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Japanese Language Schools In Japan - Finding The Right One For You

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If you want to learn Japanese, taking Japanese classes can be a decisive step. Choosing a language school that answers your needs can be difficult. We gathered five points to keep in mind that might help to make it easier for you to decide.

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Finding a Japanese Language School that Answers Your Needs

How To Find The Right Japanese School For Your Needs

If you are planning to stay in Japan for a long period, learning Japanese is essential. Most Japanese services are rarely provided in any other languages and learning Japanese will help in many different daily aspects as well.

Fluency in Japanese can open the door to a wider variety of job opportunities, as well as help you to make friends in Japan. However, taking into account the large number of Japanese language schools, it can be hard to choose the one that is right for you.

We introduce a few Japanese language schools based on some of the criteria that one should keep in mind when choosing a school.

5 Points to Consider when Choosing a Japanese Language School

1. Learning Japanese Depending on the Duration of Your Stay

How To Find The Right Japanese School For Your Needs

The first thing to consider is how long you are planning to stay in Japan. If you stay in Japan long-term or even live here, you have a plethora of possibilities and can take as much time for your studies as you wish.

Short-term visitors might want to consider an intensive course. This type of language course requires you to attend lessons nearly every day for a couple of hours a day over a few weeks to several months.

Most of these schools can also be attended by individuals on a working holiday visa. Intensive courses are a great way to attain the largest amount of knowledge in the shortest time possible. They also provide a great basic experience to prepare you if you plan to study in Japan.

A school providing intensive courses is Kudan Institute of Japanese Language & Culture, which offers a tax-free coupon (use the code "Kudan-Matcha") and many options for learners of all levels.

The Yoshida Institute is another popular choice.

For those planning on staying more long-term in Japan, Tokyo Central Japanese Language School (TCJ) offers Japanese courses for a broad range of purposes, including study at a Japanese university, professional use and everyday conversation. TCJ is also currently offering major discounts for new students.

Learn Japanese and Save! Discounts and Coupons You Should Know About

The above coupon offers new students a promo code that allows them to get a significant discount on learning materials at TCJ. The discounts available range between 5,000 yen and 20,000 yen depending on the course you're applying for.

TCJ is also running a Welcome to Japan Campaign with no charge for textbooks and gift card giveaways for new students, as well as an up to 50,000 yen tuition fee cash back campaign until July 31, 2022.

2. Choosing a School Depending on Your Budget

How To Find The Right Japanese School For Your Needs

Studying Japanese can become very expensive. For many people, this might be a reason to refrain from considering taking Japanese classes.

However, if you don’t mind a slightly slower speed on your road to Japanese fluency, there are a few budget-friendly options. The most affordable but also least known are the ward office Japanese language lessons. Most ward offices offer classes that are held once or twice a week, starting from around 3,000 yen for a month or even a whole term.

An example of the ward office lessons in Shibuya can be seen here:

A downside to theses lessons is that you can only attend the classes in the ward you are living in. The staff consists of volunteers who usually don’t speak English, which can make these classes slightly difficult for beginners.

Also, ward office lessons are usually held on fixed days and times that might not work with your schedule. If you prefer more freedom concerning the time and place of the lesson, a group lesson at a Japanese school is another budget-friendly option.

Cafetalk offers online Japanese conversation-based lessons that you can purchase as-you-go (500 points is around 550 yen). Sign up via this link to get 1,000 extra points to use towards sessions (lessons start at about 500 points).

Also recommended is Japan Switch, which offers budget-friendly group lessons without any hidden costs.

3. Consider the Time of the Day when You Can Attend Lessons

How To Find The Right Japanese School For Your Needs

Usually, most Japanese language classes are held from early noon to early afternoon. Generally, people living in Japan will probably be busy with work or school during this time of the day. One on one lessons tend to be more flexible but also much more expensive than group lessons.

The solution to this is to look into early morning or evening classes. The important point to look out for is the exact starting and ending time as even those options might interfere with work times.

The above mentioned Tokyo Central Japanese Language School offers evening classes especially targeted towards working students. It starts at 19:00, which should be manageable after work for most people. As previously mentioned, TCJ is also offering significant discounts for new students.

Learn Japanese and Save! Discounts and Coupons You Should Know About

The online lessons and conversation practice provided by Cafetalk, mentioned above, also has tutors who can adjust to your schedule.

4. Daily Conversation vs. Business Japanese

How To Find The Right Japanese School For Your Needs

The way we use the Japanese language differs depending on who you are talking to. If you a striving for a career in Japan, you might want to consider a school teaching business-appropriate Japanese.

Schools that teach business Japanese usually offer lessons of keigo, formal Japanese. Keigo is an extremely polite form of Japanese used to either convey humility or respect toward the person you talk to.

Most schools will mention if they teach keigo. The Coto Japanese Academy is one of the schools that focus on Keigo in their classes.

5. Recommended Japanese Schools to Prepare for the JLPT

How To Find The Right Japanese School For Your Needs

JLPT is short for Japanese-Language Proficiency Test. Many people living in Japan strive to take this language test eventually as it heightens the possibility of being hired by Japanese companies.

Most schools are suited for learning the basics needed for the JLPT. However, if you want to be perfectly prepared for this very difficult test, look into special JLPT classes. Usually, classes are categorized according to JLPT levels, with N1 being the most advanced level.

KAI Japanese Language School offers many courses, including special JLPT preparation courses.

The Right Japanese Language School Provides a Good Base

How To Find The Right Japanese School For Your Needs

Something to keep in mind is that even if you find the perfect language school for you, it can only provide a base. Self-study is essential to succeed in any topic, including learning a language. Make sure that you dedicate a sufficient amount of time between classes to review the material to get the most out of your Japanese lessons.

Even considering all the points mentioned above, settling for a school might be a difficult decision. Many schools do provide free trial lessons, so why not try out a couple of different ones to see what works for you?

Main image by Pixta

Written by

I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany and am living in Tokyo, Japan since 2008. I am native in German and English.

I am a cat-mom to three rescue cats and I have a deep love for 90s rock music, kickboxing, history, chocolate and cookie dough, anything pistachio flavored, cats and bats, dragons and vampires and all things creepy-cute.

My favorite book author is Anne Rice. My favorite band is LUNA SEA.

My most recommended Japanese movie is 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence', featuring David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

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