8 Best Books To Learn Japanese For Beginners 2022

Want to learn Japanese? Here are the best books to learn Japanese for beginners. These Japanese learning books are easy to follow and you’ll talk Japanese like a pro in no time!

I believe that it is always beneficial to know multiple languages. Not only is it important and beneficial, but it can also be quite fun. Imagine being able to converse with people of different nations, or being able to watch movies and shows without subtitles.

Best Books to Learn Japanese for Beginners: Quick Summary

Isn’t it quite appealing? When we think of learning other languages, one of the most popular options is Japanese. It is quite a popular language among learners. 

To learn a new language, you need a book that gives you all the basics of that language, including grammar. So, what are the best books to learn Japanese for beginners? We have the list here for you. If you ever decide to learn Japanese (and you should give it a shot), do check out these books.

Top Books To Learn Japanese For Beginners

#1 — Minna no Nihongo

Best Books To Learn Japanese With Reading Practice

This is quite a book that gives you an in-depth knowledge of the language. The book teaches you Japanese using its extensive material that covers quite a lot and uses complex terms. The reason why this is one of the top books to learn Japanese for beginners because it covers a lot more than other textbooks that are available.

best books to learn japanese

Since the book has Japanese text, it gives you a lot of reading practice. And reading is the best way to learn any language; it will keep you connected to the language, increasing your your familiarity with it.

The book also has in-depth and intense explanations of grammatical concepts. However, you would need to get a second translation book to use the main textbook. I bought this book just for fun but it has taught me all the Japanese I know today as it’s very easy to grasp. I find it super fun to study.

Pros

  • Covers more aspects of learning than other books 
  • Reading and writing practice papers
  • In-depth grammar learning and explanation 

Cons:

  • Requires a grammar book

Ratings

  • Easy to learn: 9/10
  • Content in the book: 10/10
  • Affordability: 8.5/10

#2 — Genki

Best Easy-to-follow Books To Learn Japanese For Beginners

Genki is yet another amazing book that will help beginners get a grasp of the Japanese language. It has an easy-to-follow lesson structure. It has dialogues, which will keep you interested throughout. These dialogues are curated using target vocabulary and grammar.

These concepts are then taught more clearly in easy-to-understand lessons. Genki is a splendid series that builds a strong foundation that you need to move on to intermediate levels. Genki is better than all the books in the list because of it’s structure and ease to read and comprehend features.

The concepts have been planned in carefully curated lesson structures that make sure you get in-depth knowledge. The explanations are clear and concise, making it easy for you to follow. There are no shortcuts for you if you choose this book; you have to invest your time to learn and absorb all that has been explained in the book. 

easy japanese books

If you reach the end of the book, you will have a good understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and more. Using these concepts, you can move further to intermediate levels. Genki is perfect for anyone who has just began learning Japanese as it’s well explained and easy compared to other books in the list.

Genki is one of the easy Japanese books that I prefer to learn everyday conversation language and vocab. I like how it’s so descriptive and teaches from the ground level to strengthen your linguistic skills.

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The book is divided into two parts: Conversation/Grammar and Reading/Writing. With these two parts, you will have all that you need to build a foundation. Apart from the books, audio CDs and workbooks are also available for ease. Check out this best books to learn Japanese for beginners down below!

Pros

  • Structured book 
  • Learning progression in stages 
  • Comes with Workbooks and CDs
  • Clear and concise explanation

Cons:

  • Not designed for self-learning

Ratings

  • Easy to learn: 8/10
  • Content in the book: 9.5/10
  • Affordability: 9/10

#3 — Japanese for Everyone

Best Affordable Book To Learn Japanese For Beginners

The Genki series can be expensive, so this book is an excellent and inexpensive alternative to it. The only backfall of this book is that there is no audiobook available. Apart from that, this book covers almost as much as Genki I. 

best books for learning japanese

It is quite affordable and will give you a good grasp of grammar. The book has all the concepts mentioned extensively and taught using discussions that are centered around real-life situations and natural Japanese explanations. 

However, the explanations provided are brief, so you will need outside supplements to get in-depth knowledge. The best part about this book is that it uses real world situations which makes the learning process so much easier.

I honestly found this book to be affordable and the content in it is also quite vast. I love how they’ve explained the concepts in-depth that have just boosted my Japanese language skills.

Pros

  • Plethora of content to learn
  • Affordable 
  • Uses real-life examples to teach Japanese
  • Contains complex grammar concepts

Cons:

  • Hard to find audio lessons 
  • Grammar concepts aren’t well-explained

Ratings

  • Easy to learn: 8/10
  • Content in the book: 10/10
  • Affordability: 9.5/10

#4 — A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

Best Books To Learn Japanese For Beginners aka The Yellow Book

This book is known as the “Yellow Book” or “The Bible” among Japanese ex-pats, and rightly so. It is one of the best selling Japanese resources that are perfect for people who are new to the language. The book has concepts that have been explained clearly and thoroughly.

This book will literally become your personal Bible because of how helpful it is. It’s easy to learn and the explanations are crystal clear.

nihongo active talk

You will find some great example sentences in the book to get you acquainted with the language. For a beginner, this Yellow book is like a holy grail. If you are at a more advanced level, you may want to check out the Blue or Red books by the same author. 

#5 — Japanese for Busy People

Best Books To Learn Japanese For Beginners With Practice Quiz

Are you a busy person who cannot devote a lot of time to learning Japanese? If so, this book may be the answer to your prayers. Each of the chapters in the book introduces you to grammar and vocabulary. Teaching new concepts happens gradually.

The best part about this best books to learn Japanese for beginners is that it lets you self-evaluate your progress. How? There is a quiz at the end of each chapter that tests your understanding of the concepts taught. Don’t worry if you’re busy, you can keep this book handy and you’ll still be thorough with Japanese.

japanese for busy people 1: romanized version

The concepts are taught using dialogues, which are more realistic than what you would normally find in other teaching books. At the beginning of every chapter, you would find clear explanations of grammatical concepts. Audio CD is also included with the book, which is a great plus point. 

#6 — Japanese: The Spoken Language

Best Books To Learn Spoken Japanese For Beginners

If you are somebody who needs detailed explanations of grammatical concepts, then this is the book you should go for. The book and the series that it is a part of focuses on speaking the Japanese language. I love how detailed this book is, I recommended it to my best friend to learn Japanese and in about 2 months, she spoke fluently with the help of this book. It seemed unreal.

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japanese books for self learners

For this purpose, the series has been developed based on pronunciation, which makes it easy for you as beginners to grasp the foundation better when it comes to speaking Japanese. The book comes alongside an audio CD that complements the book and helps you create a strong foothold. 

#7 — Adventures in Japanese

Best Books To Learn Basic Japanese For Beginners

Do you need to learn the basics of Japanese quickly? Are you planning a trip and need to get some insight into speaking Japanese? Then it is this book you must check out. It will help you learn the basics of Japanese quickly. The book contains a lesson review at the end of every chapter. 

minna no nihongo

Also, there are grammar exercises that test your understanding of the lesson. What else makes this one of the best books to learn Japanese for beginners? It has a checklist of things that you need to know before you proceed to the next lessons. It is quite a good thing because you can easily check your progress and see where you stand. 

#8 — Japanese from Zero

Top Books To Learn Japanese For Beginners

This is another popular series, even though it is relatively new. As the books have only just hit the market, you can expect to see up-to-date contents that are fresh. Which is why it’s one of the best books to learn Japanese for beginners. 

books in japanese translation

The discussions in the lessons are slower compared to other books. This makes this quite a good option for people who are only just beginning to get acquainted with the language.

How Did We Choose Best Book to Learn Japanese For Beginners

The in-house experts tested 25+ books to learn Japanese for beginners. The main parameters for testing were easy to understand and comprehend, if it’s able to level up the language skill and also addresses the personal plans of the learner. Each of the parameters are important and the book should meet all the requirements. In case the book failed in one of them, the book was rejected.

Which is the best book to learn Japanese for beginners?

According to the analysis by my team, we found Genki to be the best book to learn Japanese for beginners because it’s easy to understand, provides quick learning and levels up your skill.

Genki has an easy-to-follow lesson structure. It has dialogues, which will keep you interested throughout. These dialogues are curated using target vocabulary and grammar. These concepts are then taught more clearly in easy-to-understand lessons. Genki is a splendid series that builds a strong foundation that you need to move on to intermediate levels. The explanations are clear and concise, making it easy for you to follow. It’s available in Amazon on sale.

Factors to consider before buying one of the best books to learn Japanese for beginners

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Before you rush to Amazon to buy one of these best books to learn Japanese for beginners, these are some factors you must consider:

  • Your skill level

The first thing you must consider is your skill level. If you already know some Japanese and can speak and understand the language, a beginner’s book is not for you. You might need something that takes the level higher. If you have lived in Japan or have learned the language previously and only need to brush up, you may want to choose an advanced learner’s book. However, if you have only just started taking interest in the language, you can check out these best books to learn Japanese for beginners that we have listed here.

  • Your learning style

How do you learn fast? Is it by reading or by listening to someone? If you learn quickly when you listen to someone, it is wise to purchase an audiobook or a book that comes with an audio CD. If you learn quickly with illustrations, go for a book that uses a lot of graphic content. It is important to first understand your learning preferences before you choose a book.

  • Your plans

Why are you choosing to learn the language? Depending on your future plans, you will know how thorough should you be with the language. If you are planning to stay in Japan for quite some time, or are traveling to the country for studies, you need to know more than the common phrases. You need a book that will teach you all the common expressions, but at the same time, it should also teach you reading and writing Japanese. Similarly, if you are going to do business in Japan, you should pick a book that teaches you about business Japanese.

Now, keeping these factors in mind, let us look at some of the best books that you can get to become acquainted with the language

What do these books for learning Japanese for beginners contain

  • Vocabulary: You’ll find Japanese words and phrases with their meaning that is used in everyday life and conversations. 
  • Grammar concepts: Grammar is one of the foundations of learning any language hence, you’ll find explanations of simple and complex concepts that will help you learn Japanese better. 
  • Kanji practice: You’ll find Kanji scripts that are used to write Japanese. 
  • Workbook and exercises: These Japanese books for beginners also contain a lot of practice papers and exercises that will help you figure out how much you’ve learned.

Best Books to Learn Japanese For Beginners: FAQ

How should a beginner learn Japanese?

Here are a few ways to learn Japanese as beginners:
– Pay attention to flashcards
– Learn some easy key phrases
– Use apps like duolingo to learn Japanese
– Buy some beginner Japanese books
– Chat with Native speakers
– Read manga

Are there books to learn Japanese for beginners?

yes, there are a lot of book to learn Japanese for beginners that are easy and comprehensive with great explanations. Books like Genki, Japanese from Zero, Minna no Nihongo are some of them

Is Minna No Nihongo good for beginners?

Minna No Nihongo is one of the most popular Japanese learning books and is an excellent book to learn Japanese for beginners. However, it might be a little too tricky to learn Japanese from this book as it’s not for faint-hearts.