What WK level would be a good starting point for learning grammar?

Hi =)

I’m sorry if this has been asked before, but I can’t figure out the new forum, and I’m not sure what to search for tbh.

I speak a handful of languages, and in all of them grammar has been something I learned alongside the vocab, basically standard classroom style language teaching. These languages have been fairly easy to learn though as most of them are related in some way or another, not only to my native language but also to each other, so grammar has been no problem for me. Japanese is a totally different story though as it’s a completely different style overall.
For the languages I know I found that learning grammar alongside the vocab was useful for sure, but having a basic vocab is just a must have I think, cause if you don’t have that you can’t use the grammar all that much.

In classroom style language teaching it works out great learning grammar at the same time as vocab since you have a teacher teaching you combinations and rules that works for the vocab you are learning at the time so you quickly get a feel for how the grammar and language works, but for a site like WaniKani where you learn random vocab and kanji I’m not sure if it would be better to wait for a higher level and some more vocab before learning grammar. I kinda feel like it would be better to do it like that, but I can’t decide.

What do you guys think/do? Have you been studying grammar from level 1, or are you waiting until you have a better understanding of the language / a larger vocab to start with?

From level 1. Grammar & vocabulary should increase at the same rate in order to learn properly Japanese.


If you want to late start taking grammar seriously, all N5 kanji is at level 16. Random kanji other than that, just put in furigana. → start lower beginner grammar

All N4 kanji is at level 27 → start upper beginner grammar

I do finish Tae Kim and みんなの日本語1〜2 before starting WaniKani, but I studied grammar seriously at around Level 30.


I started Grammar straight away, from level 1 using Genki. I supplemented the Vocab using a memrise deck of the genki vocab (works really well because you learn new vocab, plus vocab that genki uses you to teach grammar). Ive been doing that since level 1 and everything is going up pretty well. I put my grammar to use (alongside my limited vocabulary) by speaking to Japanese friends every second night, and i spend at least 30 minutes on Satori reader to practise reading every day.

Good luck!

According to WK Guide, it’s level 5, because “by level 5 you’ll have completed most of the kanji you’ll find in most beginner Japanese textbooks”.



You will find studying Kanji via WK to be so much easier and more fun than studying grammar. You should therefore start to study grammar yesterday.


I do everything weird including studying Japanese so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Wanikani is good for learning Kanji but its not great for learning vocab since its only kanji → English. Also, from people who already speak Japanese and are just using the site to learn Kanji, I’ve learned that some of the vocabs are pretty weird.

For example we learn both 旅行 and 旅 for trip, but the second one たび、is very old, like saying journey, the first one りょこう is the one actually used. That kind of thing is not learned here.

So I’m using some great memrise courses I’ve found for vocab and I’m using this site for kanji. The memrise course tests the vocab in all directions, E → J, J → E and even audio japanese → English.

So that covers vocab and kanji and takes all of my Japanese studying time so I’ve decided to speed run WK and when I hit level 60 (hopefully in November) that will free up time to devote a few months just to grammar.

Once I have basic grammar down I will begin reading, writing, speaking and listening a lot. Again, this is a weird way to study and not for everybody by any means, but it makes sense for me.

The real answer is you can make your own plan and study however you want. There’s no one right way to study Japanese.


As long you can read hiragana and katakana without hesitation, I would recommend to start reading Tae Kim Grammar Guide, it is a good point for starting learning grammar, and you will see some kanjis with their reading so you will learn a bunch of words too. When you are confident enough for reading kanjis and hiragana, maybe you can jump to a different book (like みんなの日本語) or start reading some easy books to practice.

That’s not true. One of the most popular ranobe is キノの旅 or きののたび. So both りょこう and たび are used.

I could be wrong, but my Japanese teacher is native and she told me 旅 is very old and to use 旅行。Also, I saw 旅 used once in a children’s story (with ogres and whatnot) and it was translated as journey.

Again, I am not a master and learning things out of context is one of the pitfalls of WK so I can’t be 100% sure.

EDIT: What I mean is not that it’s not used, but that’s it’s old. Just like journey. I would not say I’m going to Spain on a journey, but that’s how it would sound if I used 旅 for that sentence.

I’m glad you posted this, it’s a good opportunity to stress the importance of learning grammar. A lot of people on this website, it seems to me at least, use little little more than just Wanikani in their studies. I would be willing to wager that the ratio of people who persevere with kanji study versus people who give up, is a lot better among those that use this website as opposed to those who use more conventional means. Because Wanikani is fun; it’s game-ified the learning experience, and leveling up feels good. Unfortunately a similar system doesn’t yet exist for other areas of Japanese learning, such as grammar, speaking or listening comprehension, and so we’re stuck with more conventional strategies for those areas of language study. But that doesn’t mean that studying Japanese has to be boring. Well, maybe it does- at the start anyway. Or maybe boring is the wrong word. It’s hard. But if it wasn’t hard, then gaining proficiency in the language wouldn’t be considered an achievement now would it? A solid textbook that teaches grammar and vocab is your best bet to use alongside wanikani. These two things should be your bread and butter, and you can supplement them with as many other resources as you wish. Don’t be afraid to learn vocab, for example from a textbook, before you learn the kanji for that vocab. As long as you pick up that kanji later on, that’s completely fine. In the meantime, you’ll be building a solid foundation of vocab from which to practice sentence structures, and as your kanji knowledge grows you’ll be able to make use of it in practical ways, such as reading NHK News Easy, graded readers, and eventually more complicated things such as light novels, or even novels. Not to mention even a basic foundation in grammar opens up a whole new world of expression you’re able to use in conversation. Without grammar, you simply can’t use the language.

I can personally recommend the following study materials\resources: Genki 1 + 2, Tobira (I moved on to this textbok after finished Genki 1 and 2), Lang 8, Tae Kim’s Grammar (to be used only as a supplement, not as a main textbook), NHK News Easy, Hello Talk (an android app for making language partners, also on iOS I believe). I have more resources that I used\have used, but can’t quite remember them as of now, so I’ll update this list if I remember. And I just remembered I haven’t answered your question yet lol. I think you should start studying grammar as soon as you can. Happy studying!


But “journey” is also still used. Just google “journey” and there are news items published today with the word in the headline. Not to mention the awesome band Journey.

Well this is becoming cyclical and off-topic, so I will just agree to disagree.

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I started with the Japanese From Zero series right off the bat.

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I could not imagine starting Japanese study with nothing but Wanikani. It would just be total memorization without any context, usage, etc. I wouldn’t even be able to comprehend the example sentences. I would quit so fast.

Also, 旅 is a perfectly normal word. You need to know it. Wanikani doesn’t teach usage (outside of the example sentences.)

ex: ちょっと旅に行ってくる。

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Eee, I thought Tae Kim gives solid grammar. Or did you mean ‘hella lots of practice’ by ‘studying seriously’?

But I really want to ask what’s “みんな1〜2”?

OP, as lots are saying, just start right now, the earlier the better. Learn at least simple grammar. Then you would be able to read simple things. Don’t even think when the time is good: it’s good from the beginning.

I started learning grammar same week I began using Wanikani. You have to know both to get anywhere.

Thank you for your answers :slight_smile:

I posted some thoughts on Tae Kim yesterday… it is a decent reference and not a bad read, but for study you need something that provides exercises and practice. This is first hand experience… if you just consume material, you’ll only be good at consuming material and won’t be able to produce diddly-squat for conversation. I wasted years before coming to this realization.

From as early as possible. Grammar is just as important as vocab, if not more so. There is just a lot more vocab so you’ll end up spending more time with vocab, but without grammar, it doesn’t really mean anything.