Best Books for learning Japanese

We’ve compiled our list of recommendations by book type and language level.

red-price-tag-TOP PICKS

  1. Textbooks
  2. Grammar Books
  3. Dictionaries



Genki 1 : An integrated course in elementary Japanese

This book takes the number one spot for beginner series. This book is written in a way that is easy to understand and structured in a way that makes sense to beginners. It covers all the bases that a beginner needs to know and assists in helping you retain that knowledge. As a plus it comes with a CD so you can practice your listening skills as you follow along with the textbook.

* You can also buy the companion workbooks to practice your writing and comprehension.


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Cost: $48.92

Living Language Japanese

This book takes the number two spot. This is a complete series which takes you from beginner to advanced in one convenient package. Included in this package are:

• 4 Books: 46 lessons, additional review exercises, culture notes, study tips, and an extensive glossary—plus a complete guide to reading and writing Japanese, including explanations of hiragana, katakana, and kanji symbols.
• 9 Audio CDs: Vocabulary, dialogues, audio exercises, and more—listen while using the books or use for review on the go.


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Cost: $35.86

Japanese From Zero

In the number three spot, we have Japanese From Zero. If you are an absolute beginner and want to learn Japanese in small easy to digest lessons, then this book is for you. (If you are more of an upper beginner to intermediate learner then the Genki Series is my recommendation to you.)

In Book 1 of the Japanese From Zero! series, readers are taught new grammar concepts, over 800 new words and expressions, and also learn the hiragana writing system.


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Cost: $28.45

Grammar Books


A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar

This book is the Holy Grail of Japanese Grammar books! It takes the number one spot in the category of best grammar books out there for learning Japanese, here’s why:

The book consists of 3 main sections.

  • The first section familiarizes the reader with the grammatical terms used throughout the text. green checkmark small
  • The second provides an overview of the major grammar concepts of checkmark small
  • The third and main portion of the text is devoted to descriptions and explanations of the basic grammar checkmark small

This book helps the reader to obtain an in-depth understanding of basic grammar structures, which leads to more accurate usage. Overall, it constitutes a standard reference for Japanese and can be considered indispensable to the study of the language.


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Cost: $39.99

If you find yourself frustrated that you can’t understand Japanese movies or books despite having taken Japanese classes, then this book is for you. It will help you finally understand those pesky particles and break down grammatical concepts that will allow you to comprehend anything from simple to very complex sentences. You will also learn Japanese that’s spoken by real people including casual speech patterns and slang, stuff that’s often left out in most textbooks.(Keep in mind that there is an online version of this book available for free at

intermediate start blueCost: $47.15