Return to
Japan With Kids Home Page

Forum Main Page
Keyword Search
New Posts
Last Week

Getting Started
Register Here
Edit Profile
Contact Admin

For Admins
Forum Software

Day Care in Japan

Japan With Kids - Forums: Day Care in Japan

Welcome to Day Care in Japan. You may enter any of the discussions above by clicking on the appropriate link. Or, to start a new discussion of your own, click on the "Create New Conversation" button.
By Anonymous on Monday, February 21, 2000 - 2:57 pm:

I would like to talk to those parents out there whose children have been going to Japanese day care and have to juggle the demands of home and work, like over 60% of the female population in the United States. Japan presents unusual challenges and at present I am faced with a very difficult one. I have to find a way to pick my son up by 6:15pm every day or face being evicted(!!) from the day care, which is public by the way. The alternatives not available to me are 1) husband, 2) friendly neighbors or 3) pay by the hour babysitter sevices as they require a minimum of three hours per visit and I only need 20 minutes covered 2X a week!

Do any moms out there have their precious ones in public or private day care? Do you have an ideas of what I can do to solve this problem? Do you know excellent private day care facilites that don't cater exclusively to ex-pat budgets? I would like to create a discussion where several topics are picked up and talked about at once that way working moms can have a place for open discussions about their most troubling issues here in Japan.

And are there any at-home moms who want to start a pick-up service or something similar?

By Cornelia on Monday, February 21, 2000 - 4:58 pm:

Dear Anonymous,

I am a single working Mom as many of you already know, and yes, the pick-up deadline is 6:15 pm and yes, I've jumped through some hellfire hoops to make it a few times. So I know exactly where you are coming from. Fortunately after three years (my daughter is now 3 years and 4 months old) I have finally made a few friends in the neighborhood.

Very interesting is the fact that I wasn't offered, or told that there is a late pick-up program (up until 7 pm). I stumbled upon the possibility by accident when I happened to go looking for my daughter and wandered off to a room at the end of the hall that is normally for the 6 year olds, and saw a bunch of kids playing there all ages mixed together. It costs an extra 10% on top of what I am paying now, and apparently not all public hoikuens in all wards have the program (it's called enchoban). I have not signed up for it, because in the meantime the original pick-up deadline of 6 pm was changed to 6:15 this past year which I have a much easier time meeting.

My daughter is enrolled in public sponsored daycare in Bunkyo ward. And I am happy to answer any questions as far as I can. (03) 3944-9611

P.S. Dear Anonymous, I can appreciate your need to stay anonymous, but it will be hard to get help from this community if you remain so. We don't even know which ward you live in! Perhaps you can set up a fake email address at hotmail or something?

P.S.S. I have received help in bad situations by going to my ward office up to the desk with the benefits for single mothers. Chicken pox got my daughter kicked out of daycare, and the hoken desk (National Health Insurance) was able to provide me with a babysitter (actually it was called "Home Help Vouchers") and the person who came was great!

By lseacord on Tuesday, February 22, 2000 - 9:39 am:

I am a single working mom of a 6 year old and I have the same problem as I work three days a week until about 7 and don't get home until 8. My son had been in the public daycare last year when I was working a different job and could make the pick up time.
When I started this job, at first I had him in a private day care (24 hours) which was not outrageously expensive (40,000/month plus extra for hours later than 5:00). In the meantime I talked alot with his old teacher at the public hoikuen, telling her I wanted to bring him back but babysitter service was too expensive. By the way, the private hoikuen ADVERTISED pick-up service, but when I talked to the head, she refused to pick-up from the public hoikuen (I guess hoping that I would have no choice but to use her facility full-time) - in the end a bad decision, because she lost all of my business.
Anyway, the public hoikuen teacher talked to the other mothers and she found two who were willing to take my son home with them (I pay a minimal 1,000/day which is for about 3 hours).
Actually, this was the way I actually started to get to know some of the other mothers!
Anyway, it might be of use to talk to the head of the public hoikuen you use, or to your child's teacher. I know it seems that all the other mothers have grandmothers nearby to cover for them, but there are a few Japanese mothers in your position. Maybe you can trade pick ups. This is what I will be doing from April, taking two kids two days a week and the other mother taking them three days a week.
Another option would be to call the private hoikuens in your area and see if they would do pick-ups. Maybe you would have better luck than me!

Gee, by the way, what are the benefits for single mothers????

By Cornelia on Wednesday, March 15, 2000 - 1:21 pm:

This doesn't really belong in this discussion but as an answer to above inquiry, I'll include it here temporarily.

If you are a single mother you can get some monthly money for each child from the government, provided you are poor enough. They have access to your last tax return, so it helps to file the lowest possible income on your tax return. As a single mother you get an extra 370,000 yen deduction on your tax return. (this applies for widows, divorcees, and un-wed mothers)

Children up to 3 years old might also be eligible for an extra 5000 yen per month (depends on the ward maybe). The ward office administers the benefits from the Tokyo government as well as the local ward benefits. So there are two possible sources for benefits. But you have to apply for all of them at your local ward. If your income after deductions is over 3 million per year, I'm not sure if you will qualify. Though I think that at least the 5000 yen for children under 3 is not dependent on income. I'm not entirely clear on all the rules, since I do not read or write or speak Japanese.

By Cornelia on Tuesday, April 18, 2000 - 1:46 pm:

Related topic is under the Consumer Reports heading:
Babysitting Services, Drop-ins, Childcare

Also there is a section in the classifieds entitled:
Tokyo With Kids - Forums: Classifieds: Nanny, housekeeper, babysitter, au pair: wanted/available

By sayaka on Saturday, April 22, 2000 - 11:17 am:

Hi Cornelia san and all,
The "dead line" of the application to the public day care
you have mentioned is one for the new term starting in April.

They take the largest number in April, is true.
But when some kids moves out, they fill the vacancy from the waiting list. AND they arrange the list acording to the NEEDS of parent and not by the application date. So it sometimes happens that you resiter today and will be accepted next month and others have to wait for monthes and monthes.
If you are fulltime worker, single mother, low incomed, or does not have any relatives who can help you, you might have a good chance.
Some day care in central Tokyo does not have any kid waiting, you can start from any month.
Try and try again, and don't give up.

By Takatsuka Diana on Saturday, June 17, 2000 - 1:04 am:

I hope this may help. Go to for a complete list of hoikuens in tokyo.

By Tina on Tuesday, August 15, 2000 - 2:04 pm:

What a nice day to find this site! I'm in need of some ideas too.
I'm a mother of two, a 3 years old and a 9 months old. I'll begin the Kenkyusei (research student) program in University of Tokyo next April. I'll probably live in Chiba hoping it could be less expensive than living in Tokyo. I wanted to send both my kids to the public hoikuen in chiba. Anyone knows the proper time to apply and the chance for me to get it? How's the average fee? Where can I find more information about day care centre in chiba? I'd really like to know some mothers in chiba. All kinds of information are appreciated.

By Alessandra Bettari on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 10:28 pm:

Dear Tina,
I do not live in Chiba, but I think the best way you can get all the information you need is at the local Municipal Office. Usually, they are extremely or close to extremely helpfull and I can tell you because last year when I was planning to move but wanted to find a nice day care before deciding the ward to move to I visited various "Day Care Divisions at different Ward Offices.
In regard to fees (of public day care), they are usually proportional to your revenues and I believe the range is between Yen15,000 to Yen60,000so you should not worry too much about this.
The only thing is that you usually need to apply around Feb/March to increase your chances to find a place.
Good Luck.

By Kim Yen Long on Wednesday, October 4, 2000 - 5:58 pm:

This is a fantastic site! Thanks for sharing the information! I am currently 5 months pregnant and will be due in Feb. I am employed in Tokyo and can only take 3 months off from work. As such, I was in quite a fix to find a child care centre. I am so relieved at the options and the fact that I stay in Azabu makes things easier too. Any other info would be useful too.

Thanks all!

By Brains Kiddy Club on Wednesday, October 11, 2000 - 1:22 pm:

A monitor infant aged 2-3years old and whose native language is English Day Care for Japanese infants. The Day Care class teaches using intellectual development teaching materials. If you are interested in your child joining this class (free of charge) please contact us. BRAINS KIDDY CLUB
Tel 045-505-2757 E-mail:

By Tony Larkin on Monday, October 23, 2000 - 11:57 am:

I am looking for child care for an infant, around the Komagome/Nishigahara/Kaminakazato area of Kita-ku in Tokyo.

Can anyone recommend anything?

By lseacord on Monday, November 13, 2000 - 7:40 pm:

In my town, Soka City in Saitama Prefecture, two new city-subsidized services were started last April: the Soka City Family Support Center and the Child Care Station. Here is some information about each of them. I have used (and am VERY happy to have this service around) the Support Center, but have not used the drop-off Child Care Station.

Family Support Center
2-11-17 Takasago Soka (very near the railway station)
Tel: 0489-20-1100
Fax: 0489-20-1101
Office hours Monday-Friday 8:30 to 17:00
(Once you are registered, after hours requests for care can made to local group "sub-leaders" at their home phones)

A child caregiver introduction service.

Any resident of Soka may register, and if you are registering as a care recipient, you qualify if you just work in Soka. You can register as a care recipient, as a care provider or both. Intended for children from birth through 6th grade.

Types of situations they have in mind (and the actual number for that reason in June, out of a total of 204):
1) until your pre-school facility (hoikuen/yochien) or school opens in the morning (0)
2) in the evening after the pre-school facility closes (86)
3) drop off and pick up at the facility (42)
4) after school or after school program (gakudo) (39)
5) short lead time, occasional care when your child gets sick (or other circumstances) (28)
6) any other support so that members can successfully carry out both work and child rearing responsibilities (5), of which most were when Mom was having another baby)

They do say that "as a rule, no overnight stays", but after you have made contact with a care provider there is really nothing the Center can do to prohibit direct arrangements, although they discourage this. Another "as a rule" is that the care will take place at the provider's residence, but when the child is sick the Center will admit exceptions.

The usual registration process involves:
1) attending an introductory meeting (one scheduled each month)
2) if you are registering as a care provider, attending a two-hour session on care-giving (one scheduled a month)
3) you get a Family Support Center photo ID with your member number on it
4) you talk with a Family Support staff member about your care requirements
5) the staff member selects a potential care provider and arranges a meeting/mutual interview for all three parties

Then if your kid gets sick, for example, you call the Center (or your local group leader when the Center is closed), and they check with the caregiver to see if he/she is available. The first (and so far only) time I needed care because my son got sick, I called the provider directly, but now as I am reading through the materials I see that the provider won't be covered by the Center insurance policy if care is not arranged through the Center, so I will be sure to do so from now on.

Monday through Friday, 07:00 to 19:00 is 700yen/hour, and any other time 900yen/hour, at half-hour increments. For two children or more from the same family, the first is full price and the rest half-price. You pay the provider in cash when you pick your child up, as well as any extra for snacks or meals (the amount to be determined between the provider and recipient), or transportation costs involved (travel by car is set at 100yen per use). If you cancel out an arrangement on the same day you pay half of what would have been charged for that day, and if you just don't show up at all you are going to be asked to pay the entire amount.

Mrs. Sonoda, my care provider, is in her early 60s. She worked for many years as a supermarket checker, but is now retired. Her husband still goes out to work (on a reduced schedule), so she is at home without much to do. My son was very comfortable in her home, and very happy to find that she would play Othello with him.

Child Care Station
2-11-17 Takasago Soka (same as the Family Support Center)
Tel: 0489-20-1120

A drop-off child care center, also offers "child care consultation/advice".
Open: Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30, closed holidays.

What they have in mind:
1)Drop-off (occasional, brief) of healthy children from one year old through pre-school age
2)Caregiver has a "social" reason for seeking care (illness or caring for someone ill, doctor office visit, attending a wedding or funeral, school events for older children are the examples given. Having a break for one's mental health doesn't seem to be included, so one would have to invent a "social" pretext)

You may make a reservation up to 2 months ahead, or simply drop-off your child (the material I have doesn't mention the maximum number of children allowed).

Cost: 700yen/hour, paid at a later date from your bank account. Snack is provided at 15:00, but you must pack a lunch for your child. Also bring diapers if needed, a complete change of clothes and a towel for drying hands. Bring a copy of your insurance certificate (to be used if your child needs to be taken to hospital in an emergency) and your boshi-techo (mother-child handbook).

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me directly.

Laurel Seacord

By Cornelia on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 2:27 pm:

A lot of people have called me to ask what the standard fees for babysitting are. This is in conjunction with the Babysitting Bulletin Board. I have always answered that it is up to them to negotiate rates. However, I have been asked to at least tell what my experience is so many times that I am now posting it here, hopefully to cut back on some of the phone calls and emails. I also discussed this with two other mothers just to get an idea of what they are paying.

Please remember that this is for TOKYO. People living in other towns, cities, and villages might have a different experience.

Straight baby sitting and all that has to do with it (preparing/serving food and cleaning the bottle/dishes from the baby/child's food, changing clothes and bathing as needed, etc.) 1000/ hour (I know one woman with twins who pays the same 1000 yen per hour, but another woman who pays an extra 200 yen per hour for her second child).

Train/bus fares may or may not be additional, depending on how far away. I personally expect the babysitter to pay up to about 200 yen each way out of her own pocket. I have to cover the majority of my own transportation fees for my work. But if she is coming from far away and I feel she is really worth it, then I might pay all or part of her transportation. I try to find sitters who live relatively close by, especially for shorter jobs.

Child care and cleaning/washing/ironing 1500 yen/ hour or 10,000 yen/ 9 hour day plus transportation fare

I hope this helps you all with your negotiations!! Naturally there are all sorts of permutations, including pick-ups and drop-offs at day care/kindergarten, later hours and so on. Generally the more hours you can guarantee per week/month, the better the rate you will be able to negotiate. Also, one mother said to me that you should definitely make the effort to try out a few different people. There is a vast difference in quality of work you might receive for the same money! I agree with this from my own experience.

By Jessica on Saturday, November 25, 2000 - 11:38 pm:

I have a 4 year old daughter and I stay home most of the time. I thought maybe I should offer drop off child care service to parents with children ages 4 and above, esp. for parents who wants to have a break sometimes. I want to take care of only English speaking kids. Reading Laurel Seacord's information gave me this idea. I wonder if anyone can give me any opinions and comments on this. By the way I come from Malaysia. Thank you.

By Cornelia on Sunday, November 26, 2000 - 7:55 am:

Dear Jessica,

I think it is wonderful if you are in a position to help care for other children in your home. If you are a long term Japan resident you might even be able to get yourself registered at your ward office in the mother and child welfare services section or something. If you are registered officially, then you will have to get insurance, but I understand that it is not so expensive, certainly nothing like the situation that childcare givers find themselves in in the United States.

If you want your post to be more effective in soliciting a response, you may want to include where you live, not the exact address, but at least the general area, such as "close to xxx train station". The drop-in centers that I have come across so far ask anywhere between 800 and 1000 yen per hour. One of them gives a better rate if it is for 4 hours or longer. Another one sells a coupon book with an extra ticket included for the price of 10 hours, so you get 11 hours. If you live in the Hiro/Minato-ku area you might have no trouble finding foreign mothers interested in your service. But if you live someplace that has less foreigners, you may wish to tap into the Japnaese market. Getting referrals directly from the ward office would be a great way of doing this. Of course there would be some red tape involved then.

You can also ask to be listed on the Babysitting Bulletin Board for "in-house only" and post your offer and location in the Tokyo With Kids - Forums: Classifieds: Nanny, housekeeper, babysitter, au pair: wanted/available

Good luck, Cornelia

By parent on Monday, February 5, 2001 - 2:02 pm:

hi friends,
I am looking for english speaking child care centers or japanese baby sitter for my 1 year old daughter around the takanodai/shakuji koen are of nerima-ku in tokyo.if anybody has any knowledge about those, pl help me. you can mail me to

By Douglas Beigley on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 10:47 am:

Hi Everybody,

We arrived in Japan a few weeks ago and are living in Soga near Chiba City. We have tried to find an English speaking Kindergarten for our 4 year old son nearby or easily accessable by train (Keiyo line). So far we haven't found any schools just a few day cares in shopping centres. If you have any useful information it would be highly appreciated. Please email me at

Many thanks

By ghadasalama on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 5:10 pm:

Hello, I am offered a one-year scholarship beginning Oct 2001 at the O-okayama campus, Meguro-ku, Tokyo I am bringing my 5 yr old son with me and I needed advice on whether I should put him in a daycare or a school which is cheaper? Are there any average priced english schools or daycares in that neighboorhood. please, I hope somebody can help me with these questions.

By Cornelia on Monday, March 26, 2001 - 6:08 pm:

Dear Ghada,
At 5 years old you son is not old enough to attend elementary school so he would be in a kindergarten or in a daycare. If you are a single mother you might be able to get him into the public daycare system but you should ask the school to help you with this since the registration for Japanese daycares is already finished for the year starting in April 2001 ending in March 2002. In fact, it will be difficult to deal with any of the possible Japanese schools or daycares in October except perhaps some private ones because of the different dates that annual year is calculated on.

Japanese kindergartens vary. The hours are about 9:00 to noon, but many have extended care for working parents.

International schools are very expensive (probably at least about a million yen for a year for short hours and more for extended care) but some have extended hours. See the international schools list on this web site as a point of reference.

Public daycare on the other hand will be in Japanese only, but will also be affordable (tuition is based on your income about zero as a student and could be as low as 13,000 yen per month). A five year old will pick up the language very quickly.

By Nathan Costello on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 4:53 pm:

Hi, I have a 2 year old boy, half Japanese half Australian, and we have just moved to Tokyo in the Kiba area. Does anyone know any english speaking daycare centers in this area?
He is going to the YMCA but that is only for 1 1/2 hours once a week, and I am looking for something with longer hours.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

By Cornelia on Saturday, July 7, 2001 - 9:14 am:

Child care support measures adopted

Friday, July 6, 2001 at 18:30 JST
TOKYO EThe cabinet on Friday adopted measures to provide increased child care support for working parents, drawn up last month by a government panel on gender equality.

One of the measures calls on the government to increase the quota of children enrolled in officially licensed nurseries and child care centers by around 150,000 by fiscal 2004. (Kyodo News)

By Tom DiCorcia on Thursday, October 4, 2001 - 11:38 am:

Just a note about undo-kai (Sports Day) which is just around the corner for most students. School sports day is very important in Japan. It would be a shame if you missed it as it is an important element in the social life of students. Fortunately, our hoikuen de-emphasizes the competitive aspects, so it is quite enjoyable for everyone. I encourage you to get involved in these kinds of activities if you can. It can be a lot of fun and helps you and your children integrate better.