Japanese education system
The school year starts in April and ends in March of the following year. Students have a vacation of approximately one month each in summer and winter.
Elementary and junior high schools
Children who have reached six years of age attend elementary school from the following April. The six years of education in elementary school and the three years in junior high school (excluding secondary school) are compulsory, and there are no entrance examinations for municipal elementary and junior high schools.
In public elementary and junior high schools, tuition and textbooks are free of charge, but school-provided lunch and study materials are fee-based. Junior high schools usually have their own uniforms for students to wear.
Enrolling children in elementary and junior high schools
Procedures for starting school
If you have filed your resident registration form, a health check-up form should be sent to your home in October a year before your child begins elementary school. Please have your child undergo the check-up at the designated location. Preparations required before enrolling will be explained by each school.
A school enrollment notification will be mailed in January. If you do not get a notification, please contact the Education Promotion Section of the Sapporo Board of Education (TEL: 011-211-3851).
School transfer procedures
For a school transfer, you must submit an Address Change Notification at the ward office and undertake the necessary procedures. If you would like to enroll your child in a school without filing for residence status, please contact the Board of Education.
- Procedures for entering or transferring to municipal elementary and junior high schools (City of Sapporo)
- Guidebook for Starting School (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)
School Expense Assistance System
The City of Sapporo offers assistance for school expenses, such as those for school supplies, school lunch and fieldtrips, for families with elementary and junior high school students (including secondary school) whose income is below a certain amount.
Study assistance for children learning Japanese
The City of Sapporo offers Japanese classes and dispatches instructors to schools to help returnee and foreign students with Japanese language studies and adaptation to school life. Contact your child’s school for details.
These classes target returnee and foreign students at municipal elementary and junior high schools and are held about twice a week (roughly 60-minute sessions) in individual or group settings, focusing on teaching the Japanese necessary for daily use at school. Study materials are provided free of charge.
Location: Sapporo Education Center (inside Sapporo Comprehensive Lifelong Learning Center “Chieria”; Miyanosawa 1-jo 1-chome 1-10, Nishi-ku)
Note: Due to the renovation of the center, classes are being held at the following location until early February 2022.
Location: Rifure Sapporo 4F Information Library (Hon-dori 16-chome Minami 4-26, Shiroishi-ku)
Contact for inquiries:
Education Consultation Section, Sapporo City Board of Education
Dispatch of instructors
Instructors are dispatched to help provide Japanese language instruction for returnee and foreign students at municipal elementary, junior high, secondary, and high schools.
Contact for inquiries:
A website of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology introduces Japanese language study materials for foreign children.
Japanese language study materials for foreign children (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), Japanese
Study Support for Children with International Background
During this winter break, SICPF is offering study support sessions for elementary school and junior high school students who are non-Japanese or have international background.
Please bring your homework or study materials that you want to work on. Our volunteers will help you!
[Dates] January 11(Tue), 12(Wed), 13(Thu), 2022
[Venue] Sapporo International Communication Plaza (Kita 1 Nishi 3, Chuo-ku) MAP
[Capacity] About 10 students
[Application] Sign-up from the online application form （https://plaza.kjpro.ne.jp/?id=93）or contact us by phone, FAX, or e-mail with the following information.
Child’s name ②School name and grade ③Nationality ④Contact information (TEL or e-mail address) of a guardian/parent and his/her name ⑤Dates you wish to join (you can join in all three days or just one day)
[Apply/inquiry to] Sapporo International Communication Plaza Foundation (SICPF)
℡: 011-211-2105 E-mail: nihongo(at)plaza-sapporo.or.jp FAX：011-232-3833
＊Replace (at) with @ when sending an email.
High schools and secondary schools
More than 90% of junior high school graduates go on to study at senior high school. To enter high school, applicants are required to pass the entrance examination held by each school. Those who graduate from junior high school in Japan (including those who are expected to graduate) and those who are certified as having received an equivalent level of school education are eligible to take the examination.
Sapporo Odori High School
Sapporo Odori High School has special admission quotas for returnee and foreign students in its entrance examination, and also provides Japanese language lessons to students. For details, contact Sapporo Odori High School (Kita 2-jo Nishi 11-chome, Chuo-ku; TEL: 011-251-0229).
Secondary schools are six-year schools joining the grades of junior high and high schools in one facility. There is one municipal secondary school in Sapporo (Sapporo Kaisei Secondary School). It is necessary to pass a student screening to enroll in secondary schools. Sapporo Kaisei Secondary School offers International Baccalaureate (IB) educational programs.
Sapporo Kaisei Secondary School website, Japanese
To foster the development of future leaders, the City of Sapporo supplies grant-type scholarships, which need not be paid back unlike many loan-type scholarships in Japan, to students financially struggling despite their abilities.
City of Sapporo Scholarships (City of Sapporo)
City of Sapporo Special Scholarship Fund
This scholarship fund is provided to cover tuition fees necessary for skill acquisition of students from households under financial strain to help with the financial independence of such households.
City of Sapporo Special Scholarship Fund (City of Sapporo)
High School Tuition Support Fund (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)
The government pays tuition support to households with a high school student that meet income and other requirements regardless of whether the school is national, public or private. Information on this fund is provided by each high school at the time of enrollment.
High School Tuition Support Fund (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), English
High School Supplemental Scholarship Fund (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology)
This fund provides grants for supplemental educational costs apart from course tuition to low-income and other eligible households with a high school student. Information on this fund is provided once a year (around summer) by the school in which your child is enrolled.
Universities, junior colleges, and professional training colleges
Those who have graduated from high school are eligible to take exams to enroll in higher education institutions, such as colleges, universities and professional training colleges. Those who have graduated from accredited international schools in Japan and those who have obtained International Baccalaureate or other specified certificates are also qualified to take such exams.
- List of Schools for Non-Japanese Designated as Equivalent to Foreign Upper Secondary Schools in Japan (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology),
- Universities in Sapporo (City of Sapporo), English, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian
- Upper Secondary School Equivalency Examination (former University Entrance Qualification Examination) (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology), Japanese
There are two types of scholarship in Japan: a grant type, whereby you do not need to pay it back, and a loan type, whereby you have to repay it after graduation (some loan-type scholarships are interest-free while others are not). You should therefore exercise caution when you apply for scholarships.
Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO)
Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) offers student loans to outstanding students who are under financial strain that makes it difficult for them to continue their studies. In consideration of economic and social circumstances, JASSO also provides grants or student loans so that they can continue their academic pursuits with peace of mind.
JASSO scholarships (Japan Student Services Organization), Japanese
Scholarships other than those offered by JASSO
The website below enables users to search for information on scholarships, exemption from and postponement of tuition payments offered by colleges, universities and junior colleges in Japan and on scholarship systems of local governments and other organizations (e.g., prefectural and municipal governments, organizations offering scholarships).
Scholarship systems at colleges/universities, local governments, etc. (Japan Student Services Organization), Japanese
Other financial support
Website on financial support programs for college/university students (Hokkaido government), Japanese
International students who wish to study at college/university in Japan must take exams, such as the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU). The types of exams they must pass differ by institution.
- Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) (Japan Student Services Organization), English
- Study in JAPAN (Japan Student Services Organization), Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean
- Studying in Sapporo (City of Sapporo), English, Chinese, Korean, Indonesian
- Study in Hokkaido (Hokkaido government, Hokkaido International Exchange and Cooperation Center), English, Chinese, Korean
- Sapporo International Student Center
This is a dormitory for international students owned by the City of Sapporo.
For information on studying Japanese in Sapporo, visit the Japanese language page.
Hokkaido International School
Hokkaido International School provides education for non-Japanese students who find attending Japanese schools difficult due to language problems. The school offers education for levels from kindergarten through high school. All classes are taught in English.
Hiragishi 5-jo 19-chome 1-55, Toyohira-ku, TEL: 011-816-5000
Hokkaido Korean Primary, Middle and High School
Hokkaido Korean Primary, Middle and High School offers education for Korean residents in Japan. In addition to subjects similar to those taught in Japanese elementary/junior high/senior high schools, students learn Korean language and ethnic culture.
Hokkaido Korean Primary, Middle and High School
Hiraoka 4-jo 2-chome 6-1, Kiyota-ku, TEL: 011-881-3971
Night junior high school
Evening classes at public junior high school are intended for those who have not graduated from junior high school for any reason, including truancy, either in Japan or in their home country.
In April 2022, Sapporo Seiyukan Junior High School, the first public night junior high school in Hokkaido will open.
Sapporo Seiyukan Junior High School (Official Website)