How do I SRS?

Hi amazing humans,

Could you help me SRS outside of WaniKani? I have huge vocab lists that I review every now and again but I’ve never really got into the habit of using Anki. I have no idea why but every time I’ve tried it’s just never clicked for me.

People who SRS for vocab, can I have some tips? Do you use whole sentences or just the vocab? Is Anki outdated now? Are there scripts for it? Why don’t people stick with it? Any guesses on what I was doing wrong? How do I get started without burning out? Do I make lots of decks or just stick with one? Do it monthly? Is there an ultimate guide somewhere?

Just throw your accumulated knowledge at me please!

You can make whatever you use to give you phone notifications so you keep on track.

As for Japanese SRS options, there is Anki, Kitsun, Torii, and Kamesame


I use Torii because Anki never worked for me. I don’t even know why it didn’t work (I tried several times) or why Torii works for me though. I use a mix of phrases or just vocabulary. Whole sentences are a bit too much for me personally when it comes to doing reviews.
I usually only do five vocab lessons a day + plus vocab I encountered while reading something. If I read more/just encounter more than 5 new words while reading I don’t do new lessons. I feel overwhelmed fairly easily.
I also feel like it would just make me memorize a sentence which seems a bit useless to me. I’d rather focus on learning vocabulary and grammar and then trying to read texts/books to be able to read sentences instead of memorizing certain sentences. If I want vocab to stick better I usually write an example sentence for it and look up a few other sentences (for example on tatoeba) to get a feeling for it.
I use one big deck because my focus is to broaden my vocabulary in general. But I have a few smaller decks (that I don’t work on often) for when I need to brush up my knowledge in a certain area.

I don’t think you’ll ever find an ultimate guide for learning anything when it comes to languages. Everyone has different learning preferences, a different amount of time, different goals etc. A big part of learning a language is learning how to learn a language especially if you learn a new language for the first time (for yourself).

if you search on the forum you’ll find a few threads on this topic that might have helpful answers.

You’ll probably find many more I just copied the links to the first few that caught my eye.


I use and probably will for a long while, to me it’s a complete platform that has flexibility, added tools and zero headaches. I simply didn’t have any patience for Anki. And it’s aesthetically pleasing experience I want to return to. The community decks are well maintained but I generally prefer making my own lists. There is a freedom to this that I enjoy and I think is important. I add sentences and audio to the vocab and will do reading/meaning/eng->jp; I’m finally starting to get much more random vocab in speaking than from WK alone which is reason to keep returning to learn. But WK has certainly helped with SRS deck learning though otherwise it would be a pretty painful slow climb :crabigator:


I use Houhou to SRS vocab I encounter. It has a built-in dictionary and audio for words. It also shows JLPT levels, rarity of words and if the words are taught in Wanikani but it hasn’t been updated in 2 years and it’s only available on Windows. The app is made by Wanikani user Doublevil.


I found using multiple SRSs too much, but for the time I was using it, I also really liked Kitsun for the reasons s1212z states above. I will go back to it when I’m further along in my WK journey.


Since we have representatives here for kitsun, torii, and houhou, I will chime in as an anki user, haha. I have been using anki for years. Personally, the biggest things are deciding what you want (which informs what kind of cards you have, etc), focusing on that instead of doing a bunch of different things via SRS, and making a habit of using whatever SRS you use every single day. As such, I would say start with one deck chosen with care, start small so that you don’t get burned out, and do it every day. If you start feeling overwhelmed, reduce or pause new cards. For learning vocabulary I use words, but there are others who prefer sentences, so that is up to you.

I also agree with Ducklingscap that there is a lot of knowledge posted on these forums that could help with your questions!


I think Torii is very good, too. The cell phone app is buggy, but on laptop it’s super simple to use. That’s why I like it.

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Since no one has talked about Kamesame yet… I really like it! Like Houhou, it’s connected to a dictionary, so you can just add the words you want to SRS, but it’s a website which I personally find much more convenient. It’s free, too, unlike Kitsun. And it has Eng—>Jp, as well as Jp—>Eng, so some people use it to do reverse Wanikani too. I started using it as soon as I found it because I realized that it was doing exactly what I was trying to use Anki to do, with much less work. You can’t do sentence cards, though.


Thank you for the threads - I will take a look. I assumed that ‘help me with vocab’ was more about finding words, which I have no trouble with.

And thank you for the opinions as well. I’ll check out Torii, it looks a lot prettier than Anki and in a shallow way that might have been my issue.

Thank you! Maybe, as with WK paying for something is the best way to make sure I stick to it. It does look very pretty and more geared towards helping you make your own decks.

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The creator has mentioned several times about making Kamesame into a paid platform, so I would only count on free for the next few months.

Not at all, there’s a section called “community decks” with dozens of decks where you just need to browse for a deck that catches your interest, add it in 1 click and you can immediately start learning.

Even with creating your own decks, it’s less overwhelming than it looks like. Jisho is integrated within Kitsun itself, so there’s a dictionary section where you can use just like you’d use Jisho and create cards for those words in 2 or 3 clicks.

My general recommendation is: if you’re on a budget, go for Torii. If you’re fine with paying for a subscription for the sake of superior quality, go for Kitsun. Kitsun offers 14 days of free trial, but you can try both and see which one you enjoy the most :slight_smile:


Rowena, I like following your study log; such nice details on your scheduler to keep track, I don’t think I could do that.

Also noticed your :tangerine: ‘hatched’ and there was a :panda_face: inside (笑!)

Edit: BTW, my Kitsun progress is slow, I just do what I can when time permits.


You are the first person to comment on the hatching :hatching_chick: - thanks for noticing.


Every time I read this phrase I can’t help but want to make God jokes :joy:

@nekolain Sure, Kitsun isn’t free, but I also use it and I think it’s worth every penny. It’s marvelously enjoyable to use and super-powerful for SRS’ing vocab. Anki didn’t click for me either, and if you felt that way I think there’s a high chance Kitsun is exactly what you may like. I haven’t read this whole thread so not sure if someone mentioned it, but the Core 10K deck on Kitsun uses sentence cards for vocab to reinforce the cards that teach vocab elements alone (e.g. incorporating a word into a whole sentence).

My advice, is to start with one vocab deck that interests you (or to build your own if none are available for your specific needs). Only start with one deck and focus on making that a routine and habit, learn how (Kitsun) works, and build routine and discipline into it. Then as you progress if you feel like you’ve got a solid base you can start another deck if you please.

In terms of avoiding burnout, Kitsun does two things very well that I absolutely love:
Firstly, it shows you your total days studied, not a streak number. It is one element of the approach of saying “it doesn’t matter that you missed a day due to being busy with life, just look at how much you’ve accomplished overall”.
Seeing that 112 days tick up to 113 just for even doing a few reviews is a very empowering feeling.

Secondly, you can choose how lesson unlocks work, to accumulate a set amount every day (say 5 lessons per day, and if you skip a day it’s 10 lessons you have to do) OR you can set it to be a daily goal where it doesn’t accumulate, but you do 5 a day, 5 tomorrow. If you miss a day it still only shows 5. I think this goes a long way to encouraging consistency and routine instead of encouraging you to binge a huge amount of lessons at once and suffering when the review pile hikes later on.

To give you an idea of what I’ve been doing on Kitsun:

I’ve completed N5 vocab, working on N4 and Katakana vocab at the same time now. I also learned all the prefectures in Japan. :smiley: The conjugation deck, LN deck and Core 10K I have paused for the moment.


I use an app called Flashcards Deluxe for making my own SRS cards because Anki didn’t have an Android app when I first looked into it, and I used to do all my studying on the go. I also prefer making decks for myself rather than using other people’s because it helps me to learn the word if I take the time to input it.

I have a bunch of different decks
-words that I’m learning for my textbook
-specialised vocabulary for cooking and gardening
-sentences that I’ve got wrong in my homework (usually prepositions) with gaps for me to fill in
-sentences that people have corrected for me on HelloTalk

I used to have one BIG deck because I thought it was better to have all the specialised vocabulary jumbled up together with everyday words. However, realistically they’re words that I’m only likely to hear or see in a specific context so it doesn’t hurt to know ‘ok, now I’m revising gardening words’. There’s also more incentive to do a few reviews here and there during the day if it’s broken down into small sets.

Thank you everyone for the replies. I posted this in a bit of a crisis of learning / feeling overwhelmed and then calmed down the next day and felt silly for posting a whole topic.

I read all the replies and have tentatively started with Kitsun and Torii and see how I go. I didn’t realise there were so many options so if I have any issues with them it’s good to know that I can just try something else instead of giving up completely.


No worries, everybody goes through phases like this. You didn’t swallow it but opened up, which is great! And I hope the replies will help you along your journey a little bit :smile:

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People are here to help, so no worries! :slight_smile: Let us know if you have any questions :v:

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