Best comprehensive resource+tests to learn japanese grammar

Hi, I have finally reached level 10 and I think it is time for me to give some structure to these “strange and complicated doodles”.
Which resource do you think is the best to start studying japanese grammar, taking into consideration three assumptions:

  • I am a self-learner, well-motivated yes, but still a self-learner;
  • I really learn and interiorize concepts only after I have been quizzed and tested on them. So exercises are a must;
  • I would love to focus on only one comprehensive source in order not to diperse attention and avoid situations like “use the book A to clarify some aspects on site B while using the app C for reviews”

Thank you in advance for every reply.


I like the Shinkanzen Master series. I haven’t really compared it with anything else since it’s the only grammar book I have, but I found it useful and comprehensive as a self learner. There were sometimes things I had a hard time understanding as a self learner, but I just asked on HiNative and it was fine.

By the way, the only Shinkanzen grammar book I used is the N3 one.



I think I should elaborate a bit more. :sweat_smile:

  1. People usually say Genki is more suited to a classroom setting but I’ve been using it alone and personally I find it more than enough. Though there’s a study group on discord of fellow Wanikanians. Sometimes there are like partner exercises but you can act like two people! Also, get the answer key too, it helps when you don’t get an answer.

  2. There are enough exercises.

  3. Yep, you can only focus on Genki but if you are not able to understand a point, I would say search it in Tae Kim’s grammar guide. But you can definitely use Genki alone.

Also, there’s a great article on Tofugu in which Genki has been reviewed. Here it is. No, this is not a rickrolling scheme.

On a side note, you have a typo in your last sentence “advance”. I don’t know why but I find many typos. :slightly_smiling_face:


It really depends on your preference: some like books, other videos.

  1. Books
    I personally tried Genki and *sigh I bounced off of it unfortunately. I personally think shorter/more concise textbooks are better suited (e.g. japanese 80/20). Just like Steve Kaufman (a famous polyglot) said he used these grammar books only to get a general overview of his target language. Therefor it is not neccessary to do the exercises provided in the books (again depends on your preference). It is very important to have fun with the language after all, it should be considered a chore ^^. So you can use the following books:
  • Genki
  • Japanese 80/20
  • Tae Kim japanese grammar guide
  1. Videos
    I personally am more motivated to watch videos. There are many options on youtube, I however think that one here is pretty nice (since it’s a consecutive series).

  2. Anki
    The way I’m doing Wanikani (lvl 12 right now), Grammar, Anime immersion is by Anki. It’s amazing, however a bit intimidating in the beginning. You can easily download shared decks about grammar from (here for example).
    If you have trouble with Anki, worry not: there is a nice guide on how to setup low-key anki on

Ok I hope that helps! I highly recommend you doing MIA/AJAT (Massive immersion/all japanese all the time) to strengthen your motivation, vocabulary, listening comprehension etc. That it, I really hope that helps! 幸あれと気を付けてくださいねー :)

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Thank you for the exhaustive response. One question: do i really need the answer key book? I mean, shouldn’t the answers be provided on Genki website?

P.S. I corrected the typo, thanks

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It would certainly help to get the answer key books.

I am not sure but I think you need to buy the answer key, but I was lucky enough to get it free!

If you are not into books that much, Shirimono could help you in learning Japanese grammar like Wanikani does with Japanese kanji! Give it a try maybe!


If textbooks work for you (and you haven’t committed to a particular title since making this thread), I would also recommend looking into Minna no Nihongo. It’s comparable to Genki, but each line of textbooks has advantages and disadvantages. One of MNN’s strengths is that it has loads of exercises, and you can buy additional workbooks to further drill yourself! It’s also a little more thorough than Genki in terms of the amount of vocabulary and grammar that you’ll learn, and completing it will put you a little ahead of where Genki will take you. It does require a lot of self-motivation, though, and it can be intimidating to start, because the main textbook is entirely in Japanese! (There is a companion textbook that has translations and grammar explanations, and the books are meant to be used in tandem, but the primary book is in Japanese, and you have to learn to decipher it. A little scary at first, but great for reading practice!).

If you study effectively, you shouldn’t have to do much flipping between the two texts, either. I’ve had great success focusing on learning the vocab list for the lesson first (this takes me at least a week lol), then reading the grammar explanation, then diving into the textbook and seeing how far I can get without having to consult the translation. So far, I’ve been able to read the main text successfully without having to look at the translation even once. But if this process sounds unpleasant to you, Genki might be a better option. MNN is more immersive, with all of the benefits and downsides of that approach.

I’m currently working my way through it as a self-learner, and I’m not having any trouble interpreting it. One of the advantages of learning through a textbook like MNN (and I’m assuming Genki as well) is that you’ll learn vocab, and then right away, you’ll apply the vocab by seeing it in context as the book is also teaching you grammar. I’ve found that studying vocab and grammar together like this (instead of studying them separately, like vocab flash card decks paired with websites explaining grammar points) really helps reinforce both.

Tofugu has a guide on choosing a beginner textbook, which is how I decided on MNN. I recommend looking through this list and seeing if any of the books speak to you. I’m really happy with my choice so far :blush:

I feel like the thing is that you gotta do the exercises for Genki to be really good, which can be hard to force yourself to do if not held accountable by a group of others / a class. I found Genki great and learned a lot from it, but if it wasn’t for the class I was in I definitely would’ve just read the chapters without writing a single word of Japanese (bc laziness)

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I thought bunpro was the only one for srs with grammar,

I will try this one because I really need grammar, I still make a lot of mistakes trying to understand connecting sentences in cause and effect when reading nhk news easy.

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Thank you, that seems very cool.

No problem! Happy to help! :smiley:

Is Shirimono a goodcomprehensive resource for learning Japanese? How complete is it (I see it’s still in beta)? The website looks really clean and if it lives up to “All your Japanese textbooks in one app. Shirimono will teach you Japanese all the way from the basics to the most upper level of the JLPT certification test” it seems like it could be a good site to recommend to friends for learning Japanese

I’m not doubting that the site could be great, but clearly it doesn’t have that many users yet, so I’m wondering what people’s experiences are with it - since I can’t find a single tweet, YouTube video, review or reddit post about it. (and on the WK forums I only found you and @evandcs’s mentions of it)

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for me it has been a blessing! Many many grammar particles I had no idea existed and I stumbled on them when reading twitter or news articles.

I realize after learning them I can understand way better those senteces.

It has a really clean interface. I just wish they could add three examples for each grammar particle, just to stick better to mind. So far with only one sentence during reviews I quite memorized some of them already.

I dont know but I read here before bunpro was free a long time ago, and they are paid now, never used it, and since I dont want to commit to 2 paid srs at the same time, shirimono being free is my best option right now

I am doing one lesson per day, I have finished n5 and n4, and started n3 now.

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