Nihongo So-Matome: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Ace Your JLPT

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) measures one’s competence in terms of his or her mastery of the Japanese language. The test is composed of multiple-choice questions under four categories—vocabulary, grammar, reading, and listening.

Passing the JLPT exam is an essential matter for everyone who has plans of working and studying in Japan.

Most popular Nihongo So-Matome books


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All About Nihongo So-Matome


If you are a full-time student or worker who does not have a lot of time in their hands to study before taking the exam, there is a perfect collection of books that will fit your needs. The Nihongo Sou-Matome book series is designed in such a way that a student can do a little bit of studying every day. It contains daily lessons that are relatively short and are on point.

This particular book series will help you gradually build up your knowledge stock by just doing some minutes of studying each day. Because of its direct approach in teaching the leading and most important points in each lesson, the students are able to look into the information provided and understand them deeper before proceeding to the next lesson.

Each program is expected to last between six to eight weeks, providing a consistent method of learning that does not require you to review things which you have already learned.

There is one major topic for the entire week, and for each day of the week, a subtopic will be discussed. Though there is a recommended timeline for each subject and chapter, the speed of learning will always depend on the preference of the student himself. If he or she has time, he or she can do more than one topic per day.

The books are designed with a friendly vibe so that students will not get intimidated by the books. There are lots of pictures to set the mood, and the use of different text sizes makes the entire presentation dynamic. True to its form, the Nihongo So-Matome books are an efficient tool that will prepare a student of the Japanese language and be confident in taking the JLPT exam.

N5 Level: Basic level


There is only a single book under the Nihongo So-Matome series that is intended for N5 level. A single workbook contains all lessons on kanji, vocabulary, grammar, reading, and listening. The entire book will take only six weeks to be completed, and you will be able to learn everything that you need to know in order to prepare for the JLPT N5 exam. You need to work on two pages per day with the first two weeks dedicated to kanji and vocabulary. The third, fourth, and fifth weeks are allocated for developing the grammar and reading skills of the student while the last week will be spent on listening exercises.

N4 Level: Basic level


The Nihongo So-Matome N4 study materials are divided into two books but will still cover six weeks of studying. The first book, Kanji and Words, contains 200 kanji characters and 300 words often used in JLPT exams. At the end of each week’s work, a student will need to work on a review question, in order to keep track of his or her progress.  

The second book, the Reading, Grammar, Listening, contains similar grammar structures to help the student recognize intricate sentence patterns. The book focuses more on grammar, so you will find minimal vocabulary.

N3 Level: Basic level


There are five books for the N3 level. Intended to be completed within six weeks and with seven daily lessons. Students are able to learn three to four sentence structures, eight kanji, and more than 20 vocabulary words in a day.

Visual learners will take delight in this book as there are lots of pictures inside it that will help students to understand each word easily. It also integrates the newly-introduced words into commonly used expressions. The students are asked to read sentences and answer questions after learning new words to help them better remember what they just learned.

N2 Level: Basic level


The N2 level books will enable a student to learn 400 kanji and 1400 words through short sentences and illustrations that will take eight weeks to finish.  

In eight weeks, the student will learn about signs and advertisements up to television news and newspaper articles. In terms of vocabulary, a student will learn 20-40 words a day organized according to the situations they are supposed to be used and functions.

Practice exercises that follow the JLPT format follow at the end of each week. Through this book, the student will not only learn vocabulary but reading skills, listening skills, and use everyday expressions, as well.

N1 Level: Basic level


Passing the JLPT N1 is the ultimate dream of a lot of people. However, one needs to have at least a near-native level of Japanese linguistic competence in order to pass the examination. Good thing that there is a tool to help a person realize that dream and this tool is the Nihongo So-Matome books.

It will take eight weeks to finish all the lessons in the series of books intended to enable the student to master JLPT level N1. The five titles under the N1 level is divided into eight weekly chapters and will allow a student to learn a combination of 1300 kanji and new words not included in the other kanji books. Short sentences, clauses, and illustrations are provided, as well, to learn all the vocabulary words efficiently.

What you will get from the books


Students will be able to learn three to four new grammatical rules every day. Grammatical items which are similar in form and usage are grouped together, so the students are able to maximize their time and use it systematically.

In terms of vocabulary, the student will be able to learn more than 20 words a day. Learning new words is facilitated efficiently through the use of pictures and common expressions.

Some say that learning kanji is the hardest part of learning the entire Japanese language. The Nihongo So-Matome books use a method where you will be able to learn kanji in just a few weeks. Through the thematic grouping of kanji and kanji combinations, students are able to learn quicker.

In terms of reading comprehension, the books contain long texts of ads, essays, notices, and newspaper articles that the students need to read and understand.

Lastly, through the use of this book, students will be able to sharpen their listening abilities through long conversations.

Want more? Check out our selection of Japanese textbooks