Is WaniKani Worth the Price?

Greetings! I’ve lately been enjoying WaniKani for the first three (free) levels, and I’d very much like to continue. However the price very much surprised me as I was expecting it to be at least 3x cheaper (like 100USD for lifetime). Therefor I’m now conflicted about whether or not this service is worth the price. Heard there’ll be a sale at christmas, but that’s a long wait. Also, I feel bad for asking this in the WaniKani forums, but do you know any other free resources for learning kanji and japanese in general? Though I find it hard to believe there’s much to compete with WaniKani out there, I really like this service, but I can’t know for sure that won’t change in the future. So I’m asking you all for guidance.
Thanks for reading!

If in doubt and you want to keep using it go for the monthly option. It really depends on how much time and effort you want to put into your studies as you will still need to teach yourself how to read outside of wanikani through grammar studies to really be able to understand texts.


Basically, if reading is important to you, I would say yes. It is the most painless way to learn to read kanji that I know of.

If you are not that interested in learning to read/write, than probably not, as it is a large expense.

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Hi Sir,

I have a lifetime subscription. But your question is actually very vague - some people will pay a fortune for what others consider trash. It’s about how much you value the product. Generally however, I think 100usd is a little steep, but it’s going towards a company that does a lot of good things for the community of those interested in Japanese language and culture.

I think you will continue to use and enjoy the product. It’s by far the best combination of ease and effectiveness when learning Kanji, just be sure you practice writing the radicals, kanji and vocab you learn (only up to 3 times though).

For learning Kanji,the only real effective alternative to WK is Remembering the Kanji volumes 1, 2 and 3 which will ring you about 100usd anyway, and you can’t practice with those on your smart phone :wink:

For vocab I can recommend Memrise and possibly Duolingo for grammar (though I haven’t tried it).

Have fun learning!


It is an investment in a way and in it all depends on the long term , the questions you should ask yourself are : “How far should I keep learning Kanji ?” “Why I want to learn Japanese ?” as it is something worth to think about IMO.

WaniKani should help you in the reading skills anyways, I paid for the lifetime subscription and my reading hs improved, however I do want to work on my grammar comprehension though.

Also do NOT feel bad about asking for other learning resources that are free in the forums, there are tons of threads where people discuss 3rd party sources, (to be honest however, I’m trying to find some thread posts on the forum for you, but it seems I might look into the wrong places. :sweat_smile:

I’ve heard that people made Anki decks taken from WaniKani, so there’s that for you.


Do you think WaniKani would help those who are taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, for example? For the reading portion.

I think it’s worth it, that’s why I paid for a lifetime subscription. But it all depends on how much you’re willing/able to spend on learning Japanese, what you plan on using it for, and how serious you’re willing to take your study.

You cannot read Japanese without Kanji–and wanikani is one available tool for learning kanji. So, yes, wanikani will absolutely help those taking the JLPT.

That said, wanikani is not specifically a tool for preparing for the JLPT and you should probably still do JLPT practice and review material.


It depends on where you live/what your income is I´d say. I lived in Germany when I started it and the Euro price is much better than the USD price. Now I live in Dk and it´s still a pretty good deal. Coming from these two rather rich countries, the price is a very good deal. Of course, if you keep on doing it and don´t drop it during the subscription period.

Wanikani supposedly teaches you all the kanji you need to know for N5-N2 (but not N1). I say “supposedly” because I don’t think there are any ‘official’ lists of kanji used at each level, and different lists from different sources can vary quite dramatically.

However, I don’t think it will teach you all the vocabulary you need to know, so you will need to find that elsewhere. In that case, I’ve already found that WK makes it much easier to learn new vocab, though.

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If SRS works for you, then I’d say WK is well worth the price. I haven’t found anything else that helped my kanji reading comprehension as dramatically as WK has. Of course, it doesn’t cover all the kanji and it doesn’t cover a lot of vocab, but it’s been the best thing for increasing my ability to read kanji. It doesn’t cover grammar at all though, so you’ll have to learn that elsewhere. The lifetime subscription price is pretty high, so I don’t blame you for being hesitant.

If I were you, I’d first try using Anki decks to see if you can achieve comparable results to using WK. If you like WK better, try a monthly or yearly subscription and wait till the holiday sale to buy lifetime.

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It’s a little odd to be asking this on a site where most people DO continue to pay for it. There are like 20 threads on sites like reddit debating the “value” of a WK subscription, a good chunk of whom have used it for a reasonable period of time and stopped or have found success with other sources. I guess you can say you want to see how people have liked it, but odds are, results will be biased because most people wouldn’t be continuing to use it if they didn’t like it.

I don’t agree with someone that said the only other good resource is Remembering the Kanji. In fact, I’ve heard many solid criticisms (main one being that you don’t learn readings). There are plenty of great resources (and lots of great lists of great resources - quick google search turns things up) out there and if you can’t afford WK or don’t find it worth the price, it’s not like you can’t learn kanji. WK has only been around for a few years, everyone before then learned it elsewhere.

Yea if you have a yearly subscription going and the sale comes around, you can get the sale price prorated.

Yes, provided you stick with it. For slow learners who are committed (like myself) lifetime is worthwhile. However, if you have a history of trying things and giving up, then monthly or yearly is probably best as a trial. Also, if you go very quickly, year to year might be best overall. For me, I’ve been here 3 years and I’m not nearly done, so lifetime in my case was most certainly the better deal, even at the full price.

I would buy a year subscription and see if it works for you. They will typically run a sale around Christmas to New Year’s and pro-rate what you spent on a yearly sub. (Someone can fill in the details here, sorry, too lazy to look it up) If you get to pro-rate what you spend now, it might allow you to delay buying lifetime until you are sure the program will work. Obviously there is no guarantee they will give the same deal in the future that they ran in the past.

Speaking personally, I started out month-to-month, then bought a year when I liked it. When presented with an offer to buy lifetime on sale before it was out of beta, I decided it was the right thing to do. I have no regrets. With lifetime, I can take my time and even reset to a lower level at any point and run through the material a second time. There has never been another tool my my study regimen that I have stuck with for 3 years, so that speaks for itself.

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Yes, my lifetime sub was the best way I spent money in years since my gaming pc.

Its worth it. It will motivate you and will push you far. Also, Im the kind of guy who starts learning something and quit weeks laters, but Im really surprised how WK makes me engaged into learning. Been using it consistently since this january and Im astonished by my progress so far.

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Unsurprisingly, I think it’s worth it.

I started out using it at the same time as, but I quickly found that I didn’t really feel like I “knew” the kanji until I’d learned them through WK.


Also, feel free to add me on discord (Visceral #9253) and I can invite you to a couple JP/EN groups and give some advice. I think you can’t advertise the actual groups themselves here, but I think you can give out your username on other sites/apps.

I once asked myself the same question and found this, which really helped me with my decision:

That being said, I bought it during the Christmas sale. Lifetime for $300 is only worth it if you are sure that you will stick to it and that you will need at least 3 years, else it would be better to go for a monthly subscription.
Those $200 dollar were also quite an investment for me, but I haven’t rued that decision for a single moment. It was entirely worth it, because WaniKani really works for me. It is also my primary source of vocabulary, which may not be perfect, but at least it sticks. (Yeah, I know, I’m only on level 12, I don’t know what I will say lateron…)


I bought the lifetime TextFugu for $100, which automatically gets you lifetime access to EtoEto, the new Japanese learning program that’s not out yet! I figured it’d be worth it in the long run, since the price will go up quite a bit once it’s out and WaniKani doesn’t teach conversation and grammar.

Getting TextFugu also gives you a 50% discount for WaniKani! I do the monthly subscription, which for me is now five bucks a month. Totally doable! So yes, it’s worth it. Go for the monthly option and see how you like it.

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It depends on your motivations for learning how to read. I jumped on lifetime right away (and paid the full amount) for a number of reasons.

  • My main deficit has always been abysmal reading ability, followed by mediocre vocabulary breadth. I grew up with Japanese so I have an intuitive grasp of grammar, and speaking abilities sound native. My goal is full fluency.
  • I tried to learn writing/reading as an adolescent, but doing the Japanese schoolchild method of rote memorization was an epic fail. The mnemonics and level structure of Wanikani is perfect for me.
  • I wished to reward the great amount of effort it took Koichi + team to put this all together with my monies.
  • No textbook to lug around means I can do this anywhere with an Wifi or 4G connection.
  • Not to mention I appreciate the community Wanikani comes with :raised_hands:

My advice would be to see if a relative, SO or friend would be willing to pitch in as a birthday or holiday gift to help bring your personal cost down. If you’re just beginning to learn Japanese I would recommend rounding out your basic knowledge with grammar, etc using other resources (like TextFugu and Genki) before taking the WK plunge unless you’re sure you’re committed.

Based on where I am now, I would definitely say WK is worth it. I’m very happy with how far my reading ability has come and am hell-bent (heh, since I’m level 35 now) on finishing level 60.