Types of School

Find out about the different types of Japanese school, with details of government, private and international schools...

Government Schools

Government schools exist for all levels of education; from kindergarten to university. While elementary and junior high schools are organised within school districts, high schools are not always part of this system.

Government schools are usually co-educational (mixed) and tuition and textbooks are free up to high school. There are fees for uniforms, school supplies and lunch, although subsidies are available to low income families.

Most government primary and junior high schools do not have entrance exams.

Any foreign child, if the parents wish, can be enrolled in a Japanese government school. There are also many international schools for expatriate children.

Private Schools

Generally, private schools refer to all schools that do not fall into the government school category. The majority of private schools adhere to the Private School Law.

There are both co-educational and single-sex private schools; fees are, of course, mandatory and are relatively high.

Entrance to most private schools depends on the results of entrance examinations and interviews. However, because application requirements and enrolment differ from school to school, parents should contact schools for specific information.

International Schools

International schools mostly cater to expatriate children, and are based on the British or American system. They are not regulated by Japanese law, but are instead classified as "miscellaneous schools". Fees are usually high.

There are, however, more and more international schools catering for Japanese children as well, as their educational needs diversify. Some of these schools are defined as Japanese, yet provide education in English.

Application requirements and enrolment procedures are unique to each school so parents should contact the schools for information.