Effective beginner routine?

This is more of a question, I just started using Wanikani and Kitsun (Wanikani for kanji, and kitsun for vocab) I might also start using Bunpro for my grammar where I would also put my genki 1 book into use. Keep in mind I am a complete beginner and I was wondering if a Wanikani + Kitsun + Bunpro would be fine for my studies, for now at least. I will also use my Japanese manga and NHK News for my reading. Does this sound like good resources for a complete beginner? Please feel free to share your opinion on this routine, or recommend some extra resources/alternative resources.

Thank you in advance!


I would start with 1 first, even 2 is hard, all three is very difficult. As a complete beginner, I wouldn’t worry about reading just yet either.


There are 2 important things.

  1. Never take a day off
  2. Add at least 5 items every day, and don’t overwhelm yourself.

(Note there are about 10000 items, so 10 items per day would take about 3 years)


Sounds like a solid plan to me! Just be aware that you will probably struggle with reading quite a bit in the beginning; this is normal, and if it’s too frustrating, then just defer it and check it out one or two months later. If you use something like Genki I, you will also have texts in there that are made for your level so you can practice reading with them for the first few chapters. Other than that, happy studies! :blush:


I’m doing a similar routine, just with Anki instead of Kitsun, and it’s working really well. Using Genki Exercises - 2nd Edition | Genki Study Resources for Genki exercises has been a big help. Sometimes Genki explains grammar in a confusing way, so if I need more clarification, I’ll use Tae Kim’s grammar guide.

Some passive listening might be helpful, even if its just a few minutes. You could do it while going on a walk, or doing chores around the house.

I agree that it’s too soon to try reading though. At Genki chapter 7 and WK level 6, I can just barely read the easiest graded readers. If you really want to read, try scanning the pages and picking out the words you recognize. Then reread the same manga a month later, you’ll be surprised how much you learned!

Finally, it’s important to identify your strengths and weaknesses early on, that way you know where to direct your focus. You don’t want to fall into a habit of ignoring your weak points.

Good luck, and congratulations on starting your journey!


Looks pretty good. You’ve good Wanikani for kanji, Bunpro for grammar, and already have a plan for reading later on. No unnecessary resources, no two resources overlapping for the same goal.

The only thing I have to question is learning extra vocab through Kitsun. Ideally, your grammar studies should prove to be the perfect opportunity to pick up a lot of vocab in context. Now I have never used bunpro, but does it not already teach you vocab? And how exactly are you using Kitsun here? Do you have like, pre-made vocabulary decks and use it as sort of a flash card app or what is your process here?

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This was pretty close to what I did. Strictly SRS stuff (wk/kitsun/bunpro) in the beginning. Around WK 10 and finishing Bunpro’s N5 points I was going through the easier Tadoku graded readers. I could get the rough idea of NHK easy stuff at that point, but it wasn’t until familiarizing myself with N4 content (for Genki users that would be finishing the second volume) that it actually felt easy.

Doing the three things together isn’t all that hard as long as you manage your pace well and pick things that complement each other. For example, I was using Kitsun’s N5 and N4 decks. There’s a way to search the decks for tags indicating the kana only words and WK level of kanji used. So every time I leveled up on WK I would add the words from those levels to my learn next queue or whatever it was called. Just pick a pace that makes sense. This synergizes particularly well with Bunpro since the vocab used in their grammar point example sentences are limited to what is more or less reasonable for that level (they go with a slightly bigger vocab pool from what I’ve seen).

It’s useable, but it’s pretty barebones and doesn’t have audio for now.

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Right now, I am using a premade Kitsun deck for genki, it has all the vocab in genki. I will also be doing bunpro along with genki, so yes my kitsun vocab will be used in context in grammar. Another upside is the genki deck has about 1,500 most common words in it, which should make me able to speak basic conversation. I will probably figure out where my vocab skills is from there and use a N graded vocab deck. I will also be picking up some words for WaniKani, not that a lot of them are super commong though.

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Like most others have said, that’s a solid plan. You’re getting in your kanji and vocab through SRS, grammar through SRS and a textbook, and reading practice that utilizes all of those. Just don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to do too much per day/week. The key to success is not burning out.

If possible, include an audio-only resource like a podcast as well. Graded readers were mentioned - honestly I feel like this is the way to go until you reach the pre-intermediate level (almost ready to take the N4). If the readers have included audio, use it! Reading while listening has nearly double the benefit, although reading or listening in isolation (I feel) is something that should also be done to seperately strengthen those skills.

The stories in graded readers usually won’t be very gripping, having limited vocab and grammar, but the important thing is just getting your time in with reading practice that you understand for the most part, building up your reading and comprehension speed. This will make it easier to take on reading things above your level, which is eventually what you want to be doing.

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I’d agree with this.

I think at the beginning you are going to go “all in”, but don’t burn yourself out. Start with 1 and get accustomed to a study routine. If it feels like you are wanting more after, then weave in a second / third option.

If you start off with everything all at once, you may get overwhelmed and frustrated. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint!

That said, the resources you have listed will help you. I’m not a huge fan of Bunpro, I found it frustrating to use (the explanations for why you were wrong were… meh…). But it may take you some time generally to find what works for ya!

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My own personal experience is that, focusing 100% on Wanikani, atleast in the beginning, is very important. You have to find your own flow to ensure you can effectively remember all the lessons you keep learning. I have been tempted to learn grammar from Tofugu at the same time, but I felt it distracted me from the focus needed for Wanikani. So I have put it on hold. I am only at level 9, and I think perhaps as I get higher, I might be able to do other things as well.

I noticed that as long as I was extremely regular every day with lessons, writing down the Kanji I learnt on paper, and doing extra study, the flow is really good. You have to also spend some time just getting all the mnemonic imagery solidify in your mind, by thinking about it when you are not in front of the screen. All this takes time and focus.

This is an understatement :slight_smile: Getting a てから question wrong, and being displayed the grammar explanation for that page is beyond not helpful. No one is getting it wrong because they forgot to tack on the ~から part, they’re getting the て conjugation wrong, which isn’t covered on that page. Still, once you learn to navigate around the limitations of BunPro, it becomes immensely helpful.

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To avoid burnout I will most likely going to do about 2-3 lessons a day on each website, even though thats not a lot I will probably raise it once I am comfortable with the review rate!

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Yes, exactly!

I 100% agree with the usefulness once you can navigate around its limitations as well. I found that it wasn’t too great for me at the beginning, but once I revisited the service after ~6 months of practice, it was easier to approach. I haven’t used it in awhile once again… But I’d imagine it would be easier at this point as well.

But the start was certainly more frustrating than it should have been. I love the idea of it, but would like some more useful prompts.

I would start bunpro only after lelvel 10 here in WK, even tofugu recommended that I guess

because for bunpro, at low levels in WK, you would spend quite some time trying to translate the vocab in sentences and not focusing on the grammar point.

I started bunpro at lvl 35 here. I am doing N2 there now.