Advice on WaniKani schedule

Hello everyone!
I am at the beginning of my journey to learn Japanese. My goal is to learn what wanikani offers in 2 years. And my ultimate goal is to read (and understand of course) Japanese books and to watch Japanese videos with Japanese subtitles (without them in the long run)
I read the unofficial guide and realized that wanikani works in time cycles. I would like to ask to help me figure out my schedule. How many lessons should I do and when, same about reviews etc.
Speaking about free time - this is what I have:
30 minutes in the morning at around 8:30-9:00
30 minutes at around 14:00-15:00
1 hour at around 21:00-23:00
I would prefer doing lessons at evening and also have one evening in the week free of any learning activity.
So considering my goal what advice can you give me?


Keep in mind you will want to find time in there for grammar studies.
I would try to make a goal to get your reviews down to zero every day and adjust the lessons you do to keep that goal.
As you get further in, you will have a lot more reviews stacking up, so it will be a while before you get 100+ reviews per day.

2 years seems like a nice goal to set
Best of luck!


2 years is doable but ambitious. For example, I spend typically 2+ hours on Wanikani alone every day (every day) and I’m coming up on 2 years right now at level 39. To burn everything is definitely going to be more than 3 years with breaks for travel.

And as Jerricent said, that doesn’t count time for grammar, vocabulary outside Wanikani, or reading and listening practice which will suck up as much time as you give it.

Right now I’m doing Wanikani, Bunpro, and Memrise every morning for about 3 hours, then reviews for about 30 minutes around 1:00, then more reviews as they come up between 5:00 - 10:00 for another 30-60 minutes.


I think at level 1 it’s hard to know. Some people say they can do all of their daily reviews in about an hour but I take about 3 hours on WaniKani each day.
I think 2 years is a good goal. You may not be able to, but a goal isn’t a strict itinerary. My goal is to reach level 60 within 2 years and I think I will be able to, but I won’t be able to burn everything in that time.
You’ll probably change your mind about having a day without studying every week once you start getting hundreds of reviews each day, because a lot will pile up unless you use vacation mode every week (tbh there have been periods when I was constantly using vacation mode, and I didn’t notice any adverse effects but WaniKani advises against it and you should probably listen to WaniKani and not me).
Keep in mind you can also use the wrap up button and just do 10 reviews at a time.


Hi, I am beginner as well and I can describe what works for me. As soon as I wake up I do lessons. Depending on how much time I can spend or how demanding the lessons are I do 10-20 lessons. That takes me around 30min. After breakfast (between 8-9AM) I do reviews. Next reviews are at 12-13PM, 16-17PM and 21-22PM. These times fit very well with Wanikani Intervals so you can Guru items in about 4 days. Moreover each review is very manageable and fast (10 min. tops). In Wanikani more important than lessons are reviews so if you plan to have a day off I still would do a review somewhere during the day. I would discourage learning in the evening because first review of newly learned items comes in 4 hours and you want to stimulate the mid term memory for the item. So in the morning you will be more prone to do a mistake thus prolonging Apprentice level. You basically want to move items from apprentice as fast as possible because they constitute the most to your reviews. If you feel overwhelmed, stop doing lessons but not the reviews for few days. This will move most items further in the system and they will reappear after 2 weeks or a month.


I agree with the advice that @Jerricent gave.

That’s around 10 lessons a day on average :slight_smile: So maybe try to aim for that number once you’re on a higher level and wish you balance your WK time a little better :slight_smile:

My general advice here would be to always try to to the Apprentice 1 reviews (4h) after the lessons. Going 8h+ without reviewing lessons can be a bit too much, leading to a decrease in the quality of learning. Maybe trying to do the daily lessons 4h before the last review session could be a good idea (and it wouldn’t be too time consuming, just 10-15 mins).


To be honest, WK is only part of what I do for Japanese each day, and I’m not in a hurry or anything, really. I am currently doing all lessons as they come out. At this low level, there isn’t much for me to do on WK, but my goal is to keep my lessons at a pace where I can finish all of my reviews in a day and keep them manageable.

Not sure if WK is all you’re doing. I am focusing heavily on grammar, immersion, and sentence mining in addition to WK, so WK is only a small part of what I do. As long as I’m on track for between 1.5-2 years, I’m good with that. WK is just a supplement for my overall Japanese studies and is by no means the center of it, so that plays into how much time I dedicate to it, because immersion and my Anki reviews take precedence, so if it ever comes to having to tone down WK a bit, I wouldn’t hesitate.

If I were you and doing more than just WK, I’d proceed by defining how much time you have each day, what tasks for Japanese you want to do on a daily basis, and what importance each task has. If a task has higher importance to you, dedicate more time to it.

Here is what my time looks like:

1 hour - Anki sentence reviews
1-2 hours WK (though I don’t really need that right now, so once I’m done, I reallocate that time)

Both of the above are not continuous - both Anki and WK I do during my work day when I have time or when the reviews come up.

I usually end up also getting about 3 hours of immersion (in the morning before work + evening after work) and about an hour of grammar each day.

If my time were to lessen, my priorities would be as folllows:


Based on that, my schedule is flexible according to the time I have and the priorities I’m placing on my learning.

If all you’re doing is WK and you’re comfortable with finishing in two years, I’m not sure it matters that you micromanage your schedule as long as your reviews don’t pile up and you’re doing new lessons at a good pace, but I’ll let the WK min/maxers weigh in on that.

Also keep in mind that Wanikani will get harder as you get into it. There’s a reason the earlier sections are called “Pleasant, Painful, Death, and Hell”. Kanji will become more complex and abstract, reviews will pile up - especially when burn reviews start to appear, and synonyms and homonyms will become a bigger issue. If you run too fast in the beginning you could run into a brick wall.


Alright, first of all thanks everybody for the replies.

Wow, that is a lot. I do not think I physically have that amount of time for studies

I think the morning is out of the question for lessons.
So would you say that doing lessons during lunch break would be better option than in the evening?

What amount of reviews daily that would be at, say, level 20? (if I will do 10 lessons every day)
Also what would you recommend - doing reviews on the schedule or also when I have free time?

I probably wasn’t clear enough. I want to have one (Saturday) evening free (you know pop myself a beer and watch some movie). On the weekend I have like almost all day free

I am not too worried about grammar. Sure I will read textbooks and watch/listen lessons on basic grammar. I think vocabulary is more important in my case. WK will teach me vocab and readings of kanji, and this is a base I want to have.
As many of you probably guessed I am non native English speaker. I can read/watch/listen and understand almost everything. And I have like zero knowledge on English grammar. Sure I can’t speak and writing is also a pain. This is just not what I learn language for.
My main driving force in learning Japanese is a passion for Japanese video games that I discovered couple of years ago, and for Japanese animation that I discovered couple of months ago. And it was such a breath of fresh air. And since I know how much nuances can be lost during localization I want to enjoy what Japanese culture may offer in it’s original form.
Also I have couple of questions to all of you. At which WK level you felt comfortable browsing Japanese part of the Internet, read forums etc.? And can you recommend me some Japanese websites/ Japanese YouTube channels about video games?


This is a dangerous thought. A lot of non-native English speakers reach a decent level of fluency/understanding of the language without much studying, but that’s due to the tremendous amount of exposure that we get to the language for years and years. I personally don’t think Japanese works the same way. Mainly at the beginning, some grammar study must be done. Or else you’ll find yourself in a place where you’re constantly not sure about the things you’re reading/listening to (because there was never an investment on figuring out how and why things works). I’m not a native English speaker btw.

Sounds good. Test it out and see how it works :slight_smile:

I can’t really predict that, but maybe 150? Maybe less?

Mind you that the first levels are not as intensive as the rest, due to having less reviews to do/less knowledge in your head. This to say that you don’t need to follow a 10 lessons/day rule right now. You can (and should) experiment and find out what’s your ideal numbers now :slight_smile:

I’d recommend you aiming for the schedule, because it will allow you to add Wanikani to your daily routine. If you have a routine around it, you’ll keep going and not give up, which is probably the number 1 reason people reach level 60.

However, if you find yourself with 5 to 10 mins without doing anything and bored, why not do some reviews? :man_shrugging: It will mean that you’ll have less that to do later ^^

I don’t usually recommend doing reviews every single hour (because after a while, reviews will unlock throughout the day: as you get them wrong and correct again, their schedule “changes”). You’ll be breaking your routine constantly for a few reviews and your overall productivity on other things will go down. I find (from personal experience) that coming to do reviews every hour takes me out of the flow of my day. That’s why a routine is also important :slight_smile:

Hope I was clear enough and that it helped you.


I’d advice to maintain stable lessons count each day instead of doing all lessons as soon as they appear. Also it’s very important to reach 0 reviews at least once every day, and don’t forget about vacation mode when you have busy days without reviews.

Those 3 advices will help you to maintain very good stability in your workload. You will have predictable number of reviews each day. You will never see 300+ or even 1000+ reviews, that will ruin your day schedule, and even when you deal with them, they reappear in 6 smaller waves in future.

The calculation is following. If you do 10 lessons every day, then your max everyday workload will be around 10 * (4 appearenced + 2 gurued + 1 mastered + 1 enlightened) = 10 * 8 = 80 reviews. If you do 20 lessons per day, then it will be around 160 reviews including reviewing of new words, I mean 140 reviews for old words, and 20 new lessons + 20 reviews of new lessons. There is some extra because of wrong answers, so add here +10-20%.

PS: on first levels feel free to speed up, but with stable speed, and slower down before you get first enlighten word and first burn. At first burn it will be your max workload.


If you prefer later learning hours I would do lessons 4h before going to sleep and first review just before sleep. Having one evening off is no problem at all. But be aware that the reviews wont go anywhere. Next morning you will be facing increased volume of reviews. Wanikani rewards consistency. Until you start burning items which will be 6 months in the future providing 100% answers the piles will grow.


A WaniKani level doesn’t indicate your reading level. There are people at levels lower than me who are reading books that I wouldn’t be ready for yet.
Sometimes I read things and I think “I can read all the kanji! Yet I have no idea what it says.” For one thing, you need grammar to know if a sentence is negative or not in present tense.


Sure. Right now I just go through basic grammar, thankfully there are a lot of free resources. As I said establish the base.
Also example sentences for vocab items in WK are helpful too.

Alright, let me rephrase myself. At which WK level you felt comfortable reading/recognizing most of the kanji in texts while you browse Internet?

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My level is still low in WK (subscribed in july), but I was once at the point in life when I read around 1100-200 most common kanji) and at that point i had quite a lot of struggle with reading Japanese text. A novel meant for teens (like Harry Potter) was doable and manga as well. However, blogs and forum posts are super different to that due to internet slang. Games can be easy or hard depending on the vocabulary. High school dating sim was on the easy side and full blown fantasy rpg with hundreds of customizations was super hard for me back then :slight_smile:

Though, I achieved first speaking skills and kanji-reading only after that, so I had already a strong base with everyday vocabulary and grammar when I started reading.

I would honestly suggest doing some other sources along with wanikani. Maybe start with basic vocab and then find some native material to practice constantly with, be it manga or a book for kids. WK is only a supplement, not the main resource for learning Japanese.

Good luck to your studies!

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Just do the reviews when you are able, and if there are none left, use something else to learn from another angle. I think I started watching some videos from then did Michel Thomas Foundation, am going through Pimsleur (very lazily), and once I’m done with that I might go through Rosetta Stone (I realize it kind of sucks without a foundation as they refuse to give explanations, but I tested it out and I think it’s good practice). I also watch anime/jdrama (with english subtitles) and just realized I can watch Star Trek in japanese on Netflix (with english “subtitles”), etc. I do everything lazily and focus on listening comprehension, like with Michel Thomas they ask you to pause the recording to try and say what they ask, I didn’t, and while I did try to say and repeat things in my head I did not worry too much about having perfect recall. One thing I’m doing is recording the shows I watch as mp3, so I try to listen to them again (you can do it anywhere) and see how much I am able to pick up. I was going to focus a lot on WaniKani but I decided to be lazy about it and worry more about listening comprehension. Once I get to a higher level I’ll turn the japanese subtitles on japanese shows (to make sure the text matches the speech) and practice listening/reading together, on content I’ve already watched before. Understand that the japanese themselves learn to hear before they learn to read, so why would you do it the other way around? I think learning to read does help to understand speech (by showing you what the sounds are supposed to mean and how the words are being put together) so I wouldn’t neglect WaniKani, but the words I actually know are far easier to learn on WaniKani than new words.

What do you mean you are “doing WaniKani (and etc) for 3 hours” AND THEN reviews? Do you mean you spend a ton of time looking over the mnemonics and example sentences and such? I can’t imagine how you could possibly spend over 2 hours a day on WaniKani alone and still be at level 39 in two years. Sounds like you are doing something wrong.

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Everybody has their own speed. I do 15 to 20 Wanikani lessons a day and spend a lot of time on learning the mnemonics (and often having to invent my own when the given ones don’t connect in my brain), and I typically look up kanji and vocabulary in Jisho to get an idea of the range of meanings since usually Wanikani only gives one and that one meaning may not make make sense in some compounds. Memorization has always been very difficult for me. Grammar also takes a lot of time to study and understand.

Maybe I’m an idiot and I’m just wasting my time, but I’m doing my best. And frankly I think the attitude in your reply is mean spirited and unhelpful.


My answer is still the same though. The problem with the question is that nobody in the same WaniKani level is at the same Japanese level. There might be some WaniKani users who never studied Japanese before and do nothing other than WaniKani but I don’t think any of them post on the community and I’d imagine they’d get bored long before level 60. In level 46, my lessons taught me 歳 and 墨. 歳 was in chapter 1 of my textbook, which I started about a month before WaniKani (it’s a very common kanji, too, so I’ve seen it a lot before level 46). I’ve also known 墨 for a long time now.
By the way, WaniKani sends out an email at level 10 with the subject “this is how much kanji you’ll be able to read” and it says “Level 20: 76.00% of the kanji that appears in Japanese news websites.”
But there’s still more to reading Japanese than recognizing kanji. Like you’re going to see 出 a lot and recognizing the kanji means “exit” usually won’t be of much help.

Not meant to be mean spirited, meant to be helpful. It just sounded like you were wasting time on things that were not very helpful so changing your approach might be better, but then again, you’re already at level 39. Considering people manage to get to level 60 in a year, two years for level 39 with hours upon hours of study every single day seems wrong. It could be that you are dumb as you said, and if that is the case, it’s not your fault and I sincerely commend you for your hard work.