Doing as much as possible?

I am a noob and was wondering if it’s realistic to get the “maximum” speed for the normal levels (which take about 7 days according to the ultimate wanikani guide). Roughly how much time would that take daily? Thanks in Advance! <3

If I were you I wouldn’t go at max speed as that will overtime increase your reviews to the point you’d be doing hundreds to over a thousand reviews a day.


It would most likely turn out to be very overwhelming, and probably do more harm than good. I go very slow, and I do about a level every 30 days, but I’d wager that you could probably do a level every two weeks and keep things reasonable.


I am asking about the time it needs to do the lessons though, not the reviews. Reviews are something you can always do on the fly but what I am really curious about is the time it takes to do as many lessons as you unlock at max speed

The reviews are how you actually learn the material, though. Doing the lessons as quickly as possible while burying yourself under a crushing load of reviews is ultimately going to impede your learning.


As the guy that wrote the “ultimate wanikani guide”, test the waters first. Aim for consistency, spread your lessons throughout the days, and finish your days with 0 reviews. Get that done and you’ll be able to judge better if you’re ready for maximum speed or not.

Not saying it’s you, but everyone wants to do maximum speed. They just don’t have the energy/motivation nor the time to do it. They end up burning out and showing up here years later to start again.

Consistency first. Get that and you’ll be ready to speed things up next :slight_smile: Not the other way around.


I’m really thankful for the precautionary words but as I said, I just want to learn about the technicalities with this question. Whether or not I can and will do it at max speed is yet to be determined but I’m just asking about the facts and numbers

I’m really thankful for the precautionary words but as I said, I just want to learn about the technicalities with this question. Whether or not I can and will do it at max speed is yet to be determined but I’m just asking about the facts and numbers

I am asking about the time it needs to do the lessons though, not the reviews.

The amount of time lessons take is going to vary greatly from person to person. If you’ve learned a kanji or word in previous studies, it might take a couple seconds to look it over and remember that one’s in the rotation now. Maybe you know a reading from a word you’ve learned, and have to relate the current lesson to that for it to stick. At the other end, if the reading and meaning are totally unfamiliar, not intuitive, irregular, there are look-alike kanji, words it’s easily confused with, etc., it might take several minutes to come up with good mnemonics, visualize your story for this item, think about how to disambiguate it from similar items, etc.

Well, “max speed” is a matter of a few seconds per lesson. You can “do” a batch of five lessons in five minutes or less, including the quiz.

But to unlock more lessons, you need to remember them through at least the first five reviews. That’s why it’s impossible to talk about the lessons without considering the reviews.


Each level later on has around 150 lessons. If you’re talking about going at maximum speed (7 days per level) you’ll have to do around 22 lessons a day. You can easily do this in 10 minutes, but I suggest you try to learn the material before putting it in your review stack.
At this speed, you’ll have less than 200 reviews a day IF you have 100% accuracy, but that is impossible. More than likely you’ll have 300 or more reviews daily which takes significantly longer than the lessons.


People who go at maximum speed tend to have prior knowledge about Japanese, so the learning burden isn’t as great as it seems. :eyes:

I can’t say I ever timed how many minutes per day I’ve taken however. But, I ended up doing around 200-300+ reviews/day. Spread out across a day, I felt it was doable. But, if you also wanna do grammar studies, it’ll start to be a strain I feel.


I’d spend between 60 to 90 minutes a day doing lessons and reviews, noting that the pace was at 100 reviews/10 to 15 minutes (high speed, full focus). That’s only the time you’ll need to take into account when it comes to studying other Japanese-related things, like grammar, reading native content, etc.

Starting from level 40+, the time on WK definitely increased since I had to do 40 lessons and 400+ reviews a day for the 3-day and 12-hour levels.

I suggest the opposite. I just read them, about as fast as I can read them. Trouble is, that’s not “max speed” either, because when I do that I know I’m going to fail some number of them on the first review. That’s the SRS working as designed.

I rarely fail the radicals, though, and in the first half of the level, that’s all that matters for speed. In the second wave of kanji, you can’t fail any more kanji (well maybe one or two) and still reach theoretical earliest-level-up.

So really, to answer the question and not try to judge whether it’s a good idea or not: hardly any time at all, unless you start failing radicals and second-half kanji.

also I don’t think it’s a good idea, but you didn’t ask that


I guess it’s a preference then. What’s the difference between learning the item and its mnemonics during the lesson or during the review. I just prefer doing it during the lesson because I’ll have to do it eventually anyways. I forget items and will have to refresh my memory, but that happens regardless too.


Only because for me, a lot of them do stick with just one read-through, so any pre-emptive study on those is “wasted”. (defined by being more than the minimum necessary)

Same difference though, really. The first interval is only 4 hours, so it doesn’t really set you back a lot even if you do fail a radical.


The lessons are quick to do, it’s the reviews over time that take time. Though I’d advise taking your time with lessons anyway, especially when it comes to reading vocabulary sentences. Radical/kanji lessons are super quick though, I just read them and move on. Most of the work is the vocabulary, each level seems to have 30-40 kanjis but 100-150 vocabulary.

You can do an entire new batch of unlocked lessons relatively quickly all at once, and you’ll probably remember most of it at the next review. but as you keep doing that, you get a ton of reviews and burn out.

It’s not “how fast can I do lessons”, because speed doesn’t matter here, it’s all on timers. As you know, the fastest possible way in theory to do everything is about 7 days per level, so if you extrapolate 7 days * 60 levels = 420 days. If you’re more reasonable and assume that you won’t be able to time all those reviews perfectly and that you won’t always go that fast, you could take a more reasonable but still fast assumption of 10 days per level which is then 600 days, aka somewhere between 1.5 and 2 years

I just unlocked level 9, and my average level up time so far is somewhere between 8 and 9 days according to stats, so pretty fast. I’ve had a point where I was burnt out and had to slow down and do almost no new lessons for 2 weeks to let things cool down as I had other things to do.

But I’m definitely doing it at a very fast pace that won’t be sustainable forever, so I intentionally slow down every now and then when it starts feeling like too much.

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I went full speed for the first 40 levels. Unfortunately since the review API is RIP I can’t give you exact numbers, but we’re talking about roughly 20 lessons and maybe ~200 reviews per day:

And you need to make sure to do the “level up items” (i.e. radicals and then all the kanji 3.5days later) as soon as they become available, which basically means that you have to use scripts/3rd party tools like Smouldering Durtles to be able to pick and choose your lessons for maximum speed.

You also probably want an undo script to “cheat” your reviews and make sure that you never fail radicals and kanji. (I think it’s generally a good idea to do that even if you don’t go full speed so that you can unlock the corresponding vocab for additional practice, but that’s a different discussion).

It is a big commitment. I work from home as a freelance software dev with a very flexible schedule and it was quite strenuous, if I was a student or had a full time job that wouldn’t give me a lot of downtime I don’t think I could have done it.

I do think that it’s well worth going fast for the first 20 to 30 WK levels, because knowing these kanji will make everything else significantly easier. Studying grammar and vocab without solid kanji foundations is pretty frustrating in my experience. That doesn’t necessarily mean going full speed but rather going as fast as you feel comfortable.

After that point the returns diminish sharply and you’re probably better off slowing down and focusing on grammar, vocab and just reading Japanese content IMO. As you can see, that’s what I’ve been doing since I hit level 40 (and honestly I probably should have slowed down before).


To give some more concrete advice: if going full speed scares you I’d say go for 10 lessons/day for a few week (that’s roughly 50% of full speed), see how the load feels as the reviews keep coming and coming (remember that due to SRS intervals the load will keep increasing steadily day after day because of the returning items) and then you can modulate once you’re more experienced. If you feel like going faster just up your lesson count to 15 or something, if it’s too fast drop your new lessons.

But always, always, always do your reviews. If you feel overwhelmed stop doing new lessons and keep doing your reviews, the load will drop fairly quickly.


Yes, it is realistic, in the same way it was realistic for Sir Edmund Percival Hillary to reach the top of Everest. WK is probably a bit/lot easier, even. But Everest is no joke! You’ll still have to make sacrifices in your life if you want to do it. Doing a lesson doesn’t mean you know an item. Others have explained this better than me.

No. It’s not realistic, for the average person. It would take several hours of your time every day, which would be better spent learning Japanese language and grammar if your goal is to actually use Japanese in any capacity. If your goal is solely to finish WK, well, sure, go on.

If you’re ready to pour hours upon hours into WK per day, go ahead. I salute you.

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I don’t think it’s that hard to go full speed, we’re talking about one to two hours of WK /day broken up in at least 3 sessions (because of SRS intervals). It takes a lot of discipline but unless you have other obligations that make your daily schedule really inflexible it is doable.

What’s hard is to go full speed and still find the time and energy to study other aspects of the language, otherwise you end up like some of these level 60 speedrunners who get there in a year and in their celebration posts say “well I still can’t really read anything and I’m thinking of starting Genki I, what do you think?”

That’s why I recommend going as fast as possible early on and then slow down once you have all the basic kanji in your toolbelt, but unfortunately that means starting in full Hard Mode and that can certainly be overwhelming, especially for people not used to language learning and SRS routines.