Starting out in WaniKani- just how bad does it get?

Having recently started in WaniKani, I have heard many things about just how much work there will be in the later levels. As one with much time on my hands, I would like to have a general idea of how much time I can expect to spend on WaniKani each day if I were to finish all of my reviews and lessons daily. I am willing to dedicate about 2-4 hours every day to studying kanji and thus need to know whether that is reasonable for keeping up with all of the materials I will be assigned or whether I should temper my expectations early. To anyone who has already experienced some later stages of WaniKani and could provide some answers to how much work there truly is, any information helps.
Thanks in advance.


2-4 hours is wayyy more than enough.

I’m trying to level-up as fast as I can on Wanikani and I spend around 1-2 hours per day. I think you could go even faster but I like to take things slow and analyze every mistake I made.


Seconding this. When I’m on top of lessons and reviews, 2 hours is plenty. I’m not going at max speed though. If you look up speedruns, they can tell you how much time they spend. Although few, if any recommend it.

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How bad does it get?
That depends exclusively on how bad you get with reviews. If you manage your lesson queue and don’t let reviews pile up, you will easily be done in your time frame with plenty time to spare for Kanji writing practice, if you are also keen on doing that.

Would recommend the Kanji Study app for that. Let me know if you’re interested and need help setting it up so it mirrors WK levels.

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If you’ve got 2-4 hours to spend on Japanese, I’d suggest starting into Genki as well as WaniKani, with Bunpro if you want the grammar SRS. If WK is the only Japanese you’ve been exposed to, you may want to go slower on Genki to start out, but it’s good to match grammar and vocab studies so you don’t lean too far one way or the other.


2-4 hours should be enough for max speed with a reasonable accuracy. Once you start burning items and they start leaving your review list, your workload increase will depend only on your accuracy, if your speed stays the same. 100% accuracy (not likely) = no more increase; the lower the accuracy, the more workload increase. First burns should come in ca 6 months.

I wouldn’t recommend attempting to do all your lessons immediately when you get them. More like 10 to 20 a day depending on how fast you wish to proceed. This would ensure your review count remains relatively consistent every day.

You should definitely be doing the reviews every day.

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Wanikani fits right into my busy schedule.
Try the first 4 levels free to make sure it’s a good tool for you.

I have about 30 minutes in the morning for reviews and then do 5 or 10 lessons after if I clear the reviews.

I can easily do a bunch of vocabulary lessons but when it’s about learning new kanji I slow down. I start by trying to keep up the pace of 10 kanjis a day, some are easier to remember than others.
It’s not a sprint kind of race but a long one. All you have to do is not to give up.

I started in January of this year and I’ve done around 1hr every day. For sure at my level now it gets more difficult but you really just need to learn at which pace you work the best.

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It’s only as bad as you want.

Leveling fast (7 days per level) is a lot of work. I am currently leveling on average every 8 days and I had a phase where I only did the necessary stuff to level up (Radicals and Kanji). Now I have to fight against 300 lessons of vocabulary.

First it feels easy, because your workload is small. Once you build up a a foundation, it is not only the new words that you have to review, but also the old words from time to time.
Currently I am managing 1500 items. I have around 100 to 200 reviews a day and I typically spend 2 hours per day for wanikani.

But that’s not all. If you only use wanikani the vocab will not stick 100%. What is really important is to engage into native content besides wanikani. Get your hands dirty asap. At a certain point the words and kanji all look the same and that’s why it is important to encounter these kanji in the wild to train you recognition skills.

What I learned is, that it matters most to show up daily and do your homework. If you think you can afford to skip a few days because “you don’t feel like it” you will be punished sometimes with 400 reviews. That experience can really demotivate you when you encounter it often.

But of course you can take a slower pace, if you feel it is too much. Only do your reviews and let the lessons pile rest. After some time the reviews slow down and you can relax for bit more.

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Don’t stop doing your reviews without turning vacation mode on.



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