Recommendations for Short-Term Language Classes in Japan

I’ve been looking online for some languages classes to go to in Japan but I’ve been quite surprised to find that most schools seem to be geared towards long-term studying, say 3 months to 1 year, with admission only at set times over the school year. I’ve got a working holiday visa and whilst I’m aware that most people end up working as English teachers, without needing to speak Japanese, my personal preference would be to get some more speaking practice and then get a job in a hotel or restaurant or something like that.

I want to go to a language school for 4 weeks (I think…) in September and I’m not too fussed about location. Does anyone have any recommendations or experiences of learning Japanese in Japan? I’d be grateful for any tips!

I’m not entirely sure, but I believe this school does offer shorter classes.

A friend of mine spent a few weeks taking classes at Study Japanese | Japanese Language School / Japanese Teachers Training Institute, which was recommend to him by our Japanese language teacher.

When he went, they charged an enrollment fee of 20,000¥, and 25,000¥ for each week. He said classes were about 3-4 hours a day, with a strong focus on conversation.

Just got back from Hokkaido and went to the Hokkaido Japanese Language School in Sapporo (, the school was very good. I did two weeks of class, you can start any Monday and they pair you with people at your level (after an online assessment). There is an enrollment fee and then you pay weekly. Teachers are very good, classes are up to 8 people and follow Minna no Nihongo (2 chapters per week). Classes are held in the morning, 3 x 50 minutes. There is lots of info on the website. The school has a very good location in the centre of Sapporo and they have a nice lounge/cafe space for studying in the afternoon. I will definitely return there next year. June to August is very busy with their summer course, but I think September should be less busy and so easier to get a spot (I booked about a month before and they had limited space, but I was put in a group that was exactly my level so it was perfect). The school had lots of people from the US, France, Thailand, South Korea and Scandinavian country.

Sapporo is also a really cool city, excellent food specialties (soup curry, shio ramen, fresh seafood, yummy sweet treats, tons of micro-breweries for awesome beers), cheaper than Tokyo/Kyoto. I stayed at a guesthouse called Yuyu Guesthouse, it was really good and I walked passed the fish market every day on my way to school (about 15 minutes walk), so sometimes grabbed a fresh seafood donburi for breakfast, amazing memories. If you’re looking for board, Yuyu and their sister guesthouse Waya Guesthouse accept people on working visa for cleaning in exchange for bed and meals (that might not be compatible with class schedules though).

In Fukuoka there are loads of classes run by volunteers, which you can just turn up at. I would guess that there are similar classes in other cities. The cost is low (e.g. ¥100/class or free!)

What I did was go to loads of them at first, to find out which had good teachers who were teaching appropriate things for me (i.e. relevant grammar level or conversation only), and then attend those classes each week. This would probably be less intensive than actually attending a school every day, but might be something to investigate.

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