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Your Ultimate Guide to Mastering the JLPT

~1 month to 1 year long plan with textbook recommendations~

Calling all aspiring Japanese language enthusiasts!

The other day, there was another JLPT exam. To everyone who studied hard for this day, how did it go? Did you manage well? Did it feel more challenging than expected? There must be various thoughts and impressions.

While the results are still pending, those who are confident of passing are likely excited about leveling up to the next stage. For those who are unsure, don’t worry! The next test is in December, so there are still five months to go!

This blog post is intended to provide useful information for those planning to take a higher-level exam next year, as well as for those considering a retry in December.

How do you ace JLPT and achieve your Japanese language goals by milestones?

Toranomon Language School is here to guide you through every step of your JLPT journey, making it an enriching and rewarding experience.

Your Year-Long Study Plan for JLPT

First, check the 【JLPT Official book】to understand the overview of the JLPT exam. The goal is to know the structure and the level of the JLPT, so don’t worry if you don’t understand each of the grammar or vocabulary at this point.


【JLPT Official book】

Once you’re confident that you’ve learned everything needed for the test, you can start doing mock tests through the official JLPT practice workbook.

Acting as a revision guide, the workbook is perfect if you wish to practice before the actual exam. There’s an audio CD for the listening section. The workbook has over 33 vocabulary and kanji sections, as well as 26 grammar and 6 reading questions.

Click this link to purchase the book.

To help you conquer the JLPT, we’ve crafted a comprehensive year-long study plan, packed with effective resources and strategies:

12 months to JLPT:

  • Lay the Foundation: Begin your JLPT adventure with textbooks like “みんなの日本語(Minna ni Nihongo)” and “Genki” to establish a solid foundation in grammar, vocabulary, and Japanese culture.


Minna no Nihongo stands as one of the most widely used textbooks in classrooms. Its lesson chapters cover Japanese grammar, vocabulary, and listening and speaking skills. The entire text is presented in Japanese, necessitating prior knowledge of hiragana and katakana.

Price: $28.80 (¥3,920)

Click this link to purchase the book.


Genki is a highly popular Japanese language textbook series for beginners. Instead of centering on the JLPT, its lessons emphasize practical, everyday situations and dialogues. For instance, the first lesson introduces daily conversations along with straightforward explanations of grammar and vocabulary.

Price: $39.90 (¥4,601)

Click this link to purchase the book.

6 Months to JLPT:

  • Tackle the Core: As you approach the exam, delve into more targeted JLPT prep materials like “Nihongo So-Matome N5” and “55 Reading Comprehension Tests for JLPT N5” to sharpen your reading skills, and “TRY” to master the listening section.


【Nihongo So-Matome N5】

The Nihongo So-Matome N5 textbook is a comprehensive resource. It consists of 42 daily Japanese lessons covering kanji, vocabulary, grammar, and reading. Structured as a 6-week self-study program, it provides essential grammar points, syntax guides, and a list of kanji and vocabulary typically encountered in the JLPT N5 exam. Additionally, the textbook offers reading and listening practice, complemented by a pre-recorded audio CD.

Price: $21.99 (¥2,535)

Click this link to purchase the book.

55 Reading Comprehension Tests for JLPT N5

The textbook features 55 Japanese readings aligned with the N5 level, accompanied by hundreds of questions. It teaches you to dissect sentences into basic components, enhancing your comprehension. The questions are designed to mirror those found in the JLPT exam.

Price: $24.99 (¥2,881)

Click this link to purchase the book

【Try! Japanese Language Proficiency Test N5】

As a component of the Try! series, the N5 volume addresses nine distinct chapters centered on everyday conversations. The Try! series is tailored to enhance students’ understanding of Japanese grammar. Each chapter includes practice questions and concludes with a comprehensive review.

Price: $24.50 (¥2,825)

Click the link below to purchase the book.

3 months to JLPT:

  • Master the Details: With the exam just around the corner, it’s time to refine your skills and nail those tricky details. “Goukaku Dekiru JLPT N4 & N5,” “JLPT N5 Kanji, Vocabulary & Grammar Chokuzen-Taisaku” and “1000 Essential Vocabulary for the JLPT N5” will provide you with focused practice and help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

【Goukaku Dekiru JLPT N4 & N5】

Minna no Nihongo and Genki textbooks are designed for beginners at the N5 level, but they are not specifically tailored for JLPT exam preparation. For those aiming to take the JLPT, the Goukaku Dekiru JLPT series is highly favored among test-takers. This textbook is structured into two main sections: the first part comprehensively covers grammar and vocabulary, featuring 863 questions to aid in mastering language knowledge. The second part consists of practice tests formatted exactly like the official JLPT exams.

Additionally, the book includes two CDs for the listening section and an answer key.

Price: $29.89 (¥3,446)

Click this link to purchase the book.

【JLPT N5 Kanji, Vocabulary & Grammar Chokuzen-Taisaku】

JLPT N5 Kanji, Vocabulary & Grammar Preparatory Workbook is ideal for those preparing to take mock tests for the JLPT N5 exam. It emphasizes vocabulary, kanji, and grammar exercises. Additionally, it features an appendix with essential verbs, adverbs, and adjectives relevant to the N5 level.

Price: $17.73 (¥2,044)

Click this link to purchase the book.

【1000 Essential Vocabulary for the JLPT N5】

To successfully pass the JLPT N5, familiarity with 800 vocabulary words is essential, but aiming to learn 1,000 ensures a confident performance on the exam. The textbook is divided into 10 chapters, categorizing vocabulary by practical themes such as friendships, food, hobbies, shopping, living, and health, which aids in effective learning and retention.

Additionally, audio files are provided for learners wishing to listen to the words and example sentences. The compact size of the vocabulary book makes it convenient for many learners to carry around. Each page features a red sheet to cover the Japanese words for quick self-quizzing, along with checkboxes for tracking progress.

Price: $14.99 (¥1,728)

Click this link to purchase.

1 month to JLPT:

  • Conquer the Final Stretch: In the final month leading up to the exam, it’s all about drilling and perfecting your techniques.


【Drill and Drill JLPT N5 Kanji, Grammar, Vocabulary, Reading and Listening】

The Drill and Drill JLPT N5 includes more than 250 questions covering vocabulary, grammar, reading, and listening. Answers are located in a separate booklet at the rear of the book, which also features comprehensive explanations for each question, along with example sentences and helpful tips. Additionally, an audio CD for the listening section is included.

Price: $28.00 (¥3,229)

Click this link to purchase the book

Supplement Your Learning:

Complement your textbook studies with these informative blogs and Japanese courses:


  • Japanese Courses:

In just 2 months, you can develop effective JLPT exam skills and consolidate your language foundation to enhance your career in Japan. Learn tips and tricks to pass JLPT N1 – N5, efficiently pick up contextual cues, read Japanese sentences quickly to finish the exam on time, and listen and comprehend long Japanese conversations. Unsolved any questions you had over vocabulary or grammar, too!

Located in Tokyo’s vibrant Toranomon, our course focuses on practical Japanese phrases and speaking skills for daily use in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, enhancing your enjoyment and comfort in Japan.

Why Choose Toranomon Language School?

  • Expert Bilingual Teachers: Our team of experienced teachers, well-versed in both Japanese and your native language, ensures effective communication and personalized instruction tailored to your unique needs.
  • Practical Curriculum: We focus on teaching practical Japanese that you can use in everyday life, making your learning experience both relevant and enjoyable.
  • Flexible Courses: We offer a variety of courses to suit your schedule and learning style, from intensive crash courses to part-time evening classes.

Supportive Environment: Our friendly and welcoming atmosphere will make you feel at ease and motivated to learn.

Contact us to learn more about our JLPT courses and start your path to Japanese language mastery.

Together, let’s unlock the wonders of the Japanese language!

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