Reading/grammar material recommendations?

I know this question has already been asked here before, but the posts I found on this topic are a few years old and are now archived so I thought I’d ask again in case anything new has popped up since then.

Any good reading resources for someone who’s already a good way into Wanikani? (I’m currently close to level 23.) I’ve already seen all the N5 kanji and all but like 2 of the N4 kanji. While I’m at it, any good grammar learning resources that would complement Wanikani? I’ve been using Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese (specifically its grammar guide) to look over basic grammar rules so far, but I thought I’d ask around to see if there was anything else out there.

I’ve started getting burn reviews, and I think I’m missing some burns because I’m not doing anything to reinforce my kanji/vocab learning. I probably should have started practicing reading a while ago, since it’s the whole reason I wanted to learn Japanese.

By the way, hello everyone! First time posting to the forums!



If you’ve at least skimmed through most of Tae Kim’s guide (or any other grammar resource), then as far as reinforcing Kanji, I’d go on to reading something you’re interested in (but people tell me that I have a fairly high tolerance for slogging through things that are too difficult for me and not fully understanding even after I look things up) - possibly a book club if you’re interested. I preferred starting with Manga for the added context - but some people are not into that. Grammar will probably be more of a limiting factor than the kanji, as many manga do have furigana, in terms of what you understand.

With the kanji you’ve seen, most beginner textbooks would probably also give you exposure to a fair number of the kanji in their exercises (e.g. Genki, Minna no Nihongo), but you might also find them fairly boring. While I find Minna no Nihongo helpful, it’s not something that I just pick up to do like reading is.

You could also do NHK easy news and sync your WK level so that it doesn’t show you furigana for kanji you should know.

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Have you see the WaniKani Community book club threads? I found the Absolute Beginner Book Club helped ease me into reading as well as learning more grammar along the way.

Alongside learning grammar while reading, my biggest grammar understanding gains came from watching Cure Dolly’s videos.

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I would recommend graded readers if you want to try some reading as well. There are some free/cheap digital resources out there as the physical sets are not that cheap (particularly if you just want to check some out). I think Graded Readers a nice way to build confidence when starting to read. You can do these in addition to joining a book club or checking out past book club threads. There are some reading exercises in the back of Genki, though if that’s all you’re interested in buying the books would be too expensive, though you might be able to find some used or at a library to check them out.

Obviously Genki is a textbook as well if you are looking for more grammar and it’s fine to use if you’re a fan of how it presents things. There are also several YouTube channels out there for grammar (also listening practice, etc.). I would say check out a few and go with one you like. There are also JLPT prep books that can be useful for grammar study as well if you’re into them. The explanations aren’t so involved as, say, Genki as they are aimed at review, but they are useful if you like things short. There are a few series to choose from and price varies, though the Try! series isn’t too pricey and is just one book for each JLPT level (personally, I like the series as well though most people will talk more about Kanzen Master etc.). You might not get all the finer details though so I would supplement them with other sources (same can be said for any textbook to be honest).

Links to many of these resources can be found here:


If you’re interested in both grammar and reading, I can recommend Tobira. You get plenty of reading comprehension exercises with several smaller and bigger grammar points per chapter.

Vocab aligns fairly well with WaniKani and Tobira seems to try to keep it low on less common vocab.

The only caveat is that you need to know all N4 grammar which I think Tea Kim’s guide covers?

To me Tobira was one of the biggest language boosts.


I happen to already own a copy of Genki 1, it’s what I was using to study Japanese vocabulary and grammar before I found out about WaniKani and Tae Kim’s Guide. I think I’ve made it to like Lesson 5, but I haven’t looked at it in a while. I’ve found that WaniKani and Tae Kim fit better into my schedule since I can study using their respective mobile apps while I’m about and about every day, haha. Not to mention that Genki is tailored to a classroom setting so I don’t get the most out of its review/exercise stuff since I can’t really do any of the activities requiring a partner or group. But yeah, I’ll keep it in mind for reading exercises since I already have the book. And I’ll check out that resource thread, thank you so much!

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If you like SRS you can try BunPro and see if you like it. There is a Tae Kim path (and a Tobira path) to follow along with.

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I don’t think that’s necessarily true, as tobira also teaches some more N4 grammar points. At least that’s how bunpro classifies it when adding it to the srs. I did see that it doesn’t always map one to one to the same grammar point as well.

The gap between genki and tobira was smaller than I imagined. However I also already knew most of the vocab and kanji thus far, plus some practice with reading helps. I’m not sure about Tae Kim, as it’s been years since I last viewed it.

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  1. tae kim
  2. cury dolly
  3. tokini andy ( covers only grammar of genki 1-2 on youtube, very good when you know already all vocabulary)
  4. my personal favorite- game gengo youtube channel. He lists all jlpt 5-4 grammar points on examples from games. For the rest, he just plays popular games like persona 5, ff7 remake in Japanese and translates every sentence with grammar explanations. One of the best methods to get into immersion.

honestly, after covering jlpt 5-4 I would stay away from grammar books and focus on immersion. Im watching almechist on animelon now and very rarely I see something beyond jlpt 4+ level. Vocabulary on the other hand- is just endless… definitely need to know 10k+ words for comforting reading.

Just choose one method that you like.


If my experience with Anki and Wanikani are anything to go by, I seem to do well with SRS. I like having spaced out reviews already laid out for me so I can reasonably pace myself. So a resource that does that with grammar topics sounds fantastic.

I’ll see if I can check out Tobira as well, once I meet whatever prerequisites it has (since from a quick search, it seems to be a more advanced textbook?) I’m primarily learning Japanese for the sake of being able to read it (for things like manga and video game text) so I’m leaning towards anything that helps with that.

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Tobira is not a beginning textbook, no, more going towards intermediate level. However, there are Tobira study threads here on WK so search for those and you can get an idea if it’s something you’d be interested in.

Really? I still don’t now all N4 grammar and the tobira book is pretty easy for me. Actually going through the tae kim book should be more than enough to start tobira.

I didn’t even notice that there was a gap. After finishing both genki books I started the tobira book and there is hardly anything I don’t understand.

I’m going through the game gengo videos now and adding each point to my anki deck. It’s a really great way to quickly and painlessly cover most of the n5-4 grammar.

Interesting! I did Tae Kim’s guide (the online version) a while back, then Genki 1 & 2 and still had some problems when beginning Tobira. Definitely couldn’t understand every minor nuance and there were some N4 grammar points which neither of the above covered prior.

Did I miss anything?

+1 for Game Gengo!

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I never claimed I understood every nuance. When working through a book like tobira I try to understand as much as possible, but if there is something I don’t understand I just move on. The truth is I will probably need to go through that book, at least three times anyway.

Many of the grammar points introduced in the tobira book are pretty common, therefore while reading or listening to native content I read or hear them often. Slowly I start to understand them more and more through sheer repetitiveness. I think the only way to actually acquire grammar and vocabulary is through native content.

But I admit I also did a little bit of pimsleurs, and japanesepod101 I may have learnt some grammar there already.

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Ah, I see. Yeah, that makes sense. I usually fall to the other extreme and dissect sentences until I’m sure I understand them completely. I wouldn’t say that’s a very effective way to go about it, though.

Very true from my experience as well! I often hear the more formal grammar structures from Tobira on the news or see them in NHK articles.

Yes, after understanding like (lower-)intermediate level grammar it’s probably more effective to switch to native content, especially because that way the grammar is no longer in a textbook vacuum and one gets a good idea which structures are more common in which native sources :slight_smile: .

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To avoid drowning myself in books and websites and apps, I’m going to try focusing on just a few of the mentioned resources for now. I’m looking at working on finishing skimming Tae Kim’s grammar guide (since it’s a free resource, so why not) and BunPro looks interesting as a learning/review tool for grammar points. I may also supplement by watching Cure Dolly and/or Game Gengo on Youtube, since they’ve been suggested more than once on this thread.

I’m looking at BunPro’s website, and I don’t see any grammar browsing options syncing to Tae Kim. I just see options for Genki I and II, Minna no Nihongo I, and Tobira (unless a Tae Kim path becomes accessible after actually starting BunPro…?) Still, I might give it a try since it offers a 30 day free trial and is currently a very affordable $3/month or $30/year due to still being incomplete/in active development. And even if it can’t sync to Tae Kim, that shouldn’t be a dealbreaker as long as I can study by JLPT level. From what I’m hearing, levels N5-N4 will cover most of what I’d see in native Japanese content.

I tried doing that while starting Tae Kim’s Guide, but I found that that just made me more confused as the lessons went on since they’re cumulative in what grammar points they show, so I had to slow down through the lessons. I’m more on the side of breaking down example sentences to understand their grammatical structure. Perhaps a bit too analytical, but that’s just how I am, haha.

EDIT: Small update - Now that I’m actually signing up for BunPro, I see an option for Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide under the textbook option. So I’ll try using it with that.


You can use the free trial to see if you like using it.

Yeah, I think it’s good to not overwhelm yourself with grammar (or kanji/vocab/reading). Currently I’m going through tobira chapter by chapter, but I always make sure it goes in steps. So I spread learning/studying grammar over several days. At minimum it will take me 3 days and I like to take a week as my maximum for a single chapter. Then I have them added to bunpro and I’ll review it till I get a good handle on it before I move on to the next chapter. That would then take me a week or so. Between Genki and Tobira there was quite a large period of time (a year or so I think). That downtime is pretty important as well in the process for learning (at least for me), so I recommend people factor that in as well. Finding your own pace is very important and it differs per person and per situation.

Good luck on your grammar studies! :blush:


I signed up for BunPro last night and gave the first chapter of TK’s basic grammar a look (which is just the first few “state of being” topics だ、だった、じゃない、じゃなかった) I was somewhat surprised to see that the learning quizzes and reviews use recall with fill in the blank questions. Feels different coming from Wanikani where it’s all recognition, haha.

So you would recommend I thoroughly look at each grammar topic first in Tae Kim’s guide before looking at it on BunPro? BunPro’s lessons give links to external resources for each topic (which of course includes the topic’s page on TK’s website since I’m doing the TK path) so it seems like a possible routine would be to first overview the topic in BunPro, then look at it in greater detail on TK, then come back to BunPro once I’m finished on TK and proceed from there.

I’m currently not sure what my optimal pace is. Currently the stuff I’m looking at on BunPro is basic stuff I’ve already looked over prior on TK (so I already know them), so I guess the answer to that question will come when I get to stuff that I’m less familiar with and can’t just breeze through. For the Basic Grammar unit, I might just look at whole chapters at once (since there are only a few topics per chapter) but I’ll probably have to slow it down after that since the chapters are much larger in the Essential Grammar unit onwards.