Advantages of language courses in Japan
Language study scholarships. This is one of the few countries where you can receive a grant or scholarship to study the language. They are offered by both the universities at which courses take place and large government organizations. For example, you can receive monthly payments of 151 USD for good grades, and some grants fully cover the cost of the course.
Large selection. There are more than 600 private schools and 60 universities and colleges where you can study Japanese.
Work. Long-term students may work in Japan, but not more than 28 hours per week. In addition, many language schools help find part-time jobs and write resumes. There are also career centers at universities and large schools that will select internships and vacancies.
Security and medicine. Japan ranks 2nd in the Global Peace Index ranking of the safest countries in Asia. Tokyo, the capital of Japan, ranks 5th among the safest cities in the world. According to the World Health Organization, there are also high food quality standards and excellent medicine.
Disadvantages of language courses in Japan
Long-term visa. It is difficult to obtain a long-term visa, and registration takes a lot of time. You will need a Certificate of Eligibility, which is issued by the immigration service. The main difficulty is that only a person staying in Japan can apply for it. A language school or university will do this for you, but document verification takes from 3 months. The visa itself is issued for a period of 6 months to 2 years.
Few short-term courses. This shortcoming follows from the previous one. The minimum duration for most courses is 6 months. Short-term courses for a tourist visa last up to 3 months, but they are few. There are summer courses lasting 3 weeks, though they have been canceled due to Covid-19.
Language. There are few English speakers in Japan — even at language schools. Without minimal knowledge of Japanese, it will be very difficult to navigate the city. It is desirable to master the language at least to a N5 (A1) level. It is quite possible to do this while you are waiting for your visa.
Japanese language course fees
|School||Program||Weeks||Tuition fee/weekThe longer the course duration, the lower the cost of one week||HomestayCosts depend on the city||Living in a residenceCosts depend on the city||Cities|
|International Study Institute (ISI)||Academic Japanese||10+||5,236 USD/year|
|829 USD/month||Kyoto, Nagano, Tokyo|
|General Japanese||10+||5,123 USD/year|
|Evening Course of Intensive Business Japanese||10+||640 USD/10 weeks|
|Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute (SNG)||Weekday Courses||1 year||6,027 USD/year||41 USD/day||452 USD/monthNot including the deposit and insurance||Tokyo|
|Saturday Japanese courses||3 months||512 USD/course10 lessons|
|Summer Course||3||1,507 USD/course|
|Preparation Classes||10+||188 USD/10 lessons|
|Evening Classes||3 months|
264 USD/10 lessons
|Private Japanese Lessons||Individual||53 USD/lesson|
|Kanji Course||1+||8 USD/lesson|
|ABK COLLEGE||1 Year Course||1-2 years|
|2 Years Course||10,095 USD/course|
Enroll in a language course with UniPageWith UniPage, you can get a discount for language courses in 30 countries around the world. We have an extensive network of partners that is constantly growing. We will also save you time, effort, and money by:
Helping you understand the enrollment requirements
Selecting a program according to your preferences and budget
Staying in touch during the course and helping with emerging issues
Types of language courses in Japan
|Type of program||Intensity?||GroupNumber of students per group||Min. language level||Avg. monthly cost|
|General Japanese||15-25||15-20||Beginner||414 USD|
|Academic Japanese||15-24||8-20||Beginner||5,236 USD/year|
|Evening Course||4-10||15-20||Beginner||753 USD/10 weeks|
|Business Japanese||15-20||10-15||Upper-Intermediate||136 USD|
|Summer / Winter Course||20||15-20||Beginner||1,507 USD/3 weeks|
|Exam JLPT, EJU||25||6-12||Intermediate||226 USD|
|Japanese Conversation Course||20||12-20||Intermediate||678 USD|
|Japanese Culture||10-25||8-20||Beginner||1,160 USD|
|Preparatory Course||15-25||15-20||Pre -Intermediate||5,273 USD/year|
General Japanese — standard and intensive courses. At the elementary level, students learn the alphabet (hiragana and katakana), the first 80 characters, and simple colloquial expressions. Grammar and four types of speech activity are mastered next: listening, reading, speaking, writing. The minimum duration is 3 months, but most schools only offer one-year programs.
Academic Japanese — Japanese for academic purposes. Similar to General Japanese courses, but here you can choose electives with more specialized areas. You learn how to write research articles, develop skills that will be useful when passing exams and interviews, and receive advice on admission to the best Japanese universities.
Business / Career Japanese — a course that teaches the polite style and vocabulary of business Japanese. Only available for advanced language levels. Students learn how to make presentations, participate in meetings, pass interviews, and write resumes.
Evening Course — courses that can be combined with work or tourism. They are conducted from 18:30 to 21:00.
Summer / Winter Course — perhaps the shortest courses available, lasting no longer than 3 weeks. They are distinguished by an emphasis on the cultural entertainment of Japan. Students attend tea ceremonies, participate in sumo, and travel to different prefectures of the country.
Private — the content of the curriculum, intensity, and duration are selected taking into account the language level and goals of the client.
Exam JLPT, EJU — preparatory courses for the official language exams in Japan. EJU is the entrance test for university admission, and JLPT is a more general examination to determine language levels for consulates and employment.
Japanese Conversation Course — conversational skill training. It will save time if you are not interested in grammar, writing, and reading hieroglyphs.
Japanese Culture — studies concerning the language and culture of Japan. There are many options: drawing manga, holding tea ceremonies, cooking Japanese cuisine, or traveling around the country.
Courses at Japanese universities are not diverse, but very common. There are at least 60 universities and colleges where you can study the language. They mainly offer general and academic Japanese courses ranging from 12 to 24 weeks.
Preparatory Courses deserve special attention. These are a Japanese analogue of the Foundation program, which is chosen by future applicants. These courses not only cover Japanese, but allow students to attend lectures and seminars in the chosen specialty at the university.
In addition, these courses are often chosen by applicants who lack the necessary academic knowledge. In Japan, students go to school for 12 years, while other countries may only require 11 years. The missing year can be "scored" during the preparatory course. It lasts an average of 12-18 months and costs between 4,897 USD and 9,040 USD.
Features of admission to Japanese language schools
It is advisable to plan admission six months to a year before the start of classes. In Japan, obtaining a visa is a rather lengthy process.
First, you need to decide on the city and school. Then, choose a course and its duration. The type of visa and further admission directly depend on this.
For courses of less than 3 months, you need to obtain a short-term visa. To do so, you must pay for the course, receive an invitation by mail, and bring it to the embassy along with other documents.
If the chosen course lasts longer than 6 months, a student visa is required. You will need a certificate of residence status — Certificate of Eligibility (COE). An application and copies of your documents are submitted to the immigration service by the school.
After admission and issuance of the COE certificateNot necessary for short-term courses, you need to pay for your studies and pass an entrance test for knowledge of Japanese, after which you will be assigned to a group according to your language level. After that, you can start preparing documents for a visa.
It is worth taking care of accommodation in advance. You can choose one of the school options or book your own accommodation several months in advance.
We also recommend that you learn about the conditions concerning returns. Guaranteed expenses are compensated in case of a COE certificate or visa refusal. In other cases, the conditions may differ depending on the school.
Taking language courses in Japan
Long-term courses lasting from 6 months to 2 years are most common. This is due to the peculiarities of obtaining a visa.
Recruitment for most long-term courses is held no more than four times a year: in April, July, October, and January. For short-term courses, admission is possible at the beginning of each month. Summer courses usually take place in July and August. At some schools, it is possible to enroll in a group in which classes are already underway, but only if there are vacant spots available.
There is an age threshold for long-term courses — at least 17-18 years old and preferably 11 grades of school. Children from 15 years old can study in short-term programs at some schools, and there is a younger group available for summer courses — 12-14 years old.
It will be especially difficult to get by in Japan with a beginner level, given that there are few English speakers in Japan. Is it worth learning at least hiragana in advance46 characters and 104 basic combinations — it is one of the Japanese alphabets. Without it, it will be impossible to navigate the city and remember the first words.
Lessons are mainly based on a visual method using cards. Teachers speak only Japanese to students, so the first few weeks will be difficult to get used to. Despite the difficulties, language acquisition is effective and relatively fast due to complete immersion in the environment of native speakers.
In Japan, there are scholarships that can pay for language courses. Most often, they are offered by the Ministry of Education (MEXT), the Japanese Language Support Association, and JASSO, an international student support organization. Such scholarships are offered for long-term courses. They can pay from 151 USD per month and sometimes completely cover tuition fees.
Upon completion of long-term courses, students receive certificates or diplomas — but only with an attendance of 80% and after successfully passing the exam at an A2 level.
Accommodation options in Japan
|Accommodation options||Meals||Number of people per room||Min. cost||Avg. cost|
|Host family||Breakfast + dinner||1-2||708 USD/month||904 USD/month|
|School residence||Breakfast + dinner||1-3||188 USD / month||490 USD/month|
|Hotel||Optional||1-2||294 USD/week||1,138 USD/week|
|Apartment||None||1+||301 USD/month||484 USD/month|
|Registration feeFor consideration of the application||249 USD|
|Exam feesFor long-term courses||98 USDPer year, for 2 exams|
|Medical insurance||136 USD/month|
|Study materials||19 USD|
|Airport transfer||32 USD|
|Summer tuition fee supplement||60 USD/week|
Cost of UniPage services
Visa for language courses in Japan
A student visa is required to study for more than 6 months (but not more than 2 years) at a language school, university, or college. It is formalized in cooperation with the school.
First you need to enroll and pay for your studies. Afterwards, the school will submit an application form to the immigration office for a Certificate of Residence Status (COE) on your behalf. Then, it will send it to you by mail along with an admission letter and permission to work part-timeIf necessary. All of this will need to be taken along with other documents to the Japanese embassy or consulate.
2 completed visa application forms
Certificate of residence status (COE)
COE certificate copy
Proof of financial solvency (approximately 15,067 USD/year in the bank account)
Depending on the chosen course and school, the list of documents may be different. Additionally, they may request a motivation letter, documents on previous education, and Japanese language level certificates.
Short-term category A visa
Short-term or tourist visas are issued for study purposes with a maximum duration of 90 days. First, you need to enroll at the school and pay for the course. After that, it will send you an admission letter and an invitation, which you will need to bring to the embassy or consulate.
Completed application form
Flight booking confirmation
Proof of financial solvency
Working while taking a language course in Japan
Only student visa holders can work up to 28 hours a week. You will also need a work permit, which can be obtained from your local immigration office.
Most popular language schools in Japan
International Study Institute (ISI)
This is a network of companies that includes five language schools, two colleges, and one university. You can study in Tokyo, Ikebukuro, Harajuku, Kyoto, or Nagano. More than 3000 students from 96 countries study at the school.
ISI regularly hosts sports or food competitions and festivals with Japanese students for cultural exchange. Students are also introduced to Japanese culture. They try on yukata, go to theaters, and even attend sumo classes.
Most of the courses are long term. You can attend for less than 10 weeks. You can study Japanese from scratch in General Japanese, prepare for university studies in Academic Japanese, or master business vocabulary in Career Japanese.
Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute (SNG)
The Shinjuku Japanese Language Institute was founded in 1975. It is located in the student area of Takadanobaba, Tokyo. For over 40 years, the school has been using its own learning style — the Ezoe Method — with the help of special cards and gestures. The school also has an application for smartphones — VLJ — in which students can repeat the material after face-to-face classes and prepare for the next lessons.
SNG has Weekday Japanese Courses — general Japanese courses for any language level that take place on weekdays. See also:
Preparation courses for the EJU and JLPT exams. They can be taken in addition to the main courses.
Kanji is another optional course. It teaches the 111 Japanese characters needed to master the JLPT N3 level.
The Summer Course focuses more on entertainment and tourism activities.
Business Japanese — for employment and business. It teaches communication in the polite "keigo" style, giving presentations, and participation in meetings.
Tourism Business Japanese — business Japanese for polite and professional communication with customers in shops, restaurants, and hotels, as well as advertising presentations and working as a tourist guide.
Teacher Training — Japanese teacher training for Ezoe Method teaching.
Asia Culture Institute (ABK COLLEGE)
ABK College Japanese Language School (Asia Bunka Kaikan) is located in the Bunkyo area of Tokyo. The school has one type of course with a minimum duration of one year, which is suitable for mastering Japanese from a beginner level (N5) to an advanced level (N2). You can study for up to two years — the longer the duration, the lower the cost.
Best cities to learn Japanese
|Number of universities||143|
|Monthly expenses (food + housing)||1,125 USD/month|
City of universities. The most prestigious universities in Japan are located in Tokyo. In QS’ ranking of the best universities in the world, The University of Tokyo is in 23rd place, Tokyo Institute of Technology is in 56th place, and Keio University is in 201st place.
City of the future. A giant metropolis with amazing architecture. Here, skyscrapers coexist with temples, picturesque streets, and rock gardens. 90 kilometers from Tokyo is the famous Fujiyama volcano and a national park open to the public.
City of events. During the day, Tokyo boils from the bustle of work, and in the evenings it lights up with neon signs. Numerous festivals, concerts, and celebrations are held here. During the cherry blossom season, it turns into a fairy tale that tourists from all over the world come to see.
|Number of universities||32|
|Monthly expenses (food + housing)||665 USD/month|
City of history. Kyoto was founded over 1200 years ago. This is the former capital of Japan, which has preserved historical buildings with traditional Japanese architecture and landscapes sung by artists of ancient times.
City of culture. Kyoto houses 17 UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites and over 2000 temples and shrines. It hosts unique events such as Setsubun, the bean-scattering festival, Miyako Odori, the geisha dance, and Gion Matsuri — the famous parade of giant, decorated floats.
City of students. Every tenth resident of Kyoto is a university student. There are about 150000 students here — 12000 are foreigners. This figure is even higher than in Tokyo, the capital of Japan.
|Number of universities||3|
|Monthly expenses (food + housing)||595 USD/month|
City of sports and recreation. Nagano is best known for the 1998 Winter Olympics. At the same time, it is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. The largest mountain range in Japan exists here, in the middle of which there are many ski resorts. If outdoor activities are not your thing, Nagano has 13000 square kilometers of natural parks and over 700 onsen — Japan's famous hot springs.
City of harmony. People come here to relax from the bustle of the city. Nagano’s nature is rich in picturesque landscapes, and the air is clean. The locals are friendly and calm. It is easier to practice pronunciation with them, because they do not speak as quickly as the inhabitants of Tokyo and Kyoto. If you get tired of the regularity, you can always visit the more dynamic Kyoto and Tokyo, which are only 1.5 hours away.
UniPage guidance in registering for language courses
Do you want to learn another language, improve your speaking skills or prepare for exams?
UniPage consultants will help you to select language programs based on your goals, interests and budget. We will choose a suitable country, course intensity and assist you with the enrollment process.
Our clients can get up to 30% discount on language courses.