Total Japanese Study Plan Advice

I’m struggling to come up with a solid study plan that works for me, but was curious as to what has worked for others. So I want to be able to read most Japanese material at some point (including hiragana, katakana, kanji materials) and I want to be able to speak and understand as well. I have kitsun, bunpro, wanikani (of course), Genki I & II, and Anki currently and just can’t really strike the right balance on these tools. Maybe I have too much. Maybe i’m missing something (likely for listening). Starting to ramble here, but does anyone have like an actual daily/weekly plan for covering the whole speaking, listening, reading grouping of Japanese study?


I’m terrible at planning stuff so I can’t help with most stuff, however I will say, if you can’t read hiragana/katakana already you should start there because it’s just syllables, and will allow you to read how kanji are pronounced
also many textbooks will be written with hiragana/katakana in them
Tofugu has guides for both, most people are able to learn each in about a weekend
(start on hiragana because the katakana one assumes you’ve done that first)

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It took me a while to find a routine that works for me but now I got something that works great for me (started in February learning Japanese and started WK in July), here is my routine:

  • do all my WK reviews that lead to level up
  • do all my WK lessons
  • do all my other WK reviews
  • do around 30min of Genki
  • do the Anki deck related to the lesson I’m currently learning in Genki
  • do a Cram session in bunpro of the Genki lessons I already finished
    So far I’m super happy with the routine, I like the variation and feel like I am working on every side. For the listening, I find that when I know the words well (mostly thanks to WK), hearing them from the audio in Genki is not an issue at all, so I’m not doing more yet, I feel like building up the vocabulary and the grammar is the priority.

and usually at that point time is up for learning Japanese for the day, but if not, I try and read graded material, level 0 free books on tadoku


I suggest this, I don’t think it’s too much work to stress yourself out

1st - Kana
2nd - WaniKani
3rd - Around level 10, try easing into grammar and do it consistently
4th - Around level 20, read graded readers, or even real manga series.
5th - You’re level 60, you know grammar, immerse in reading, watching, whatever you want, if you want, use anki to put in new vocabulary words you encounter. You could be doing the anki thing with the reading you started at level 20 too, but WaniKani might be too much on your plate already, so if you can’t, just do it here.

Adjust accordingly, I’ve split them up to not overwhelm you to do all at once, but you do what you are comfortable with, like if you can handle more, by all means do so.


Sounds like you took other people’s advice without considering that they had to build habits that got them into those study routines. What is the easiest thing you can do in Japanese every day that doesn’t feel like a chore but is significant enough that if you didn’t do anything else you would still feel like you did something? (Oh god that sounded like advice from that Gary Vee would give :man_facepalming:).

Joking aside, find the everyday thing like Anki, then figure out what you want to do with Genki. If you want to make a habit of studying from text books the best thing is to find a set time that is only for that. The best thing would probably be walking through it with an iTalki tutor once for a week starting, then finding one additional task to do through the week (unguided) with the textbook like writing sentences using the grammar you learned that week.

From there you can either add a day and move on to the next chapter, or review. Genki is a great book but its not something you just read all the way through, you gotta kind of internalize it a bit, which doesn’t require putting your nose in the book. Just think about it and try practice with yourself or someone else.

If you can’t read hiragana or katakana, you should basically ignore everything you have until you can read it pretty solidly. The only thing you have on your list that you can actually use without kana is Genki (and maybe Anki depending on which deck you want to use), so you could try to see if you like studying from a textbook too. Textbooks aren’t for everyone and everything else you have is SRS so if Genki doesn’t work you could just use Bunpro for grammar.

Re: a plan for grouping speaking, listening, reading-- honestly I don’t know if you need to worry about that right now because all those skills build off of one another and you can figure out which you want to focus on as you get better. I feel like a vocabulary/grammar breakdown is more useful in the beginning.

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Seconding the advice that you should learn hiragana and katakana before anything else.

After that, I’d recommend adding new resources/routines one at a time. WaniKani is pretty easy to start with, and will give you a bit of a head-start when tackling grammar and additional vocab. Be careful when establishing your WK pace, though, that you don’t take on too much work and run out of time to study other aspects of the language.

I don’t recommend waiting until level 10 to start grammar (I think you can start much earlier), but it’s probably a good idea to wait until your WK study routine has stabilized. When your WK lessons and reviews have become second nature, that might be a good time to pick up Genki.

My recommendation for Genki is to run through the vocab for each chapter on Anki before doing the chapter. I guess you could also use Kitsun for this, but personally I prefer to use Anki for textbook vocab because my native media vocab mining setup uses Anki, and I’d rather my flash cards all be in the same place as much as possible.

With Bunpro, I can’t really advise you on that, because I don’t use it at all. I suppose you could use it to reinforce what you’re learning in Genki. Just keep in mind that juggling multiple SRS at the same time can be very punishing, and if you use Anki/Kitsun for non-WK vocab, you’re already balancing two of them. So if you do use Bunpro, I would go very slowly and try to keep it tied to your textbook progression so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.

If you really care about speaking, you’ll probably need to find an actual Japanese class, a tutor, or some form of listening partner. I don’t think the resources you listed will really cover you there. I can’t advise you on this because I’m currently not prioritizing speaking at all.

For listening, I’m not quite sure if Genki offers exercises on that, but you’ll probably need to supplement it with other resources. There are plenty of podcasts and such out there to practice with, and a wide world of Japanese media that you can use as listening practice. It is hard as a beginner to find things at your level, though, but that is one area where finding a tutor would also probably benefit you.

If you do try to tackle reading, listening, and speaking all at once, just be aware that your overall speed of progression is going to be slower. It’ll take a lot longer before you can really see the results of your studies, which can be discouraging or frustrating.

This honestly answered my question to my post I just wrote lol.

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I don’t think I can fully answer your question, but wanted to

  1. Say thank you for posting this, I’m struggling with the same thing, and
  2. Point out Tokini Andy’s website/Patreon/Youtube.

Andy primarily makes videos teaching the contents of Genki. I’m watching his videos off and on. He has a nice feature where if you subscribe to his Patreon, he has a list of things for you to do that includes listening, pronunciation, practice exercises, and he even makes his own end of chapter quizzes. You can check them off chapter by chapter. I haven’t subscribed to it yet myself (I was debating between that and Bunpro…I need lots of practice but work full time so I don’t have tons of time…so if anyone has opinions on one or the other I’d love to hear it). Anyway, if you’d like structure in one place that covers most bases for grammar, his “courses” option could be a really good thing to use. You could, say, use his courses feature alongside WaniKani.

Best of luck and I hope we can both find a study routine that suits each of us soon! Imo learning on your own can be really hard, and that isn’t stated enough.

Oh and I also agree, do learn hiragana and then katakana before anything else. I don’t recall where I learned them, I am sorry :frowning: but people shared some good resources in the thread! Anything with mnemonics is generally helpful imo.

Oshin! :wave: hello, how have you been?

Don’t have a formal schedule but I try to touch each every week. I only have WaniKani, BunPro, and both Genkis. WaniKani reviews are daily but I slowed down lessons to about 5 a day but only if Apprentice is below 100. No lessons if it is over 100. BunPro is done in conjunction with Genki. I try to do reviews there at least once a day, preferably a little bit after I add the material as I encounter it with the books. The rest of the time is split between Cure Dolly, Ammo with Misa, and listening practice via Podcasts. I find that not sticking to a rigid plan works for me.

Might not be the response you are looking for but hopefully whatever I said was useful in some way.

Here’s what I would recommend to help you develop a routine given that you have these materials.

  • Put Genki II on the shelf and use it as motivation - a goal to reach eventually for your next steps.
  • Take out Genki I
  • Read the unit, slowly. Try to listen and read along with the sample dialogue, but this may be difficult.
  • Take a look at the Vocabulary Page. Find words you know and words you don’t… Put vocabulary into Anki (and make your own deck).
  • Study grammar points 1-by-1 and do the practice activities one section at a time.
  • Revisit the sample dialogue
  • Look at the back of the book to find the Listen and Read sections that go along with each chapter
  • Move on to the next unit.

Note: One unit may take a week or two to do (or less or longer depending on the unit and how much time you focus on it).

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what works for me may not work for you but usually i think of all my resources in terms of a) how is it accessed b) what area does it cover c) how much time do you need to put in vs what you get out of it.

a) how is it accessed:

for example, i use wanikani and duolingo on my phone, which i take everywhere anyway. that way if i want to do reviews on my lunch break or whatever it’s with me and i can practice. vs my genki textbook is way more cumbersome/less portable, so i have to work on it at home. i don’t have the anki mobile app so it has to be on my computer. reading for the absolute beginner book club takes a whole setup sometimes with the book (HXH volume 1 rn), notebook, sticky notes, computer w dictionaries and forums, etc. the easier it is for me to use it frequently, the more frequently i use it.

b) what area does it cover:

wanikani is great for reading/writing, and a little listening. duolingo is mostly useful for listening practice, sentence structure/grammar, etc. genki has grammar/vocab/listening/speaking (if you use the audio tracks, which i like to). there’s a couple yasashii nihongo podcasts that can help with listening as well - check spotify, apple podcasts, etc.

c) what do i get for my time/money:

wanikani is a quick 5-10 minute review every couple of hours, and in 4 months ive learned like 300 kanji, which is way more than i had at the beginning. duolingo is similarly a quick review/lesson or two, which i can also stretch to longer sessions at need, but the process is less explanatory and more i+1. genki is a significant time investment sometimes but it explains grammar clearly and lets you practice each step a lot to really get it in your brain.

i’ve tried other methods like anki and bunpro, lingodeer, etc. i have found my current mix works well at my current level for what i get out of it: wanikani and duolingo when my reviews come up/every day, hxh reading every other day or so, genki on weekends when i have time, podcasts every so often - the tofugu podcast is great, or there’s other easy news podcasts, etc. i feel im making pretty steady progress. im sure eventually my level will allow me to no longer need certain tools - duolingo ie is def a beginners app lmao - but for now i’m happy with what i’m using :smiley: best of luck and welcome :smiley:

This is my personal study plan (step 0 would be to learn the kana):

  1. i. vocab (tango n5 & n4 anki decks)
    ii. grammar (curedolly, genki & tokini andy vids)
    iii. kanji (wanikani)

    iv. speaking (shadow 30-1hr, 3x/wk)

  2. (post tango N5) - graded reading w/audio

  3. (post genki 1&2)
    i. games (visual novels, rpg’s)
    ii. books & satori reader
    iii. shows (drama & anime)
    iv. speak with a partner
    v. dogen’s pitch accent course
    vi. supplement with tobira

Cure Dolly has an incredible YouTube channel with almost 100 videos that very clearly explain grammar points.

Similarly (and already mentioned here) Tokini Andy does grammar videos on YouTube, but his specifically support the Genki books.

Tango make books geared towards each JLPT level. They work in an n+1 fashion, meaning they very gradually build up your knowledge of vocabulary using sentences. This also helps you to subconsciously infer grammar points (or reinforce them). You can buy the physical books, and there are a variety of anki decks available if you want to go that route.

I like to be held accountable by a higher power (ofc I mean SRS apps!)
So Wanikani+Bunpro+any vocab app (bunpro vocab coming online eventually)
After that set a target, i.e. finish wanikani bunpro and N1 vocab in 4 years.
Then set your pace wanikani and JLPT N1 have about 10000 items each and that’s actually just 7 new cards a day each! This will be simplified due to 4000 items of overlap.
For bunpro a 4 year pace means roughly 1 new grammar point per day.
So in summary,
Wanikani 7 lessons per day
Vocab app 7 lessons per day
Bunpro 1 lesson per day

After that the single greatest piece of advice I have is to never, under ANY circumstances miss a day. Sick, busy, traveling, doesn’t matter, get your reviews in.
You will inevitably experience the horror of feeling a week behind because of a single missed day.

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