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Japan With Kids - Forums: Education in Japan: Education Options

By julieamano on Wednesday, February 16, 2000 - 6:39 pm:

Please could anyone help
We are a English/Japanese famly
we shall be moving to tokyo soon we have three children aged 3,4,and 9. My husband thinks that our 3,4,year old girls will be ok in a japanese private school, and our 9 year old son in a International school. They do not know any japanese and I feel that they will not be able to settle in. My husband is Japanese and he feels that there will be no problem. I on the other hand feel it will. Do any International Schools give discount on 2nd and 3rd Children.

By Jane Branson on Sunday, May 21, 2000 - 11:01 am:

We are hoping to move from Australia to Tokyo in July. We have received lots of great advice and have been on a look see. Our only problem is that we cant get a place in an international school for our 5 1/2 yo son. He has been at big school for 4 months so nursery schools are not really appropriate. My husband will move in July regardless but of course this is not what we want. Any advice ?

By shancock on Tuesday, May 30, 2000 - 11:01 pm:

to Jane Branson-
I've never heard of a volume discount at any international school.

The lower grades of all int'l schools are really tight right now.There is no secret back door. You just have to get on every acceptable waiting list and keep calling them.

Unfortunately, I believe that you and your son being present in Tokyo give you a better chance than if you wait outside of Japan. This is just my belief, so check it out with each school. Also, don't discount the importance of the interview with your son.


By kurz on Saturday, June 3, 2000 - 6:29 pm:

I have heard of very slightly lower tuitions for second and third children in the international schools. Anyway, the only way to find out is to contact them directly... Look at the International schools list on this site.

By Jane Branson on Thursday, June 8, 2000 - 4:50 pm:

Hi again
Well all advice at this stage is that there is a strong chance a school place will come available by Term 2 - January for my 5yo son. Maybe earlier if we are lucky.
My friends think I should come to Tokyo with my husband in July. Help! What do I do with a 5.5yo boy and 2yo girl for 5 months in Tokyo while waiting for school placement.

By Rion on Sunday, October 21, 2001 - 3:03 pm:

I am an Australian, married to a Japanese and currently expecting our first child. We live in Northern Saitama prefecture and plan to be here permenantely. My question is, does anyone know of any international schools in the area? All the information on this site seems to be more or less for Tokyo (as the name suggests) I was wondering if anyone knows of any viable options futher north for childrens education. Thanks!

By Admin on Wednesday, December 26, 2001 - 6:11 am:

Dear Rion,
Your choices are few because you live far from an large urban center. This would be normal in any country I think. There is a fairly comprehensive list of international schools up on this site, which covers all of Japan. There are choices within the Japanese language as well, but they aren't covered here. I think there is an American pre-school/kindergarten called Oak English Academy in Kashiwa City? Is that anywhere close to you?

By Cornelia on Thursday, May 2, 2002 - 5:17 pm:

There's also Columbia International School in Saitama:

Click down to "Saitama" from there.

By Natasha on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 - 10:03 am:

New English e-list starting up for parents whose children are going to school in Japan:

"JAPAN LEARNING WEB will accept members by approval but posts will be unmoderated. Message archives will be open to members only -- but the list could be unarchived if listers so desire.

I envisage a wide focus, to cover in school and out of school learning for both children and adults in either both English or Japanese. I'm quite happy for discussions to range from teaching English to sock puppets.

Group home page:
Address for posts:

Helen Hanae, Chiba-ken, Japan"

By Benje Valdez on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 10:57 am:

I'm looking for a school for my daughters who will be grade 1 and grade 10 next school year. Is there anybody who is nice enough to help me find a school that conduct their teaching in English (not the very expensive international schools) or alternative school that you can recommend. I will be very thankful if you can email me your information. Thank you.

By Cornelia on Monday, February 17, 2003 - 3:56 pm:

There are no taxpayer schools that conduct whole curriculums in English. There are some "international" schools that cost less than others, but the prices are still considerable. Among the "international" schools teaching in English there are many more schools offering first grade than offering 10th grade. There is a home-schooling community connected by internet.

Some schools do have some forms of financial assistance available. There are only a couple of schools that jump to mind where both your daughters might be able to attend at the same school in English at fees that are lower than the American High School in Japan (ASIJ). K. International I think is just under one million yen per year per child. Santa Maria in Nerima-ku is also lower than the others, but I don't know if they go past 9th grade.

Possible options:
Your first grader would thrive in a Japanese elementary school after some initial difficulties. Your 10th grader would have a problem if she is unable to pass an entrance examination. There is one Japanese High school mentioned in one of the other discussions in Meguro-ku that is reported as being a good place for returnees. Many of those students already read and write Japanese, but more importantly they will have an international viewpoint and the atmosphere should be friendlier for your daughter. They actually have an entrance examination option in English. If this school is within commuting distance of where you plan to live, please call them and try to speak to Mr. Kataoka.
Here is their website (the English section is far from complete):

Here are some letters from students who have graduated:

Annual fees total about Y200,000
*fully subsidized public school in Japan ends with Junior high school

By Admin on Tuesday, February 18, 2003 - 4:56 pm:

For more information on Japanese Schools and options within the Public/private sectors of Japanese education please look at the related conversations at:

Japanese Public/Private School System

By Janine Boyd on Friday, February 21, 2003 - 11:36 pm:

There is an excellent International Kindergarten in Gunma Prefecture called Maebashi International Kindergarten. managed by an Australian Early Childhood teacher. It has 2 head teachers as well as other assistants. The head foreign teacher is a New Zealander who has a Masters in Early childhood and the head Japanese teacher is a qualified kindergarten teacher with 6 years experience. It's an Immersion school with max of 45 places, nice and small and brand new. It has a separate 2 yr old room and separate playground and offers after-hrs care till 6pm for working Moms. Check it out.
Tel number 027-237 3400
9-10 Kita shirota Maebashi city Gunma. 371.

note from Admin: The Maebashi International Kindergarten is listed on the International Schools list under "Gunma".

By laura dinning on Saturday, May 10, 2003 - 6:48 pm:

We will be moving to the Chiba region of Japan later this year with our two daughters aged seven and four. We're from the UK and would really prefer our kids to continue being taught the British curriculum as this will make the readjustment easier for them both in Japan and when we move back to the UK in three years' time.
Fees are not a problem as my husband's company will pay for their education but the only school I can find on the internet that seems to meet our requirements is the British School in Tokyo. While I have no doubt that this is a good school, the prospect of doing a lengthy commute into central Tokyo with two young children is extremely offputting (I have lived in Japan before so know what this entails), as is the alternative scenario of living in Tokyo proper in order to be closer to the school - we really want to be based in Chiba.
Does anyone already over there have any helpful suggestions, or know of any appropriate schools in Chiba or on the outskirts of Tokyo? This is really worrying me, as I know I have to enrol them pretty soon to get them places for the autumn term.

By Horizon Japan International School on Friday, June 20, 2003 - 1:53 pm:

HJIS Introduction and Summer School Program

Horizon Japan International School (HJIS) is a new elementary school (K-6) that opened its doors in April 2003. We are one of three international schools in Yokohama city, which have been accredited by the Kanagawa Prefectual Government and have numerous affiliates throughout the world. Our team of educators and consultants has been gathered from around the globe and have all played an integral role in developing our international curriculum. With an affordable fee structure, HJIS will best match the expectations of the foreign community who are planning to reside long term in Japan. The school is also open to Japanese families who want to send their children to international schools. Come and see what we have to offer. For further information regarding the programs offered at HJIS do not hesitate to contact us at:
Horizon Japan International School (HJIS)
1-33-6 Higashi Terao, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama 230-0077 Japan
Tel: 045-584-1945
Fax: 045-584-1946

HJIS Summer School 2003

The Horizon Japan International School summer English program is designed for students who wish to increase their proficiency is English, reading and conversation. Classes will be activity based and enhance the learning of English.

Term 1: July 21-July 25
Term 2: July 26-July 31 (no school on July 27)

Gr. K-2 9:00 am-12:00 pm
Gr. 3-6 13:00 pm-16:00 pm

Location: HJIS ĀE1-33-6 Higashi Terao, Tsurumi-ku, Yokohama

Program Fee:
30, 000 yen (per term); 2nd child 27, 000 (per term)
For 2 Terms: 58, 000 yen; 2nd child 55, 000 yen
Application fee: 2, 500 yen

Application Deadline: July 4, 2003

Contact Information:
Tel: 045-584-1942
Fax: 045-584-1946

By Dharini Yapa on Tuesday, July 22, 2003 - 2:57 pm:

Hello,I live in Minami Gyotoku,Chiba.I have a 2 year old son, whom I wish to send to an English medium private school or an international preschool soon.If anyone knows of a such school in Gyotoku/Minami Gyotoku/Urayasu/Shin Urayasu/Maihama, please let me know.I'm looking for a school with qualified teachers and spacious classrooms for the children to move and play freely.

By Andrea Ota on Monday, July 28, 2003 - 6:39 pm:

Andrea in Setagaya-ku

I am looking for a PUBLIC International School.
Does anyone have info on such a
school in Central Tokyo ?
Thanks in advance for your help.

By Steve K on Friday, August 1, 2003 - 4:11 pm:

Our daughter used to go to Poppins Nursery , a daycare in Ichinoe, which is just over the bridge from Minami-Gyotoku. They have English-speaking staff and play English songs during the day. But they are not a preschool. In Shinozaki, which is two stations away, Merry International School offers programs in English.

By Flemming Kongsberg on Wednesday, September 3, 2003 - 12:18 pm:

We have a 18 month old daughter we would like to send to a billingual (English/Japanese) daycare. Anyone who know of/can recommend a daycare on Denentoshi or Hanzomon line?

By Michelle Garner on Wednesday, September 3, 2003 - 4:00 pm:

My very outspoken (English speaking) 7yo daughter is about to move from Los Angeles to Tokyo. We canít afford a very expensive International school. At this time, public school is not an option. I canít take away her ability to express herself verbally?? What are my options? Home-schooling is ok. Are there any resources recommended?

By Shan E. Stratton on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 6:02 am:

My wife and I will be moving to the "Tokyo Area" with our 3 children (7, 5 and 1) for 2 years. No way can we afford the international schools. Are there any public schools that you may suggest that would be a little easier for our kids to adapt? Any public schools that may cater to American students? Any public school that may have more American students than most? PLEASE HELP! Thanks Shan

By Admin on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 3:37 pm:

Dear Shan,
Native English speakers in public schools are pretty spread out. The expat communities might be concentrated a bit in the Hiro/Azabu area or Yoyogi Uehara/Harajuku or so on, but most of them send their kids to private schools. So finding a public school that has more than one or two English speakers attending is not really easy. Now if you were to ask about Korean... or Chinese... that would be a tiny bit easier since they make up the majority of "foreigners" in Japan.

By Naomi Smith on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 6:16 pm:

Dear Shan,

Try Higashine Elementary School
in Meguro-ku.
They offer Japanese language course for foreign children.

Good luck!


By Steve K on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 9:51 am:

Along the lines of this thread, does Tokyo have any English immersion programs like the one offered by Katoh Gyoshu Elementary School in Numazu, Shizuoka? I live in Edogawa-ku and trying to find another English parent of a three-year-old child in this area is like looking for a hay-coloured needle in a haystack.

By Reiko Matsuzawa on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 6:18 am:

Gregg International School
in jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
offers a wonderful opportunity
for English speaking children to experience international school education 3 hours a week on Saturdays.

Our Saturday School started in April and has been so much fun for our students.

This is a wonderful and affordable option for many families with children who have international background.

We have classes for both native English speakers and for ESL students regardless of nationalities.

I believe that the Saturday School should be fun as much as it should be educational.

We welcome parents and children to visit our school from Monday to Saturday 9 to 5.

Gregg international School has been educating students aged 2 to elementary for the last 18 years.

Our classrooms are sunny and well equipped, our spacious school yard is full of flowers and trees, and our teachrs and staff are warm and caring.

on SATURDAY, MAY 22, 2004
10:30 to 12 noon.

Everyone is welcome.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see the school.

Your children are welcome to experience our classroom and school yard activities.

runs from June 14 to August 13.
We are accepting applications now.
Please call 03-3725-8000
We will send the information and application forms to you.

Gregg International School is a few minutes from Jiyugaoka station on Toyoko Line.
Jiyugaoka is easily accessible from Shibuya, Meguro, Denenchofu, Hiroo, Tamagaewa, Kawasaki, Ebisu, and Yokohama.

Please call 03-3725-8000
and write to
Also please visit our home page

You are always welcome.

By Charles Knudsen on Monday, November 8, 2004 - 3:48 pm:

I've just opened up a new school designed specifically for returnees and children of English speaking parents (BC Kids). We're an after school international school, so your children can attend a Japanese school during the day, and come to our school in the afternoons and evenings, as well as Saturdays. Our prices are already reasonable, but for families with a very tight budget, we offer need-based financial aid.

I've been teaching returnees at Shibuya Kyoiku Gakuen for years. In fact I've even written a book about returnees--to be published by Nan Un Do early next year. My wife and I have two boys so we're going through what many of you are going through. My fellow teachers and have worked very hard to get this school up and running, and we really are trying to make something lasting and special for these children.
Please visit our website at

By Asako on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 5:46 am:

I'm Japanese and my husband is English. We have 3 children and we live in London. We're planning on moving back to Tokyo next summer for 1 year for the children to obtain experience of living in Japan. They are aged 16 and 12 year old twins. The eldest can probably have a gap year and go back to British education, however, the twins would need to go to school. We think international schools would be too expensive for us and it wouldn't help them learning Japanese. Can anyone help giving us some good advice on finding state schools that will accept them as some kind of guest students for a year?
Thank you.

By Drdo1 on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 7:36 am:

For starters: Knowing someone personally would help you greatly. Do you know anyone in Japan, who is in the educational system?

I work for a private, all-girl junior and senior high school in the Tokyo area. We have had numerous young people study with us for 6 weeks-1 full year (visiting and yet learning, even being tutored 1-to-1 2/hrs a day.) Most come over with great interest but no language skills. Our school seems open to such relations from all over as we have had students from : Germany, the Phillipines, Indonesia, the US, Australia, NZ, and England.

Why not try any city area that are 'city cities' with your town? Start with that aspect and you may get someone who has already gone through the steps you need to.

If you have not done so, you might also check websites for schools that have an emphasis in English or a special English Program (our students can do an overseas exchange for one year, as well.) So I guess that is why most at this school are open to others coming in. But we are an all-girl school, so this would not be a fit for your twins.

Hope you well.

By Drdo1 on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 7:42 am:

On the email I just sent, I meant SISTER CITY. Each area in Japan seems to have relations with other cities around the globe.

I just re-read Asako's note above and no gender was given to the children, so my assumption that our school would not fit their needs was not founded on facts. Sorry about that!

By Yuko_k on Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 10:20 am:


As you may know, in Japan, elementary and junior high schools are compulsory education (gimu-kyoiku), so as long as you register as a resident, your children have the right and in fact the duty to be accepted at your local public school. Whether they adapt well is a different story, but the schools are to accept them no matter their skills. And at least in Yokohama where I live and probably in Tokyo, you can ask for free public assistance (ie. interpreter).

If you are trying to choose a place to live depending on the school with better reputation, the following link, providing information for multi-cultural education, may also be helpful.

However, personally, I think that schools depend on the principal. Go see, or let someone go see the principal and see if (s)he is sympathetic and understanding about the situation, and make sure the same good people are there next yeark, because public school teachers are transfered very quickly.

Also, I'm wondering if your 16 year old can apply for some kind of student exchange. Having an almost 16 year old son at home, I feel that teenagers should have some kind of a place to "attend". Maybe the link can help you on that as well.

By Michaelg on Monday, June 11, 2012 - 5:23 am:

Hi all. I wonder if anyone has lived in the kobe area. We will be moving there next month with our 3-year-old daughter and wonder about good preschools daycares in Kobe. If anyone has any experiences her, please let us know. Thanks!

By Qoolilg on Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 10:58 am:

If you live in Tokyo, come chick us out. International dance school for kids

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