Books for extra practice and grammar


I’m using Bunpro for Grammar and Anki for vocabulary. When I’m in bed I have some time to read/watch stuff (because I can’t sleep that easily). So I tried reading Genki 1 and 2 but as I finished almost all of N5 and half of N4 on Bunpro I knew that material already.

So I’m looking for more advanced books than Genki and Genki 2. It can be reading, it can be grammar, it can be dialogues, basically anything about Japanese. Biggest issue is, I don’t have a large vocabulary and I can’t read Kanji at all (yet), so I at least need Kana over Kanji, if book is full of Kanji I simply can’t use it.

Any recommendations?

I like Satori reader. They have subscriptions but there are also plenty of free stories available. There are some settings for how much/little kanji you want, and you can tap on each word to see a definition. If words appear together to form a term, it will show you that, too.

And you can have it be read to you (like, by actual voices). So it works as listening practice, too.

That being said… Satori reader is digital :slight_smile:

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Thanks. I know literally 0 Kanji so it’s not very suitable for me. Also I have so many subscriptions, I really don’t want to add another one.

Afaik you can set it to “no kanji”, and/or you can have it show furigana for everything. And personally I’m only using the free material, for similar reasons… Too many subscriptions as is :slight_smile:

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Yeah, it seems so. Looks pretty nice and useful but kind of expensive for me and not enough free stuff (as they are trying to earn money). $10 may not be much to everyone else but where I live it is like 3x of Netflix price for example.

If you know all the kanji in Genki 1 and 2, you are well on your way to know enough kanji to start tackling the intermediate Tobira. It won’t be easy, but you wil learn a lot!
Alternatively you could try to check out the beginner Tobira that came out last year. But I think that starts from zero like Genki 1.


Yea, I mean I wouldn’t make it the only source of your reading. I haven’t read through all of it yet, I think it’s just the first two “episodes” of each series that is free or something.

I am really not here trying to convince you to get their subscription, I certainly don’t have it haha

I also just came across this


If you are looking for textbooks, you could look at the 中級へ行こう / 中級を学ぼう series after genki 2 although I’m not sure how useful they are outside a classroom setting.


Something more advanced than Genki 2 but without kanji is sort of hard to come by… Not what you asked but my suggestion is to stop learning grammar and spend time learning かんじ…


I would suggest you start learning kanji instead of fearing it, because at your level of grammar, its past time to start! You might also begin reading manga in its native form, just making sure it has furigana so you don’t have to try and struggle your way through finding kanji in a dictionary.

If you don’t know, furigana are small kana above kanji in written content, that help to identify kanji for readers who may be unfamiliar. They’re commonly found in content for kids.


My biggest leaps in improvement came from immersing in Japanese media. From November of last year to today, I started making an Anki deck and adding in words I didn’t know to later be reviewed from immersion, which now total in over 13k cards.

I went the textbook and review route for years it feels like, but actually using the language to dive into things I’m interested really improved my abilities a ton. Structure is important, but I think seeing similar words and sentence structures used in everyday Japanese will be just what you need too.

Just stick to things you like so you aren’t bored. I tried Satori Reader and honestly wanted to claw my eyes out lol. It’s a good service, but boy was it boring as heck.


Echoing the sentiments of giving kanji a try! As you’re finding out, you can know as much grammar as you’d like but you’re not going to understand much without working on kanji. It will also make reading much easier in itself. It will also help you learn vocab, because a lot of those synonyms I’m sure you’re running into with vocab can be sorted out easily with kanji.

Picture books for children often have very simple stories with just hiragana. The problem being that you won’t find much of interest in them, because stories for young kids aren’t known for being riveting for adults…

Actually looking back, in your previous topic many people already suggested getting a start on kanji. Is there any particular reason you’re avoiding learning it?


Like everybody is saying, give kanji a try! Eg from time to time add a kanji or two to Anki for reviewing.

For textbooks, I really agree with @Slysoft , 中級へ行こう is a really great textbook. In class, that’s the textbook that we used after Genki 2. There is a short story / article in the beginning of each chapter to show how the new grammar will be used.

You can also try Bunpro’s reading section? Another idea is NHK Web easy articles?
There is also JLPT N4 Grammar or Reading book. Like the Kanzen Master N4 Reading Book (It will have furigana on everything). That could work really well as the difficulty should be just right.

Shounen / Shojo manga (like Nichijou, Demon Slayer) or Children’s books eg like from Tsubasa Bunko 角川つばさ文庫 ie with green frames can work too as they have furigana on everything… But as @severian said… children’s book can be very dry… On the Bookwalker / Booklive website you can read the samples of the manga / books by pressing on the cover image.

I don’t know if I would recommend it … but something that I do is: Go on Bookwalker and just read the free samples of anything and everything that catches my eye… Sometimes there are free volumes for a limited time like at the moment Spy x Family Volume 1. I have found some really great series like that that I can (somewhat) read :smiley:


I’m at the end of N4 (80% done), almost done with Minna no Nihongo (equivalent of Genki but full in japanese and perhaps a little harder).

I bought the Shin Kanzen N4, and will complete the whole set before using the Tobira book (for N3).

Shin Kanzen Master is a set of books, each of them focused on a different japanese activity (audio, reading, grammar, kanji). I did the first few lessons of each book and really enjoy it so far. Especially the grammar books (great to review, because the books is trying to trick me to master the nuances between grammar points) and the reading book for practice.
The Audio seems decent, but not really that fun to do because i don’t like the format (JLPT style). If you are not planning to take the JLPT, i wouldn’t suggest the audio book.
The kanji book is way too easy for me, because I’m using Anki for the vocab and I kanjified my vocab, so N5+N4 = roughly 1200 kanjis (without furigana) …


I’m interested in this approach. My concern is that I’ll end up spending all my time deck grinding rather than immersing. Is that fair comment?

I spend less than an hour a day doing Anki reviews. On average I do about 30-40 minutes per day. I think it’s best to spend the less amount of time reviewing and more time experiencing Japanese.


Thanks for the answers. I’m really not interested in Kanji though, as I’m learning Japanese for fun I simply don’t have time to do that, I’m focusing on understanding and speaking it. Most of the Japanese learners don’t like my way of learning but again, it’s just for fun and I’m not having fun learning Kanji.

Though what you say is true, most obvious solution would be watching media because most of the books will use Kanji I guess.

Yeah, if literacy isn’t your focus, then you’ll have to rely almost entirely on audio input. You can look for beginner children’s books and things like the Hiragana Times if you want to read but need to have kana/furigana at all times.

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Isn’t learning japanese without learning kanji similar to trying to learn to paint but not wanting to learn the colours? You just gotta learn the kanji bud sorry