Does anyone know how much progress I will make in 3-4 months?

I’m going to Japan in 3 1/2 months, and I want to have an idea of how much kanji I will know with WaniKani by the time I leave.

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± 200
You’ll be able to differentiate the bathrooms. Not much else.


Well… that’s useful, so okay

It really depends on your pace though. You could get to around 300 kanji, at which point you’ll also be able to read the prices.


I have time, so I’d probably move though quite quickly.

Depends on how much Japanese you know other than kanji. If you know nothing, reading some signs is likely the extent of your gain. If you’re fluent in spoken Japanese, and you only lacked kanji, each missing character might just fit in in the right place of your Japanese and become immediately useful everywhere you spot it… if it wasn’t for the fact that it takes months of staring at those scribbles for 2 hours a day in order for your subconscious to learn how to distinguish similarly looking ones, what’s important and what isn’t. Getting to seeing a kanji and immediately getting the corresponding meaning and expectations of its surroundings in your head takes a bit more time than just a few months of staring.


If you manage to keep it to under 8 days per level, you could even reach level 13 which means 456 kanji. You can’t really go any higher than that.
And that’s like… being able to read DO NOT signs.

I’m joking. The kanji for prohibition is on level 18. It goes faster if you listen to BABYMETAL though.


It depends on what you already know. I am assuming very early beginner and its good starting on Kanji right at the start - at lower levels it not truly necessary (but helpful), but will be needed. With your limited time window, I would say focus more on basic vocab and grammer, if you only have three months.

Maybe learn very basic everyday use like Yen 円,Up上、Down下,Big (Flush)大、Small (flush)小 Station駅,Store店 for the most part it wont be needed and they be lots of english, romaji, hiragana and katakana.

If you already know some basics then kanji is an additional bonus.


Was that actual advice or just a promotion for babymetal?

Both. And I may also be underselling WaniKani a little. You’ll get some kanji in 3 months, alright. A lot faster than you would by traditional means.
You should also be aware that it won’t be enough to read much of anything (although you won’t be completely lost). It’s simply not enough time.


I guess it’s better to know a little bit than nothing


WaniKani is more aimed at long-term, sustained learning of kanji for those that want to master Japanese - less so aimed at people wanting to pull a sprint to learn what they can in limited times. The SRS system is meant to commit words to permanent memory over a period of weeks - this means unskippable wait times until you can review words again.

If you want to binge before your trip, you could consider checking out Anki or Memrise. They are free options where you can learn as much or as little in one go as you want.

WaniKani picks up hugely a few levels in, but initially it seems a bit slow, because there will be SRS intervals where you have nothing to review and nothing to study. So while that lack of things to do is a very temporary thing in WK on the whole, you might end up feeling impatient.

But for learning kanji in one’s journey to Japanese proficiency, I recommend WaniKani wholeheartedly!


I’m not learning kanji just for my trip, so I’ll still keep it up.

I’ll be able to learn while I’m in Japan as well since I’m staying with a host family.


One feature of WK is that you don’t learn from easy meaning to difficult meaning, but from visually easy to visually difficult. That also means, that you will learn some important vocabs in pretty high levels. And you should keep in mind, that WK won’t teach you “all the vocabs”. The main goal is to teach the kanji! But to really know a kanji, you should also know some words, which use this kanji.

If your goal ist to really learn Japanese, this technique is very useful! But even if you just want to catch up some words and kanji, WK is is super useful! Because of the SRS-System you will learn so much more that with other techniques!

In your case I would give WK a try! If you want to make fast progress, here is a wonderful post “How to gain 1 Level in 1 Week?”. And on the other hand I would learn some useful phrases (the usual “good day, good evening”, how to ask for directions ect.) as well as some grammar (e.g. the chapter Basic Grammar in Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese Grammar.

Btw: do you already know katakana? They are the Japanese alphabet to write foreign words. There are TONS of english words used in Japanese. The fastest way to give you a little “Japanese boost” before a trip, is to learn them!

(just as an example: the yahoo-start-page with translations of the words written in katakana)

~T :lion:



I am really fast in wanikani and i just checked. i got till level 17 (which is the maximum possible) in that timespan. which are 586 kanji and 1850 words.

to be able to achieve that you need some extra scrips and you probably need to get up at night to do some reviews that just got available.

I heavyly recommend Wanikani Overwrite and Ultimate Lesson Reorder. However know how to cheat otherwise you just hurt yourself. i foreample only cheat with just learned items until i reach Guru1 the first time.

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I can read Hiragana, Katakana, and some very basic kanji (numbers, days of the week etc)

Thank you for the advice <3

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I’m not getting up at night, my parents would kill me and most likely cancel my subscription


i mean i have wanikani on my phone so its no problem. without getting up at night level 15 seems reasonable

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I started WK about 6 months before going to Japan and got up to level 15. I had already been studying Japanese for 6 months. I wouldn’t say it was that useful. If anything it was a bit frustrating being able to read and understand some sentences in full but then finding I had no clue on the next one. Having studied grammar and been practicing speaking for a year that worked much better.

I am planning to go back to Japan in 2020 (earliest I can talk my wife into going!) and hope by then to have burnt all Kanji in WK and to be much more fluent with my speaking.

One thing I would say is that I kept seeing some Kanji in Japan that I didn’t know and it was a bit frustrating but it is now great coming across them in WK (linking into a post above one was 禁). Same with watching anime - although I am a long way from being able to understand it without subtitles it is great that I am picking out vocab I’ve learnt from WK.


I never woke up at the middle of the night to do Wanikani though :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@CDia22 You can go quite far in 3 or 4 months. Enough to be able to read a lot of kanji in simple manga, etc. However, I don’t think this should be the focus. Right now, just try to understand how WK works and make it into a habit. Even though this program will help you learn kanji a lot faster than traditional methods, it will still be part of your routine for the next 1 to 3 years :slight_smile: So it’s important to feel comfortable about it as well. Read the FAQ and the Guide if you haven’t already. Any specific questions you might have, feel free to ask :slight_smile: And welcome!