Q: Can I enroll at any time?
The months for enrollment are fixed, such as April and October for the Comprehensive Japanese Course for full-time students, and January, April, July, and October for the Practical Japanese Course. If you are applying for a student visa in addition to enrolling, you should begin your preparation approximately 6 months before you would like to start school, because the visa application process needs to start a few months prior to the time of enrollment. If you don’t need to go through the visa application process, we will accept your application for enrollment by the end of the month prior to enrollment.
Q: Is it possible for a person who has never studied Japanese to enroll?
Before applying, it is necessary for all students to master at least hiragana, katakana, and simple Japanese such as greetings and how to introduce themselves. This is because applicants must have a record of having completed a minimum of 150 hours of learning Japanese in order to receive a student visa. Also, such basic Japanese skills are necessary to ensure the students’ smooth adjustment to life in Japan.
Q: Can a student enroll even if he/she has not graduated from high school?
Yes, if you reside in Japan and your sole purpose is learning Japanese. However, the law in Japan stipulates that one cannot enroll in a university or technical school without completing 12 years of schooling prior to enrollment, therefore, without a high school diploma, you will not be able to enroll in the regular program. Of course, you are eligible to enroll if you entered or transferred to a high school in Japan and graduated from the high school. If you desire to study at our school with the purpose of entering a Japanese high school, please contact us.
Q: Can elementary or junior high school students enroll in the program?
Our policy is not to accept students under the age of 17. However, if an applicant is between 14 and 17 years old, lives with his/her parent(s) (or guardian), and has no problem with personal references inside or outside our school, and we directly have an interview with him/her and find no problem, then we may allow him/her to enroll as an exception. But, such exceptions are allowed only if the applicant plans to continue to study at schools in Japan after learning Japanese. Contact us for more information.
Q: How shall I submit my documents for my application?
As soon as all your papers are ready, have your contact or representative go to the YMCA in person.
If you have applied through an overseas organization that supports study abroad and has a partnership with us, you may submit your documents there.
Q: What kind of person can be a financial guarantor?
A financial guarantor means one who will be responsible for actually paying tuition and daily living expenses for the student for the entire period he/she is studying at our school. If the student has plans to study long term, the financial obligations will be heavy, so it is common for parents or a relative (within the third degree of kinship) to play the role of a financial guarantor. We will not recognize loans as financial support. And, mere acquaintances and friends are not considered appropriate guarantors in general. Exceptions to this may be made when employees are sent by the companies they work for so that the employees can learn languages.
Q: Are there any overseas offices where I can submit my application?
Yes. For more information see the following pages. >>Overseas offices/partners
Q: Can I apply for a visa sponsored by the Japanese School?
If you are entering our school as a student to take the Comprehensive Japanese Course or the Practical Japanese Course, you can apply for a student visa sponsored by our school. However, we cannot help you apply for other types of visas.
Q: Is there an age limit for a student visa?
No. There is no strict age limit. However, there are certain criteria. With regard to student visa applications, if 5 years or more have passed since you graduated from the last school you attended, it may be difficult for you to receive a visa without a definite reason and detailed plan to study Japanese. Therefore, the criteria are thought to become stricter for high school graduates aged 23 or older and four-year university graduates aged 27 or older. However, as mentioned above, this does not apply if your reason for studying Japanese and future plan after completing your studies are definite and detailed.
There is no specific age limit for entering our school with regard to those who are to stay in Japan on other types of visas.
Q: What is a student visa?
A student visa is essentially a status of residence granted if you are to receive specialized education at a higher educational institution such as a university or technical school in Japan as a foreign student.
Our school’s Comprehensive Japanese Course is a preparatory education course approved by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and students who take the course can acquire the status of residence of Student. The period of stay in Japan is supposed to be one year and three months or two years and three months.
Although the status of residence of Pre-college Student had been granted to students who were going to receive education through educational courses other than those for higher educational institutions until June 2010, this status and the status of residence of College Student were integrated into that of Student. Students who take our school’s Practical Japanese Course can acquire student visas as they can at ordinary Japanese language schools. The period of stay in Japan is supposed to be one year and three months.
Q. Can I study Japanese by entering Japan on a short stay visa repeatedly?
In principle, you are allowed to enter Japan for language training on a short stay visa only once (public notice from the Embassies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan). We cannot offer definite information on whether you will be allowed to enter Japan twice or more.
Note that you may not be allowed to enter Japan if you have ever stayed in Japan for a relatively long period (more than about one month) and if the purposes and places of your stay are not definite. We do not recommend staying in Japan for a long period before receiving language training.
Q: How much can I improve in one year?
If you enroll as a full-time beginning student in the Comprehensive Japanese Language Course or in the Practical Japanese Language Course, you will complete the intermediate course within one year of starting. You will have a pretty good understanding of what is going on in daily life, and you will be able to express what you want to say. For more information, please see the description for each course.
Q: If I improve at a fast pace, can I skip a level?
Our policy doesn’t allow you to skip levels in principle. We set the amount of study so that it requires 4 to 5 hours of learning every day for a period of six months to complete one level. It is not rational for you to expect you would improve so much that you could skip a level. Daily learning and repeating material over and over is essential for learning Japanese. Please recognize that understanding grammar in theory is a totally different skill from using the language practically in real situations. Take sufficient time and repeat the preparation/review for classes, and attend classes / work on assignments, which will enable you to improve gradually yet steadily. The best way to improve is to set a clear goal at the beginning and make efforts toward it but not in a hurry.
Q: How am I assigned to a particular class?
We assign you to a class based on the results of the level check test (placement test) you take just before entering our school.
Q: Are any preparation courses offered for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) or the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)?
Full-time students studying in the Comprehensive Japanese Language Course and the Practical Japanese Language Course have an optional course for preparation for the JLPT. Students can therefore select this as one of their classes. In addition, Comprehensive Japanese Language Course students receive thorough care and guidance, and they can also take a class to prepare for the EJU. However, we do not have courses provided only for exam preparation. Even if some students who take exam preparation courses can pass the exam, they may not be able to communicate in Japanese adequately, and sometimes their knowledge is not at all practical. Therefore, our policy is to help students attain a high level of Japanese rather than offer test preparation classes.
Q: Is English a required class for the Comprehensive Japanese Language Course?
For applicants for a student visa, English is a required class. For all other applicants, English is an optional class.
Q: Is it possible to study at school after class?
Yes. Some classrooms at the YMCA are open for students to use. Please ask for more information at the office.
Further education- / entrance examination-related matters
Q: How long do I need to study Japanese in order to get into a Japanese university?
In general, students starting at the beginner level need to study at least 1.5 years to finish the advanced level classes. April enrollees are required to take the 2-year course. October enrollees are required to take the 1.5-year course.
Q: I graduated from high school in my home country. But, I was told that I could not enroll in a Japanese university as the total number of years of my education is less than 12. What should I do?
If you complete a Comprehensive Japanese Course whose length is one year or longer, you will be eligible to apply for higher education at universities or technical schools. The Comprehensive Japanese Course is recognized as a preparatory education curriculum by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and therefore it fulfills the 12-year education requirement upon completion of the course. Such students are eligible to apply to a higher educational institution (university or technical school) even if they had not received education for 12 years when they completed their upper secondary education (high school in Japan).
Q: I am planning to apply to a science-focused university. Can I attend math and science classes?
Although we do not offer such classes during regular class hours, we may provide students who so desire with some classes during certain periods of time such as during summer vacation. Please contact us in advance if you want such classes.
Q: Do you offer discounts for students?
We do not have a discount system for new applicants, in principle. However, if an applicant is a Christian worker (pastor, missionary, etc.), belongs to a Christian missionary organization and needs Japanese language skills for Christian missionary activities, or is a foreign staff member of an NPO or NGO and is serving to bring peace and social justice in Japan, he/she can apply for a discount or a scholarship.
Q: Is it possible to win a scholarship in advance?
To see the scholarships we offer, click here. The scholarships are only available to those who have already spent time studying at our school. First, we assess the eligibility of applicants based on attendance, grades, and efforts toward learning at our school to select and nominate applicants. Then, the organizations/funds granting scholarships will decide on the beneficiaries. Therefore, there is no way to win a scholarship in advance.
Q: Can tuition be paid in installments?
If you take a course whose length is a year or longer, payments can be made every 6 months. If you want to make your payments in installments, please contact the office prior to the enrollment procedure.
Entry into Japan / housing / living
Q: About how much does living in Japan cost?
As for living costs, at least about 100,000 yen per month may be necessary.
Q: Can you help me find housing other than the dormitories listed on this website?
Yes, we can. However, there are a limited number of private dormitories we can refer you to, because such dormitories need to be economically reasonable for international students to live in and well managed in terms of safety, hygiene, and other matters. We will check for dormitory availability, and if there is a vacancy, then you can apply for the dormitory. We will not help you find general housing.
Q: Could the school become a joint guarantor for housing in Japan?
No, our school cannot become any kind of joint guarantor including a joint guarantor for housing matters.
Q: Can I work part-time while I study? If so, will the school introduce part-time jobs?
For foreign students who have entered schools with the status of residence of Student, it will not be possible to work part-time until they obtain a shikakugai katsudo kyoka (Permission to Engage in Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted) at the immigration bureau, more than three months after entering the school. Even if you are allowed to work, the types of part-time jobs available are restricted to only those regarded as appropriate for students. The maximum working time is 28 hours per week with regard to student visas. However, you cannot apply for such permission if your attendance is poor.
Q: Could you pick me up at the airport when I come to Japan?
If there is no contact person or someone you can count on in Japan and you are to live in a dormitory introduced by our school, we will pick you up at the airport, help you with paperwork for moving into the dormitory, and guide you to the dormitory. However, if you have such a person in Japan, or if you will not live in a dormitory which we introduce, generally we will neither pick you up nor guide you.
Q: Can I visit and observe or experience the classes?
As for full-time courses, you can neither observe nor experience the classes.
Q: Do you have a leave of absence system?
No, we don’t. If you cannot attend classes for a long period of time (one month or more) due to unavoidable reasons, including illness, you will be required to leave our school.
Q: Can I transfer to this school from another Japanese language school, or vice versa?
No, you can’t, in principle. However, you may be allowed to transfer when there are unavoidable circumstances.
Q: Is there a cafeteria on campus?
No, there isn’t. You need to bring, purchase, or go out for your lunch. Classrooms and some lobby spaces can be used for eating. There are microwave ovens and electric hot water pots available.
Q: Are there personal computers available that I can use at school?
Yes, there is a computer corner available for all of our students. You can use the Internet (Wi-Fi) for free if you have a laptop or smartphone. For further information, please contact the office.
Q: What is the YMCA?
The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is a Christian movement centered on the education and development of young people in particular, which was founded in London, England in 1844, aiming to put the Christian ethos into practice in society, and has expanded around the world since then. As of 2012, YMCAs in 119 countries and regions develop activities needed for societies and people around the world together with many people. YMCAs promote such activities with the hope of creating a spiritually rich society where all the people on this planet can live together in peace.
To the website of The National Council of YMCAs of JAPAN
Q: I’ve heard that the YMCA is an organization founded on Christianity, but can I enter the school even though I am not a Christian?
Of course, you can. People of any religion or belief can enter our school. The YMCA will hold events such as volunteer activities based on Christianity, and Christmas and Easter celebrations, and will conduct entrance and graduation ceremonies in the form of Christian services, but we do not enforce or restrict any kind of actions at all for our students in connection with Christianity. Today, many students from all over the world with various religions and beliefs study together. The YMCA hopes that people, regardless of their thoughts, beliefs, religions, and cultures, will learn from one another to create a society where we can live together in peace.