10 Japanese High Schools That Accept Foreign Students
For Those Thinking Of Going Through The Japanese Education System
Want to send your child to a Japanese high school, but lack the language skills — or information on how to do it? Here are ten schools in Tokyo that welcome foreign students and provide them with adequate language and cultural support until graduation.
Japan’s compulsory education ends at completion of grade 9, meaning that students who want to study further must find their own place at a senior high school that’s right for them. Here are some choices for foreign students interested in studying in Japanese — and graduating from a high school like a true local.
Opportunities & Preparation
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government runs well over a hundred co-educational, three-year senior high schools, six of which it designates as schools that accommodate non-Japanese students living in Tokyo. Except for foreign language classes, all lessons at these schools are taught in Japanese (with the appropriate language support), providing an authentic Japanese educational experience, including club activities, cultural festivals and other year-round activities typical for Japanese high schools. Such schools are great for students who want to experience Japan, learn the language and potentially end up living and working here.
Applicants need to have completed nine years of school either in Japan or abroad, must be registered as a foreign national living with a parent in Tokyo at the time of application, and the school entry date must be within three years after their arrival in Japan. Private schools’ entrance requirements for foreign students tend to be about the same.
Among the six designated schools, all but one have little or no English on their websites, so if you are considering this option for your children, it’s a good idea to first contact the schools directly or the Tokyo Metropolitan Education Consultation Center for general information about schools and their entrance procedures and requirements. The center offers consultation in English every Friday from 1 to 4 p.m. and can be contacted at 03-3360-4175.
Public high schools are, of course, much cheaper than private ones. The annual tuition fee for a full-time study course at a public high is around ¥118,800 with an admission fee of about half that. Tuition support is available to low-income families.
Option One: Public High Schools
Below is a list of Tokyo’s best-known high schools that regularly enroll international students.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Kokusai High School, commonly known as Kokusai Koko, is the foremost among all public-international high schools. It describes itself as standing in the top 10 percent of Tokyo metropolitan high schools. Of the six schools designated for foreign students, only this one has a full English website.
Kokusai (the Japanese word for international) emphasizes nurturing students’ linguistic skills and an international viewpoint and has a great variety of language classes — including French, German, Spanish and more. Students can enroll twice a year, in April and September. Located in Komaba, Meguro Ward, the school took in 25 foreign students in its April 2017 admissions and about five in September. The school also runs the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, which it teaches mainly in English. That course accepts a maximum of 25 Japanese and foreign students annually. One of the best features of the school is that it supports foreigners through special Japanese courses and places them in all classes (including math, science and languages) based on proficiency level. The school is very international, with returnees from all over the world as well the foreign students.
Asuka High School is located in Oji, Kita Ward and describes itself as having a higher number of teachers than other schools, enabling it to run smaller classes divided according to one’s ability in English, mathematics and Japanese. It offers subjects along two main learning paths: international culture and art and life studies. Despite having a website that is in Japanese only, Asuka describes itself as actively pursuing international exchange, partly via a study trip to Australia in the second year. The school usually accepts 20 foreign residents in its April intake and three in September, out of an annual induction of about 130 students.
This school located in Fuchu, in west Tokyo, prides itself on detailed instruction. It runs small classes divided according to students’ abilities and uses information and communication technology equipment in teaching. There is a focus on information technology in its first-year curriculum and a humanities and science stream from the second year. Fuchu Nishi had 15 places for foreign students in its April intake for the 2017 school year and three in September.
This school in Tateishi, Katsushika Ward, usually accepts 15 non-Japanese students in its April admissions and three in September. It runs small classes of 20-30 students in many subjects and divides mathematics and English classes according to students’ abilities. It holds voluntary extra study classes on Saturdays. You can find more about the school’s enrollment requirements here.
Tagara High School usually admits a total of 20 foreign students in its April admissions; six in its general education course and 14 in its foreign culture course. In September, it takes one extra non-Japanese student into the general course and two into the foreign culture course. Located in Hikarigaoka, Nerima Ward, Tagara teaches Japanese traditions and culture in the third year. You can find enrollment-related information in English here.
This school is based in Higashi-Nippori, Arakawa Ward and it usually accepts 15 foreign students into its general education course in April and three more in September. It holds voluntary extra study classes after school, on Saturdays and during vacation periods and makes a room available for self-study after school. Here is more information about applications.
Option Two: Private High Schools
Kanto International School is a private, co-educational high school with three learning streams: general education, foreign studies and performing arts. Foreign students are only accepted into the Japanese culture course in the general education stream. For the 2017 school year, it had openings for 20 students applying as either returnees or foreign residents out of a total annual intake of 360.
The education ministry has designated Kanto International as a “Super English Language High School.” These schools emphasize English-language study and are tasked with developing such curricula and also with practical research into creating effective collaborative ties with junior high schools and universities.
Located in Shinjuku, Kanto International had an admission cost of ¥240,000 for 2017 and a monthly tuition fee of around ¥31,500, among other expenses.
This school is located on the campus of the International Christian University (ICU) in western Tokyo’s Koganei City. It describes itself as being ranked among the top private high schools in Japan. More than 65 percent of its students are returnees. All lessons are conducted in Japanese, except for those taught by native English speakers. ICUHS is a designated “Super Global High School” under a government program that aims to foster leaders who will be able to play active roles on the international stage.
In its April 2017 admissions, ICUHS took applications for 80 students for first year, including a small number of international students. Costs for the 2016 school year included a ¥330,000 entrance fee and an annual tuition fee of ¥591,000, among other expenses. ICUHS also has a dormitory.
This institute in Hakusan, Bunkyo Ward, includes a boys’ junior and senior high school as well as a girls’ junior and senior high. At the start of the 2017 school year, the boys’ school had 10 places open for returnees in each of the junior and senior high sections. It also offered a small number of spots between semesters under the returnees category, where it noted that nationality is not an issue, thereby opening that category up to foreign students. Each of the girls’ schools planned to take five students and a few others during the year under the returnees category, also stipulating that nationality is not an issue. Each school charges an admission fee of ¥250,000 and a monthly tuition fee of about ¥34,000, among other costs.
This private girls’ school in Tama City, western Tokyo, makes a handful of places available to international students each year. Otsuma is a six-year, joint junior and senior high school. Its admissions process is therefore done at the grade-seven level. The junior high school years focus on the development of basic academic ability, while the final three years concentrate on preparation for college. Contact the school directly for information about fees and applications.