Recommendations for JLPT study books

I have been studying Japanese (slowly) for about a year and am considering sitting for the JLPT exam Level 5 in 2023. I searched previous threads and could not find quite what I was looking for. I was wondering if you could share your favorite exam prep books or internet resources specific for the JLPT?

Over the past year, I have already worked out my favorite study resources for Japanese in general. This is what I am currently using regularly:

  • Genki
  • TokiniAndy
  • Tadoku Graded Readers
  • Makoto e-zine

I am looking for a good review book for the first exam to start working on as a next step. Thanks everyone for any suggestions!


If you’ve already studied for about a year and are planning on taking the test in 2023, you can probably aim for the N4, in which case I’d recommend the Shin Kanzen Master series (they only have N4 and up). Otherwise just finishing Genki would be good, imo.


Have you been ablet to get through both Genki books or just the first one? If you’re closer to being done with both then I would recommend challenging yourself to take N4 vs. N5. Completing those books gets you almost where you need to be for N4 level, you’ll just need a bit of supplementary grammar and kanji (WaniKani).

The supplemenatry books I used for the JLPT were Shin Kanzen Master and Soumatome. Almost more important than these books however was taking a few practice tests and figuring out which of the skills I was weakest in and targeting how to improve on that. (Reading was my worst so the Shin Kanzen Master reading book was what I focused on in my studies).

Here is a blog post about studying for JLPT N3 and N2. I know that the level is different than what you are going for, but the overall idea of becoming comfortable with how the test works, improving your weak points, and playing your strenghts is the same. Good luck!

Thanks for the advice. I am still in the first one, just over halfway. I am making very slow but steady progress. I am unlikely to finish book 2 before the next exam dates. Starting to get to some more useful grammar finally it seems. Both of these books seem to come highly recommended. I just put them on my Amazon wishlist so I don’t forget them.

Like others have said, it might be worth your while to step up the challenge to N4, but only you can tell what level you are comfortable with.

Keep in mind that the N5 is a very simple test (less than 100 Kanji and 1000 vocabulary), but if that’s the one you want to take, both the TRY! N5 and Nihongo Soumatome N5 books are great for that level.

If you did want to jump to the N4, TRY! N4 and Shin Kanzen Master are both great. Shin Kanzen divides its books by topics. You probably wouldn’t need the kanji book, and I’m not a big fan of vocabulary books, but the reading, listening and grammar books are all excellent.

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