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Enrollment in Public Elementary and Junior High Schools

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Release Date:3/2/2021

Compulsory Education in Japan

Main Types of Schools

Japanese public elementary and junior high schools accept foreign nationals if they wish to enroll, as they are entitled to receive an education, just as the Japanese are.

Children can enroll in elementary school (shogakko) the April following their sixth birthday and study there for six years. After graduating from elementary school, students may enroll in junior high school (chugakko) for an additional three years of learning.

This chart compares compulsory education in Japan with that of the countries that have the largest number of citizens currently residing in Tokyo.

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Tokyo also has schools for children with special needs.

For more information, please visit Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (Tokyo Metropolitan Schools for Special Needs Education)外部サイト別窓.

In addition to public schools, there are also international schools, private schools, and other types of schools.

The School Year

The school year starts in April.

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The year is divided into semesters (two terms) at some schools and trimesters (three terms) at others.

Public Elementary and Junior High School Tuition

Public elementary and junior high school tuition and textbooks are free. There are some things that must be paid for, such as school supplies.

Financial assistance can be provided by your municipality for school supplies and other things if financial problems would make it difficult for your child to attend school.

For more information, please visit Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (School Expense Grants) for a link to your local government or MEXT (Grants for School Expenses)外部サイト別窓 (Please note that both sites are in Japanese only.) 

Public Junior High School Night School program

Night school is available for those who were unable to complete elementary or junior high school or who did not receive sufficient education in junior high school due to various circumstances. There are eight night schools in Tokyo.

For more information, please visit Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (Public Junior High School Night School Program).

High School Entrance Exams

The Tokyo metropolitan high school entrance examination for foreign students living in Tokyo and other special arrangements are available to foreign nationals seeking to enroll in a high school.

For more information, please visit Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (High School Entrance Examination for foreign students).

Enrollment Procedures for Foreign Nationals Enrolling in an Elementary or Junior High School

If you are the parent or guardian of a child of foreign nationality seeking to enroll your child in a local school, please undertake the procedures at your municipality office. They can be done at any time.

Below is a site in English and Plain Japanese with a contact list of ward offices, city halls, town halls and village offices in Tokyo.

Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education (A contact list of municipality offices).

Links for Parents/Guardians

Education Consultation

  • (1)General consultation on education and hotline for bullying
    Phone: 0120-53-8288 (Available 24/7 free of charge)
  • ※ The consultation will be in Japanese.
  • (2)On-site consultation
    Weekdays (Monday to Friday): From 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    The third Saturday of every month, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (the fourth Saturday for August).
    Please call 0120-53-8288 to make an appointment.
  • ※ An interpreter is available from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. every Friday for school guidance and counseling for foreign elementary and junior high school students. The registration desk closes at 4:00 p.m.
  • ※ Interpretation provided for the following languages: Chinese, English, Korean

Living Support

  • Life in Tokyo: Your Guide外部サイト別窓 (Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government )
    This guide book is for foreign nationals who have recently moved to Tokyo.
  • ※ The guidebook is available in the following languages: Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean
  • ※ This portal is available in the following languages: Burmese, Chinese, English, Filipino, Indonesian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mongolian, Nepali, Plain Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese

Links for Board of Education Staff Members

Enrollment of Foreign Nationals

  • Guidebook for Starting School外部サイト別窓 (MEXT)
    Guidebook to aid enrollment in local schools, available in a number of languages (Chinese, English, Filipino, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Vietnamese)
  • Guidebook for Accepting Foreign Students外部サイト別窓 (MEXT) (in Japanese only)
    Guidebook provides aid in the smooth enrollment of foreign nationals in local schools.
  • Castanet外部サイト別窓 (MEXT) (in Japanese only)
    Information search site for materials and tools to assist students with foreign backgrounds.

Supplemental Japanese Lesson Materials

  • ※ This textbook is available in: Arabic, Bengali, Burmese, Chinese, English, Filipino, French, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Sinhala, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese

Contact Us

For inquiries on public elementary and junior high schools and other compulsory education schools:
Compulsory Education Section
Community Education Support Division
Office of Education
Phone: 03-5320-6752 Fax: 03-5388-1734
S8000810(at)section.metro.tokyo.jp
※ Change “at” to @ when sending your email.

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