Learning Japanese – Resources

Following on form my last post on apps that I’m currently using to learn Japanese, this post will list other resources that I’m also using to learn and practise.

I had intended to do one post covering everything, but the apps section ran on longer than I expected.


Genki 1 & 2

Books are still my primary medium for learning and studying Japanese, and if you’ve read my previous posts then you’ll know my books of choice are the Genki series by The Japan Times.  I have currently just finished the Genki 1 textbook & workbook, and am now moving onto the Genki 2 workbook & textbook.  (see here for more details on them, and for some tips on how to get the most from Genki 1).

Nihongo Challenge N4-5

For Kanji I am using Nihongo Challenge N4-5, which is an amazing book, that I would highly recommend for learners of kanji (They do books for N3 – N1 levels too).  This book really does a great job of teaching kanji, by showing their original pictograms, stroke order, and giving example words of all readings and meanings.

The only downside to this book is that it doesn’t offer much in the way of structured exercises to practice the kanji in complete sentences.  So I found it best to use this book to learn the kanji, then use the kanji in the sentences that I wrote down for the exercises in the Genki books.

JLPT N5 official practice book

I also picked up the JLPT N5 Official practice book in preparation for taking the exam this December.  (more on that book here)


There are of course countless amounts of websites and YouTube channels out there for learning Japanese.  Surprisingly though I’m actually not using very many of them at the moment, partly due to lack of time, and partly due to getting too easily distracted by anything else when I’m online.


This is my favourite Japanese dictionary website, and a resource that I use frequently.  It has good examples of the words which you look up, specifies on which occasions they might be written in just kana, and has audio readings for them.

PuniPuni Japan

I love this website and YouTube channel.  They have a huge range of bite-sized videos, each introduces a single particle, grammar point, verb form, or set of vocab, all within a 2-3 minute video.

The explanations are very clear, and each video contains a few examples of the point(s) being covered.  All of this is spectacularly presented by some lovely little animated cartoon aliens (called PuniPuni), who are also learning Japanese.  Just watch this fun introduction video below and you’ll see just how cute these little things are.

Now obviously given the 2-3 minute length of most of the videos, these aren’t going to be a replacement to some textbooks.  But the videos PuniPuni do are incredibly fun, and also work well as a nice recap of small things that you might have forgotten.

If you watch a video on their YouTube channel, then I would recommend following the link in the videos description as well.  This will take you to their main website which will contain more examples and vocab relating to the video that you’ve just watched.

On their website there are also options of taking Skype lessons with actual Japanese tutors (at a price of course), but as I’ve got no money I sadly don’t have that option.

PuniPuni Japan are also very active on their Twitter account, so be sure to give them a follow if you like what they do.


This website has lots of great articles covering tips on learning Japanese, advice from different learners, and often resource lists as well.

The site also hosts a whole variety of content on other various aspects of Japanese related topics.  As well as a mix of very informative and entertaining podcasts (of which I’m still playing catch up on).

They are also very active on Twitter, and often tweet useful (and sometimes very random) Japanese language explanations.

Anime & Japanese films

Obviously the main reason I watch anime is for fun/enjoyment/entertainment (or in the case of Plastic Memories to be crushed and emotionally broken for life! I’m never going to recover from it!), but a nice secondary benefit of watching anime is the amount of extra listening practice it provides.

It’s quite a nice feeling of progression when you suddenly realise that you’ve just understood what the characters were saying even though you weren’t actually paying attention to the subtitles at the time.

The same applies to live action films and dramas as well.  In my case I’ve seen quite a few films, but I haven’t really got into any Japanese dramas yet (there’s only so many hours in a day!) (Also I’m open to recommendations for J-dramas).

So those are a few of the main resources I’m currently using for my Japanese studies.  If you are learning Japanese (or any other language), then what other types of resources have you found useful?


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