Genki Alternatives

Hiya everyone, i’ve started learning Japanese about a week ago and I’ve finished learning to read and write all of my hiragana and katakana- and started on my kanji. But id like to get straight into learning grammar for Japanese as I feel this would help with my learning. any recommendations for an alternative to Genki or just a cheaper way to get the Genki textbook, because for me its got quite a hefty price tag for the textbook and workbook. Thanks all :slight_smile:


Tae Kim is good for its digital version price tag of $0


If you want a textbook with exercises, Japanese From Zero is cheaper than Genki. It’s targeted towards self learners.


I used Japanese for Busy People. It’s cheaper and similar to Genki and comes with audio CDs for the listening exercises.

(Note: the first book has a ‘romaji’ version, so make sure you’ve got the ‘kana’ one if you decide to go with these books :grin:)


I agree! I use this, too, and I really like it.


You could also try buying second hand :dizzy:
I agree that those books are quite expensive, however I know
that I personally prefer sitting with a physical book in front of me, and if
you´re the same second hand books may be a good option.


Hello! I’m a new member as well ~
For grammar, I would recommend CureDolly’s Youtube channel. It might be a bit of a turn off because it’s taught by a doll with a robotic sounding voice, but the content delivered is really amazing for new and old learners alike. It teaches you in a way that helps build a strong foundation, and understand grammar the way Japanese people do. (You may want to turn on subtitles tho)

Another youtube channel for grammar, among other things, is Japanese Ammo with Misa. Her lessons are similar to CureDolly’s, in that they work to fix misunderstandings Japanese learners may have. It’s also taught by a real person, who’s very nice and cute to learn from. Not sure how that factors in but…


I will look into it thank you :slight_smile:

I’ll give that one a quick look into- to see if I like it. Thank you.

I know what you mean haha. I enjoy having a physical book in front of me :slight_smile:

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You shouldn’t be promoting finding illegal copies of textbooks online.


Genki actually has a lot of non-grammar content. I really like Tae Kim’s grammar guide if you’re focusing exclusively on grammar. I believe you can buy a physical book if you prefer that.

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The Japan Foundation released a textbook for free online. I haven’t really looked through it but I know a few people who liked it.


Extremely highly recommend Human Japanese. That’s what started me on my own learning Japanese journey five years ago and I strongly believe there’s no source that more clearly explains the grammar points while making it fun at the same time! (not to mention, it’s super cheap!)


I used Japanese for Busy People too, which I really recommend. It teaches more grammar than Genki does (though it isn’t super obvious about it) and is more friendly to solo learners. Human Japanese is good too but I forgot a lot of their points because they didn’t have any exercises. Whatever textbook you choose, I recommend making flashcards about each grammar point to retain it. That made a massive difference for me personally.


Minna no nihongo’s first book and related content is available for free online through May, I think. Because of Corona virus.

I think you need to register on the website, first.


I’m not sure if someone has mentioned this already, but you can use the site bunpro to do SRS reviews on the grammar points you’ve already learned, regardless of your chosen learning source.

It’s not like talking about piracy is illegal. I don’t really see it as a huge problem if someone absolutely can’t afford it :man_shrugging:

You can also check the forums here. Look through @Greenwarrior grammar posts. These were created a few years ago but they are still relevant and you can print them off and take them anywhere.

This is just the first of the series. There are a couple more but you may have to dig for them.

Also a good pay site similar to wanikani for grammar is


I doubt many people on the WaniKani forums “absolutely can’t afford it”. And for those people there are several legal, free alternatives.