Which set is better for beginners?

Hi folks, just wondering, if at beginner level you were given the choice of either of these sets, which would you go for and why?

This 10 book set:
【児童書版】妖怪の子預かります全10巻BOXセット https://amzn.eu/d/2IKyc8X

Or this 20 book set (I’ll purchase the other 3 separately):
キノの旅-the Beautiful World- 文庫 1-20巻セット (電撃文庫) https://amzn.eu/d/gvsfysn

I’ve been recommended both but can only get one at this time, both cost roughly the same.

Thanks in advance :blush:

Edit: Please don’t suggest additional options (thanks though for the additional options and advice given so far), I’ve plenty of other options, I’m just looking for advice on these two particular sets and why you would or wouldn’t recommend them to someone.


Neither of these have furigana, do they?

I honestly recommend reading stuff with Furigana right off the hop. You’ll hate it otherwise. So I don’t recommend either of these (unless of course that first set has furigana? The second stuff most likely does not)

You should look into stuff from the company aoitoribunko (青い鳥文庫) - they make light novels for ages that still need furigana.

You won’t be ready to read without Furigana for a long time, yet. I know a lot of people say never to use it but if you don’t start reading/consuming material in Japanese you’ll never finish studying because you’ll burn yourself out on the flashcards and whatnot.

EDIT: I know it’s a cliche recommendation as well but look into yotsubato!. You can find full japanese sets of it on ebay for reasonable prices and it’s a fun, easy first set to read through. It’s done wonders for my motivation.


My recommendation would be to get neither of those. Why spend so much on a series you don’t know you’ll like or could be above your level. I read the first キノの旅 with a book club and found it kind of boring. Also, it’s definitely not beginner level. As mentioned, it won’t have much furigana, so if WaniKani level 17 is an accurate reflection of your kanji knowledge, it would be incredibly painful to read. I don’t know the other series, so I can’t comment on the difficulty, but I still think you’re better off getting a variety of things instead of a large set, at least until you know it’s something you like and can handle.


I’m not fussed if either has furigana tbh. I can read stuff without furigana and have no qualms with tackling stuff without it even if it means intensive reading at a slow pace until I understand it. My intention is to use the set (whichever I get) and re read the books more than once so it doesn’t matter if they have furigana or not. I also already have a fair amount of lighter content that does have furigana including my textbooks.

I also don’t use flash cards. I have in the past and they weren’t helping me so I use my textbooks, reading, writing, listening, and wanikani. The only srs source I use is Wanikani. Everything else comes from extensive and intensive reading in context and through immersion since that’s how I’ve found works best for me.

I appreciate the additional option there, which I will have a look at, but of these two sets, would you say one would be better than the other or do you not have an opinion on them? It’s ok if you don’t, I’m just trying to weigh up the options and these are the two choices from a list of things recommended to me that I’m drawn more towards.

My recommendation would be “don’t buy a set of anything, use that amount of money to buy single volumes of a much wider range of possibilities”. 10 or 20 volumes of anything is a massive investment in something you don’t even know if you’ll end up liking or not. Buy 10 different volume 1s of things, and find out what you do like and what works for the reading level you’re currently at. Then when you do find a series you know you like you can buy the full set of it.

(Especially for light novels, the first volume in a series is usually a completely standalone story because they don’t decide whether to give the author more volumes until they see what the sales on volume one are. And often it’s the best story of the series because it’s where the author has their Big Idea, and later volumes are stretching it out to sell more books.)


Thanks for the input. My wanikani level isn’t reflective of my kanji knowledge, just a reflection of my time spent on wanikani which I’m using to help cement the knowledge I have. I’ve also reset my level several times since I got my life time account a few years ago because I was getting bogged down with reviews. I’ve fixed that now but still mostly using wanikani to help remember additional vocab and onyomi/kunyomi readings I’ve already learned elsewhere.

What did you find boring about キノの旅? Was it that the pace was just too slow, the actual story was flat and uninteresting or was it something else?

To add to this, 青い鳥文庫 (aoi tori bunko) with blue borders, 角川つばさ文庫 (kadokawa tsubasa bunko) with green borders, and 未来文庫 (mirai bunko) with orange borders are good places to look for beginner books. They are printed with simpler grammar and larger fonts with furigana, as well as some illustrations similar to what you might find in a typical light novel. You can often even find versions of regular books printed in these formats such as 時をかける少女, so you can enjoy some more advanced stories without being at a high enough reading level normally.


Thanks for the suggestion, I’ve read a bit about both sets and I find the concept of each interesting enough for me to want to spend this amount of money on material I’m very likely to read. Both have been recommended to me for reading as well to try to help push me towards more native content.

I’m also looking to try to get things above my level so it’s challenging but is something I can work towards even if I can’t read it fully now. I’d also rather start with stuff like this than go straight for stuff like ノルウェーの森 or 風の影 or similar (I already have those to read when I’m ready).

That’s cool if you’d suggest I get individual volumes of other stuff instead to see what it’s like first.

If it was to read something with an easier level, I would probably go with 妖怪. If it was for interest, I would go with キノの旅.

I really like the キノの旅 style of storytelling, but I did try to read the first volume and didn’t want to spend that much time on it based on its perceived difficulty, even though I wasn’t a beginner at the time. I think there’s a club here where you could see the pros and cons of the book laid out for its nomination?

If you haven’t interacted with キノの旅 before, I’d suggest watching a few episodes of the anime and seeing if you like it, even though I don’t know how well it was adapted.

The 妖怪 set looks like it could be interesting, but I wouldn’t invest that much on something that I’m not sure I would like. If you like that type of stories, and don’t mind the fact that they’re intended for kids, then you could go with that.

You could also read some previews and see where you stand with both.


It’s very episodic and each chapter has little or nothing to do with the previous one. Some people like this style, I don’t. But also, only one (maybe one and a half) of the six chapters was any good. I believe this was more or less the consensus of the book club, though it has been three years so I don’t quite remember.


Cool, thanks for the advice :slightly_smiling_face: exactly what I was looking for.

I’ll see if I can find a few episodes of the anime to watch first then. I’ve been told the content of each book in the キノの旅 series is separate from the last so the only constant is キノ but thought if it’s all written in the same style it’ll make it easier to read as I progress through the series.

Kid level books don’t bother me, I’ve got stuff for younger kids levels as well, it’s more about trying to read a variety of different styles and helping increase my skill levels by reading stuff aimed at native readers even if that means reading stuff meant for kids. It’s a pity there’s no samples of either that I can find so I could see a small portion of each.

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Thanks for telling me, I didn’t know about the book club for it so might see if I can look through there too.

Episodic series don’t bother me, I’ve read a few series like that and there’s usually a main theme through the series that tends to be kept secret or has the occasional hint as things progress. I was kind of expecting most series to have an episodic feel in at least some way, shape or form so that fine.

Like this?

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There are samples if you look for them on Amazon.co.jp or Bookwalker.jp

I haven’t read any of them, but I am vaguely interested in 妖怪の子預かります because Yokai. I remembered that someone had recommended it on here, and a quick search revealed that @Houndstooth and possibly @Belerith have read it. Maybe it would be worth asking the people who have read it directly :slight_smile:


I tried but because I don’t have a Japanese address, even though I do have an account, it didn’t let me read the samples in amazon.jp, bookwalker and ebookjapan don’t seem to have that problem.

Why though? I don’t have an account or a Japanese address, and I can see the samples just fine. Maybe log out of your account to see them?

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Ah, I’m an idiot. I was clicking on “send free sample now” instead of 試し読み.

Ah! Thank you, for some reason I can’t access the jp Amazon at all on my device and whenever I access the website to change it to jp it auto flicks to the app in English which I can’t change for some reason. I couldn’t get samples on the English site at all.

Thanks, I can’t get access the the Japanese version of amazon at all, the website changes automatically to put me in the app which I can’t change from English for some reason.

I don’t have a book walker account. Hadn’t heard of that before. Is book walker free and is it just samples or can you buy books from it?

I didn’t know you could check who has read certain books. Is there a way to search for that? I don’t usually dm people directly unless I know them or they’ve got something on their profile to say it’s ok to do so.

You can buy ebooks from Bookwalker (regardless of address, unlike Amazon). The samples are free to see for everyone though, no account needed as far as I know. Just click on the button under the book cover.

I just searched the forum for the book title, and found posts of people saying they had read it. I have already alerted them in my post, so you don’t need to :slight_smile: I hope it’s not too much of a nuisance. It’s just that from your thread title it’s not clear what books you’re talking about, so it’s easy to miss for those who might actually be able to contribute.

As for who has read which book, you might be able to see that on learnnatively.com (plus difficulty ratings, which is the important thing). Not everyone logs their reading there of course.
妖怪の子預かります | L33

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