neglected areas of language learning.
  • Usage dictionary included.
  • Exercise-based approach helps students internalize grammar.
  • Kanji is introduced quickly and uses only romaji translations, not furigana, making it difficult to associate the kanji with the right sounds.
  • Longer explanations for tougher topics could do with having more exercises.

A Guide to Japanese Grammar: A Japanese approach to learning Japanese grammar

This book covers all of the essentials of Japanese grammar in explicit detail, from basic sentence enders to advanced topics like negative volitionals.

The prime focus of this book is to give the learner building blocks that they can use to create a solid foundation in their knowledge of all things Japanese grammar.  Instead of starting from stock sentences using formal constructs and working backward (like most textbooks), Tae Kim presents Japanese grammar from the bottom up. This means you’ll learn the individual elements of grammar, as well as how to put them together to form more natural sentences than traditional textbooks teach. 

  • Extremely detailed and comprehensive: covers grammar, writing, phonetics and more, with plenty of support and examples.
  • Includes examples and vocabulary used by Japanese in the real world today, such as casual speech and slang.
  • Great for checking grammar rules, this textbook can be used as a beginner reference guide as well as a textbook to work through from start to finish.
  • There are no listening exercises or audio support
  • Practice exercises are open-ended questions, so they require someone with better Japanese than you to check for errors

Japanese Verbs and Essentials of Grammar

This book covers all the essentials in 160 pages. It’s organized logically for easy reference and offers a good way for beginners to get up and running quickly.

Part 1 focuses on Japanese verbs, explaining their endings and forms, how to modify them and more. You’ll also get lessons on those pesky て and た forms, which are essential to advancing through Japanese grammar.

Part 2 explains various Japanese grammar points from the basics, such as particles, counters and conjugations.

  • Short yet comprehensive: all major grammatical concepts are included and explained, without the fluff.
  • Suitable as a reference and includes tables that aid quick assimilation.
  • Bonus audio material can be accessed online.
  • Has section with cultural information.
  • The sheer amount of information can be overwhelming for beginners, so this is best used to reinforce learning.
  • The book only uses romaji, no kana or kanji.

All About Particles: A Handbook of Japanese Function Words

Though Japanese particles can be rather tricky to master, they’re far from impossible to learn. All that’s required is a clear, concise guide to learn from—and that’s where this book is here to help.

This book offers thorough explanations on nearly 70 particles in the Japanese language, from basics like は and が to more complicated ones like だの and すら. Plenty of example sentences are provided to account for a variety of circumstances in which particles may appear.

  • Uses cross-references to explain when multiple particles can be used in the same situation.
  • Good for all levels of Japanese learners.
  • Focuses on building comprehension through context to allow for thorough understanding.
  • This is strictly a reference book, so there aren’t any exercises.

New Kanzen Master Jlpt Grammar Bunpo Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4

One of a huge series aimed at those studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), this is an undoubtedly valuable resource for anyone studying Japanese grammar. The levels of these books correspond to the JLPT levels, ranging from N5 (easiest) to N1 (hardest).

I personally used the N2 version of this grammar book to study for the JLPT, and I was blown away by how thorough and easy to understand it was. Each grammar point is given a comprehensive explanation, detailing usage and limits for the terms.

  • Series available for all levels, beginners to advanced (JLPT N4~N1).
  • Plenty of practice exercises with mock tests.
  • Explains distinctions between similar grammatical phrases.
  • The JLPT focus means this is more of a review than a place to learn new grammar points.
  • Explanations sometimes don’t go in-depth about each topic

"Try!" JLPT series

The “Try!” series is specifically focused on students who intend to take the JLPT exam. The books strike a good balance between instruction, application and review of grammar and new vocabulary.

I found their grammar explanations to be sufficient without being so complex that I had trouble memorizing the main points. Plus, the examples are pretty close to what you might encounter in the real world, making it a valuable resource for seeing the application of the concepts you’re learning. The series worked well during lessons, as well as when I studied independently.

  • The fast “a to b” style is perfect for the JLPT, covering the basics in a succinct fashion.
  • Contain good, simple grammar explanations with some examples as well as exercises and listening quizzes.
  • The answers are included for easy self-assessment.
  • The books come with accompanying CDs.
  • You may need further examples to get a sense of how to use grammar that doesn’t have an equivalent in English.
  • Some grammar concepts are glossed over with brief explanations.

A vocabulary book is not the same as a dictionary. Understanding when and how to write, spell and speak Japanese vocabulary is a complex thing, so vocabulary books exist to hold your hand a bit more than a dictionary would while learning.

Vocabulary books are meant to give you a good grasp of the words they teach, but to be able to actually use the words in conversations, you’ll have to take your learning beyond the book. Try to find real-world examples of the words in movies, shows and books and any other authentic Japanese content that you consume.

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The Handbook of Japanese Verbs (Kodansha Dictionary)

The Japanese language revolves around verbs—their conjugations, modifications and placement within a sentence. As such, a book like this focused on verbs and their usage will come in great handy.

The book explains how verbs work and how they conjugate and relies heavily on exercises to ensure that students understand the material as they progress.

After breaking down Japanese verbs into their parts, you’re shown how they get mixed and matched with helping elements to convey a wide variety of meanings. Next, it shows how these verbs function in real Japanese sentences, with plenty of examples and practice questions to make sure that the meaning of each term is understood.

  • Excellent for beginners and intermediate students who want a solid understanding of verbs.
  • Exercise-oriented approach makes it ideal for self-study or students who want hands-on practice.
  • Book includes several appendices and methods for looking up verbs.
  • None, as far as I can tell!

Japanese Vocabulary (Barron's Vocabulary Series)

This book organizes thousands of common Japanese words into categories. From basics like greetings and numbers to more specific terms like travel and shopping, it’s easy to create a study plan from this book, or focus on what’s relevant to you.

This resource is excellent for beginner and intermediate students who wish to focus on specific areas or supplement their own studies with vocabulary.

The pronunciation is given for every word, and if you need to find a certain word fast, there’s an easy-to-navigate section that lets you pick out the term you want, showing both English and Japanese meanings.

  • Very reasonable price.
  • Small yet comprehensive.
  • Topical organization lets students focus on particular areas as needed.
  • There’s no kanji or kana used in this book.
  • Some of the words included are impractical for everyday use.

Jazz Up Your Japanese with Onomatopoeia: For All Levels

Onomatopoeia is a huge part of Japanese but isn’t often covered in textbooks. This is really a shame, because Japanese onomatopoeia can be used to express all sorts of concepts, feelings, sounds and more that English doesn’t have words for—but I sure wish it did!

This book contains a huge variety of onomatopoeia, getting into the details of everyday Japanese so you sound more like a native. To help readers learn how they’re used in sentences, sample dialogues are provided in Japanese, with transcriptions in romaji and English translations.

  • Explains symbolism between sound and meanings of onomatopoeia.
  • Written in casual, everyday Japanese to give an accurate sense of daily conversations.
  • Offers cultural notes on certain nuanced points.
  • The Japanese and its romaji depictions are on different pages (instead of following each sentence), forcing you to keep looking back.

Kodansha's Furigana Japanese Dictionary (Kodansha Dictionaries)

This dictionary includes furigana—small hiragana written above kanji—to help students know how to pronounce words. This is a fantastic feature, as many dictionaries do not include the furigana readings of kanji. Students can learn kanji readings through the furigana as they navigate this dictionary, giving them a leg up in their studies.

Like the Random House dictionary, it’s divided into a Japanese-English and an English-Japanese section. The Japanese-English section is written in Japanese kana, not romaji. There are also notes on words that may be vague in meaning, with example sentences that show them in their correct contexts.

  • The Japanese-English section, ordered by kana, helps students learn the native Japanese kana order.
  • Suitable for beginner and intermediate students.
  • Example sentences are included with each entry.
  • Compact and portable.
  • There’s no romaji at all, so no support for new learners.
  • The furigana is in a very small font, making it difficult to read at times.

Kenkyusha's New Japanese - English Dictionary, 4th Edition (English and Japanese Edition)

This heavy-duty dictionary is the most thorough, in-depth dictionary on the market, packing a whopping 290,000 words.

Many entries have multiple sub-entries, allowing for precise definitions that allow you to understand the exact meaning of each word. Example sentences and detailed explanations abound, so that you’re fully informed as to what each word means, including ones that lack English equivalents.

What’s more, this is the dictionary used by translators and professionals, making it indispensable if you hope to get into that field yourself.

  • The go-to dictionary for students who plan to study Japanese for many years to come.
  • Suitable for intermediate students, advanced students and translators.
  • Later editions include more entries and more modernized terms than previous ones.
  • It’s very expensive, especially if you want to buy it new.

A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar for Learning Language 3- BOOK Bundle Set , Basic , Intermediate , Advanced - Japan Import

Many Japanese teachers recommend this book to their students, and for good reason. This one-stop shop for all things Japanese grammar covers 600+ basic grammar points and gives in-depth explanations on every possible usage of each term.

Aimed at beginning Japanese students, this book provides definitions of each grammatical point and the particular characteristics it possesses. Several example sentences are provided for every entry, broken down into parts that show how the grammar functions in a Japanese sentence.

  • Part of a three-book series of basic, intermediate and advanced grammar.
  • Organized in alphabetical order for easy access.
  • Example sentences break down the usage of grammar points for easy study.
  • Relies heavily on romaji.
  • Explanations can get technical

The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Dictionary: Revised and Expanded

Made to be used with “The Kodansha Kanji Learner’s Course,” this comprehensive kanji dictionary features 3,000 characters. Basically, all the kanji you could ever want to know are bound in one convenient spot.

Meanings are given in order of importance and provide plenty of example words that contain the kanji. Some kanji serve as prefixes and suffixes, and this dictionary goes into how those are used as well.

Its most noteworthy feature is its unique system called SKIP (System of Kanji Indexing by Patterns), which organizes kanji based on patterns, rather than radicals. This makes it easy to accurately look up the character you’re searching for.

  • Beginner-friendly index that allows for kanji to be quickly looked up.
  • Detailed descriptions of characters and includes examples of compound words to demonstrate meaning.
  • Color-coded entries to focus on core meanings and important characters.
  • Shows detailed stroke orders for each kanji.
  • The non-standard SKIP lookup method can backfire and make it more difficult to find what you’re looking for.

Common Japanese Collocations: A Learner's Guide to Frequent Word Pairings [Paperback] [2010] (Author) Kakuko Shoji

“Collocations” are words or phrases that are often used together, in a way that sounds natural to native speakers. I guarantee you have a few in your native language!

This book features such words found in the Japanese language and showcases how they’re used in everyday life. Divided into incredibly detailed categories and sub-sections, you’ll find common phrases for every situation imaginable.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a dictionary in the traditional sense—it’s more like a guide for sounding more natural in Japanese.

  • Goes into abstract phrases that may not be covered by most textbooks.
  • Organizes phrases based on one word/kanji, creating an easy index for learners to study from.
  • Provides notes on common usage errors.
  • A lack of an index makes it difficult to find specific entries.

新レインボー小学国語辞典 改訂第6版 小型版(オールカラー) (小学生向辞典・事典)

If you want to look up Japanese the way Japanese children do, why not try a Japanese-Japanese dictionary?

There’s actually great value in studying Japanese  in  Japanese, as you’ll reinforce the terms you already know as well as learn how Japanese people define their own language—in other words, you’re seeing the words in their native contexts.

All of the definitions in this colorfully illustrated book are written in easy-to-understand Japanese, making it a valuable tool for intermediate learners looking to reinforce their Japanese.

  • Designed for children, so it’s good for intermediate learners.
  • Indexed in kana order, with kanji labeled based on grade level.
  • Provides illustrations to reinforce the meaning of words.
  • The selection of words is very basic—this is by no means a comprehensive dictionary.

The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary

This dictionary has been the industry standard kanji dictionary for years.

The Nelson dictionary boasts that it includes every kanji used in modern Japanese (over 7,000!). Kanji can be looked up by radical, pronunciation, stroke count and more.

There’s also plenty of additional information included, like an index of radicals, historical and geographical kanji and other useful bits of information.

  • Excellent for students of any level.
  • Each kanji includes a long list of vocabulary words.
  • Includes a variety of appendices and indexes for additional look-up methods.
  • Doesn’t show stroke order.
  • Uses romaji, not kana, for kanji readings.
  • It’s an old book (from 1997) so some information may be dated.

Remembering the Kanji 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters

This book offers a different, story-based approach to learning 2,200 kanji. Unlike the previous book, which is all about the history of each kanji, this reference book leans heavily into the “how to memorize” aspect of kanji learning.

Each kanji element is associated with a story element, which is then used as a mnemonic device to aid memorization. For example, to remember the kanji 貝 (かい, shellfish), readers are encouraged to picture a giant clam with a big eye right in its middle running around on the beach terrorizing the beachgoers.

The basic stroke order is included for each kanji, as is information on the different elements and radicals that make up the character.

  • Ideal for students who want a unique, systematic way to remember kanji and their meanings.
  • Focused exclusively on memorizing meaning, as opposed to pronunciation, vocabulary and so forth.
  • No readings are provided for the kanji.

Basic Kanji Book, Vol. 1

This first book in a two-part course aims to teach beginners basic kanji and covers 250 characters. I fondly recall using this book and its second volume in my kanji classes years ago, working through the writing games and reading exercises along with my classmates.

Each lesson begins with a lesson on kanji as a whole, such as how radicals are composed, how kanji functions in the Japanese language and even common kanji in family names. Every lesson covers 10 kanji apiece, breaking them into their stroke orders and meanings, with reading and writing exercises in easy Japanese.

It also offers fun games after each activity to test what you’ve learned, such as  Concentration, navigating shopping centers and even figuring out features in real apartment advertisements! Those real-world moments (including a whole TV guide in volume 2) are definitely my favorite parts of this series.

  • Targeted at beginner-level students.
  • Focuses on building reading comprehension and writing skills.
  • Provides lessons on kanji structure to gain intimacy with kanji from its very foundations.
  • There’s no answer key, so there’s no real way to gauge progress without a teacher.

The Kodansha Kanji Learner's Course: A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering 2300 Characters

This book aims to give its readers a solid foundation of kanji by taking them on a step-by-step journey through 2,300 characters. Kanji are organized by Kodansha’s own system, grouping them based on difficulty and shared meanings, making it easy to build an effective study plan.

Every single kanji is explained in great detail, including stroke order, definition, readings and more. My favorite part has got to be the mnemonic guides for remembering characters—not only do they tell logical stories based on the kanji’s radicals, but some of them have made me double over in laughter.

  • Kanji is arranged based on shared units to maximize learning efficiency.
  • Allows cross-referencing between similar-looking characters to learn the difference between them.
  • Explains abstract concepts behind kanji with fun, easy-to-remember mnemonics.
  • Contains an index that allows kanji to be looked up based on radicals, readings and more.
  • The order of the kanji means that often, more obscure words are taught before common kanji.

You can study all the textbooks you want, but at the end of the day, you’re going to need to reinforce that study with real-world Japanese.

Here’s where bilingual and parallel books come in handy.

Written in both Japanese and English, they’re designed to help Japanese learners take the step from formal studies to authentic Japanese. Reading Japanese stories allows you to explore ways of thinking that you may have never considered before, making for a wonderfully captivating experience.

Not only that, you’re being exposed to Japanese as it was meant to be experienced by native speakers, and with an English translation right alongside the Japanese text, you’ll be able to keep your momentum going.

Japanese Short Stories for Beginners: 20 Captivating Short Stories to Learn Japanese & Grow Your Vocabulary the Fun Way! (Easy Japanese Stories)

Designed for newcomers to written Japanese, this book has 20 Japanese short stories that feature paragraph-by-paragraph translations to guide you through your first foray into Japan’s world of literature.

Translations are provided line by line, meaning that you get a line of Japanese followed by a line of English underneath. At the end of each story, you’re provided with a summary of the material, a vocabulary list and questions to check your comprehension.

If you’re new to reading stories in Japanese, this book should be on the top of your list.

  • Engaging stories that provide repeated exposure to new vocabulary words.
  • Provides quizzes at the end of each story to check your understanding.
  • Though it’s marketed to beginners, some vocabulary used is on the more advanced side.

Short Stories in Japanese: New Penguin Parallel Text (Japanese Edition)

This book features eight short stories by famous as well as up-and-coming Japanese authors like Banana Yoshimoto, Kasushige Abe and Hiromi Kawakami. Three of these stories have never been published in English before—making for brand new material that you can enjoy!

With stories that cover a variety of themes and page-by-page parallel translations in English, engaging literature in the Japanese language is right at your fingertips.

This book is an extremely flexible tool for those with a bit more Japanese knowledge under their belts. If you want to test yourself, it’s easy to cover the English translation and read the Japanese alone, or you can use it as a reference point as you work through the text.

  • Provides notes and annotations for smooth comprehension.
  • Aimed at intermediate to advanced learners.
  • Kindle and paperback editions available.
  • Would really benefit from a glossary.

Japanese Stories for Language Learners: Bilingual Stories in Japanese and English (MP3 Audio disc included)

This book features classic Japanese stories that focus on Japanese culture and literary tradition. If you ever wanted to read famed stories like “Kumo no Ito” or “ Yuki Onna” in their original Japanese, these entries with parallel English translations are the perfect chance to take a crack at it.

Designed for intermediate and advanced students, these stories are laid out in a way that enables you to study from them. After the page-by-page parallel translations, you’ll find a vocabulary list and a list of translator’s notes that explain certain complex passages and justify certain decisions for the English translation. Finally, you’ll get a quiz that allows you to check your comprehension of the new terms you’ve learned from the story.

  • Comes with MP3 CD containing recordings of each story.
  • Vocabulary lists, discussion questions and quizzes to check comprehension.
  • Features translator’s notes to increase understanding of terms difficult to translate into English.
  • Contains some archaic kanji, due to the age of the stories.
  • Furigana is a bit small and cramped in the small space between the lines.

While Amazon may be where most books are purchased these days—and their “look inside” feature can be really helpful—there’s a lot to be said for considering other places to buy. Here are a few options:

Traditional brick-and-mortar stores can offer a chance to really look through a book and compare several side-by-side. If you’re lucky enough to have access to a college campus bookstore, then it could be well worth your time to take a trip to check out their Japanese section.

Flagship stores in larger cities also have more stock and you may find staff who are really familiar with the language sections and can assist you.

OMG Japan has a good selection of Japanese textbooks and reference books. They’re well organized and very easy to navigate by level, skill or series. The staff are professional, have expertise in this specific area and will help answer your questions.

Of course, Amazon offers free shipping on many items and rock-bottom prices. The “used books” selection is also worth considering if you’re on a tight budget (especially for reference books, as textbooks may have problems filled in already).

Pro tip: Intermediate and advanced learners can check selections on the (all Japanese) Amazon Japan website, as they have a far wider selection than most English-speaking countries’ local Amazon sites.

Find the book that you want, note the ISBN , then search by typing the ISBN directly into the search bar of your local Amazon site to see if there’s a copy available. Ordering directly from Japanese Amazon is possible, but may have expensive shipping.

No matter which resource you choose, remember to think about your personal learning goals.

Whatever your motivation for learning is, one of these top Japanese books will help get you there.

If you love learning Japanese with authentic materials, then I should also tell you more about FluentU .

FluentU naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You'll learn real Japanese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a broad range of contemporary videos as you'll see below:


FluentU makes these native Japanese videos approachable through interactive transcripts. Tap on any word to look it up instantly.


All definitions have multiple examples, and they're written for Japanese learners like you. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.


And FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples.


The best part? FluentU keeps track of your vocabulary, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You'll have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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practice book japan

Learn Languages From Home

12 Best Japanese Workbooks for Language Learners

This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For full information, please see the disclaimer  here .

So, you’ve got yourself a Japanese textbook . Maybe you’ve even decided to master the notoriously challenging parts of the language by using a Japanese grammar book . What’s next?

For a truly holistic approach to using Japanese learning books , I recommend getting your hands on Japanese workbooks . Regardless of which language competency you want to improve on — writing kanji or mastering Japanese verbs — using workbooks can give you the practice you need.

Boy writing Japanese characters in a workbook

Why use Japanese workbooks

Any language learner will agree that being able to read and understand what you hear in another language is a glorious feeling.

I feel proud when I watch a Korean show and I understand bits and pieces of what’s going on. I got the same feeling when I understood the label “thé vert” in French tea packaging. I’m sure you have those moments where you feel you’re progressing in your learning journey. It feels good, doesn’t it?

Reading and listening are receptive skills, however, and they’re only half the battle. Mastery of a language requires productive skills, which are writing and speaking.

Most people have higher receptive skills and lower productive skills . It’s possible for someone to be able to finish reading a manga in Japanese and have trouble writing in kana or kanji even after years of learning the language.

stack of Japanese workbooks on top of Japanese language proficiency test paper

Enter Japanese workbooks. These materials provide more interactive learning compared to regular textbooks. Japanese workbooks allow you to test yourself and apply what you learned. They can reveal your progress and show areas that need improvement.

This list of Japanese workbooks includes textbooks that have huge chunks of activity sections, textbook accompaniments, and whole books dedicated to just practicing Japanese handwriting. Take your pick below!

Best Japanese workbooks and textbook accompaniments

1. yookoso: an invitation to contemporary japanese workbook.

Workbook/Laboratory Manual to accompany Yookoso!: An Invitation to Contemporary Japanese

  • Tohsaku, Yasu-Hiko (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages – 04/12/2006 (Publication Date) – McGraw Hill (Publisher)

One of our recommended books to learn Japanese , Yookoso! is known for teaching Japanese grammar in a contextualized format. Explanations in the textbook are brief but comprehensive.

The Yookoso! workbook contains exercises that complement the textbook. Over 30 illustrations provide attractive context for understanding the lessons. You will be tested on both vocabulary and grammar as well as reading comprehension, hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

This workbook is best for :

  • Beginners to intermediate learners
  • Testing yourself on practical grammar
  • Reading practice

2. NihonGO NOW!: Performing Japanese Culture – Level 1 Volume 1 Textbook and Activity Book

日本語NOW! NihonGO NOW!: Performing Japanese Culture - Level 1 Volume 1 Textbook and Activity Book (Now! Nihongo Now!, 1)

  • Noda, Mari (Author)
  • 664 Pages – 09/17/2020 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

NihonGO NOW! is also on our list of Japanese textbooks , and that’s partly because it comes with a great activity book that contains challenging and thorough exercises.

This book teaches context-sensitive and culturally coherent Japanese. You get a lot of sample sentences in both formal and informal speech to keep the lessons as authentic as possible. Grammar is also taught without intimidating jargon.

As for the activities, you’ll get a good balance of vocabulary and grammar tests. What’s more, the publisher has audio materials on its site for listening and speaking practice!

  • Learning Japanese with cultural context and authentic speech
  • A variety of exercises to test reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills
  • An abundance of supplementary materials from the publisher’s site

3. Genki Workbook Volume 1 (3rd edition)

Genki Workbook Volume 1, 3rd edition (Genki (1)) (Multilingual Edition) (Japanese Edition)

  • Banno, Eri (Author)
  • Japanese (Publication Language)
  • 152 Pages – 02/01/2020 (Publication Date) – Japan Times (Publisher)

If you’ve been learning Japanese for quite some time, you’ve likely heard of Genki. This series of books is among the most popular Japanese textbooks.

Needless to say, Genki’s exercise book is one of the most well-known Japanese workbooks on the market. This workbook contains exercises from the 12 lessons that correspond to the grammatical contents of the textbook. It also includes exercises for practicing hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

Each page of the book can be cut off and used as a homework sheet. If you plan on traveling somewhere and want to do some exercises but don’t feel like bringing the whole book, you can just tear off a few pages!

  • Testing yourself on the Japanese writing system, conversations, reading, and writing
  • Improving your Japanese grammar knowledge
  • JLPT N5 takers

4. Adventures in Japanese Volume 1 Workbook (4th Edition)

Adventures in Japanese 4th Edition, Volume 1 workbook (Japanese Edition)

  • Hiromi Peterson (Author)
  • 07/31/2014 (Publication Date) – Cheng & Tsui (Publisher)

A companion to the Adventures in Japanese Volume 1 textbook, this Japanese workbook for beginners contains a variety of exercises that will test you on all core language skills.

One of the most engaging Japanese workbooks on this list, this book covers exercises on 12 topics including Japanese greetings, hobbies, shopping, and food. You’ll be tested on vocabulary, grammar, and reading comprehension.

The book also includes exercises on hiragana, katakana, and kanji. What’s great is that there are also lots of open-ended questions that require creativity and critical thinking.

  • A variety of engaging lessons that include multiple choices and open-ended responses
  • Numerous writing exercises
  • Challenging tests on reading comprehension

5. Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Japanese Grammar (Premium Second Edition)

Practice Makes Perfect: Complete Japanese Grammar, Premium Second Edition

  • Sato, Eriko (Author)
  • 312 Pages – 05/21/2021 (Publication Date) – McGraw Hill (Publisher)

Practice Makes Perfect is not only a comprehensive grammar guide. It’s also one of the most robust Japanese workbooks to date.

The Japanese grammar workbook contains 200 exercises in 15 units covering various grammar concepts. Perfect for beginners and early intermediate learners, sample sentences and exercises are written in Japanese script and romaji for pronunciation help.

Aside from the exercises in the book, the answers to more than 100 exercises have also been recorded and available on the accompanying app. Depending on your device’s capabilities, you can also record your own answers for speaking practice!

  • A plethora of exercises to test your reading, writing, and grammar knowledge
  • Grammar usage in everyday life
  • Varied activities also available on its app

6. Beginning Japanese Workbook (Revised Edition)

Beginning Japanese Workbook: Revised Edition: Practice Conversational Japanese, Grammar, Kanji & Kana (Online Audio for Listening Practice)

  • Kluemper, Michael L. (Author)
  • 192 Pages – 06/21/2016 (Publication Date) – Tuttle Publishing (Publisher)

If you’re looking for dynamic Japanese workbooks, Beginning Japanese should be on your list. Developed by Japanese language experts and experienced teachers, it has every kind of useful test a learner needs.

This workbook includes dialogues for contextual learning and practice, translation exercises to reinforce kanji and kana knowledge, and tests for comprehension, vocab, and grammar. All these are interspersed with an engaging story about Kiara, an American exchange student who lives in Japan, and her time-traveling friends.

While most textbook accompaniments are designed to be used solely for their main textbooks, Beginning Japanese can be used for its main textbook but also independently or with another Japanese textbook. Pretty convenient, isn’t it?

  • Well-rounded exercises that target all core language skills
  • Practicing Japanese script
  • A fun storyline that encourages regular practice

7. Intermediate Japanese Workbook

Intermediate Japanese Workbook: Activities and Exercises to Help You Improve Your Japanese!

  • 160 Pages – 02/02/2016 (Publication Date) – Tuttle Publishing (Publisher)

The Intermediate Japanese textbook picks up where Beginning Japanese left off, with Kiara and her friends continuing their time-traveling adventures. This story is made even more interesting and interactive in the Intermediate Japanese workbook .

Just like the previous workbook, this one uses a context-based method of testing your knowledge of Japanese vocabulary, grammar, kana, and kanji. What’s great is that the exercises also include dialogues and images from Kiara’s story.

This book also comes with free online audio resources to reinforce your pronunciation and listening skills.

  • Learners who previously used the Beginning Japanese textbook and workbook
  • Mastering more complex grammar concepts and kanji
  • Context-based learning

Best Japanese workbooks for writing kana and kanji

8. learning japanese workbook for beginners: hiragana katakana and kanji.

Learning Japanese Workbook for Beginners: Hiragana Katakana And Kanji - Quick and Easy Way to Learn the Basic Japanese Up-to 300 Pages (EXPANDED EDITION)

  • Learning Japanese Workbook for Beginners: Hiragana Katakana And Kanji Quick and Easy Way to Learn the Basic Japanese Upto 300 Pages
  • Independently published
  • Reality, Just (Author)

Anyone who’s had to struggle while learning all three Japanese writing systems will know just how important Japanese workbooks are. Learning Japanese Workbook for Beginner aids with this through exercises that test handwriting.

With this book, you’ll learn stroke order for Japanese scripts. You’ll also be able to read simple texts in Japanese, write using hiragana, katakana, and kanji, and understand basic vocabulary words that you can use in everyday situations and words that you’ll need for JLPT N5.

  • Learning how to write Japanese scripts
  • Building practical vocabulary

9. 3-in-1 Hiragana and Katakana Workbook

3-in-1 Hiragana and Katakana Workbook: Japanese hiragana and katakana writing practice, JLPT Level N5 vocabulary and cut-out hiragana and katakana flash cards (Japanese Writing Workbooks)

  • Lingvo, Lilas (Author)
  • 194 Pages – 05/08/2020 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)

If you’re looking for fun Japanese workbooks to learn hiragana and katakana, this is not it.

You will probably not have fun doing the writing drills in 3-in-1 Hiragana and Katakana where you’d have to write each character about a hundred times. But is there a better way to master the characters?

This Japanese learning book contains hundreds of writing practice sheets that you can cut out and duplicate using the copy machine. It also features all the words you need to memorize should you want to take the JLPT level N5, with cut-out hiragana and katakana flash cards to aid memorization.

  • Learning Japanese script in the most straightforward way
  • Memorizing JLPT N5 vocabulary
  • Beginners who want to master writing quickly

10. Japanese Writing Practice Book

Japanese Writing Practice Book: Master HIRAGANA & KATAKANA Alphabet with JLPT N5 Words - Powerful Handwriting Practice & Vocabulary Building Workbook for Beginners to Learn Japanese Characters & Words

  • Pal Press, Nihongo (Author)
  • 128 Pages – 07/09/2021 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)

Nihongo Pal Press’ Japanese Writing Practice Book is for serious learners of hiragana and katakana.

Unlike the previous Japanese workbooks for writing practice on this list, this book’s sole purpose is to get you to practice writing Japanese characters. You’ll learn stroke orders using the guided squares.

Ideal for JLPT N5 test takers, this workbook also contains a set of words used in the N5 level test, complete with the English meaning, pronunciation, and kanji form of the word. You also get additional katakana words for practice.

  • Writing practice for hiragana, and katakana
  • Great for vocabulary building
  • Extra help for JLPT N5 test

11. Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana: A Workbook for Self-Study

Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana: A Workbook for Self-Study

  • Henshall, Kenneth G. (Author)
  • 128 Pages – 08/05/2014 (Publication Date) – Tuttle Publishing (Publisher)

Perfect for self-study or classroom use, Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana is one of the most systematic Japanese workbooks for writing practice.

This beginner-friendly workbook not only gives writing drills but also provides a comprehensive introduction to the origin, primary function, pronunciation, and usage of each character. Knowing all these gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation of the script.

A huge chunk of the book is dedicated to learning stroke order for each character. Words are formed progressively, so you build vocabulary along the way.

  • Detailed learning of each Japanese character
  • Writing drills and learning stroke order
  • Expanding vocabulary

12. Japanese Language Writing Practice Book

Japanese Language Writing Practice Book: Learn to Write Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji - Character Handwriting Sheets with Square Grids (Ideal for JLPT and AP Exam Prep)

  • 128 Pages – 10/27/2020 (Publication Date) – Tuttle Publishing (Publisher)

Japanese Language Writing Practice Book is one of the best Japanese workbooks for beginners or those who want to improve their writing skills.

Each double-page spread in this workbook has square grids on the right-hand side, where you can practice writing kana and kanji. On the left side, there’s lined paper that you can use for note-taking.

This workbook also includes a ten-page reference section for hiragana, katakana, and kanji charts. You also get a list of common kanji, key vocabulary, and a handy list of Japanese plain verbs.

  • Practicing and memorizing Japanese script
  • Building basic vocabulary
  • Some grammar practice focused on Japanese verbs

Writing in a Japanese workbook

And there you have it! I hope this list of Japanese workbooks encourages you to go out there and keep practicing until you’ve mastered the language.

In between drills, you can also explore apps to learn Japanese . And if you feel like it’s time to get extra help from a native speaker or professional teacher, do consider finding Japanese tutors online . Happy learning!

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100+ Unique Chinese Girl Names And Their Meanings

Learning Japanese? Here Are 12 Books I Highly Recommend

Ichika Yamamoto

  • Read time 11 mins

Learning Japanese? Here Are 12 Books I Highly Recommend

Looking for the best books to learn Japanese?

With so many apps , programs, and online resources out there to learn Japanese, you might be forgetting one of the best and simplest resources to either begin or continue your progress in learning the language: books! 😊

Nothing beats having a solid Japanese textbook or a dictionary you can reference and take notes in.

In the age of technology, learners often forget that a good old-fashioned book usually has much more to it than simple apps.

Editors and experts put these books together, standing the test of time, and hundreds of thousands of copies have been sold, making them a sure-fire way to improve your Japanese. Don’t forget, people have been learning this language with books for hundreds of years.

But there are so many books to choose from, where do you start?

In this list, I’ve put together 12 books to help you along your Japanese journey, for beginners up to advanced learners.

  • Minna no Nihongo
  • Basic Kanji Book
  • A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
  • Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese
  • Common Japanese Collocations
  • Japanese Graded Readers
  • New Kanzen Master
  • Magic Treehouse
  • Read Real Japanese
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service

UPDATE: A lot of people ask for our best online Japanese course recommendation. Here it is for those interested:

Best books and textbooks to learn Japanese

Learning a new language can be daunting.

Even just a quick google search about “how to learn Japanese ” can be incredibly overwhelming, with an endless amount of resources to choose from. But if you want somewhere to start, there is nothing better than a beginner’s textbook.

A solid textbook has everything you need to get started in learning Japanese.

It goes over the writing systems, tells you how to introduce yourself, and goes over basic sentence structure so you can start forming sentences of your own. All this comes in an easy to learn from, single package.

Here are some recommendations:

There are a few great beginner textbooks, but the most highly recommended is definitely the Genki series, which comes with two textbooks Genki I and Genki II, as well as paired workbooks.

The Genki series has simple explanations, adorable illustrations, and a ton of information that makes a great beginner’s foundation.

After learning everything from Genki I and II, you should be prepared for about N4 level on the Japanese Language Proficiency Test ( JLPT ).

2. Minna no Nihongo

Minna no Nihongo, which means “Japanese for Everyone” is another great all-encompassing textbook.

It covers essential grammar, vocabulary, listening, and even speaking practice. Minna no Nihongo can really prepare you to study entirely in Japanese, as it has much less English than other beginner textbooks.

Once you get the foundation down for learning Japanese, in Japanese, this becomes a huge leg up in your studies.

Like the Genki textbooks, Minna no Nihongo has two textbooks, volumes 1 and 2.

Once you complete volume 2 and internalize all of the lessons, you should be able to pass the N4 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

3. Basic Kanji Book

One of the biggest hurdles for Westerners learning Japanese is kanji.

I am sure you have heard many horror stories about how many kanji you will have to learn, and how difficult it is.

But this is just not true!

Kanji takes a lot of time, sure, but there is nothing hard about it. The Basic Kanji Book has the most useful 500 kanji in two volumes. This book really highlights each of the kanji, with all the readings, meanings, and words they are used in, so you can focus on learning them individually.

The book includes how to write each kanji with specific stroke order exercises, so you can practice writing them. It also covers the kanji radicals, which will allow you to deduce the meanings of other kanji you learn going forward.

It is a complete text to help you get started with the first 500 kanji, and give you tools to learn more kanji as you continue to study!

4. A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

When it comes to learning Japanese grammar, this book and the subsequent books in the series would be my number one pick for anyone learning Japanese.

Each volume is huge, with a tremendous amount of grammar points that covers everything you will need to start constructing proper sentences in Japanese.

The book introduces grammar points in alphabetical order and gives a definition, translations, example sentences, explanatory notes, and references to similar entries.

In the beginning, it also has a helpful section on “Characteristics of Japanese Grammar” and Appendices and Indices at the end for more clarity.

The second and third books in the series, “A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar” and “A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar” respectively, continue with the same format, allowing you to learn virtually everything you need to know about Japanese grammar.

5. Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese

One of the most common questions I get from Japanese learners online is:

“I finished Genki (or a similar beginner’s textbook), what next?”

And my answer is always the same: Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese is a perfect textbook that bridges the gap between beginner and advanced learners.

It continues with a familiar textbook format, with each chapter having a reading section, vocabulary list, grammar explanations, and various exercises and questions for a more complete understanding.

This book is not for beginners though, from page one they expect you to be able to read and understand Japanese at a basic level, using no romaji at all.

It is ideal for a self-learner that is progressing and wants to take their Japanese to the next level.

6. Common Japanese Collocations

Once you have progressed in Japanese a bit more, you might want to delve into making your Japanese sounds more natural, or being able to understand basic idioms and phrases that often get lost in context.

This is where Common Japanese Collocations come in.

Collocations refer to how words go together or form fixed relationships. For example, in English, we say “turn the volume up” more often than “turn the volume higher” so the first represents a strong collocation between the words “volume” and “up.”

When you learn a new language, learning collocations like this can make a huge difference in the fluency of your Japanese.

Common Japanese Collocations list hundreds of examples, organized by themes like “cooking” or “travel.”

It is a great book to help you transition from awkward English translations to more natural Japanese.

7. Yostubato

After you have progressed through some beginner material, and have a solid foundation of Japanese grammar as well as some vocabulary under your belt, you are ready to start reading native Japanese materials!

Japanese is a little different than other languages because of the high bar you need to pass before starting with native materials, mostly due to the complex writing systems.

But when you are ready, I have the perfect manga for you to start with.

Yotsubato is for children, so it’s a perfect start to reading in Japanese.

Because it is a manga, seeing the pictures in context will help you if you get lost. It follows the everyday adventures of a young girl trying to navigate the world with her adoptive father.

It is a slice-of-life manga, so it doesn’t have any difficult words or concepts, it’s a great introduction to native Japanese materials!

8. Japanese Graded Readers

As I have said before, starting to read native Japanese material can be pretty difficult, due to the complex writing systems.

But thankfully, there are some great resources to help you break into reading Japanese.

The Japanese Graded Readers series has quite a few books to choose from at varying levels.

Each level comes in a package with about six different stories and a CD with the audio files. You should have basic knowledge of Japanese to delve into these short stories, but they are easy enough for you to continue to learn new vocabulary and concepts while you read.

The stories are all relevant to daily life in Japan, so they are a perfect way to break into being able to read real Japanese.

9. New Kanzen Master

When you are ready to study for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), these are the books for you.

The New Kanzen Master Series has five books for levels N4-N1 of JLPT.

The books included in each set cover kanji, grammar, vocabulary, listening, and reading comprehension.

Of course, you can just buy one book in the set, which makes these perfect for learners who know their weak spots, and what they need to focus on to pass the JLPT.

They are more technical books than some of the previous texts listed, focusing on certain questions and patterns to help you pass the JLPT, but even if you aren’t taking the test, these books can be incredibly helpful, with plenty of detailed explanations and exercises that will help you improve all parts of your Japanese.

10. Magic Treehouse

It’s time to get into Japanese novels, and the Magic Treehouse Series is my favorite to recommend to new Japanese readers.

Of course, we have to start simple, so these are children’s stories, but each one is a proper 100-200 page chapter book that you will be proud of reading when you finish!

The stories follow siblings that venture off into the worlds of different books. Whether it is a prehistoric dinosaur world or outer space, you are sure to find something that interests you.

They are translated from English to Japanese , so the language is very simple and easy to understand.

The best part about these books is that the main character often takes “notes” about things they encounter on their adventures, so if a word comes up that you aren’t familiar with, it is explained in detail.

I can’t recommend these fun reads enough!

11. Read Real Japanese

Read Real Japanese is another unique book that will help you bridge the gap to reading more native Japanese material.

The book is filled with Japanese short stories entirely in Japanese.

But the best thing is, the next page has the English translations for the most important words on that page.

It also has an index in the back of the book, with several examples to help you understand the meaning of these words. This allows you to read a real Japanese story without having to stop and look up words you might not be familiar with.

And seeing these words in context will help you remember them.

For those that are pretty advanced in their Japanese, but are still not very comfortable reading native materials, these are perfect for you!

12. Kiki’s Delivery Service

Lastly, the book that inspired the Ghibli movie, Kiki’s Delivery Service, is a fantastic read for those that want to read a Japanese novel.

The treasured children’s story centers around Kiki, a young witch who must venture out on her own for a year, to a town without any other witches. The chapter book is an easy read with simple language and a fun story that will keep you engaged to the very end.

It is a great book for those that liked the film, or those that want an exciting story to read in Japanese!

Other Japanese resources, courses and alternatives to books

Of course, there are so many great alternative resources for learning Japanese.

You can head over to the Japanese resource page for starters, but if you’re looking for a few quick ideas, here are a couple of great ones:

JapanesePod101 : For the podcast learner ( review ).

JapanesePod101 (part of the Innovative series) is one of the most popular platforms for learning Japanese these days.

It has a massive library of lesson content for Japanese learners.

Rocket Japanese : Probably the most comprehensive online course for Japanese covering multiple levels ( review ).

Rocket has a very structured, linear format taking you through each lesson from start to finish. For someone brand new to Japanese and an inexperienced language learner, it’s perfect.

More expensive definitely but a lot more overall value and long-term use.

italki : This should be part of every Japanese student’s toolkit ( review ).

It eliminates the need to travel to Japan. You can book an inexpensive voice or video lesson through italki (many are less than $10 per hour).

Glossika Japanese : This is a very unique platform that teaches Japanese fluency through spaced-repetition of sentences ( review ).

Any Japanese books or resources I should add here?

Comment below!

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So true books is the go to source for learning, about to start my journey into this beautiful language wish me luck


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JLPT study guide series from The Japan Times Publishing Pass the JLPT using this study guide series from The Japan Times Publishing!

These are perfect for learners looking to study with lots of practice questions!

Succeed in all sections the best complete workbook for the japanese-language proficiency test.


1 This one book covers all JLPT sections!

This book has three parts: Language Knowledge, Reading, and Listening, and contains five practice tests with questions presented in the same format as those on the actual JLPT. No need to buy multiple study guides for each section, you will find everything you need to prepare for the JLPT in this one book. You can practice as much as you need to before taking the real test.

2 Boost your confidence, even if it is your first time taking the JLPT!

The Examples and Guide pages offer tips on how to answer questions with examples in an easy-to-understand manner. If you are studying for the JLPT for the first time, reading these pages and grasping the characteristics of each test section will help you study with confidence. (For levels N4 and N5, you can download PDFs of the full text of the Examples and Guide pages translated into English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russian.)

practice book japan

3 Make study plans with ease!

This book is structured so that you can complete studying for levels N1, N2, and N3 in 12 weeks, and levels N4 and N5 in 9 weeks, allowing you to study in a systematic manner.

practice book japan

4 Includes multilingual translation!

You can download the answers and explanations with multilingual translations that include detailed explanations for each question from The Japan Times BOOK CLUB. (English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Russian translations are available)

Testimonials from learners who are using our materials

Boost your confidence and get fully prepared.

practice book japan

I was studying for the N2, but I thought it was important to get used to the format of the test questions in order to pass, so I had been looking for a workbook with lots of practice questions. That’s when a teacher at my Japanese language school told me about these practice question books. These books contain five tests worth of practice questions, so I was able to completely prepare for the exam with just this one book, which I was really happy about. What’s more, their prices are reasonable, which is great. Also, the explanations in the Examples and Guide pages included a lot of tips on how to answer the questions that Japanese language school teachers don't teach, which was really helpful. Thanks to this, I was able to learn the tricks of how to answer listening comprehension questions, which had been my weak point, and listening comprehension ultimately became my specialty. I'm going to try the N1 next time, and of course, I'm planning on using the The Best Complete Workbook for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1 to study.

Click here to purchase

practice book japan

The Best Complete Workbook for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1

Kyoko Igarashi, Manaka Sato, Mikako Kanazawa, Mai Sugiyama, Arisa Uemura (Author)

1,980 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1781-7

practice book japan

The Best Complete Workbook for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N2

1,980 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1782-4

practice book japan

The Best Complete Workbook for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N3

Kyoko Igarashi, Mikako Kanazawa, Mai Sugiyama, (Author)

1,980 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1783-1

practice book japan

The Best Complete Workbook for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N4

1,980 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1816-6

practice book japan

The Best Complete Workbook for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N5

1,980 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1817-3

Have fun improving your vocabulary with these!

The best vocabulary builder for the japanese-language proficiency test.

practice book japan

1 Learn vocabulary in a way that’s fun and easy to maintain!

With these vocabulary books, you can learn while reading example sentences (mini stories). Sentences are created by combining words frequently used based on conversational data from actual Japanese native speakers. You’ll find plenty of everyday phrases and example sentences that make you laugh, making for an enjoyable and timeless way to learn vocabulary. Even if you have had trouble maintaining your study of vocabulary in the past, this book will be sure to help you keep learning.

practice book japan

2 Master reading comprehension!

Mini stories are not short sentences, but instead contain enough sentences to offer a bit of a challenge. In addition to vocabulary, you can also improve your reading comprehension, allowing you to gain more practical Japanese language skills. Mini stories also come with translations in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese, so you can check the meanings right away.

practice book japan

3 Audio is available for both smartphones and PCs!

Audio files are available on YouTube, through our smartphone app, and as MP3 files. You can study vocabulary anywhere; at home, at school, or on the train.


The example sentences are interesting, so it’s easy to keep studying.

practice book japan

I’ve tried many different ways to increase my vocabulary. I’ve done things like write vocab over and over in my notebook, read example sentences aloud, and more. But all of those methods were tedious and didn’t last long. Then, I happened across The Best Vocabulary Builder for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test at a bookstore. The most distinctive feature of these books is the unique example sentences. To be honest, when I first saw the example sentences in this book, I thought they were a little strange. But, thanks to the impressive and interesting example sentences, vocabulary is easier to remember, and I feel like my vocabulary has improved slowly but steadily compared to before. Also, the books are compact, making them convenient to carry around, so I can just grab them and read them in my free time, like when I’m on the train or during breaks at my part-time job. It's been about three months since I came across this book, and so far, I'm enjoying it every day.

The Best Vocabulary Builder for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1

The Best Vocabulary Builder for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1

Wadaibetsu Koopasu Kenkyuukai (Author)

1,870 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1795-4

practice book japan

The Best Vocabulary Builder for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N2

1,760 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1796-1

practice book japan

The Best Vocabulary Builder for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N3

Naoki Nakamata (Editor/Author), Eri Kato, Yukiko Koguchi, Madoka Konishi, Hajime Tateishi (Author)

1,430 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1797-8

practice book japan

The Best Vocabulary Builder for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N4

Fumiko Hayashi (Author)

1,430 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1809-8

ミニストーリーで覚える JLPT日本語能力試験ベスト単語N5 合格1000

The Best Vocabulary Builder for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N5

1,430 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1810-4

practice book japan

*Books for levels N1 and N5 are scheduled to be released in 2023.

Practice just like you are taking the real test with these!

The best practice tests for the japanese-language proficiency test.

JLPT日本語能力試験 ベスト模試 N1

1 High-quality questions made by experienced instructors!

These are practice tests created by teachers who have been active on the front lines of Japanese language education based on their many years of teaching experience. The questions are as close as possible to the real test, so you will certainly develop the skills you need to pass. This book contains three mock exams with plenty of content.

2 Practice just like you are taking the real test with the detachable question booklets!

The practice tests included in these books are in booklets similar to the actual JLPT test, and can be removed and used one at a time. By creating an environment that resembles that of the real test, you will be able to work on the practice tests with the same sense of pressure.

3 Gain real Japanese language skills with in-depth explanations!

The explanations tell you not only how to answer the questions, but also have information like synonyms, antonyms, related grammatical topics, and other things much like a reference book. Develop real Japanese language skills while preparing to pass the JLPT.

The explanations are wonderful.

practice book japan

I already passed the N1, but I want to pass it with an even higher score, so I’m still studying by taking a bunch of different practice tests. Among these, I like The Best Practice Tests for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test because the explanations are really detailed. The explanations for the practice tests not only explain the correct answers, but also the choices for incorrect answers, meanings and usage of vocabulary words, and even provide example sentences. So, even for someone like me who’s already passed the N1, there were lots of new discoveries. If I had any friends looking to take the JLPT, I would definitely recommend The Best Practice Tests for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test to them.

practice book japan

The Best Practice Tests for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N1

Intercultural Institute of Japan: Yumiko Tsutsui, Reiko Ohmura, Hiroshi Numata (Author)

2,090 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1717-6

practice book japan

The Best Practice Tests for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N2

2,090 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1718-3

practice book japan

The Best Practice Tests for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N3

2,090 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1743-5

practice book japan

The Best Practice Tests for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N4

1,980 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1754-1

practice book japan

The Best Practice Tests for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test N5

1,870 yen (incl. tax) 978-4-7890-1755-8

practice book japan

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Top 16 Japanese N4 Textbooks for JLPT 2022

practice book japan

What’s next after completing JLPT N5? If you want to continue brushing up on your Japanese language skills, it is now time to take and pass the JLPT N4 . Of course, it’s best when they have handy resources that can help improve their learning. Read on to learn more about our JLPT N4 textbooks recommendations. 

While finding JLPT learning resources is great for self-learning, we also recommend finding the right support from a professional instructor. We offer online JLPT self-study cours es for motivated individuals to help them pass the exam. By subscribing at 900 JPY a month (around 8 USD) , you’ll get full access to all our JLPT self-study bundles.

We also have separate posts on JLPT N3 textbooks and JLPT N5 textbooks recommendations.

Nihongo Fun and Easy 

nihongo fun and easy jlpt n4 textbooks

Nihongo Fun and Easy are suitable for beginners, even those with no prior knowledge of Japanese knowledge. It allows you to learn natural-sounding, essential Japanese by only including phrases that are used by native speakers. With this book, English translations and romaji are provided, so you don’t need to study hiragana and katakana in advance. For those who are auditory learners, an audio CD for learning conversational dialogues will be provided in both English and Japanese.

The book currently has two volumes:

  • Nihongo Fun & Easy: Survival Japanese Conversation for Beginners 
  • Nihongo Fun & Easy 2: Basic Grammar for Conversation for Beginners

Price : ¥2,743 (you can save 10% if you order both together) Click here to purchase!

genki jlpt n4 textbooks

Genki is a very popular Japanese textbook series, used commonly by beginners trying to learn Japanese. After completing Genki Volume Two, your Japanese language abilities will be at N4 level. The textbook was first released in 1999 and is currently updated to the third edition. It focuses a lot on conversation and grammar with corresponding reading and writing exercises for every chapter. This book is recommended for those learning under supervision or in a group environment. While it’s not the number one choice for self-learners, it’s been trusted by a lot of Japanese teachers and language schools in Japan.

Price: ¥3,960 Click here to purchase!

Kanji Learner’s Course Graded Reading Sets, Vol 3: Kanji 201-400

the kanji learner's course

Following the character sequence of Kodansha’s widely acclaimed Kanji Learner’s Course (KLC), this is a must-have for everyone. With over 30,000 reading exercises, this volume consists of 2,071 exercises with 11,800 kanji. The kanji in this book have all been previously introduced in the beginner kanji books and help with reading kanji and understanding kanji-based vocabulary and grammatical concepts. If you have a kindle, feel free to purchase their kindle version to access the built-in J-E dictionary. 

Price: Kindle (Digital) ¥699 | Paperback ¥1,539 Click here to purchase!

A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar 

a dictionary of intermediate japanese grammar

If you want to brush up on your Japanese grammar, this book is the perfect choice for you. There are in-depth English and Japanese explanations for the grammatical concepts. Around 200 concepts that are the foundation of the language can be found here. This book covers almost everything there is to know about every single grammatical point and includes thorough explanations of common pitfalls to avoid. There are also versions of this book for basic and advanced level students, a must-have for students and teachers.

Price: ¥5,758 JPY Click here to purchase!

Want to learn JLPT N4 grammar in a more interactive course? Join our N4 grammar course that comes with 67 quizzes and 68 lessons and our JLPT N4 grammar PDF workbook. The course is on sale for a limited time, with price cut from ¥2,000 to ¥1,000!

Minna no Nihongo Shokyu 2 Honsatsu 

minna no nihongo 2

Minna no Nihongo is a popular textbook used both in classrooms and by individuals. It includes essential grammar, vocabulary, listening and speaking skills that can help students vastly improve their communication skills in Japanese. Shokyuu 2 is perfect for those who are trying to improve their Japanese from the upper-beginner level. This is the second edition of Shokyuu 2 where the vocabulary and conversational settings have been updated with new frequently used expressions. The book now comes with a CD and an increase in illustrations for reviewing.

Price: ¥3,780 JPY Click here to purchase!

Try! Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4

try jlpt n4 textbook

You’ll hone your grammar skills and learn about grammar strategies and practice reading comprehension. All the mock test chapters are formated similarly to the real JLPT. This book breaks down the learning process of grammar into three steps. You’ll learn how Japanese grammar is used in real-life communication, practice fundamentals and apply grammar points in questions involving listening and reading Japanese. The book includes an audio CD for listening exercises and an answer key pamphlet for all review questions and their practice test.

Price: ¥3,151 JPY Click here to purchase!

New Kanzen Master JLPT N4: Vocabulary 

nihongo kanzen master jlpt n4 textbook

The latest addition to the Kanzen Master Series is the JLPT N4 Vocabulary version. The book consists of two sections, Jitsuryoku Yoseihen (practical training) and Mogi Shiken (mock test). In the first section, vocabulary is studied in terms of themes and situations, followed by in terms of parts of speech and usage. You will be able to test your knowledge with the basic exercise and practical exercise section that is in the same format as JLPT examinations. Their N4 textbooks also includes Grammar , Listening Comprehension , Reading Comprehension and Kanji .

Price: ¥2,233 JPY Click here to purchase!

1500 Essential Vocabulary for the JLPT N4

n4 tango 1500 jlpt n4 textbooks

To pass the N4, you will need to know about 1,500 vocabulary words, which makes this book the right length for test-takers. In fact, it’s the most popular choice for learners who want to focus on vocabulary; all the words are commonly found and tested on the JLPT. The textbook comes with English and Vietnamese translation, too.

After you’re done memorizing, you can check the box and test your skill by covering the word with a provided red translucent sheet — the Japanese vocabulary will ‘disappear’, only allowing you to look at English translations for a ‘mini-quiz’. Words are categorized based on their contextual use. You can head over to their website to access free audio files and practice tests.

Price: ¥1,832 JPY Click here to purchase!

Nihongo Challenge JLPT N4 

nihongo challenge jlpt n4 textbook

Learn about the frequently used expressions used in daily life under the N4 level. Multiple illustrations and notes are provided to learn the 600 words in this book. Review practices are in the same format as examinations to help you prepare for the JLPT. Translations can be found in English and Portuguese. If you want to learn more about Grammar, you can check out their Grammar and Reading Practice version. They also have a version for JLPT N4 and N5 Kanji combined.

Price: ¥2,062 JPY Click here to purchase!

Kanji in Context Reference Book

practice book japan

The Kanji in Context is a series that is meant for intermediate and advanced learners, but it’s great to have an all-in-one textbook, even if you’re just a beginner. You’ll receive 2136 kanji and kanji-based vocabulary that is essential for advanced Japanese communication. They have multiple indexes consisting of on-kun, form, stroke and vocabulary. Each kanji has 3-6 useful vocabulary words to learn and reading guides. In this series, they also have Workbook Volume 1 and Workbook Volume 2 . Save 10% when you order the full set in a bundle.

Price: ¥4,526 JPY Click here to purchase!

Nihongo So-matome JLPT N4: Kanji and Words 

nihongo matome n4 jlpt n4 textbooks

The perfect study guide for intermediate-level Japanese students, this book is sectioned into vocabulary, kanji and reading comprehension. It is designed for students to learn 200 kanji characters and 300 vocabulary words in just six weeks. You’ll soak all study material on the left page and apply your knowledge with practice questions on the right page. Reinforce your knowledge with review tests after each section to track your progress. This book comes with English and Vietnamese translations and kanji and vocabulary indexes. They also have a copy for Reading, Grammar, and Listening . 

Price: ¥2,519 JPY Click here to purchase!

Japanese in Mangaland 2: Basic to Intermediate Level 

japanese in mangaland 2 jlpt n4 textbook

If you are looking for something different, try out this textbook and learn Japanese through manga! Volume 2 helps beginners to master the basics of conversational Japanese, grammar patterns and about 360 Kanji characters. Four conversational lessons allow tourists to learn phrases useful for airports, hotels, shops and restaurants. This book also has a culture notes section, giving insight into daily life in Japan.

Price: ¥4,786 Click here to purchase!

Speak Japanese in 90 Days: A Self-study Guide to Becoming Fluent

speak japanese in 90 days

This is volume two of Speak Japanese in 90 Days . Although they are not technically N4 textbooks, they teach students how to effectively study Japanese, giving them tips to increase fluency to intermediate and advanced levels. There are regular short reading exercises and new vocabulary lists. Aside from learning how to speak, you will also practice your grammar skills and master the fundamentals of intermediate Japanese Grammar.

Price: ¥1,869 Click here to purchase!

Japanese from Zero! 3

japanese from zero 3 jlpt n4 textbook

Using up-to-date grammar and vocabulary lessons, it features new grammar concepts with over 1,000 new words and expressions. Book 3 is suitable for beginners with basic kanji, and it is a continuation of the previous grammar chapters on Book 1 and 2. Answer key is provided at the back so students can cross-reference their answers and ensure that they are on the right track. Simple example dialogues are taught and this book includes romaji and kana. You will also learn interesting facts about Japan and its culture.

Price: ¥5,728 JPY Click here to purchase!

Besides JLPT N4 textbooks, make sure to browse our top picks for workbooks. After all, the JLPT doesn’t consist of theories, but questions taken from real situations.

Marugoto Pre-intermediate A2/B1 

jlpt n4 textbooks marugoto

This is a coursebook based on the JF Standard for Japanese Language Education that teaches language and culture. You will know how to understand commonly used sentences and frequently used expressions used in daily life. Students will be able to communicate about simple and routine tasks and their personal backgrounds. Complete this coursebook and understand essential Japanese conversational skills about work, school, leisure, dreams, events and plans.

Price: ¥2,520 JPY Click here to purchase!

JLPT N4 Official Practice Workbook Volume 2 

jlpt n4 textbook nihongonouryoku shiken jlpt

The JLPT N4 Official Practice Workbook allows you to practice under real exam conditions. This book is recommended for those who have already learned the necessary kanji, vocabulary and grammar needed and want to revise. The test is split into three sections, where the vocabulary and kanji section has 34 questions and is meant to be completed in 30 minutes. The grammar and reading section has 35 questions and is meant to be completed in 50 minutes. The listening section has 21 questions and is done with the included CD and illustrations, meant to be completed in 35 minutes.

Price: ¥1,604 JPY Click here to purchase!

Not sure about your Japanese level? Take our free Japanese level assessment

What’s your Japanese learning goal and how far away are you from it? If you’re unsure where you are, we provide a  free Japanese level check.  

Get in touch with us and let us know how we can help you achieve your Japanese language target.

We also provide an online JLPT prep lecture course that covers all essential grammar and vocabularies for JLPT N1, N2 and N3. The seminar-style lectures have students work individually with the lesson material while listening to the lecture on the screen. If you are interested or have any questions, contact us at [email protected] .

Coto Japanese Academy is a unique Japanese Language School in Iidabashi Tokyo. We offer relaxed and fun conversational lessons for all levels of Japanese learners. Coto Japanese Academy prides itself on its community atmosphere and fun lessons that focus on the creation of opportunities to speak and learn Japanese. If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo, please  visit our contact page .

How many words and kanji do you need for JLPT N4?

You will need to know roughly 300 kanji and about 1,500 vocabulary words (200 more kanji and about 700 more vocabulary than the N5)

How many sections are there in the JLPT N4?

The test consist of 4 major sections: vocabulary & kanji, grammar, reading, and listening

Is JLPT N4 Easy?

The JLPT N4 is the second easiest difficulty for JLPT. Similar to the N5, The N4 focuses on teaching you basic understanding of Japanese that one would learn in class.

What are some resources to study for the JLPT

There are many great resources to study Japanese from traditional textbooks to mobile games. You should ultimately find a resource that best suits your needs and preference to make the most out of your learning. Do check out our article for some of the best learning resources to study Japanese.

Test your Japanese level!

practice book japan

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FREE Websites for Japanese Reading Practice (At Every Level)

Want to get better at Japanese?

Reading is one of the best ways to improve your language skills.

It’s especially important to read a lot when you’re learning a language with a different writing system, like Japanese.

Hiragana, katakana and kanji can be overwhelming at first. But with enough reading practice, reading these characters will become natural!

Reading consolidates all that vocabulary and grammar you’ve spent all that time learning. When you come across new words in a story or article, it’s much easier to remember.

And best of all, it’s free!

So if you’re wondering how to learn Japanese effectively, I really do recommend making regular time to read.

Here’s a selection of great websites for completely free Japanese reading practice online , whatever your level:

Japanese reading practice for beginners

If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably want to stick to resources in hiragana only.

(Not sure what hiragana is? First check out my post on how to read Japanese for a quick introduction to the Japanese writing systems!)

Tadoku literally means ‘read a lot’, and the idea behind this site is that reading a lot is the best way to learn Japanese! Tadoku provides dozens of free, simple picture books for students of Japanese.

The site is all in Japanese, but don’t panic! It’s not hard to navigate. For beginner Japanese reading material, look for those marked with the blue ‘L0’ towards the top of the page. Click on a book cover that catches your attention. On the next page, click on the grey box labelled ‘READ FOR FREE’ (in English). Enjoy!

A screenshot from the Japanese website Tadoku, showing some of the free books you can download to practise reading in Japanese at the beginner level.

Hukumusume is a site full of traditional Japanese children’s stories.

It’s is an absolutely huge site and it is written for Japanese children (not language students), so it can be a bit confusing to navigate. I recommend that beginners start with this page which has four stories written in hiragana with English translations.

Once you’ve read those, you can explore the rest of the stories here . Most of them don’t have English translations, but they are written in very simple Japanese so you can have a go at translating them yourself!

This page lists the stories by Japanese school year. Start with 1ねんせい (1 st grade, which uses hiragana only) and work up to 6 th grade as you learn more kanji!

Many of the stories also have audio or video tracks.

Crunchy Nihongo’s hiragana stories

Here’s a very simple site for Japanese reading practice in hiragana only. Scroll to the bottom of the linked page and you will find links to several Japanese fairy tales, written in very simple Japanese. There is the option to show or hide romaji and English translation line by line.

EhonNavi is an amazing site that lets you read hundreds of different Japanese children’s picture books, all for free! Unlike the above sites, there are lots of modern books (not just traditional tales). You can browse books by age, from 0 up to 12. Yes, there are even books for babies with just one of two words per page, making this a great resource even for complete beginners!

The only downside is that you have to register. The whole site is in Japanese, so it’s a bit difficult for beginners. Here you can find fantastic instructions with screenshots to help you get set up.

CosCom News

It’s unusual to find reading materials for beginners that aren’t children’s books, but I managed it! This site publishes very short news articles in simple Japanese. You can click the buttons at the top to switch between romaji, hiragana, and full Japanese (with kanji). 

A screenshot of the CosCom site for learning Japanese, highlighting the buttons to change script.

You can also download a pdf of the article if you want to write notes. Key vocabulary is listed in English below.

The ‘Tenki Yohoo’ (weather forecast) and ‘Short News’ sections contain very short articles for beginners. The ‘Japan News and World News’ section has slightly longer articles. Only the most recent article in each section is available for free. You can also pay for membership to read the archives.

Easy Japanese Stories

The author of this site is a high school Japanese teacher who writes simple stories as Japanese reading practice for their students. There are some made up stories and also some traditional Japanese children’s stories, rewritten in simple Japanese. The stories contain some kanji with furigana (pronunciation guide in hiragana). Each story comes with a vocab list, a sound recording and a downloadable pdf. Thank you Matthew for sharing!

Another source for Japanese children’s picture books online. This site is not so user-friendly, but I included it as an extra resource in case you have problems with the above sites.

Just click on an image to go to the book. Then click the yellow ‘next’ button at the top to turn the pages.

A screenshot of the site E-hon for beginners Japanese reading practise with kids books.

One problem with this site is that the writing is an image file, so you can’t copy and paste words to look in a dictionary. You can increase the text size from the homepage.

Intermediate Japanese reading practice

At the intermediate level, you will be able to understand longer sentences and more difficult works. You can also read some kanji. You need some reading resources that introduce these features of the language, but you still need a bit of help understanding new words.

We have just the thing for you! Here are some sites for Japanese reading practice for intermediate students:

Hirogaru is a cute site for Japanese learners. It has short texts and videos on lots of different topics. In particular, it has a lot of articles on traditional Japanese culture, such as calligraphy, tea ceremony and martial arts. There are vocabulary lists (with English translations) of key words for each topic.

Matcha is a cool Japanese travel and culture magazine. It’s available in 10 different languages, including an easy Japanese version! (My link will take you directly to the ‘easy Japanese’ site.) It does use kanji but always with furigana (pronunciation guides) above.

Most of the articles are available in English too. You can read the English version afterwards to check your understanding (use the drop down bar at the bottom of the page to change the language). Be careful though, because the translations aren’t always the same word-for-word.

Watanoc is a ‘free web magazine in simple Japanese’. The name comes from ‘wa’ (Japanese) ‘tanoshii’ (fun). It has a lot of articles of different lengths and different levels, so it’s suitable from beginners to intermediate. The topics include food, culture, events and funny news. After each title, it tells you the approximate JLPT reading level (N5 is the easiest). Also, if you hover your mouse over a word, it will pop up with an explanation in English! Highly recommended for upper beginners and lower intermediate.

NHK News Web Easy

NHK is Japan’s national news service. On this site, you can read NHK’s top news stories each day in simple Japanese. It’s aimed at Japanese elementary school children, as well as foreigners learning Japanese.

The site has furigana on the kanji, and Japanese dictionary definitions that pop up when you hover over a word. Many of the stories have videos too.

You can toggle furigana on and off using the blue button at the top of each article labelled 感じの読み方を消す. And, if you’re feeling up for a challenge, you can view the original NHK version of the article by clicking the blue button at the bottom labelled 普通のニュウスを読む.

The site has several new stories each day. If you enjoy reading about current affairs, this is a good site for you.

Short news articles, school lessons, games and bulletin boards in simple Japanese, aimed at elementary school kids. There is no furigana on the kanji so this might be a bit advanced for some users.

Hiragana Times

Hiragana Times is a magazine that publishes articles about Japan in simple Japanese with furigana, alongside an English translation. You have to subscribe for full access, but you can read selected sample articles on the main website here . You can toggle furigana, romaji and English on and off using the ‘あ’ button to the left hand side. You can also download a free sample magazine here .

Screenshot from the Hiragana Times website showing how to toggle furigana and English off and on.

Nippon Talk

This is a blog about many aspects of everyday life in Japan. Each paragraph is written in Japanese, with translation in English underneath. A small number of posts have French translations, too. You can choose to turn the furigana on or off. Unfortunately the blog is no longer updated, but there are several years of posts to read through.

Wasabi (Fairy Stories)

A small collection of Japanese fairy stories with furigana, audio, vocabulary lists and English translations. You can play the audio at different speeds, so this is also a useful site to practise reading aloud and work on your pronunciation! The Japanese texts contain kanji and a bit more advanced than the children’s stories in the beginner section above.

Wasabi (Manga)

This is from the same site as above but I wanted to list it separately because it’s so useful. If you dream of reading Japanese manga in the original, but you need some extra help, this is a great place to start. On this page you can read Give My Regards to Black Jack, a bestselling Japanese manga about a young doctor. Alongside the original manga, there is the Japanese script with English translation and language notes.

Bunsuke’s Newsletter

Bunsuke publishes short snippets from famous Japanese writers, together with a vocab list and translation. This is an excellent way for intermediate learners to dip their toes into reading Japanese literature in the original version, without overwhelm. You might even discover some favourite works to explore further! 

Previously, Bunsuke sent out his snippets every day in an email newsletter. The daily emails are paused for now, but you can read all previous newsletters in his Substack archive. He also runs occasional interactive reading challenges.

Advanced Japanese reading practice

If you are an advanced Japanese learner, I recommend using real Japanese materials as much as possible. By this I mean books and articles written for native Japanese speakers – not for language learners.

The ultimate goal is to speak fluent Japanese, the way native speakers do. You will learn the most natural language by using real life sources.

The good news is, it’s incredibly easy to find real life Japanese resources online! You can also find resources on literally any topics.

I recommend thinking about what you read in your native language for fun. What do you read in your spare time, just because you love it ? Find the Japanese version of that! This means you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Plus, you’ll learn new words specific to your hobbies and interests.

This is also a good time to change your phone, computer, Facebook settings into Japanese and create an immersion environment .

Here are a few websites to start you off. I tried to choose a selection of websites from different genres. Remember, this list is just to give you some ideas! When you know advanced Japanese, you can read whatever you want 🙂

NHK – the Japanese national broadcaster. As well as reading the news online, you can stream radio and watch some TV shows (might be blocked depending on location)

Yomiuri Shimbun – national newspaper (conservative)

Mainichi Shimbun – national newspaper (moderate/left leaning)

Asahi Shimbun – national newspaper (left leaning)

Aozora Bunko – free digital copies of books for which the copyright has expired

Project Gutenberg (Japanese) – another site for free out-of-copyright books

Shousetsuka ni narou – a site where budding authors publish their work online for free to get reviews

University of Virginia Japanese Text Initiative – a huge library of Japanese texts online, and you can even choose to read with furigana

Bookwalker – Bookwalker is a Japanese ebook store and app. They specialise in manga and light novels. Although you have to pay for most of the content, they have a large selection of volumes (mostly manga) that you can download for free. Just look for the section marked 無料.

Also, you can usually read several pages of other (paid) books on the site for free. This is good if you want to try out some Japanese reading materials in different styles or by different authors. Just look for the 試し読み button on the product page.

Note that there is an English version of the website, but this will only show you English language books. You need to navigate the website in Japanese to download Japanese books ( tutorial on how to sign up ).

Bauddha – This website publishes bilingual stories and excerpts from famous writings, political speeches and other sources. You can read the Japanese version alongside the English version. This website is actually for Japanese learners of English, not the other way around! The language level here is quite advanced because the writings are mostly literary classics.

A screenshot of the Bauddha Japanese website showing Japanese and English parallel versions of the opening lines of The Great Gatsby.

Comicwalker – free manga from the publisher Kadokawa. You can read the comics online, or there’s an app too. Look for the ones with the red ​​無料マンガ (free manga) triangle. From the same people as BookWalker above but it has some different content.

Shonen Jump – the best selling manga magazine in Japan. On their website you can read their latest manga instalments and also news articles about new releases and so on.

Sai Zen Sen – you can read some Japanese manga online for free

Comico – another site with some free Japanese manga to read online

Yahoo Questions – sure, Yahoo Questions has died out in the West but the Japanese version is still going strong – in fact, it’s one of the most popular forums on the Japanese internet. It’s a good way to get used to reading casual Japanese and hearing Japanese people’s viewpoints on all kinds of issues.

Oshiete! Goo – another popular forum for questions and answers.

Ameblo – a Japanese personal blogging platform similar to Blogspot or Livejournal. You can browse blogs and articles by topic.

Twitter – the biggest social media platform in Japan (after messaging app LINE). It’s a great way to get some reading practice in bite-sized chunks! You could start by following your favourite Japanese celebrities or search for your interests/interesting hashtags in Japanese. Or, check out the website Togetter , which rounds up popular threads and topics from Japanese Twitter.

Anonymous Diary – a simple bulletin board/forum where people can post anonymously. It’s a mixed bag – some posts are just random thoughts, but since it’s anonymous, there are lots of controversial takes and secret confessions too.

Girls Channel – a bulletin board, kind of like Reddit but just for girls. Good for learning internet slang and girls’ talk.

Mixi – a Japanese social network. You can read news articles and some public threads without signing up. There are communities on different topics similar to Reddit. It’s not as popular as it used to be but there is still plenty of content for free Japanese reading practise.

Magazines, lifestyle and more

Japanese magazine lists – This site and this one  have huge lists of popular Japanese magazines with links to their websites. They are mostly fashion magazines but there are some in other categories such as business, tech and travel. Note that the amount of free content varies by site; some have a lot of free articles online whereas others just want you to buy the print magazine.

Rocket News – short funny news articles on topics such as pop culture, viral content, new releases etc.

Hatena Bookmarking – a social bookmarking site. Users share interesting articles from around the web.

1000moji – user-submitted short stories in 1000 characters

Pouch – Pouch describe themselves as offering ‘cute, fun, weird’ content for women! It’s a round-up of content on popular culture, cute items, trending internet stuff, random blog articles and more.

Kinarino – women’s lifestyle blog covering food, fashion, travel, interiors and more

CanCam – a popular Japanese women’s fashion magazine

Lifehacker – interesting tips and tricks, and tech news

Toyo Keizai – a well-known business and finance magazine

BuzzFeed Japan – you probably know this one! Funny and interesting things from around the internet

The Rising Wasabi – satirical news site – news about and from Japan. Many articles are also available in English (and other languages) so you can switch to check your comprehension.

Note – a Japanese magazine style site as recommended by our reader Erik. It covers lifestyle, education, culture, work and more. Content is user generated and very varied.

Orange Page – one of the biggest Japanese cooking sites. Love Japanese food? Why not kill two birds with one stone and learn to cook some Japanese dishes while you get your Japanese reading practise! In addition to recipes, they also publish some lifestyle articles.

VNs – VNs or Visual Novels are interactive games with lots of text. They are like a cross between novels and games. Personally I have never played one but I have heard some people swear by them to improve their Japanese reading, so I thought I’d give them a shout out here! Freem and Novel Game have lots of free Japanese VNs. Here is a blog all about learning Japanese with VNs.

Browser extensions for reading Japanese online

No doubt about it, learning to read in Japanese in slower than most other languages simply because of the Japanese writing system! I just wanted to finish off by sharing a few useful browser extensions that can help you read Japanese websites.

  • Rikaikun (for Chrome) – hover over any Japanese word and a dictionary box will pop up.
  • Yomichan (for Firefox) – same as above.
  • Furigana Extension (for Chrome) – adds furigana (pronunciation guide) to kanji.
  • Furigana (for Firefox) – same as above.

There are dozens of similar extensions out there but these are some of the top recommended!

More free resources to learn Japanese

And finally, if you enjoyed this list, please check out my other round-ups of free native materials to practise Japanese:

  • Best Japanese podcasts for listening practice
  • Best YouTube channels to learn Japanese
  • Japanese Writing Practice: Ultimate List of Resources for Every Level
  • Where to get Your Japanese Listening Practice: The Epic List of Resources!
  • 10+ Effective Ways to Get Japanese Speaking Practice (Even if You Study By Yourself!)

Do you know any other good sources for free Japanese reading practice online? Please share in the comments!


JapanesePod101 is our top recommendation to learn Japanese online. We love the fun, current audio lessons and interactive online tools. Sign up for your free lifetime account and see for yourself!

Looking for free Japanese reading practice online? Check out out monster list of websites and resources for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners!

Rebecca Shiraishi-Miles

Rebecca is the founder of Team Japanese. She spent two years teaching English in Ehime, Japan. Now back in the UK, she spends her time blogging, self-studying Japanese and wrangling a very genki toddler.

31 thoughts on “FREE Websites for Japanese Reading Practice (At Every Level)”

That’s wonderful! Thank you so much!

You’re welcome, Mario! I hope it’s useful for you 🙂

These are great resources! It’s hard to find good reading sources for intermediate level. If you’re interested, I’d like to reference your website on mine. I have a website for people learning any language and showing them ways to use their skills to help others, and I’m looking for good resources to share with them.

Let me know what you think! 頑張っって!!

Hi Keith! Thanks very much for your comment and sorry for the late reply! I’d be very happy for you to share my site with your readers 🙂 looks like your site is a great resource too!

I’d also recommend for advanced Japanese readers. No paywall, and an additional benefit is that much of the content gets translated into other languages (not always close line-for-line translations, but you can see what is being said in the Japanese). My disclaimer is that I work here and am in charge of the English-language edition.

Thank you!! Exactly what I’ve been looking for.

I would recommend all the way through from beginners to very advanced Japanese learners. You can jump in at any level and it makes intelligent study recommendations to help improve your grammar, vocab and kanji. There are also lots of enjoyable games and challenges.

Kanshudo also has a very good dictionary with links to more context such as example sentences, etc.

I have gone from near beginner a few years ago, learning as a hobby (a few hours a week) to nearly reading newspapers, so highly recommended!

This is the best and most useful article I’ve ever seen in my entire life. All the information you give about the sites are so clear and detailed! Thank you so much, this is more than awesome! If I were to look for these sites, I wouldn’t have found anything … this really made my day! 🙂

Chiara, that is so nice to hear! I put a lot of effort into researching this article, so I’m glad you found it useful 🙂 thank you for your feedback!

Great post! Thank you! I already started using the advanced learner resources.

Thanks for your comment, Fumi! I hope you will enjoy the resources!

Thanks, this will be a great resource for my students. There is another site I don’t see on here though.

I hope that I can get more reading skill from your website. Thank you.

Thank you so much ! great material

Thank you so much! This is very helpful 🙂

One site I enjoy is The reading experience is great thanks to the minimalistic design and there’s a lot of varied content.

for those who want to read manga in Japanese, I would recommend the combo: + yomichan browser extension.

Thank you so much. You have done a great job by creating this information page. Really very useful.

This website is the most useful among all the things I’ve been searching. Thanks a lot for making it soo detailed, it is very helpful.

For those who want to learn the Japanese language through a private tutor, I recommend you visit the site of TUTOROO. They have great native Japanese tutors and speakers. TUTOROO can help you connect with them and you can even choose your own Japanese tutor from their website. You can view their tutors here: Hope this helps!

some of them are currently showing error 404 . could u update the blog pls. thank u ! few of them really helped

Thanks for letting us know! Sad to see a couple of great sites have closed down. This page has been fully updated today with lots more resources! 🙂

My name is Maki and I am a writer/artist from North Carolina, USA (born and raised in Japan). My recent bilingual children’s book “What do you love to do?” was published by Mirai Publishing in Japan on 4/29/22 and is now available on ( ). My book won an award from Purple Dragonfly Book Contest in the USA.

I wrote this book to inspire children all over the world. On the back cover, I included some artwork drawn by a 11 year-old girl who loves to draw pictures to demonstrate a child “doing what she loves to do” and kids love it! If this book can help American children living in Japan, please share my amazon link information with their parents.

Thank you very much, I sincerely appreciate your consideration.

Maki Nishio Phipps

I want to learn japanese

a set of learning japanese method is useful for me.Thank you very much

You are such a life saver! I have been looking for such a page for months now and given up hope. And today it happen to be in my Pinterest proposed paged. THANK YOU SO MUCH! There ist nothing better to consolidate a new writing system in your mind than reading. Here you can finally find tonns of material. Great!

“There is nothing better to consolidate a new writing system in your mind than reading.” – I 100% agree! So glad you find it useful! 🙂

What a great website, thank you for putting this together, Im sure this is many many hours of work and for that we are all very grateful.

Your website has amazing resources! Thank you so much for sharing all these with us! YOU ARE THE BEST!

You’re welcome! Thank you for the feedback – I’m so glad it’s helpful!

I love using for reading practice. Especially when I was at N5/N4 level it can be hard to find reading material at that level.

Thanks for the suggestion! I will check that site out. It’s hard to find interesting resources at the beginner levels for sure!

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Best Books to Prepare the JLPT

The 5 best JLPT textbooks

Best Books to Prepare the JLPT

The goal of most Japanese students is to pass one of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test or JLPT levels. For those who don’t know it, the JLPT (Nihongo noryoku shiken a.k.a Noken in Japanese) is the official Japanese level exam, like the TOEFL or the First Certificate in English. It’s basically the title that you’re going to be asked to opt for many job interviews in Japan or in Japanese companies where language is a requirement.

It takes place twice a year, in July and December and has 5 levels, with 5 being the lowest and 1 being the highest. It’s considered that, in order to work in a Japanese company, you must to have an N2. The exam consists of three parts: kanji and vocabulary, grammar and reading comprehension and listening.

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

Skills required for each level

If your first time facing a JLPT, you may be lost about the skills you need for each level and you’re wondering which one you should try. Hens a synthesis from the official requirements.

  • Reading: The person is able to read complex writings   and deep contents on various topics such as newspaper editorials and critiques, and comprehend their structures.
  • Listening: The person is able to understand conversations, news reports, and lectures, spoken at natural speed and grasp details such as the relationships amongst the people involved.
  • Reading: The person is able to read materials written on a variety of topics, such as articles in newspapers and magazines as well as simple critiques, and understand the contents and the intent of the writer.
  • Listening: The person is able to comprehend conversations and news reports, spoken at nearly natural speed in everyday situations, as well as understand the relationships amongst the people involved.
  • Reading: The person is able to read and understand written materials with specific contents concerning everyday topics. Also, one has the ability to read and understand information as newspapers headlines and read slightly difficult writings.
  • Listening: The person is able comprehend coherent conversations in everyday situations, spoken at almost natural speed, and grasp the relationships amongst the people involved.
  • Reading:   The person is able to read and understand small texts about familiar daily topics written in basic vocabulary and kanji .
  • Listening: The person is able to listen and comprehend daily life conversations if they are spoken slowly.
  • Reading: The person is able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana , katakana , and basic kanji .
  • Listening: The person is able to listen and comprehend conversations about daily life topics and classroom situations, and is able to pick up necessary information from short conversations spoken slowly.

Books to Prepare the JLPT

In another article I wrote about the best books to study Japanese, but the JLPT has a certain structure and specific characteristics, so in addition to the books used in academies to study Japanese, many students decide to buy extra books to prepare for the exam. These books aren’t designed to teach Japanese, but to help you to be ready for the test, therefore they follow different methodologies.

Most JLPT preparation books start at level 3, some at level 4, but almost none at level 5, since it’s a fairly basic level that can be achieved with normal books for studying Japanese.

New Kanzen Master

New Kanzen Master

New Kanzen Master is the big favorite for most of Japanese language students when preparing the JLPT, especially in higher levels such as N2 and N1. It’s without a doubt the most complete book (and also the thickest) of those on the market, although it’s not actually a book, but up to five (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension). But if you can’t buy all five, the grammar book is a must.

In the first part of the book, you can find a review of all the grammar that goes into the exam and then goes deeper into some grammar points. But surely if something differentiates this book from the others it’s that it also includes strategies for the exam. Finally, something common in the JLPT preparation books, includes exam simulations to practice and prove your level.

The books are available here:

New Kanzen Master JLPT Level N1 – 5 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

New Kanzen Master Grammar JLPT Level N1

New Kanzen Master JLPT Level N2 – 5 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

New Kanzen Master Grammar JLPT Level N2

New Kanzen Master JLPT Level N3 – 5 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

New Kanzen Master Grammar JLPT Level N3

New Kanzen Master JLPT Level N4 – 4 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

New Kanzen Master Grammar JLPT Level N4

Nihongo So-matome

Nihongo So-matome

So-matome is the other big favorite for the students who are going to take the JLPT. Some say that it’s more practical and simpler than the Kanzen Master serie, but that for higher levels (N2-N1) it’s not enough. However, it can come in handy for a first contact, and then dig deeper with the Kanzen Master. As with the Kanzen Master, there are about 5 books per level (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension), and then they also have a book only with questions to prepare for the exam.

The dynamics of the books is quite simple. In each lesson you have an explanation of a specific topic (for example, in the grammar book, of certain grammatical forms) and then at the end of the lesson you have some example exercises simulating a JLPT exam.

Nihongo So-matome JLPT level N1 – 5 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

Nihongo So-matome 500 Practice Questions for the JLPT level N1

Nihongo So-matome JLPT level N2 – 5 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

Nihongo So-matome 500 Practice Questions for the JLPT level N2

Nihongo So-matome JLPT level N3 – 5 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

Nihongo So-matome 500 Practice Questions for the JLPT level N3

Nihongo So-matome JLPT level N4 – 2 Books Set (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

Nihongo So-matome JLPT level N5 – 1 Books (Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Listening & Reading Comprehension)

Nihongo So-matome 500 Practice Questions for the JLPT level N4-N5

Kanji Master

Kanji Master

One of the most difficult parts of studying Japanese is the kanji. And from level 3 of the JLPT to level 2 there is a very big difference regarding the number of kanjis you have to know. In Japanese schools to teach kanjis up to N3 they use the kanji books of Minna no Nihongo (I wrote about those books here ) but when it comes to preparing for N2 or N1 you need a higher level. That’s when students begin to use the Kanji Master books. These books are very complete and well designed, and aren’t only for JLPT but for the study of Japanese in general. So although it’s especially recommended from N2 onwards, if you are still at lower levels but want to learn kanji more deeply, I recommend buying the Kanji Master from the other levels as well.

Kanji Master N1

Kanji Master N2

Kanji Master N3

Kanji Master N4

Kanji Master N5

JLPT Official Practice Workbook

JLPT Official Practice Workbook

The JLPT is organised worldwide by two organisations, the Japan Foundation and JEES (Japan Educational Exchanges and Services). As the name implies, this book is an official book published by these organisations. However, these books are not used to study the syllabus that will enter the exam, but rather to carry out test exams. It contains questions that have been asked in previous exams, since 2010. It can come in handy as an extra support for studying and to see what these exams are like and if you can reach the required level.

JLPT Official Practice Workbook N1

JLPT Official Practice Workbook N2

JLPT Official Practice Workbook N3

JLPT Official Practice Workbook N4

JLPT Official Practice Workbook N5

A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar

A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar

They work as other dictionaries: they present the information in alphabetical order, but instead of meanings they show the reader the different grammar points of the Japanese language. Grammar is presented in a very detailed way: every entry includes a translation into English, similar structures in Japanese or related expressions and much more.

3 Book Bundle Set (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced)

Basic level

Intermediate level

Advanced  level

How were my 5 best books to prepare the JLPT? Has it been useful to you? If at the moment you are still starting to study Japanese or you want to start and you aren’t interested in JLPT but learning the language, I recommend these other articles for Japanese language students!

5 Best Books to Learn Japanese for Beginners

▽Check out these recommended Japanese schools to learn Japanese efficiently!▽

10 Best Japanese Schools in Tokyo

Learning Japanese by textbooks is not the only way but the essential way to learn Japanese correctly. If you want to learn Japanese in a different way, it is also recommended to use mobile apps or read manga in Japanese!

Best Apps to Learn Japanese for Beginners

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From Barcelona to Tokyo. Coffee  & Adventure lover 🌏☕️  

I started to like Japan because of the anime, music and doramas, but after my first trip to the country I found what I love the most: traveling around, the culture and history. I have travelled a lot in Japan, but I still have many places to discover that I want to share with you 🙋🏼‍♀️   Let’s discover Japan together!

Also, as a foreigner living in Japan for over 6 years I understand what kind of things are difficult when you move here and I want to help other people in the same situation that I have in the past.

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Japanese Reading Practice For Beginners Ease yourself in gently, like it's a hot, hot bath of language

August 28, 2012 • words written by Koichi

Of course, there are plenty of resource out there to help intermediate and advanced learners of Japanese to practice their reading. They can use any Japanese book, manga, blog, or website and study away to their heart’s content.

For beginners, though, finding Japanese things to read that are at or around your level is a pain. Either you study what’s in your textbook (limited and often times boring) or you don’t get to study reading it much at all. You essentially have to wait until you reach a higher level in order to have something for reading practice which will slow down your reading ability in the long run.

There’s good reason that beginners don’t have as much to study with, though. Basically, it comes down to not knowing enough kanji. If you don’t know the kanji, resources options are limited, though that doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful to read. Reading teaches you grammar and how to use it. It also will help you with your kana and basic kanji fluency (which normally takes too long in my opinion without enough early Japanese reading practice). You’ll also learn a lot of useful, common words, which of course is useful.

Since it’s normally pretty hard for beginners to find reading resources (and because I get this email like every day, it seems), I thought it would be good to put together a list of resources for beginners to study with. I’ll list them below and write a little bit about each including some suggestions on how to study with them. If you have any additional suggestions, please post them on Twitter .

Japanese Children’s Newspapers

Japanese newspaper front page

You probably know about newspapers for adults, but did you know about newspapers just for children? They tend to talk about slightly more cheerful things and are written in a much more simple fashion (easier kanji, easier words, easier everything), which is good for people who are still beginners of Japanese. There are some problems, though. Furigana is prevalent in a lot of them which kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion. I’ll be sure to note these ones down as well as tell you of a workaround to get rid of the furigana when it’s there.

Kodomo Asahi

Japanese children reading newspaper

Heralding from the adult Asahi Shinbun comes “ Kodomo Asahi ,” a version of their newspaper made for children. There aren’t a ton of articles here, but definitely plenty enough to keep any beginner busy on a fairly regular basis. There is a “elementary school” section and a “middle school” section.

screenshot of childrens newspaper online

Both are fairly basic, but of course the elementary school one is going to be a lot simpler. Between the two, there’s probably a new article every couple of days, especially when you consider the other additional sections available.

I think the level of kanji and vocab here is fairly good for a beginner. They also don’t do the furigana thing, which is nicer for your studies. In terms of the newspapers, this is a pretty darn good one. That being said, they don’t update every day, so you’ll want something else if you’re studying very regularly.

Visit: Kodomo Asahi

NHK News Web Easy

Japanese childrens newspaper NHK webspage

Last but not least is News Web Easy by NHK. Not only do they provide news using simple kanji and vocab, but they also provide audio too, which means you can read along and do some language shadowing (or something along those lines).

nhk audio track bar

Update: NHK News Web Easy now has a button at the top of every article that lets you toggle furigana on and off. Awesome! This makes News Web Easy an even better resource… probably the best out of these three.

There’s three or four “Easy” articles posted up every day, so you have plenty of opportunity to practice. If you’re feeling particularly good looking, as well, you can also see the original article. Just click “一般のニュース原稿はこちら” and you’ll be taken to the place from which your Easy article was painfully birthed out of.

Visit: NHK News Web Easy

Japanese Children’s Stories

birds perched on statue of child

Although Japanese children’s stories don’t come up with new content every day like the news does they are a nice way to get your beginner Japanese reading practice in. Since so many children’s stories are from a million years ago, you can find them for free on the internet as well. Of course, if you want physical copies you could go out and buy them / order them off of Kinokuniya or some other website, but I think the digital version will do just fine, not to mention you can print them out and take notes.

Here are some Japanese Children’s Book resources that I thought were good.

Traditional Japanese Children’s Stories

covers of Japanese childrens books

This website was made by Tom Ray for his own studies in Japanese. He decided to make it available to the public to help others out as well, which is awesome.

He took a bunch of traditional Japanese children’s stories and typed them out in Japanese. Then, he added in the English translation, line-by-line. Afterwards, he provides vocabulary explanations as well. A lot of the work is done for you, which can be good or bad, though it’s definitely an educational way to go through Japanese stories while practicing reading. You’ll find the sentence-by-sentence format particularly helpful, I think.

The pages are particularly printable, as well, meaning you can study and take notes as needed.

Visit: Traditional Japanese Children’s Stories

Fuku Musume’s Fairy Tale Collection

pictures to Japanese fairy tales

This Japanese fairy tale website is organized into various categories, from “famous Japanese stories” to “Scary Japanese stories” to “stories from around the world.”

There’s a lot of fairy tales here, plenty to keep any beginner busy for quite a while (and enough to get you much better at reading). A fair number of the stories also have audio to go along with them, meaning you can use the audio to help you to read along (and get the pronunciation right). Although not every story has this, you should take advantage of the ones that do. Reading out loud and mimicking a native speaker is always a good thing to do when you can, especially when you’re first starting out.

There’s probably 400 or 500 stories here, so that’s enough to read one every day for a year plus. If you do that, you’ll surely get better at reading Japanese. Remember, it’s all about consistency if you want to get better!

Visit: Fuku Musume’s Fairy Tail Collection

Although Fantajikan has a site with stories on it, they’re more about audio than anything else. That’s why the YouTube channel is what makes this website worth adding to this list. The YouTube channel doesn’t have all the stories from the site, but I do think it’s more useful for beginner’s practice.

Included in each video is images showing what’s going on, a narration of the story, and Japanese text showing what the narrator is saying (this is where the reading practice comes in). The nicest part about these is the images in the video, though. They show the context of what’s going on adding another element to your practice. You just get a little more feedback this way.

Visit: Fantajikan YouTube

Children’s Manga

shelf full with childrens manga series

Manga is another way to get in Japanese reading practice. For beginners, of course, children’s manga is what’s going to be good… things like Doraemon, Dragonball Z, and so on. There are also some manga that aren’t necessarily for children but provide furigana for the tough stuff and none for the easy stuff (fine for beginner practice), though you’ll have to poke around to find the perfect level of this for you.

In general, though, I’d recommend only children’s manga for beginners. It will be simple enough to read yet difficult enough to make you struggle (and learn). You’ll also get images to help with context, which will help you to understand more how the words and grammar are working together to form Japanese.

As for finding manga? If you’re lucky, you’ll live near a Japanese bookstore (Kinokuniya, for example). If you’re not so lucky, you can always order off Amazon or some dropshipping service. If you live in Japan or visit Japan, though, children’s manga can be found for super cheap especially if you get something used. It’s not particularly heavy to carry, either. Just get it on the last day of your trip.

What Else Can Beginners Use for Japanese Reading Practice?

woman at desk with laptop

While I started by talking about how Japanese reading practice is very limited for beginners, I hope you’ve come away with the feeling that there are options out there for you. That being said, there’s probably plenty more to add to this list.

There’s textbooks with a ton of reading practice in them, workbooks that go with the lessons, sites like JapanesePod101 that have text with their audio lessons, Japanese websites for children, Japanese blogs that use simple Japanese, and I’m sure much, much more. The more you look, the more you’ll end up finding. Hard part is actually looking, though, so hopefully I did some of that work for you just now.

Now, if you’re finding that you’re having trouble studying/reading with any of these, it probably comes down to your kana and kanji level. If this is the case, consider checking out our ultimate guide for your hiragana learning. If it’s kanji you’re having trouble reading, check out our very own WaniKani . It’s still in beta at the moment of writing this, but if you sign up for the invite list on the homepage you’ll get an invite soon.

So my question to you, is: What beginner’s Japanese reading resources do you use or recommend? Help the Japanese beginners who read this site and give out some of your recommendations on Twitter . If you’re a Japanese beginner you should read these. People often post much smarter things there than I write in the actual article, har. v(;´༎ຶД༎ຶ`)v

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Since the 2010 revision of the test, the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbooks have been released in 2 volumes.

The Official Practice Workbook published in 2012 and the Official Practice Workbook Vol.2 released in 2018 each contains, for all levels, almost the same number of questions as an actual  test, with questions selected from among those used in tests since the 2010 revision.

※The Official Practice Workbook published in 2012 and the Official Practice Workbook Vol. 2 are sold by Bonjinsha. See here for more details.

JLPT Official Practice Workbook Vol. 2 (published 2018)

※The Official Practice Workbook Vol. 2 is sold by Bonjinsha. See here for more details.

About the Copyright

If all or part of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test Official Practice Workbooks offered on this site are to be used in reproduction, copy, adaptation, translation, etc., you must observe and comply with “ 1. Copyright ” of the Site Policy , ※Among sample questions under Grammar and Reading for N1 and N2 of the Test Items, questions from specified sources (following questions) and all of the Listening audio files for N1 through N5 contain works by third-party authors and copyright holders, so please be aware that, except for those cases for which “1. Copyright” (1)~(3) of the Site Policy apply, reprint and reproduction of the questions and works are prohibited without permission. If the contact information of the authors or copyright holders is unknown, please contact the organisers.

N1: Q7, Q8 (1)(3)(4), Q9 (1)-(3), Q10, Q11, Q12 N2: Q10 (1)(3)(5), Q11(1)-(3), Q13

※N1 and N2 have two test sections: Language Knowledge (Vocabulary/Grammar)・Reading; and Listening. The Vocabulary and Listening sections begin with a sample cover page of the test booklet.

※N3, N4 and N5 have three test sections: Language Knowledge (Vocabulary); Language Knowledge (Grammar)・Reading; and Listening. Each of these three sections begins with a sample cover page of the test booklet.

Listening audio files

※Test item types marked with "-" are not included in the level.

JLPT Official Practice Workbook (published 2012)

The Official Practice Workbook published in 2012 is sold by Bonjinsha. See here for more details.

N1: Q7, Q8 (1)-(3), Q9 (1)-(3), Q10, Q11, Q12 N2: Q10 (3)-(5), Q11 (1)-(3), Q13

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The Official JLPT N5 Practice Workbook

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  We are starting to come down to the last couple of months before the December test and a lot of people always ask me what they can do in these final weeks before the exam to help prep for the main event. I like to use this time before the test to do a lot of review, something that I call sword sharpening because I think it is important to go into the test being confident of what you know.

Part of that sword sharpening process is taking a practice test. I do this for a few reasons. First, it will obviously show you what you are weak in. Second, it can also reveal some places where you’ll need to sharpen up your test taking skills. For example, if you take the test and time it out, you might find that you are spending way too much time on the reading section or not enough time on vocabulary.

The JEES, the organization that is in charge of creating and administering the JLPT, put out a practice test for each of the new tests in 2010 when the new test was first administered. These were pretty handy, but they had one small problem. They weren’t full-sized tests. Most of the sections only had 2 questions in them.

They gave you a good idea of what the test was like, but not the whole picture. You weren’t really able to practice any real test strategies with them and so you were pretty much forced to pay for other practice tests if you wanted something full-sized.

N5 official practice workbook

It’s all official and stuff.

Then Came the Official Workbooks

This year JEES released official workbooks for each of the levels of the exams. Being that they are published from the very organization that puts on the test, my guess is that these are pretty accurate in terms of level and also what the test is going to cover.

These official practice workbooks are actually a conglomeration of questions from the past two years tests (2010 and 2011), so it is kind of like getting a Frankenstein version of the past tests. All in all, they are a really valuable resource to have at your disposal.

And, I forgot to mention the best part.

They happen to be absolutely free, which is really cool.

practice book japan

I personally use all of these on a daily basis and highly recommend them.

Anyway, I made some notes for the N5 workbook and did some other handy work with it to help you get a better score on the test. You can download the ‘raw’ files from the very well-hidden download page .

I should note one thing though. On the official website they say that these workbooks have almost the same number of questions as the real test. When I was looking through the N5 workbook, all the questions seemed to be there, but there might be some missing from a section.

Without further ado, here is the whole package of goodies:

JLPT N5 WorkBook Pack (zip/31.44MB)

I separated out the 4 audio files (for each section) into separate tracks for each question. This way it is a little bit easier to review with. Each track is labeled with the corresponding section and question number. I even included the break in case you love that awesome muzak they play.

If you prefer, I also broke the files down into separate downloads as well.

JLPT N5 Answer Sheet (pdf/1.07MB)

JLPT N5 Answers (pdf/131.86KB)

JLPT N5 Grammar Section (pdf/1.2MB)

JLPT N5 Listening Section (pdf/1.53MB)

JLPT N5 Listening MP3s (zip/26.44MB)

JLPT N5 Listening Script (pdf/254.75KB)

JLPT N5 Reading Section (pdf/713.81KB)

JLPT N5 Vocabulary Section (pdf/1.22MB)

Or, if you prefer the short version, the old JLPT N5 Practice Test is also still available.

Also, if you prefer that stuff called ‘paper’, you can get a hard copy of the Official JLPT N5 Practice Guide and rejoice in the smell of dead trees.

Other JLPT N5 Resources

JLPT Boot Camp  Premium 

N5 500mondai vocabulary and kanji practice

This is a great book of 500 problems that tests you over kanji, vocabulary, and grammar for N5 and N4.  What I like about it is that you answer 3 questions and then flip the page and see how you did with detailed feedback about each question.  It is really helpful to check what you are missing.

practice book japan

Japanese Pod 101 has a 6 lesson last minute prep course for the test as well as additional practice tests.  Also, their lessons are sorted by grammar points, so if you are having problems with a particular point, it is a great place to focus in on the one point that is giving you some trouble.

Take it and Go Be Awesome

I hope this workbook helps you score better on the test. Download it today and give it a try. You’ll be surprised how helpful it is. Let me know in the comments how well you did.

Related posts:

  • JLPT N5 Practice Test
  • JLPT N3 Practice Test
  • JLPT N1 practice test
  • JLPT N2 Practice Test
  • JLPT N4 Practice Test

practice book japan

I had no idea these were available for free! haha I bought the paper one last year to get timing down for N2. But then again, I think it was about 600 yen. Can’t complain too much. I found the N2 to be pretty accurate. The grammar and listening were maybe -slightly- easier for me than the real test, but the reading was actually a bit more difficult. So it’s probably right around the average level for the test.

Paper or not, I recommend this practice test too. After I passed N2, I gave it to my friend who’s in language school so she knows what to expect this December. I’ll be sending this link to a buddy in the US so he can try it, too. 🙂

practice book japan

Yeah, I bought the N1 for myself as well. They are available for free digitally, but that isn’t always the most portable or handy. Paper is still occasionally useful for taking notes on and such.

But, yeah, these are an awesome resource for anyone taking the exam, and they are kind of buried on the official site, like a hidden treasure.

practice book japan

Im really happy about this site! Thanks a lot for the help and for your generosity of giving us tips and copies of the workbooks and guides! I couldn’t express how happy I am for this. Your really great!

No problems, the guides are from JEES so I’m happy that they released them for free. They are an amazing resource.

practice book japan

Excellent Stuff Mac! Keep posting.. Believe me it’s really very helpful. 🙂

Thank you so much!!

I’m going to try to keep these up. They take a little while to process, but hopefully I’ll get all the levels released over the next few weeks. I hope it helps you out.

practice book japan

Are the downloads at the official web same as the hard copy? (Do they have everything in the Hard copy?)

To the best of my knowledge they are the exact same. The only advantage of the hard copy is that it is more portable and you can write on it and take notes, etc… but basically the same thing.

I see.. thanks! I have 1 question regarding the answer given for N5 聴解 paper, if you don’t mind spending some time.. 問題3 – 5番 The answer given was (3), is that really the right answer?

According to the answer key I have, that answer should be (2), did you get the wrong answer key?

Thanks for checking! You are right. It is indeed (2). My eyes must have went blurry when i did this, it was around 2am. haha Thanks again =)

practice book japan

thank you so much. I’m searching this book for every where

practice book japan

Konnichiwa!! Doumo arigatou gozaimasu. This really help. I have search for a long time but never expect the learning subtances to be free. hehe. I will try my best for JLPT. Wish me luck! Ganbarimasu!! (>v<)

Yeah, I was bit surprised when they made them free too. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

practice book japan

just to shoot away: i have a problem. I have experience of romaji-Japanese for some years and finally decided to learn the writing systems too. Now my first motivational goal is the JLPT N5.

My problem is, that the material you offer is so overwhelming – different anki-decks, commented and uncommented workbooks and mock tests etc.

So what material to start with? what downloads would you suggest as

step 1 step 2 step 3

thank you in advance.

I would say to start off, you should pick up a good textbook like Minna No Nihongo or Genki, and practice vocabulary with Anki or Memrise at the same time.

These workbooks and practice tests are great for the final stretch before the exam (about a month or so before) so that you can find your weaknesses and refocus your studies.

practice book japan

Thanks for this, I’ve been studying for the N5 exam (I initially thought about doing the N4 but I’m not going to take any chances and decided to go for the N5) and found about this practice book on the official JLPT website. I started looking for places to buy it but – fortunately – found this page instead 🙂 Congratulation on the website!

One simple question: I downloaded the “full package” zip. Does this have all the contents that are on the Official JLPT N5 Practice Workbook? I saw that the book contains 89 pages, is that only one exam like in the zip file? What I mean is, does your zip file contain everything that’s on the book or is it still worth buying it?

The zip file should contain everything important from the printed book. I have the paper version of the N1 and it looks like they have some added information about the test like, a can-do list and how many questions are in each section for each level of the test (all things that can be found on the main site ). This workbook is the same one that is available for free on their site as well. I just added notes and broke up the audio. So in theory everything should be the same. The paper version is just more portable/convenient for note-taking.

practice book japan

Thanks so much for your website and all your help. I’m just wondering how to score myself after completing the different practice sections. It seems that for the N5 there are 33 vocabulary questions and 32 grammar questions, making 65 in total. According to the JLPT site, these combined sections are worth a total of 120 points, which doesn’t quite add up. Could you give some insight? Thanks again for everything!

Um, well, it is bit hard to explain quickly, but let me try to give you a brief overview as to how the scoring works. I should probably just do a blog post on it, but it’s pretty complicated. Anyway, pre-2010, it was a raw score, and every question was assigned so many points and if you missed that particular question than you didn’t get the points.

Now, what happens, is a incredibly complicated scoring system called ERT, which takes all the possible answering ‘patterns’, which for 65 questions would be something like 4 to the 65th power? It takes those thousands of patterns and sorts them from most correct to least correct and then assigns a score based on where your particular answer pattern falls. That’s a really simple explanation, there are a lot more twists and turns to it then that and theories on how many points each question is worth, but that is essentially it. It’s meant to keep the test balanced, so if it was harder than usual, it is easier to pass, and vice versa.

That’s at least my understanding of it.

practice book japan

Thanks so much for the share, it’s really a life saver. 😀 Im gonna take N5 exam in the next 2 month, but still have no much preparation till now. 😛 This is why i’ve arrived at this website, because im looking for practice material on the internet, of course the free one. hahaha. Thanks before, Mac. Im going to look over this cool site of yours, maybe till I get through N1 exam. Great! 😀

Good luck, I hope you make it all the way to the top!

practice book japan

Thank you so much, going to treat my student to this!

And… To all m&a lovers: the man speaking in some mp3s (ex. 09-mondai 6) sounds so similar to Hideo Ishikawa. ^.^

practice book japan

What would be the minimum score on this practice that you would consider a “pass” if it were the real exam? I assume the ERT scoring system lowers you from the raw score considering 19/60 for the listening section is considered a pass and some of the questions in that section only have 3 choices…

This is a pretty complicated question. Certain questions are worth more than others, generally speaking. Obviously the quick response questions are worth a lot less than others.

The general rule of thumb is if you score 50~80% in a section, that section should be considered a weakness and you should concentrate on it more. Below 50% means you probably haven’t done enough of the fundamental work needed to pass the section (need to learn more vocabulary or grammar points for example) whereas 50~80% means you need to do more review.

Sorry this was late. I’m still without internet. Surviving on my dinky iPhone at the moment.

practice book japan

Thank you so much for this! This is super awesome. I’m looking for JLPT materials then I found this website. It’s really helpful. I learned basic Japanese language for my 3rd language class and now I want to learn Japanese properly with certificates. It really comes in handy if you are skilled in Japanese. One Japanese recruiter told me they would definitely hire who passed N2. Now I’m working to achieve that goal! (But I don’t know, how long will it takes.)

*Bookmark this website*

N2 is pretty high level, but if you keep at it, you should have no problems. The biggest thing is to get used to reading as soon as you can. Try to pick up some native books once you get past N4. Until N4, you should probably stick to textbooks. I look forward to hearing about your success!

practice book japan

Can I know what is the tips to pass jlpt N5 in one month times ,if I am vry weak now ? Hope u will reply and thanks in advance

I would say try to drill vocabulary as much as possible:

And master your particles, I have a lot of N5 grammar videos on YouTube:

practice book japan

Thank you .

practice book japan

Thank you so much, your web is incredible, helps me a lot. I’m learning Japanese on my own and and this place is my salvation 🙂

practice book japan

Thank you so much for your help. Iam learning Japanese & was confused about resources, your help is much appreciated!!

No problems, good luck on the test!

practice book japan

Hi, thank you so much for the workbooks! I will be taking N5 this weekend and I never really had enough time to prepare for it because of my job. So I was really saved when I saw your website! The amount of time I spent on studying for JLPT may not have been enough, but I feel more confident now that I was able to practice. Oh well, I’ll just do my best during the exam! If I (somehow) pass, it will be thanks to you.

*I just really wanted to say thanks 😉

practice book japan

Please suggest me a book for JLPT N5…

practice book japan

Thank you mac ! Your stuff is really helpful. I am from India and I am taking JLPT N5 this december, I have prepared for it well but still I am lacking practice. I want to clear up to N2 till July 2016 so can you tell me some better methods or sites for practising my stuff and preparing for N2 . I will be really grateful to you.

practice book japan

Thanks for this! It helped me have an idea on JLPT exam. 🙂 Keep posting please. 🙂

practice book japan

Thank you, usefull resource 🙂

practice book japan

I just happened to find this site and it is amazing! Such good resources. I wish I had it when I was taking Japanese in school. I am planning on visiting Japan again and want to start refreshing my memory and be able to take to the natives. Anyways, my question, I want to make sure I am reading something correctly but being able to sit for the JLPT is only about $55.00-$60.00?

It’s Y5500 to sit the test in Japan, so I’m guessing it is pretty comparable to that in other locations. Check on the official site to see who is putting it on in your area and how to sign up, what to pay, etc…

practice book japan

Study and overstudy. be prepared. i’d like to work in the financial sector in Tokyo. thank you.

practice book japan

I was hoping someone could answer me this:

After I self correct my test, how am I supposed to grade it? Do all questions have the same “weight” ? In the real case scenario all I need is 50% or more to pass it? and does that percentage show up in the result? TIA

Different questions have different point totals. It’s a little too complicated to explain in a comment, but basically if you score over 80%, you should be okay for that section. If you score between 60& and 80% that is a weakness you should work on a little bit. And less than 60% is a serious weakness you should spend more time on.

practice book japan

thank you very much.Good job.

practice book japan

Random question – I bought the book (cos I’m old school like that), my only problem was the instructions are in Japanese waaaaaay beyond my level. Is there a translation of the instructions for each section out there?

Many thanks, love the site 🙂

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Learn Japanese 2022.08.31 2023.12.12 Koji Sudo

10 Most Powerful & Popular Textbooks to Pass JLPT N3

10 Most Powerful & Popular Textbooks to Pass JLPT N3 - EDOPEN Japan

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test provides legal recognition, official certification, and even qualification recognition of a non-native speaker’s Japanese language proficiency. To excel in the JLPT, you must comprehend the nature and execution of this language proficiency test.

In this article, we will review the top 10 textbooks to successfully pass the JLPT N3 exam. Before proceeding, please click the button below to discover the textbooks that are recommended for passing the JLPT N5 and N4 exams.

We encourage you to explore additional articles to broaden your knowledge and understanding of the JLPT. Following your reading of this article, we welcome your feedback and thoughts in the comment section below. To broaden your understanding and knowledge of JLPT, please take a look at our recommended reading below! Thank you and let’s begin!

JLPT: A Complete Guide to the Differences Between Levels N1-N5 - EDOPEN Japan

JLPT: A Complete Guide to the Differences Between Levels N1-N5

Read also: Get Ready for JLPT N3: 100 Kanji List JLPT N3 Vocabulary | The Most Complete Lists

About JLPT N3

Grammar drill textbooks for jlpt n3, kanji & vocabulary drill textbooks for jlpt n3, practice jlpt n3 exam with complete set textbooks.

About JLPT N3 - EDOPEN Japan

The JLPT N3 is the intermediate tier of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). Successfully completing the JLPT N3 exam confirms proficiency in Japanese at an intermediate level, serving as ample evidence of Japanese proficiency for academic and occupational spheres.

Companies and educational institutions commonly require the JLPT N3 exam as a minimum prerequisite. The JLPT N3 assesses learners’ knowledge in five distinct areas, akin to the JLPT N5 and N4 as follows!

The JLPT N3 examination comprises three sections: language knowledge (vocabulary) in 30 minutes, language knowledge (grammar) & reading in 70 minutes and listening in 40 minutes.

1. Language knowledge (Vocabulary) – 30 minutes

What are the components of each section of the JLPT N3 exam? Each section of the exam has a specific component that is tested with its specified goal of measuring each individual’s ability. For language knowledge or skills, please read tWhat are the components of each section of the JLPT N3 exam? Each section of the exam has a designated component, which aims to assess individual abilities. To evaluate language knowledge or skills, please refer to the following 5 items below:

2. Language Knowledge (Grammar) & Reading – 70 minutes

On the other hand, for the language knowledge or Grammar and reading, please read the 7 important items as follows:

3. Listening – 40 minutes

Further, for the listening comprehension, please read the following items:

Grammar Drill Textbooks for JLPT N3 - EDOPEN Japan

The aim of the JLPT N3 grammar exam is to comprehend a minimum of 150-180 Japanese grammar points, covering aspects of both everyday life and the workplace. Specifically, at the N3 level, some examples of grammar points include:

Please read the following three books to assist you in preparing for the JLPT N3 grammar!

1. Speed Master JLPT N3 Grammar

practice book japan

To successfully pass the JLPT N3, preparation is key. An important aspect to master is N3 grammar. Master – Quick Mastery of N3 Grammar is a recommended resource. The book comprises three sections, which outline:

2. Mimi Kara Oboeru: Mastering Grammar

practice book japan

Are you someone who learns best by listening? If so, this book is ideal for JLPT N3 exam preparation. Titled “Mimi Kara Oboeru: Mastering Grammar through Auditory Learning – New JLPT N3!”, it boasts audio-centric learning in grammar mastery. As the title implies, this book boasts three significant advantages as follows:

This book enables natural mastery of grammar concepts and features numerous practice questions, increasing the likelihood of achieving fluency in the JLPT N3 exam within a short timeframe.

3. Dictionary of Japanese Grammar Series

practice book japan

One of the essential resources for any Japanese language learner, particularly those seeking success at all levels of the JLPT exam, is a Japanese dictionary. This dictionary, the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar, is essential for your JLPT N3 exam preparation. A companion for intermediate and advanced levels is a necessity.

The Intermediate Dictionary’s second edition has undergone extensive reviews and is now known as the most inclusive reference for Japanese grammar to date. The material has been elaborately explained, encompassing around 200 Japanese grammatical concepts.

You need not fret about encountering challenging words anymore. Employ this dictionary as an aid for your JLPT N3 exam readiness.

Kanji & Vocabulary Drill Textbooks for JLPT N3 - EDOPEN Japan

To successfully complete the JLPT N3, a comprehensive understanding of approximately 3,750 Japanese vocabulary words and 650 kanji characters is required. The 3,750 vocabularies on the JLPT N3 include nouns, verbs, adjectives, and foreign language absorptions words in Katakana.

In addition, the 650 kanji tested cover a wider range of topics and levels than in the JLPT N4 level. Most of these kanji are very common in daily life, both in the workplace and in schools or universities in Japan. Therefore, the JLPT N3 level is frequently utilized as the minimum requirement for entry into universities and corporations in Japan.

1. Kanji Master JLPT N3

practice book japan

The Kanji Master JLPT N3 book is highly popular due to its comprehensive and extensive series. Kanji Master JLPT N3 has:

2. 2000 Essential Vocabulary for the JLPT N3

practice book japan

This book is highly sought-after, particularly for those studying for the JLPT N3 exam. It covers a diverse range of 2000 commonly-used vocabulary words featured in the JLPT, alongside everyday life contexts, presented in an engaging manner. With clear topics, illustrative sentences, and translations in English and Vietnamese, any reader can effortlessly learn new words while picturing their practical usage.

In addition, the 2000 Essential Vocabulary for JLPT N3 comprises the subsequent components:

Practice JLPT N3 Exam with Complete Set Textbooks - EDOPEN Japan

To successfully pass the JLPT N3 assessment, diligent and regular practice is imperative. Solving a plethora of questions and persistently attempting the exam will facilitate a higher degree of familiarity and thus, elevate your chances of success.

Below, we recommend a book that provides a comprehensive set for JLPT N3 preparation. Each set typically covers every competency tested in the JLPT in great detail. Each book in the set provides comprehensive coverage of vocabulary, grammar, kanji, reading, and listening comprehension – encompassing a wide range. Please choose one of the complete sets of your JLPT N4 preparation book below!

1. New Kanzen Master JLPT N3

practice book japan

The New Kanzen Master JLPT N3 textbook proves highly sought-after among learners preparing for the JLPT N3 exam, as well as those studying at other levels. Each set comprises five books:

2. JLPT N3 Points and Practice

practice book japan

This series on JLPT N3 Points & Practice is certainly fascinating for many Japanese learners. Its uniqueness lies in its inclusion of tactful questions and helpful hints aimed at aiding your success in the JLPT N3 exam. In one complete set of the JLPT N3 Points and Practice series, you will receive three books, as outlined below:

Furthermore, all answers and explanations have been comprehensively listed in three languages – English, Chinese, and Vietnamese, accompanied by visually appealing illustrations. The book is highly suitable for self-study purposes.

3. Nihongo So-Matome JLPT N3

practice book japan

The Nihongo So-Matome book consistently ranks among the most coveted resources sought by those preparing for JLPT. Nihongo So-Matome offers the entire range of JLPT prep materials for every level. For instance, for those studying for JLPT N3, there is a complete set comprising five books. The books available in a complete set of Nihongo So-Matome JLPT N3 comprise the following:

4. Try! Japanese Language Proficiency Test N3

practice book japan

The guidebook for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N3, Try!, is an ideal resource for those on a budget who wish to master all the concepts examined in the assessment with just one book. Positive feedback from multiple JLPT N3 participants confirms its effectiveness.

Furthermore, it features 11 chapters that encompass a broad spectrum of everyday themes that may arise in JLPT N3 assessments. With only one book, you can acquire grammar, kanji, vocabulary, reading and listening skills, thanks to the Audio CD that is included.

5. Drill and Drill JLPT N3

practice book japan

The JLPT N3 Drill and Drill book is the ideal resource if you aim to master questions that resemble those in the actual JLPT N3 test. In fact, the team responsible for this book conducted thorough research to evaluate and refine the material to best reflect the JLPT N3 exam. In one set of JLPT N3 Drill and Drill book, you will receive three books as outlined below:

All answers are accompanied by comprehensive explanations and extremely helpful answer for all learners in English.

Please review the listed textbooks to ace JLPT N3 in 2023 below!

We welcome feedback and suggestions for our improvement. We hope you pass JLPT N3 successfully!

practice book japan

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7+ Free Japanese Workbook PDFs for Beginners: Hiragana, Kanji & More.

Here, you will find a growing collection of the Japanese workbooks for beginners — downloadable PDFs.

Yes, these are 100% free and original.

If you’re interested in learning Japanese, I do suggest getting a Japanese language program later, but first let’s do workbooks.

How to download and use these Japanese workbook PDFs.

  • You can also right click and “save as” to save the PDFs to your device
  • Print the workbooks. If you don’t print and write in them, you’re getting NOTHING out of this. You have to practice and put in work to learn Japanese.

1. The “How-to-Write” Hiragana and Katakana Workbook

  • Goal: Teaches you to read and write Hiragana and Katakana 
  • Target : Absolute Beginners (start here)

New to Japanese? Want to learn to write the Japanese alphabet ?

Then you’ll want this free Japanese workbook for beginners. This workbook contains 52 pages with Hiragana and Katakana tutorials and plenty of space to write each character out. By the way, workbook is made by JapanesePod101 — a popular Japanese learning system. So, if you click on the image below, you can download it from them.

japanese workbook pdf

2.Hiragana & Katakana Mastery Practice Workbook

  • Goal: Helps you practice hiragana & katakana and reinforce what you’ve learned.
  • Target : Absolute Beginners who learned hiragana & katakana but want practice.

This 10-page Japanese Workbook PDF is all about testing your kana (meaning, Hiragana and Katakana.) So, if you went through the workbook above and learned the characters, it’s time to test and practice. And that’s where this workbook comes in. There are 10 pages of Hiragana and Katakana comprehension quizzes , matching exercises , writing exercises and more… to make sure that you know your Kana inside out. Download for practice.

practice book japan

This workbook is made by Linguajunkie (me) and

3. The Level 1 Japanese Workbook

  • Goal: Tests you on Japanese words and grammar.
  • Target : Absolute Beginners who are learning with a program or textbook already but need exercise.

This workbook since it has 101+ beginner level questions. Don’t worry, the questions are easy if you follow the lessons that I introduce on in the inside. There are plenty of exercises: matching, translation, multiple choice, grammar, plus a lot of repeated questions for extra review.

japanese pdf workbook

4. Japanese Writing Workbook Bundle

  • Goal: Teaches you words and phrases & helps with writing
  • Target : Absolute Beginners who are learning with a program or textbook already but need exercise. Anyone who wants to practice writing.

If you’re looking for Japanese workbook PDFs that you can print and write in… here’s a nice collection also from JapanesePod101. The workbooks are based around various topics: greetings, nouns, adjectives, time-related phrases and more.  Each Japanese workbook contains a number of words and phrases along with the translations. Your job is to write out the Japanese words in the blank spaces.

free japanese workbooks

5.Talk About Yourself in Japanese – Writing Workbook

  • Goal: Teaches you words and phrases for talking about yourself (introduction, name, age, nationality, etc.)

Want to be able to introduce yourself in Japanese ?

This Japanese workbook for beginners will give you the phrases you need and… give you the chance to practice writing it all out. Like… your name… Where you’re from in Japanese … Your age ….  And more.


So, download the PDF, follow the sentence pattern examples. and practice the writing.

6. Japanese Workbook for Kanji (N5 and N4)

  • Goal: Teaches you beginner level Kanji.

Once you’re done with Hiragana and Katakana, you should move onto Kanji. So, here are 2 worksheets that were designed for the N4 and N5 Japanese Proficiency tests. In total, you’ll pick up 280+ kanji if you print out and fill out these worksheets. If you’re a brand new beginner, start with N5, and then move down to N4. N5 is considered the test that beginners should take and N4 is harder than N5.

7. 100+ Japanese Words & Phrases for Beginners

  • Goal: Teaches you the 100+ most common words and how to write them.
  • Target : Absolute Beginners who learned the Hiragana and Katakana (and perhaps some Kanji). Anyone who wants to start boosting their vocabulary.

Done with Hiragana and Katakana?

Want to learn the top 100 common Japanese words? And want to practice writing them? Then this is where this Japanese Writing Workbook comes in. There are 100+ words and phrases with translations, romaji, and space for you to practice writing out each one.

100 words japanese writing workbook

8. Japanese Learning Checklist for Beginners

New to Japanese? Wondering where and how to start? And what exact things you need to do? Fear not. This PDF worksheet/checklist lays out all the steps you need to take as a beginner. Some are simple ones. Others you’ll need to continue doing well until you’re fluent. But, they’re all important.

japanese pdf checklist

Why Learn with Japanese Workbook PDF?

  • Free at
  • Get a chance to practice your Japanese
  • Remember Japanese better through practice (writing in the workbooks)
  • Speak fluently later… because you’ve practiced
  • You’ll never learn simply by “listening” or “reading about things.” You have to DO things. It’s like learning to dance without actually trying to dance.

The fact is… you can read and listen to things all day long…

But, you will NEVER learn Japanese…

And you will NEVER learn to use it freely and speak it freely like your very own language… if you don’t actually do work — practice writing and speaking.

Hence, these Japanese writing workbooks give you a good opportunity to remember what you’ve learned and write things out. Doing this — using the words and writing them — will help you remember them better. So that later, you can freely use them while you’re speaking Japanese.

Related resources:

  • Japanese textbooks
  • Japanese PDF lessons
  • Japanese worksheets

– The Main Junkie

practice book japan


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practice book japan

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Take on Tomorrow 新たな未来への考察

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The New Equation

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PwC Japan有限責任監査法人は、日本で初めてデータサイエンス学部を立ち上げた滋賀大学と7年以上にわたってAI監査についての共同研究を行ってきました。その成果の一端をまとめた『「AI監査」の基本と技術~データサイエンティストの活躍』を、滋賀大学との共編にて中央経済社から出版しました。

序 「企業が信頼できる生成AIを利用するために必要なこと」

第1部 監査の変革に向けられたロードマップ(“Today”-現時点で実施されている監査/“Tomorrow”-すでに実現しつつある未来の監査/“Beyond”-中長期を展望した新しい監査像)

第2部 AIを利用した財務諸表監査(監査と監査証拠の基礎、監査プロセス/監査手続・監査技術へのAIの適用/監査計画へのAIの適用/監査における新たなテクノロジーの利用/完了手続へのAI適用/まとめにかえてー「新しい監査・会計実務者像」とは)

補論 Society5.0におけるアジャイル・ガバナンスとトラスト

  • 書名:「AI監査」の基本と技術~データサイエンティストの活躍
  • 著者:滋賀大学(編)、PwC Japan有限責任監査法人(編)
  • 出版社:中央経済社 2024年1月25日発行
  • 定価:2,860円(税込)






Tomorrow's audit, today――次世代デジタル監査への取り組み.

PwC Japan監査法人は、市場をリードするプロフェッショナルのスキル、堅実な監査アプローチ、人工知能(AI)をはじめとするテクノロジーを融合した新時代の監査を通じて、デジタル社会に信頼を築くプロフェッショナルファームを目指します。







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practice book japan

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Ichiban Shuppan

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Genkouyoushi Notebook: Large Japanese Writing Practice Book 11&#34; x 8.5&#34; 110 Pages, Kanji Writing Practice, Tsuchiya Koitsu, Japanese Art (Composition, ... Paper) (Traditional Japanese Art Covers)

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practice book japan

Genkouyoushi Notebook: Large Japanese Writing Practice Book 11" x 8.5" 110 Pages, Kanji Writing Practice, Tsuchiya Koitsu, Japanese Art (Composition, ... Paper) (Traditional Japanese Art Covers) Paperback – July 14, 2018

Purchase options and add-ons.

This 110-page genkouyoushi notebook features:

  • 11” x 8.5” large size for comport in practice that would still fit into a bag easily.
  • Traditional genkouyoushi grid consists of 10 columns and 200 squares totally on each page.
  • Extra guide lines to help you perfect your Japanese writing.
  • Perfect for practicing kanji, hiragana or katakana.
  • Beautiful full color Japanese art by Tsuchiya Koitsu.
  • Matte finish cover.
  • High quality paper perfect for ink, gel pens or pencil.
  • A cover page to write your name and info.

Get your copy and start to hone your japanese writing skills!

Also perfect gift for anyone that learns Japanese !

  • Print length 110 pages
  • Language English
  • Publication date July 14, 2018
  • Dimensions 8.5 x 0.25 x 11 inches
  • ISBN-10 1723029491
  • ISBN-13 978-1723029493
  • See all details

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 14, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 110 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1723029491
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1723029493
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.5 x 0.25 x 11 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #596,232 in Books ( See Top 100 in Books )

About the author

Ichiban shuppan.

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    Genki II. Genki is a very popular Japanese textbook series, used commonly by beginners trying to learn Japanese. After completing Genki Volume Two, your Japanese language abilities will be at N4 level. The textbook was first released in 1999 and is currently updated to the third edition.

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    Genkouyoushi Notebook: Large Japanese Writing Practice Book 11" x 8.5" 110 Pages, Kanji Writing Practice, Tsuchiya Koitsu, Japanese Art (Composition, ... Paper) (Traditional Japanese Art Covers) Paperback - July 14, 2018