Best Japanese textbook for self study (The 3 best books)


For those who want to learn Japanese on their own but don’t know which textbook is best, I would like to recommend several textbooks for learning Japanese.

I will introduce each including pros and cons.

The order of introduction is not the ranking.

Best Japanese textbook for self study (The 3 best books)  

Minna no Nihongo 1 -Main textbook-


“Minna no Nihongo 1 -Main textbook-“


This textbook has almost no English and is written mainly in Japanese, so you can practice a lot of grammar.

I think that in language learning, seeing, listening and using are important. However, this textbook has few illustrations and is old-fashioned, and I have the impression that it is not interesting from the viewpoint of viewing.

It’s written mainly in Japanese, so once you get used to it, you’ll learn a lot
The illustrations are few and old-fashioned, so it may take a while to understand.


Minna no Nihongo -Supplement (vocab/grammar)-


“Minna no Nihongo -Supplement (vocabulary/grammar)-


This is a translation of the textbook I introduced just now.

However, there is no romaji for the vocabularies, so if you haven’t learned hiragana yet, you’ll need to be a little more creative.

However, This textbook differs from the main text in that you can choose the language you understand or your mother tongue.

English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish, French, Italian, German etc.

You have a lot of options. Yay

It may be difficult for those who haven’t learned hiragana yet, as the words  don’t have romaji.
You can learn in your mother tongue or which you can understand.

 Minna no Nihongo 2 -Main textbook- 


 “Minna no Nihongo 2 -Main textbook-


This is the renewed version of Minna no Nihongo 1.



 Kanji look and learn -Kanji text-


 “Kanji look and learn -Kanji text-“


 This is recommended for those who want to learn about kanji. You can learn the meaning and shape of kanji using explanations (written in English) and illustrations of kanji.

In addition, you can learn about stroke order, Onyomi and Kunyomi and it seems that a total of about 3,500 words are recorded.

However, this textbook only teaches kanji, so it is not recommended for those who want to learn grammar, words or phrases.

You can acquire correct knowledge about the stroke order, Onyomi, and Kunyomi of kanji.
It is only for learning kanji, not for those who want to learn grammar, words and phrases.

I think the most efficient way to learn is to purchase this textbook together with the textbooks below.↓




 “Genki 1” 


Do you know this textbook? This is very popular and famous.
Some of you may have already bought it, or you may be considering buying it.
This is a textbook recommended by many Japanese teachers.

This textbook also has many series, and I recommend Genki 1 and Genki 2.


JLPT N5 or CEFR A1 for Genki1, Genki2 has JLPT N4 or CEFR A2 level learning content.


Each of these textbooks has a short story content.
Every section has a story, so you can learn different grammar, words and phrases for the situation.
Many other textbooks only focus on grammar and vocabulary, but on the other hand, Genki has short stories, each in a conversation style, so it’s very easy to understand.

First, understand the flow of the conversation from a short story. Next, we will learn the words used in the story → grammar → practice 

For that reason, I think that this textbook is very useful and should be used by those who take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. (JLPT)

However, it is a shame that the conversation in the story is not natural. (To be honest, those conversations are weird for native speakers, at least for

If you want to improve your speaking skills and speak like a native speaker, rather than studying this textbook on your own,I think it would be a good idea to take a Japanese class or private lesson and have the teacher teach you Japanese using Genki.


Easy to study for those who want to take the JLPT because you can learn from a short story, vocabularies, grammar, and practice .
The story is not natural, it is impossible to learn to speak like a native Japanese speaker.


This book will teach you correct grammar, words and phrases.
However, I think it will be hard to become able to speak Japanese like a native speaker through this book.



In my lessons, I mainly use this Genki learning method and one-on-one natural Japanese conversation lessons.
If you are interested, please read this about my teaching platform


Italki Japanese review (Study Japanese on Italki)
If you want to self-study and improve your conversational Japanese without living in Japan is a good place for learning Japanese!


And you can get a tip for your lessons from here.↓


italki : あらゆる言語が堪能になる
italki は、生徒を世界中の熱心な講師とつなぎ、1 対 1 の言語レッスンをセッティングする、オンラインで最も人気の高い言語学習マーケットプレイスです。500 万人を超える学習者が在籍する italki コミュニティに今すぐ参加して、新しい言語を話し始めましょう。


Thank you for reading!