Language school?

Has anyone here been to language school in Japan or otherwise??

I tried to find some details about who it is aimed at and what kinda level you should be/expect to come out as

I am 100% new to this concept so sorry if I sound stupid

I just was wondering if it’s something worth thinking about💕


I did a three-year part-time diploma of language studies in Japanese at university here in Australia, and finished it off by passing the JLPT N3, though some of my classmates were doing N2. So that’s the ballpark.


I went to a language school in America when I first started, with small (4-6 person) classes, and those structured classes that came back every quarter and had a pre-determined textbook would take you to low-intermediate level.

After that they had higher level classes that were only held if enough people (at least 2) of approximately the same level expressed interest. Those had no defined curriculum, and in my experience it was fairly rare for there to be other people available. I put in requests regularly but only ever got a group together once. I’m sure it only got worse the higher your level was.

At that point, you’re better off with 1-on-1 teaching. Or the route I went, which was studying alone without a teacher.


I studied for nine months at a language school in Japan. They had classes covering everything from absolute beginner up to post-JLPT-N1. I had been doing evening classes in the UK before I went, so I started in a class that was tail-end of ‘beginner’ level and by the time I left I was a solid intermediate, about N2. I really enjoyed it and it did a lot for my Japanese (though you’d certainly hope that it would get better with nine months’ full time study!). (I went to Yamasa. This was 15 years ago though so I can’t guarantee they’re still good. Basic course structure seems the same, though, and their website is pretty detailed so it should be helpful background even if you go somewhere else.)

Yamasa has two main groups of students they provide courses for. There are short courses, for people on the beginner end of the scale and who are only studying for anything between 2 and 12 weeks – basically, people on a tourist visa, who are going to do a bit of language study, maybe a bit of tourism, and then head home. Then they have longer courses, which are more academic, scheduled in three-month terms, and where the expectation is that you’ll probably apply for a student visa to take part. The ‘top end’ on this side goes higher, because in the upper levels a lot of students will be studying in order to apply to a Japanese university or because they’re aiming for a career in some field that needs Japanese. I imagine some language schools must also offer courses for “I already have a full time job in Japan but want to do a class a couple of evenings a week”, though I don’t think Yamasa does.

In general, I would guess that the smaller the school the less likely they are to have group higher-level classes – and especially so outside Japan. There are always more beginner and low-level students than higher-level ones, so it’s easier to get together a class full of beginners than a class of high level students. (My evening classes in the UK had a similar pattern to @Leebo 's – 2-3 person groups initially, but at some point I was paying small-group fees for a group with just me in it :-))

Note that if you want to study in Japan for a longer period (more than the standard 90 day tourist visa) then you will need to get a student visa, which means you need to attend classes at some approved school, because it’s the school that sponsors your visa.


i see! thank you for your detailed responce! at the moment its an issue of a) if I have the potential to be any good at japanese, b) if I can find the money, and c) if I can get a visa XD

but thank you! I will definetely take a look at the school you mentioned!

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If you can find the money, you can get the visa.

I am going to spend 4 weeks at a language school in Fukuoka, starting 3 weeks from now. So I guess I can let you know in 7 weeks how it was! I have already spent a few years in the past living in Japan teaching English and working near the ski resorts, but never gone to a language school there before. I am hoping to push my grammar up to the next level, as casually chatting to people in bars, I can already do. I need some focused textbook learning and why not do it over there where it’s a holiday as well.


I’m heading to a language school in Kobe in about 2 weeks and gonna be there for 4 weeks. I honestly think that the answer to your question would depend on school and your goals but it looks like there are various schools that cater to various purposes from business people, casual learners, to people looking to pass JLPT and stuff. I am personally going as a casual learner, for 3 hours a day, as I don’t really have an end goal of living or working in Japan; I’ll go experience some of the culture and to improve my listening and speaking while I’m doing some tourist stuff. By going to the school, and using the language there, i’ll have more confidence to use it outside of that setting as well.

I don’t really expect to come out with any sort of mastery over the language over just one month, and don’t know how much i’ll improve, but I can tell you more about my experience after a month and a half when I get back.


I did a semester at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto. They have an “intensive Japanese program” for foreign students so you’re studying reading/writing/speaking/kanji/grammar stuff the whole time (but you can take other classes in addition if you want). The price wasn’t horrendous and it was a great time and great for my Japanese. You take a test before classes start so you get placed for you level - there were kids who were almost fluent, and there were kids just learning hiragana, so really any place you’re at is good.

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yeah! that would be great! If i went I would probably do a year at minimum, as its either language school or do a Master degree. I too have lived in Japan before in the same kinda setting! I’m actuallly going back for a 3 month visit in december!

Yes! I studied for a year and a half at Genki JACS in Fukuoka. Everyone comes away with a different experience, but for me, it was overall positive and the main way I could get to Japan and stay longer than 3 months.

I went in having studied Japanese in college for a year, but had pretty much forgotten everything. I started from the Genki books, and was able to reach JLPT N2 1.5 years later. (A lot of studying outside of school was necessary for this though IMHO).

It’s definitely, something I recommend to those looking to experience a richer time in Japan and have a more immersive (and fun) time learning the language. Good for people who are serious about attending school every day and are interested in using the language to meet locals and learn/appreciate more about the country.

I’ve written about my experience on my blog and here is a video specifically about going to language school in Japan that you might find helpful!


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