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How many breaks do Japanese students get?


Japanese education system is known for its rigorous academic standards and emphasis on discipline. One aspect of this system that often raises questions is the number of breaks Japanese students get during their school day. In this article, we will explore how many breaks Japanese students get and why it matters.

History of Japanese Education System

The Japanese education system has a long history dating back to the 6th century when Chinese culture was introduced in Japan. During the Meiji period, Japan underwent a modernization process that included the implementation of a compulsory education system. Since then, the education system has undergone several reforms, with the latest one being in 2011.

Japanese Snack Box

Structure of Japanese Education System

The structure of the Japanese education system is divided into six years of elementary school, three years of junior high school, and three years of high school. Students are required to attend school for a minimum of nine years, but most students continue to attend school until they graduate from high school.

School Schedule

The typical school day in Japan starts at around 8:30 am and ends at around 3:30 pm. However, some schools may have different schedules depending on their location and level of education. Students attend classes for five or six periods, with each period lasting around 45 minutes.

Lunch Break

Most schools in Japan have a lunch break that lasts for about an hour. During this time, students go to the school cafeteria or bring their own lunch from home. Some schools may also have designated lunchtime activities such as club meetings or sports practices.

Morning and Afternoon Breaks

In addition to the lunch break, Japanese students also get two shorter breaks during the day. The first break is usually in the morning and lasts for about 10-15 minutes. The second break is in the afternoon and lasts for about 5-10 minutes.

Seasonal Breaks

In Japan, there are three major seasonal breaks: summer break, winter break, and spring break. Summer break usually starts in late July and lasts for about six weeks. Winter break starts around December 25th and lasts for about two weeks. Spring break usually starts at the end of March and lasts for about two weeks.

Exam Periods

During exam periods, students may have a modified schedule that includes longer class periods and fewer breaks. Exam periods usually occur twice a year – once in June and once in December – and can last for up to two weeks.

Importance of Breaks

Breaks are essential to a student’s overall well-being as they provide time for rest, relaxation, and socialization. Research has shown that taking frequent breaks can improve academic performance and reduce stress levels among students.

Comparison with Other Countries

Japan’s break schedule is similar to that of other East Asian countries such as China and South Korea. However, it differs significantly from Western countries such as the United States, where students may have shorter lunch breaks but longer periods between classes.

Criticism and Controversy

The Japanese education system has received criticism for its emphasis on rote learning and lack of creativity. Some critics argue that the strict schedule with limited breaks does not allow students to develop critical thinking skills or pursue extracurricular activities.

Potential Reforms

In recent years, there has been discussion about reforming the Japanese education system to make it more flexible and student-centered. Some proposed reforms include reducing homework load, increasing opportunities for extracurricular activities, and introducing more creative teaching methods.


In conclusion, Japanese students get regular breaks throughout their school day, including lunch breaks and morning/afternoon breaks. They also have seasonal breaks twice a year during summer and winter vacations. While some critics argue that the education system needs reform, others believe that the current structure provides discipline and rigor necessary for academic success.

Do Japanese students go to school 6 days a week?

In Japan, students typically attend school five days a week from Monday to Friday. While some schools may have classes on Saturdays, it is uncommon, and students do not attend school on weekends unless there are special circumstances.

How long are breaks between classes in Japan?

Students have a 5- to 10-minute pause between their classes for a break. During this time, they have the option to go outside and play or stay inside to read, study or chat with friends.

Do Japanese students have summer break?

Summer break is a time for enjoyment and relaxation in both Japan and the United States. However, while American students typically have a two to three month vacation, Japanese students have around five weeks off from school to spend time with loved ones, enjoy the nice weather, or take a trip.

Do Japanese students get holidays off?

Japan observes school holidays including both national and cultural public holidays such as New Year, National Foundation Day and Christmas in the year 2023.

How many hours do Japanese students sleep?

Japanese high school students are a prime example of those who get very little sleep, averaging 6.3 hours per night. One recent trend in their lifestyle is an increased exposure to bright nighttime light, which is thought to have a significant impact on their sleep patterns.

What country has the longest school day?

The length of the school day in Japan is the longest in the world, lasting from 8:00am to 4:00pm on average. This is considerably longer compared to other developed countries, such as the United States, where the school day usually ends at 2:30pm.

It is worth noting that the breaks Japanese students get during their school day are not just for leisure or socialization. In many cases, these breaks are used for students to participate in various activities or clubs. These extracurricular activities are an integral part of the Japanese education system and are highly encouraged. Through participation in different clubs and activities, students can develop skills and interests beyond the classroom setting and establish networks with peers who share similar passions.

Moreover, the breaks in the Japanese education system also provide an opportunity for teachers to interact with their students on a more personal level. During these breaks, teachers can check on their students’ well-being, provide individualized support, or offer guidance on academics or other aspects of life. This personalized attention from teachers can be beneficial for students and help them feel supported and valued.

Despite the criticism, the Japanese education system has produced successful graduates who have excelled in various fields. The emphasis on discipline, hard work, and academic excellence has been credited as contributing factors to Japan’s economic success. Additionally, the Japanese education system has provided a strong foundation for students to pursue higher education, with many Japanese universities ranking highly in global rankings.

In conclusion, while there may be room for improvement in the Japanese education system, the breaks that Japanese students receive during their school day play an important role in their overall well-being and success. These breaks provide opportunities for rest, socialization, extracurricular activities, and personalized attention from teachers. The Japanese education system may be rigorous and demanding, but it has undoubtedly produced successful graduates who have made significant contributions to society.

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