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Planning studies in Japan

Japanese Language Institutes

Japanese Language Institutions are institutions where non-native speakers of Japanese can learn the Japanese language.
There are courses for people who wish to learn Japanese before enrolling in a university, and for people who wish to learn business Japanese, among others.
To be able to keep up with classes at Japanese schools, it is necessary to obtain a JLPT N1 or N2 certification. It takes approximately 600~900+ hours of studying to reach this level.

Types of Educational Institutions

There are two main types of Japanese language institutions, according to the institution's founding body and the purpose of the school.

1.Japanese Language School

Japanese Language Schools are schools established by incorporated educational institutions and limited (Ltd.) companies. There are over 600 Japanese schools in Japan, with approximately 60,000 students studying Japanese.


  • Aside from basic Japanese language courses, Japanese language schools provide university preparation courses, business Japanese courses, and others.
  • If your country's secondary education curriculum lasts less than 12 years, you will need to take a "university preparatory course"*1 in order to become eligible to apply for university.
  • Admission periods are in April and in October. (Some schools have programs that start in January or July, as well.)

Note of caution: In order to qualify for the "international student" status, you must attend a Japanese language institution designated by the Minister of Justice.

*1 A university preparatory course: In order to be admitted to a Japanese university, an applicant must have completed at least 12 years of formal education. However, in some countries or regions, education through high school lasts less than 12 years. In this case, students must complete MEXT (the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)'s designated "university preparatory course for admission to university" in order to be eligible to apply for Japanese universities.

>You can look up list of university preparatory courses.

2.Special Courses for International Students at Private Universities and Junior Colleges (Special Japanese Language Course)

Private universities and junior colleges often have their own Japanese language institutions. There are approximately 60 such universities and junior colleges.


  • These special courses aim to teach students the Japanese language, about Japan's overall situation, and Japanese culture among other subjects. They serve as preparatory courses for people who wish to enroll in a university, graduate school, or junior college.
  • It is also possible to enroll in the university or junior college offering the preparatory course, by getting a recommendation (enrollment by recommendation system). 
  • The enrollment periods are spring (around April) and autumn (September or October).

School Search

The admission requirements differ by school, so please use the following site to find a school that matches your needs.

How to find the right school

  • Is the Japanese language institution officially recognized by the Minister of Justice?
  • What levels are the classes divided into? How many students are in each class?
  • Does the school offer EJU or JLPT support?
  • Where did school graduates end up? Does the school offer career or general counseling?
  • Does the school have dormitories/housing?

>Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education website

>Japanese Language School Association (JaLSA) website

>Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology website

>Ministry of Justice: list of approved Japanese language institutions

>Use this EXCEL sheet to look up special courses for international students

Application Documents

The following application documents are often required. Since admissions requirements are different for each school, please consult your preferred school for further details.

  • Application form and resume (designated by the school)
  • Graduation diploma or certificate of expected graduation from the last school you attended
  • Transcript from the last school you attended
  • Document demonstrating financial ability (to ensure that the student can afford the program)
  • Other