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Can foreign kids go to school in Japan?


Japan is a beautiful country with a rich culture and tradition. Many foreigners are attracted to the country’s unique way of life, and some may even want to study or work in Japan. One question that often arises is whether foreign kids can go to school in Japan. In this article, we will explore this topic and provide you with a comprehensive guide on the matter.

Overview of Education System in Japan

Before delving into whether foreign kids can go to school in Japan, it is essential to understand the country’s education system. Japan has a mandatory education system that lasts for nine years, from primary to junior high school. High school is not compulsory, but most students choose to attend. The education system is highly structured and rigorous, with a focus on academic excellence.

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The Requirements for Foreign Kids to Attend School in Japan

Foreign kids who wish to attend school in Japan must meet certain requirements. First, they must have valid visas that allow them to stay in the country for an extended period. Second, they must be able to speak Japanese fluently or be willing to learn the language. Third, they must have the necessary documents, such as passports and school transcripts.

Types of Schools Available for Foreign Kids

There are several types of schools available for foreign kids in Japan. Public schools are free and offer a high standard of education. However, they may be challenging for non-Japanese speakers as classes are conducted in Japanese. International schools offer an English-based curriculum and are more suitable for non-Japanese speaking students. Private schools are also an option but can be expensive.

Challenges Faced by Foreign Kids Attending School in Japan

Foreign kids who attend school in Japan may face several challenges. The language barrier can be a significant obstacle, making it difficult to communicate with teachers and classmates. Cultural differences can also make it challenging to adapt to a new environment. Additionally, academic pressure in Japanese schools can be intense, which may be overwhelming for some foreign students.

How to Prepare Your Child for School in Japan

If you plan on sending your child to school in Japan, there are several things you can do to prepare them. First, enroll them in Japanese language classes before they arrive in the country. Second, expose them to Japanese culture through books, movies, and cultural events. Finally, talk to other parents who have sent their children to school in Japan for advice and support.

The Benefits of Attending School in Japan

Despite the challenges, attending school in Japan can offer several benefits for foreign kids. They will have the opportunity to learn a new language and immerse themselves in a different culture. They will also receive a high standard of education that is recognized internationally.

The Cost of Sending Your Child to School in Japan

Sending your child to school in Japan can be expensive, particularly if you choose a private or international school. However, public schools are free and offer an excellent education system.

The Application Process for Foreign Kids

The application process for foreign kids varies depending on the type of school they wish to attend. Public schools require proof of residence and registration at the local government office. International schools have their application process that may include entrance exams and interviews.

Visa Requirements for Parents

Parents who wish to accompany their children to Japan must have valid visas that allow them to stay in the country for an extended period. They must also have sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay.


In conclusion, foreign kids can go to school in Japan if they meet certain requirements such as having valid visas and being able to speak Japanese fluently or willing to learn the language. While attending school in Japan may pose some challenges, it offers numerous benefits such as learning a new language and culture and receiving an excellent standard of education recognized internationally.


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Can a foreign child go to public school in Japan?

Children from foreign countries are not required to attend school in Japan, but if they want to attend public schools, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) will provide them with a school to attend for free in accordance with international human rights agreements.

Can I go to school in Japan as an American?

American students have the opportunity to directly apply to Japanese universities and colleges for immersive two- or four-year undergraduate programs. These programs fully integrate students into the Japanese higher education system and upon completion, students will receive a degree or certificate from the university.

Can an American go to high school in Japan?

Foreigners can attend high school in Japan by demonstrating their proficiency in the Japanese language. The level of proficiency required depends on the individual’s skills, but we offer beginner and intermediate language courses to help prepare students.

Do Japanese high schools accept foreign students?

Children with foreign nationalities in Japan are entitled to the same rights as Japanese children, allowing them to receive a Japanese education through the public school system if their foreign parent desires.

Is education free in Japan for foreigners?

Public primary and secondary schools do not charge tuition fees, even for international students. However, you may have to bear some expenses such as school supplies, uniforms, lunch, and PTA fees.

Can you go to a Japanese school without knowing Japanese?

One common myth about studying in Japan is that you need to be fluent in Japanese. However, many universities in Japan offer courses taught entirely in English, and language classes are available to help international students learn Japanese. For example, Waseda University in Tokyo has seven schools and 12 graduate schools that offer degree programs taught entirely in English.

Resources for Foreign Kids in Japan

Foreign kids who attend school in Japan can benefit from various resources and support systems. International schools offer counseling services to help students adjust to their new environment, and some public schools have programs designed to assist non-Japanese speakers. Additionally, there are several organizations and groups that cater to foreign kids in Japan, providing social and educational activities and opportunities to connect with other expat children.


In conclusion, sending your child to school in Japan can be a rewarding experience, but it requires careful planning and preparation. It is essential to understand the education system, the requirements for attending school, and the challenges your child may face. However, with the right resources and support systems in place, foreign kids can thrive academically and socially in Japan.

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