For Your Information

Hoikuen in Japan (Nursery, Day Care, Child Care)
Researched By Cornelia [8 September 2007]

The following is an excerpt from a pamphlet published by Meguro City in Tokyo (our copy includes all words and mistakes as they wrote it). This is an example of what might be encountered in many of Tokyo's cities and other larger urban areas regarding the situation for child care while the parent(s) are working. However, only a very few places have gone to the trouble to translate information about their Nursery system into English. Perhaps a very kind staff member at Meguro City Hall volunteered to do it after noticing that there are a somewhat higher number of English speaking foreigners with children residing in Meguro City. In any case, we say "thank you". In the great majority of Tokyo's cities and most of the rest of Japan, you will be unable to find anything in English with as much detail.

Source: [created 2006 July 19]

Nursing Facilities
9.1 Nurseries (Hoikuen)
9.2 Public Temporary Nurseries
9.3 How to Find a Good Nursing Facitily
9.4 Emergency Nursery
9.5 Baby Sitting

9.1.1 What is a nursery?
Nurseries are for children with parents who cannot look after them during daytime for various reasons. Children must be aged between 57 day old and pre-school age. Until a few years ago there were only 3 types of nurseries:
(A) municipal day nurseries
(B) private day nurseries
(C) day nursery rooms licensed by Meguro City Office. Refer to 9.1.6.
These nurseries meet national regulations such as space available, number of staff, school lunch facility, etc. However, new types of nurseries have been established since an increasing number of working mothers needed some places where their children could have been looked after the end of maternity leave, covering also extended hours at work:
(D) day nurseries licensed by Tokyo Metropolitan Government with their own regulations.
(E) other nursing facilities where you can ask nursing for various reasons by the hour.

9.1.2 Day Nursery
1. Types
There are 21 municipal day nurseries (A) and 4 private day nurseries (B) which are run by public expense.
2. Who can enter these nurseries? Refer 9.1.1
3. Nursery Hours
Basic nursery hours are from 7:15 to 18:15. All (A) and one of (B) have extended hours until 19:15 and 2 of (B) have extended hours until 20:15. Extra fees are charged for extended hours.
4. Fee
The fee differs according to your previous year's family income.
5. Consultation and Application
Meguro City Office 2F- Day Nursery Section
Tel: 03-5722-9868
Applications are accepted at any time [of the working day]. Leaflet in English is available in the section.
6. Flowchart for entry
Apply: Entrance is available only on the 1st day of every month. You need to apply by the 10th day of the month. Entrance in April is an exception since application must be done by January.
Inquiry / home visit [An appointment is made and a city worker comes to your home to check the child's situation there].
Conference: After screening
If your child can enter one of the day nurseries, you will be noticed. [notified]
Interview / Health Check-up
Enter the day nursery
Let your child take time to get used to going to the nursery [this means gradually increasing the hours from perhaps 2 hours only the first day to finally the maximum period on the 5th day]
7. Nurseries are closed on Sundays, national holidays, and from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3.

9.1.3 Nursery Staff (Hoiku Mama)
Qualified nursery staffs take care of several children at their own home. Children must be aged between 35 days and 3 years old. You can ask up to 8 hours on weekdays and 5 hours on Saturdays. Contact Day Nursery Section for more information. Tel: 5722-9868

9.1.4 Day nursery rooms licensed by Meguro City Office that meet the regulations by Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Some nurseries are available for children after pregnancy leave up to 2 years old. You need to apply to each nursery.

* "The nursery cannot accept children with fever over 37.5 C or in poor health. If you child gets high fever during nursing hours, you will be asked to pick him or her up as soon as possible." Japanese Mother

* "It is very hard to enter nurseries in Japan due to lack of vacancy but don't give up. Keep applying!" Chinese Mother

* "You should ask to the day nursery section of Meguro City Office which nursery is better for your family, because there are too many kinds of nursery to choose the best one. " Japanese Mother

9.1.7 Day nurseries licensed by Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Other than day nurseries licensed by Meguro City Office, there are the ones licensed by Tokyo Metropolitan Government (D) and others (E).
(D) Day nurseries licensed by Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Type A - located near train stations, run by a company, available for children aged 0-5.
Type B - homelike atmosphere, run by an individual, available for children aged 0-2.
Both A and B offer 13 hours nursing a day. You need to apply to each nursery. The fee differs by each nursery.
(E) Other nurseries
* Nurseries by the hour
* Night nurseries
* In-company nurseries, available for those who work for the company [very rare still]

9.2 Public Temporary Nurseries
You can ask for temporary nurseries by the hours during daytime for any reason. Children must be healthy, be able to stay with other children, and be aged 4 month old to pre-school age. Meguro City supports this system.
Monday - Friday 8:00 - 18:00, 500 yen per hour
Appointment is necessary and cancellation might be charged. Meal and snacks are available for extra charge.

Date -- from author, location, living in Japan for

Cornelia: answer

Related links:

Japan With Kids - Life at Japanese Public Daycare (Hoikuen)
Japan With Kids - Forums: Daycare in Japan
Japan With Kids - Forums: Private Daycare -- Hoikuen, Hokushitsu

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