As an intermediate to advanced reader, you have already aquired the fundamental and specialized vocabulary to read a broad variety of texts. Understanding news articles and following an authors narrative are furthermore both areas that are tested in the JLPT N2.
However, your reading abilities might still not suffice to fully comprehend all grammar encountered in Japanese novels and especially classical literature might still challange you with sentence structures and vocabulary no longer in use. The free reading resources for learners linked here consider this and either provide furigana on uncommon and specialized vocabulary or retell classic literature in modern Japanese language.
However, manga and light novels don’t provide these challenges and N2 is a great level to read and understand your first book or manga series in natural Japanese. Feel free to give these a try as well! And as always: If a book or text you chose is too difficult or boring, just pick the next one.
Texts and Stories for learners of Japanese
All these texts, books and stories are written with learners of Japanese in mind. This means they will have furigana and some vocabulary explanations when needed. Some sites use the reading levels as defined by the NPO Tagengo Tadoku. For those with reading abilities similar to JLPT N2 the appropiate level is level 4-5.
- Tadoku Graded Readers (fiction) – fiction and non-fiction, downloadable pdf, audio
- YomuJP Tadoku Dōjō – non-fiction, read in browser, audio
- Sakura Tadoku Lab – registration required, fiction and non-fiction
- Tongari Books – fiction, read in browser
- NHK Easy News – easy short articles, color coding, you can get definitions by hovering over some words
- Nishi Nippon Easy News – easy news articles with focus on west Japan
- With News – articles on issues foreigners may face in Japan, no furigana
- Niponica Magazine – magazine by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs about Japanese culture
Resources created by other learners
To practice their writing abilities some learners publish diaries and short essays in Japanese. This in turn, may help your reading comprehension and you might even be able to provide feedback and engage in the discussion.
- r/WriteStreakJP – subreddit where learners publish their writing
- マリローの日記 – blog in Japanese written by マリロー
- 煎茶ライフ – blog in Japanese written by Moonchild
These links here will all lead you to reading material aimed at Japanese children. Thus, it will have fewer kanji and less complex grammar than other N2 texts but a wider variety in vocabulary.
- NHK: こくご: おはなしのくに – fairy tales with videos and downloadable pdf
- Hukumusume – fairy tale database, read in browser
- e-Dōwa – collection of fairy tale picture books
- Ehon Fairy Tales – older fairy tale site with hand drawn illustrations, hard to navigate
- Ehon Hiroba – sharing platform for free picture books
- Minwa Fujipan – collection of folk tales and scary stories
Manga and Novels
- Bookwalker Japan – limited offer of free manga and novels
- Honto – limited offer of free manga and novels
- Sokuyomi – limited offer of free manga
- シーモア – limited offer of free manga
- Comico – web manga
- Comic Walker – web manga
- Mangaz – web manga
- Syosetu – web novels
- 1000 Moji – short stories