Early Year School System in Japan

Japanese school system is somehow mixture of American and European system. The mandatory schooling starts at age of six. Parents are obligated by law to send their children to school. Home schooling is not supported by government like other countries. In this article, you can read about belief information about pre-school and elementary/primary school system in Japan.

日本にっぽんの  学校がっこう制度せいどは  アメリカと  ヨーロッパの  制度せいどの  混合こんごうです。

ちちと  ははは  子供こどもを  学校がっこうに  かよわせることが  法律ほうりつで  められています。(義務ぎむ教育きょういく

いえでの  学習がくしゅう は  ほかの  くにのように  政府せいふによって  サポートされていません。

この  記事きじでは、 幼稚園ようちえん保育園ほいくえん と  小学校しょうがっこう  について  説明せつめいします。

Non-mandatory schooling 義務ぎむ教育きょういくまえ

There are many different types of pre-schools in Japan. It is not obligatory education. Some families would keep their children at home until three to four years old and send them to pre schools. But due to current economy, lots of mothers would have to work to support their family. Thus they would need to use full time nurseries.

日本にほんには  いろいろな  タイプの  幼稚園ようちえん保育園ほいくえん が  あります。

Nursery 保育園ほいくえん

As people hear on the news regularly, currently there is a severe shortage of full time nursery places in Japan. (Japanese people are not used to nanny & baby sitter  culture) It may be difficult to find full time nursery places at government registered nurseries. However, there are many non-registered nurseries operating in Japan. Some of them would even take children over night as young as three months old. Inner city areas, often there are no parking spaces to drop children, thus it is common in Japan to cycle to drop off children even in the rain!

Kindergarten/preschool school 幼稚園ようちえん

Some of primary schools would have a section of pre-school inside their schools. There are private/independent and public/state sector schools are available to choose as well as international government run schools in central Tokyo. Some religious preschools would be ran by Buddhist temples and Christian churches but they are not so strict about their teachings and they accept children without religious background. Some prestigious preschools are very hard to get into; some parents would send them to special cram schools as early as one and half years old to prep for the entry assessments.

Mandatory schooling 義務ぎむ教育きょういく

A school year would start in April and end in March the following year. At age of six, children are required to be in a primary/elementary school. There are mainly four different types of schools: public, private, national and international.

子供こどもは 6さい になると、 小学校しょうがっこう に  入学にゅうがく しなければなりません。

公立こうりつ私立しりつ国立こくりつ と インターナショナルスクール と4つの  タイプの  小学校しょうがっこう が  あります。

学年がくねんは4がつに  はじまり、つぎの  ねんの3がつに  おわります。

public schools 公立こうりつの  学校がっこう

There are school districts in Japan, children normally can not choose public school.  Obviously, rich neighborhood achievement would be better than some other areas but some suburban prefectures often have higher average test scores comparing to bigger cities like Tokyo and Osaka.

private/independent schools 私立しりつの  学校がっこう

They are some very famous fee-paying schools in Japan. Children need to pass very competitive entrance process. Parents occupations and family background are also important factors of the selection process.

national schools 国立こくりつの  学校がっこう

National schools are selective schools but there is no fee. The first stage of entrance process is a lottery; then children are selected by academic potential and ability. Often those schools are connected with universities and children would be in highly academic atmosphere.

International schools インターナショナルスクール

There are increasing in numbers of international schools in Japan. Most of them would follow IB programs and their main language would be English. There are many different types of international schools; some would be run by foreign governments and some would be run by corporations.


If a child is not fluent in Japanese; it might be the best to send the child to best suited language based school; normal Japanese elementary schools are not ready for international students; but there are some exceptions in central Tokyo.

日本にっぽんの  小学校しょうがっこうは  ことばの  問題もんだいなど、外国人がいこくじん子供こども の うけいれ  体制たいせい・サポートが  ととのっていないこともあります。(  東京とうきょうの  中心ちゅうしんは 、ととのっている 学校がっこう もあります。)


Related links:
An international marriage procedure:国際結婚の手続き
The 5 rules for Living in Japan:快適に住むための5つのルール
Top 10 wards of foreign residents in Tokyo:外国人が多く住む東京の街トップ10



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