Anyone who is studying Japanese in order to take the JLPT exam has probably realised that they need a JLPT textbook to help them. But when looking for resources to help you study it can be difficult finding the best JLPT textbook and sometimes you need a bit of help.
Best Japanese Textbooks For JLPT Exam
If you’re taking the JLPT exam then regardless of what level you’re at, you’ll need a textbook that has been written specifically for that exam rather than just for a beginner or advanced student.
The JLPT has five levels, N1, N2, N3, N4 and N5 with N5 being the easiest exam and N1 being the most difficult. Regardless of which level you’re at, you’ll definitely need a textbook to help you prepare for the JLPT.
Here are the Japanese textbooks that we believe will be most useful for you in taking the JLPT.
JLPT Official 5 books Set , N1 N2 N3 N4 N5 Japanese Language Proficiency Test Trial Examination Questions Workbook
Nihongo So-matome: Essential Practice for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level N5 Kanji
Nihongo So-matome: Essential Practice for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level N4
JLPT Level N3 Nihongo So-matome for Learning Japanese 5 Book Set
JLPT Level N2 Nihongo So-matome for Learning Japanese 5 Book Set
JLPT Level N1 Nihongo So-matome for Learning Japanese 5 Book Set
Essential Japanese Kanji Volume 1
Japanese Kanji for Beginners
Now you’ve seen our list of recommended JLPT textbooks, keep reading to find out more about them and to see which one if right for you.
Our Top Pick
When preparing for an exam, the most important thing you can do is past papers, which is why our number one recommended JLPT textbook involves examination questions so you can practise for the JLPT and know what to expect on the day of your exam.
This is our top pick for the best JLPT textbooks!
JLPT Official 5 books Set
N1 N2 N3 N4 N5 Japanese Language Proficiency Test Trial Examination Questions Workbook , Original Sticky Notes
This is the perfect collection for hard working, motivated students who know they want to take their Japanese from complete beginner all the way to advanced.
Buying them in bulk will save you money in the long run, rather than buying each textbook as it becomes available but we would only recommend to learners who know they are determined and want to pursue Japanese all the way.
The best way to prepare for an exam is to do past papers in that exam, which is why you should consider buying this collection of examination question workbooks.
Average Price: $75
Nihongo So-matome: Essential Practice for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level N5 Kanji, Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension
Nihongo So-matome N5 is the perfect textbook to get you started off on your Japanese learning journey and to prepare you for the JLPT N5.
The N5 textbook is laid out so that on the right hand page you will have access to the study material and on the left hand side there are practise exercises to check your understanding.
And the best thing is that the textbook recommends you only need six weeks to work your way through it!
Average Price: $30.99
Nihongo So-matome: Essential Practice for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level N4 Grammar, Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension
Average Price: $30.00
JLPT Level N3 Nihongo So-matome for Learning Japanese 5 Book Set, Kanji, Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading & Listening Comprehension, Sticky Notes
From N3 onwards, the JLPT exams become much more difficult and a lot of preparation is needed to not only pass but to obtain good grades.
This N3 textbook set is the perfect way to ensure that you have fully prepared the the N3 JLPT exam, by covering kanji, grammar, reading, listening and vocabulary extensively.
After six to eight weeks of motivated study with these resources you should be ready to tackle the N3 exam. Don’t be worried if it takes you a bit longer, just make sure you give yourself the time that you need to prepare for the exam.
Average Price: $99
JLPT Level N2 Nihongo So-matome for Learning Japanese 5 Book Set, Kanji, Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading & Listening Comprehension, Sticky Notes
Prepare for the JLPT N2 exam with this five book N2 textbook set.
By studying specific fields at a time in a bite size manner you can study your way to N2 success.
The N2 textbooks contain study material on one side of the page and exercises on the other side to help you to prepare adequately for the N2 exam.
Average Price: $95
JLPT Level N1 Nihongo So-matome for Learning Japanese 5 Book Set, Kanji, Vocabulary, Grammar, Reading & Listening Comprehension, Sticky Notes
This is the final in our list of best Japanese textbooks for JLPT and concentrates on the hardest exam of them all: N1.
In this N1 textbook you will learn 1,550 characters and 2,300 vocabulary words.
To complete all of the material, it is recommended that you take approximately 8 weeks but of course you can adapt that to fit your studying schedule.
To take the JLPT N1 exam requires a lot of studying, but if you can do it then you’ve demonstrated a mastery of the Japanese language.
For that reason, we recommend this 5 book N1 textbook set to make sure you’re as prepared as you could possibly be for the N1 exam.
Average Price: $99
Best Japanese Textbooks To Learn Kanji
One of the biggest complaints that people have about Japanese is that it doesn’t just have one writing system to learn but three! The most famous system perhaps being Kanji. Kanji is the writing system that gives Japanese it’s look that is so characteristic to Japan. So if you’re going to learn Japanese and you’re planning on taking the JLPT, then of course you have to learn Kanji.
If you don’t learn Kanji not only will you not truly master Japanese but you also won’t be able to pass the JLPT exams. Here are some of the textbooks that we thing will best be able to help you with this.
Essential Japanese Kanji Volume 1: (JLPT Level N5) Learn the Essential Kanji Characters Needed for Everyday Interactions in Japan
The Essential Japanese Kanji textbook will help to prepare you with an understanding of Kanji, how it works and how to use it to JLPT N5 level. This is the beginner level to get you started in Japanese.
Unlike other textbooks that work to teach you a new alphabet, the Essential Japanese Kanji textbook
Average Price: $14.54
Japanese Kanji for Beginners: (JLPT Levels N5 & N4) First Steps to Learn the Basic Japanese Characters (Includes CD-Rom)
The Japanese Kanji for beginners textbook is the perfect textbook to help you get started and prepare for the JLPT exams.
In order to pass the JLPT exams you have to learn Kanji, so why not get started with a textbook dedicated completely to that.
After finishing this textbook your mastery of Kanji should be around the N5 to N4 mark. Meaning you will have mastered beginner’s kanji.
Average Price: $13.96
Get The Most Out Of Your Japanese JLPT Textbook
After you’ve chosen the perfect Japanese textbook to help you prepare for the JLPT exam, you need to know how to use to get the best results possible. Because anyone can buy a textbook, but it takes more than that to study and achieve success in the JLPT.
Before you get started with the Japanese textbooks make sure you know Kanji and Hiragana. That way you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you start studying.
Use Your JLPT Textbook Every Day
If you do a little studying each day then your Japanese will improve much quicker than if you just study once a week. If you use your Japanese textbook every day you will see quick improvements that you wouldn’t see if you set two hours on a Sunday to do all of your Japanese studying.
Do The Exercises In Your JLPT Textbook
Make sure you’re doing the exercises and not just reading the information. Only by doing the exercises will you fully practise for the JLPT and be prepared when it comes down to exam time. A Japanese textbook isn’t just there to give you the information, you need to do the exercises too so you can check your progress.
Mark The Exercises In Your JLPT Textbook Straight Away
Another useful tip is to mark your answers straight away. If you do an exercise in your JLPT textbook don’t wait until the following day to mark it or you’ll have forgotten why you chose to put certain answers. Instead mark it straight away while the information is still fresh in your mind so you can understand why you got a certain question correct or even incorrect!
Study For The JLPT In Other Ways
To get the most out of your Japanese textbooks you need to make sure that you’re studying in other ways that can compliment your learning. You don’t just want to focus on
Before you go make sure you take a quick look at the JLPT FAQ:
What happens if you fail the JLPT?
If you fail the JLPT then don’t worry, you can retake the exam as many times as you like.
How else can I study for the JLPT exam?
Aside from purchasing a Japanese textbook to help you with the JLPT, there are other things that you can do to help you prepare for the JLPT.
- Find a Japanese language partner
- Switch your devices to Japanese
- Watch Japanese TV and movies
- Try and read in Japanese every day
- Use memrise or anki to help you learn Japanese characters and vocab
- Find a Japanese tutor to help you prepare
- Find a Japanese fiction book written for your level to practise your comprehension skills
- Do JLPT past papers under timed conditions
- Use forums to ask other students for advice on their studying habits
- Talk to yourself in Japanese as you do day to day activities
Is the JLPT worth it?
Not only is the JLPT worth it in terms of residency, it will also help you to learn more vocabulary and to greatly improve your Japanese skills.
Is the JLPT N5 hard?
Any exam can be difficult if you take it before you’re ready or if you don’t adequately prepare, but as the N5 is the easiest of the Japanese exams it shouldn’t be too difficult compared to the other ones, as long as you prepare properly.
Best Japanese Textbooks For JLPT Summary
These are the best textbooks available for preparing for the JLPT exam. Let us know which JLPT textbooks you’ve found useful.
And also let us know which level you’re studying for or have taken. We always want to hear about your progress, especially if we’ve been able to help you. And then you can recommend your favourite JLPT textbook to our other readers who may be thinking about taking the exam.
Now if you want to relax from all of that JLPT preparation, why not take a look at some of the best Japanese films available to help you learn Japanese. That way you can enjoy some Japanese culture while you are learning and everyone knows that whether it’s horror or anime, the Japanese know how to produce some quality content.
Remember that although you should be studying and using your JLPT textbook every day, you also need to find time for yourself. Make sure you take some time off from studying to relax or you’ll find yourself becoming more stressed, sometimes to the point where you can’t be productive.