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Is Daycare in Japan free?


Daycare is an essential need for working parents who have small children. It provides a safe and secure environment for children to learn and play while their parents are at work. However, daycare can be quite expensive, making it inaccessible for some families. This article will focus on daycare in Japan and explore whether it is free or not.

The Japanese Education System

The Japanese education system comprises of six years of primary school, three years of junior high school, and three years of high school. Education in Japan is generally considered to be of high quality, with a strong emphasis on academics and discipline. However, the cost of education can be quite high, especially when it comes to daycare.

Japanese Snack Box

Types of Daycare in Japan

There are various types of daycare available in Japan, including public, private, and corporate daycare. Public daycare is operated by local governments and is subsidized by the government. Private daycare is run by private companies or individuals and is not subsidized by the government. Corporate daycare is provided by companies to their employees as part of their benefits package.

Cost of Daycare in Japan

The cost of daycare in Japan varies depending on the type of daycare and location. Public daycare is generally cheaper than private daycare, but there may be long waiting lists to get a spot. On average, parents in Japan can expect to pay around 50,000 yen ($470) per month for daycare.

Free Daycare for Low-Income Families

In Japan, low-income families may be eligible for free or heavily subsidized daycare through the government’s Childcare Support Program. This program aims to provide equal opportunities for children regardless of their family’s financial situation.

Challenges with Daycare in Japan

Despite efforts to make daycare more accessible and affordable, there are still challenges that parents face in Japan. For example, there are long waiting lists for public daycare spots, which can make it difficult for parents to secure a spot. Additionally, many private daycares operate on a first-come-first-served basis, making it challenging for working parents who cannot take time off to wait in line.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Daycare in Japan

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on daycare services in Japan. Many daycares were forced to close temporarily due to health concerns, leaving parents struggling to find alternative arrangements for their children. Additionally, some daycares have had to reduce their capacity due to social distancing measures.

The Future of Daycare in Japan

The Japanese government has recognized the importance of affordable and accessible childcare services for working parents. In 2019, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans to create 320,000 new daycare spots by 2024 to help address the country’s childcare shortage. The government also plans to provide additional financial support to low-income families.

Benefits of Daycare in Japan

Daycare provides a range of benefits for both children and parents in Japan. For children, it provides an opportunity to socialize with other children and develop important skills such as communication and teamwork. For parents, it allows them to work without worrying about their child’s safety and well-being.

Cultural Attitudes Towards Daycare in Japan

Cultural attitudes towards daycare in Japan have traditionally been mixed. Some people view it as a necessity for working parents while others see it as a luxury that only wealthy families can afford. Additionally, there is often a stigma attached to mothers who work outside the home instead of staying at home with their children.


In conclusion, while daycare in Japan is not entirely free, there are options available for low-income families who need financial assistance. As the Japanese government continues to invest in childcare services, we can hope that more families will have access to affordable and high-quality daycare services that allow them to balance work and family responsibilities.



Does Japan offer free childcare?

It has been announced that the Tokyo metropolitan government will offer free childcare for families with a second child aged between 0 and 2 starting in fiscal year 2023. In addition, the central government has provided financial support for childcare fees for second children as part of their efforts to support parents.

How much does childcare cost in Japan?

The cost of private daycare can vary greatly from ¥10,000 to ¥70,000 per month depending on the facility. On average, private daycare facilities tend to be more expensive than public ones, with prices ranging from ¥40,000 to ¥80,000 per month. Some private facilities may also require a one-time entrance fee. This information is current as of January 4, 2023.

Do Japanese kids go to daycare?

In 2021, the majority of children in Japan were enrolled at day care centers, with kindergartens being the second most popular option. The number of children enrolled in facilities with alternative business models has been increasing, suggesting that parents have diverse needs.

What country has free childcare?

In Finland, children between eight months and seven years of age can receive free universal daycare. In Sweden, parents are given 16 months of parental leave, with the first year paid at 80% of their salary.

Does Japan pay you to have a baby?

Currently, when a child is born, new parents in Japan receive a lump sum of 420,000 yen. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is proposing an increase to 500,000 yen, which is expected to go into effect on April 1, 2023, the start of the next fiscal year.

Is Japan a child friendly country?

Japan is a top destination for families due to its enjoyable, intriguing, and secure environment. Regardless of the age range of your children, Japan’s diverse and interesting culture offers activities and experiences suitable for everyone.

Parental Leave in Japan

In addition to daycare services, parental leave is also an important issue for working parents in Japan. Currently, new mothers are entitled to 14 weeks of maternity leave, while new fathers are entitled to just 5 days of paternity leave. However, the government has recognized the need to improve parental leave policies and is considering extending paternity leave to encourage more fathers to take time off work to care for their children.

Childcare Facilities in Rural Areas

While daycare services may be more readily available in urban areas of Japan, families living in rural areas may have difficulty finding suitable childcare facilities. This can be especially challenging for families who live far away from their extended family and support networks. The government has implemented various measures to address this issue, including subsidies for private daycare providers and mobile daycare services that visit rural communities.

The Role of Grandparents in Childcare

In Japan, grandparents often play an important role in providing childcare for their grandchildren. This can be especially valuable for working parents who may not have access to affordable daycare services. However, as Japan’s population ages and more grandparents enter retirement age, there are concerns about the sustainability of this model. It is important for the government to continue investing in affordable daycare services to ensure that working parents have access to safe and reliable childcare options.

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