10 Best Books to Learn Japanese for Beginners that are highly recommended by native Speakers

books to learn japanese

Which are the 10 Best books to learn Japanese currently? If you’re finding an excellent book that can help you learn Japanese effectively, then the article below is exactly what you need.

You may recognize that textbooks seem to be a boring learning method, and you start to use apps, online platforms, and programs to assist your learning process, but it’s not really as effective as you expected. So, the best solution is to combine the textbook and apps together. By this way, you will find that learning a language is not as boring and difficult as you think. So, here are the 10 best books that we’d like to recommend to you.

1/ GENKI I ($60.00)

  • Full name: GENKI I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese
  • Author: Eri Banno, Yoko Ikeda, Yutaka Ohno
  • Price: $60.00
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐4.8
GENKI I by Eri Banno, Yoko Ikeda, Yutaka Ohno

All you need to learn the basics of Japanese language is the “GENKI I” book. It consists of 12 valuable lessons that explain grammar topics and provide related tasks to help you reinforce them. Besides, The book’s feature is the simple yet interesting illustrated picture used to convey the message perfectly.

2/ Japanese from Zero! 1 ($29.95)

  • Full name: Japanese from Zero! 1: Proven Techniques to Learn Japanese for Students and Professionals
  • Author: George Trombley, Yukari Takenaka
  • Price: $29.95
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐4.8
Japanese from Zero! 1 by George Trombley, Yukari Takenaka

The title of the book says it all, it is one of the best books for beginners to learn Japanese. Its lessons and learning strategies have been successfully applied all over the world for over a decade. This studying Japanese book not only provides lessons on basic grammar, vocabulary, and illustrated dialogues, but also covers some interesting cultural points in Japan for beginners.

>>> Read more: 10 Excellent books to learn Chinese from beginners to advanced levels

3/ Elementary Japanese Volume One ($23.49)

  • Full name: Elementary Japanese Volume One: This Beginner Japanese Language Textbook Expertly Teaches Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana, Speaking & Listening
  • Author: Yoko Hasegawa
  • Price: $23.49
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐4.7
Elementary Japanese Volume One by Yoko Hasegawa

Many students become disheartened when they first face the three primary Japanese writing systems: katakana, hiragana, and kanji. However, Numerous studies have proved that beginners can read Japanese articles or participate in simple conversations after acquiring the “elementary Japanese ‘s lessons”. Therefore, we recommended the book with the belief that it can help you overcome that mental barrier due to its special learning course.

4/ Remembering the Kanji 1 ($29.56)

  • Full name: Remembering the Kanji 1: A Complete Course on How Not To Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters
  • Author: James W. Heisig
  • Price: $29.56
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐29.56
Remembering the Kanji 1 by James W. Heisig

Among the writing systems in the world, the Kanji is considered the most complicated with thousands of letters. Thus, to help you manage this difficulty, we would offer “Remembering the Kanji 1”, one of the greatest kanji books for self-study Japanese. It sets the “story” for each kanji character, making it difficult to forget their symbols and meaning.

5/ Kanji Dictionary for Foreigners Learning Japanese 2500 ($49.96)

  • Full name: Kanji Dictionary for Foreigners Learning Japanese 2500 N5 to N1
  • Author: Japanese Edition
  • Price: $49.96
  • Format: Softcover
  • Rating: ⭐4.8
Kanji Dictionary for Foreigners Learning Japanese 2500 by Japanese Edition

“Kanji Dictionary 2500” is another excellent choice for foreigners learning Japanese by looking up the characters. Thus, this book presents steps to drawing Kanji characters along with an English explanation. Furthermore, This dictionary is ideal reference material for people studying for levels ranging from N5 to N1.

>>> Read more: 10 Best books to learn Korean for beginners

6/ Japanese Picture Dictionary ($11.97)

  • Full name: Japanese Picture Dictionary: Learn 1,500 Japanese Words and Phrases
  • Author: Timothy G. Stout
  • Price: $11.97
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Rating: ⭐4.8
Japanese Picture Dictionary by Timothy G. Stout

Another useful dictionary for looking up and learning 1,500 words and phrases. These most essential Japanese vocabulary with romanized versions are separated into 40 different topics such as greeting, public transportation, or culture-specific topics like Japanese holidays and cuisine food. Moreover, this one is one of the best books to learn Japanese for self learners who enjoy studying through attractive illustrated picture methods.

7/ A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar ($49.74)

  • Full name: A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
  • Author: Seiichi Makino, Michio Tsutsui
  • Price: $49.74
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐4.8
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar by Seiichi Makino, Michio Tsutsui

Besides learning the vocabulary, mastering the grammar is also important when learning Japanese. The book contains over 200 fundamental grammar points, as well as abundant example sentences, analysis of sentence patterns, and detailed explanations in English to help you understand even for beginners.

8/ A Guide to Japanese Grammar ($20.00)

  • Full name: A Guide to Japanese Grammar: A Japanese approach to learning Japanese grammar
  • Author: Mr Taek Kim
  • Price: $20.00
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐4.7
A Guide to Japanese Grammar by Mr Taek Kim

“A Guide to Japanese Grammar” is a prominent name in the best Japanese language books. This is a very good Japanese book for anyone who wants to learn grammar well and grasp simple to complex instances through their grammatical analysis. In addition to vocabulary, it also includes common local speech patterns and slang that you can use anywhere in Japan.

9/ Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana ($11.59)

  • Full name: Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana: A Workbook for Self-Study
  • Author: Kenneth G. Henshall, Tetsuo Takagaki
  • Price: $11.59
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐4.8
Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana by Kenneth G. Henshall, Tetsuo Takagaki

“Learning Japanese Hiragana and Katakana” is one of the highly rated workbooks by linguists. It is the best evaluated because it provides a great resource with rich practice exercises from basic to advanced levels, as well as online Japanese audio files to support readers studying Japanese’s pronunciation.

10/ Japanese Stories for Language Learners ($12.99)

  • Full name: Japanese Stories for Language Learners: Bilingual Stories in Japanese and English
  • Author: Anne McNulty, Eriko Sato, Rose Goldberg
  • Price: $12.99
  • Format: Paperback
  • Rating: ⭐4.8
Japanese Stories for Language Learners by Anne McNulty, Eriko Sato, Rose Goldberg

“Japanese Stories for Language Learners” can take beginners who want to learn linguistics and beautiful culture on an exciting journey. Each story contains Japanese grammar points and vocabulary lists that support learning and acquiring knowledge about Japanese history and culture in a fast and funny way.

11/ TOP FREE Japanese learning books

Good news! If you’re not sure how to start with Japanese, let’s try the top 4 FREE books for self-learning for all levels listed below.

1/ The First 103 Kanji (Author: Nihon Ichiban): First of all, we suggest the book “The First 103 Kanji” to give you a good start on your language learning journey. The book includes all you need to know about Japanese such as 103 kanji vocabulary and how to draw them, as well as numerous exercises designed to be easily understood by beginners. It is certainly the best choice for those who want to prepare for the N5 exam.

2/ Book: Japanese Grammar Guide (Author: Tae Kim): Secondly, “Japanese Grammar Guide” will surely surprise you with its usefulness. If you need someone to give you advice while you’re struggling with learning the Japanese process, this excellent book is for you! Grammar? Writing system? It is not a big deal.

3/ Japanese short stories for beginners: 9 captivating short stories to learn Japanese and expand your vocabulary while having fun (Author: The Language Academy & Hiromi Zeid): Finally, we have another suggestion to make your learning process more fun. According to the introduction on the PDF platform, the storybook is written in Katakana, Hiragana, and approximately 250 basic Kanji characters, which correspond to beginner and low intermediate levels of Japanese. We believe that “Japanese short stories for beginners” surely delight you with the beauty of the Japanese language shown through 9 attractive short stories.

Hopefully the 10 best books to learn Japanese above would be your great assistant during your journey. Let’s sit down at a table, roll up your sleeves and start your amazing learning process now! We believe that you’ll master the language soon!

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