How are schools in Japan? 50 Curiosities and Rules

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Have you ever wondered how schools in Japan work? How is the Japanese Educational System? In this guide we will see facts, curiosities and rules about schools in Japan. Get ready to immerse yourself in Japanese culture!

The Japanese are famous for their culture, education, honesty, security, technology and intelligence. Much of this is the result of good education in Japanese schools. The Japanese educational system is quite different and unique.

Like any country, the Japanese education system has its flaws. Even so, Japan always competes for the top positions in the education ranking against Finland, Sweden and South Korea.

All Schools are paid, even Public Schools, those who have difficulty paying, the government helps, tuition is according to the condition of the family. The Japanese education system places great value on hygiene, punctuality, cooperation and group work.

25 curiosities about Japanese education to cause envy

The school year in Japan

Let’s start by talking about the school year in Japan, when does it start? When are the holidays in Japan? What school events and festivals take place during the school year? Do the Japanese go on excursions? Let’s find out now!

Everyone is required to study 9 years, 6 years in shougaku (primary) and 3 years in chuugaku (secondary). Classes in Japan are approximately 6 hours, according to schools, there are also extra activities like clubs or sports. There are no classes on Saturdays and Sundays.

Although higher education is not mandatory in Japan, approximately 94% of middle school students go to higher education, higher schools are paid and more expensive, including public schools that represent approximately 76% of students.

Japanese education system - how are schools in japan?

The school year starts on 1st April

On April Fools day, the Japanese begin to study, where they are usually greeted with an entrance ceremony called nyuugakushiki. This is the most beautiful time to study, because cherry trees are blooming and blooming. There is also a closing ceremony.

Around April and May, teachers visit the students' parents. The goal is to get to know the parents, family environment and check possible problems that students face outside school. Parents also visit their children at school a few times a year.

Japanese academic year has 3 quarters and vacation

In the end of December until January the Japanese have two weeks of vacation. In the end of March until April, two more weeks of vacation and during July and August they have summer vacations that can reach 40 days. Not to mention the holidays and Golden Week.

The academic year is divided into three periods:

  • Ichigakki - April to July - being that in July there are summer holidays corresponding to 30 to 40 days;
  • Nigakki - September to December - with December having winter holidays that last only two weeks;
  • Sangakki - January to March - in March there is spring break, and then the new academic year begins in April;
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school events, festivals and excursions

Japanese schools have their festival where the college is open to everyone and students prepare a type of fair and shows for visitors. There are also events called undokai where students compete with each other, in addition to other sports championships and theaters.

It is common for schools to organize excursions, picnics, camps and even international trips with students. Some excursions can be simple to a castle or park, others can be in the middle of the mountain with accommodation for several days.

25 curiosities about Japanese education to cause envy

Curiosities about Japanese classes

Japanese subjects include Japanese language, social studies, mathematics, science, music, arts, health and physical education, as well as different classes such as domestic and industrial work, moral education and citizenship.

Evidence is not the priority, without grades and disapproval

During primary schools, students do not receive a report card with grades, they receive a notice board called tsuuchihyou. In this table you can find various information about the student’s performance.

During the year they are taught to be polite and manners. There is no failure, if the student has a bad performance, he is left with recovery. Only in high school, there is a test that definitely has a lot of importance in the life of the Japanese.

Upon entering high school, students need to take tests to determine which school they will study at, when going to college they need to do the same thing. Some even spend the entire third year preparing for this entrance exam.

There are clubs and extra-curricular activities

Students are required to choose an extra-curricular subject at a club that is administered by the students themselves within the schools.

These clubs include activities such as sports, music, art, culture, cuisine, computers and any creative idea with the school’s authorization.

25 fun facts about Japanese schools to make you jealous

Duration of classes and breaks

Each class lasts an average of 45 to 50 minutes, including a short break. There are individual study classes, in which students are free to study alone. Students usually study in the same room.

25 fun facts about Japanese schools to make you jealous

Curiosities about students in Japanese schools

Students in Japanese schools need to be well educated. At the beginning and at the end of classes, a responsible student says kiritsu and makes the other students stand up and bow to the teacher as a sign of respect.

They also take and serve their own food. It is common to have cafeterias in high school, but in other years students have lunch inside the classroom. Parents usually prepare obentos (lunchboxes) with an artistic touch for their children.

In Japanese schools, especially in high school, some students are ridiculed and suffer Ijime (bullying), causing depression and sometimes even suicide, this is one of the big problems that happens in Japanese schools.

Children go to school alone at 6 years of age

In addition to the security that the country offers, this is a way for children to gain responsibility and become independent. They usually go in groups, with a yellow helmet to identify themselves and some streets are forbidden to drive a car during these times.

25 curiosities about Japanese education to cause envy

Basically they wear a standard backpack, called Randoseru

Children wear this beautiful and powerful backpack during their early school years. They are expensive and can even be left from generation to generation. They are very resistant, practical and elegant.

It was designed not to stress the spine, since elementary school students walk in groups to school. Despite the high cost, these backpacks have become fashionable, and are mandatory in some traditional schools.

Students are responsible for cleaning the school

Cleaning is generally divided into groups and each is responsible for cleaning. Some can clean the room, bathroom, pool, court and other school facilities, in addition to serving their own meals

Sometimes students carry out cleanings even outside the school or in the neighborhood. Since elementary school, they are trained to take care of their own cleaning. In some schools students need to take care of plants or animals.

25 curiosities about Japanese education to cause envy

Uniform is mandatory in most schools

In most Japanese schools, the uniform is mandatory. Instead of a simple shirt with a logo, each school has its uniform that differs and has its own style. Schools that do not require uniforms are scarce.

These Japanese uniforms are usually in the sailor style. Boys wear suits, girls wear skirts. There are uniforms for winter, summer, gymnastics and swimming. In elementary school, not everyone wears uniforms, but wear helmets on their heads.

25 fun facts about Japanese schools to make you jealous

Japanese School Rules

Now let's look at some rules and things that are prohibited in schools in Japan. It is worth remembering that things change over time and that each school is different from each other. Therefore, everything is quite relative, some schools are more liberal and others are more rigid.

Most of the rules that we are going to see are for students of Chugakko and Kokou (12-18), but we are not going to specify which one belongs to each year, nor which schools have such rules. Do not think that all schools have such rules.

Appearance rules

In addition to the uniform already mentioned, here are some rules that involve appearance:

You cannot change your natural appearance. For example, dye your hair, wear makeup, wear colored contact lenses, pinch your eyebrows, paint your nails, etc. 

You cannot use any jewelry or accessories of any kind. For example, necklaces, rings, watches, earrings, etc. Of course, there are exceptions and some permissions within that area.

You cannot wear a bright colored sweater or coat over your uniform during the winter. Only colors like gray, navy, black and neutral. All of this will depend on your school. 

Boys cannot have long hair or a very large beard. The use of socks is mandatory. A girl's bangs cannot extend beyond her eyebrows. You cannot make certain changes to the uniform such as shortening, painting or changing the color.

And remember that these rules do not apply to all schools, and there are many more rules designed to keep students and school looking good.

Remember that these rules apply outside of school when wearing the uniform. However, not everyone follows the rules, most girls tend to shorten their skirts when they are out of school.

How are schools in japan? 50 curiosities and rules

School rules

At the beginning of the class and at the end the students will bow and greet. Students must bring their own meals, it is not allowed to sell and consume certain foods and processed products.

Students cannot bring manga to school. You should not use your cell phone at school. punishments. If the student is absent, the countries should call to inform the reason. You must participate in a club (sports, literature, music, etc.).

The school does not allow the student to do certain types of work or to have jobs. Sometimes it is common for a student close to graduating to participate in part-time jobs or jobs called baito.

How are schools in japan? 50 curiosities and rules

Some schools even prohibit their children from going to an Arcade or Karaoke without the presence of the country. Sometimes it is forbidden to even sleep in the house of friends. Students must be at home before curfew (22:00). Students cannot take extra classes or courses without informing their teacher.

It is not allowed to do anything that embarrasses the name of the school or the student, including having intimate relationships with someone. It is worth remembering that many students do not apply these rules. 

There are many other rules that don't exist in schools in other countries like ours. Do not think that because of so many rules the educational system in Japan is perfect, many things go unnoticed by teachers or ignored, many cases of bullying, and the Japanese are not as obedient and perfect as some think.

Other curiosities about Japanese education

  • Education in secondary schools and universities is always paid, even public ones have a fee;
  • All Japanese schools have lockers for putting shoes on and entering appropriate shoes on site;
  • The main subjects in Japanese schools are: Mathematics, Language study, Social Sciences, Crafts, Music and Physical Education;
  • Compulsory education in Japan is 9 years old, although high school is not compulsory, more than 70% of students finish college;
  • The Japanese education system places great value on hygiene, punctuality, cooperation and group work;
25 curiosities about Japanese education to cause envy
  • Students receive homework during the holidays;
  • Some students go to school and even on weekends to participate in club activities;
  • In all schools, there is a nutrition specialist in charge of student food and diet;
  • At a university students are free to choose any subject they like. College is considered the best time in the life of some;
  • In addition to traditional subjects, Japanese students need to learn something traditional like Japanese calligraphy and poetry;

Japan school grade

The Japanese educational system is similar to the American system, but it has great differences. The Educational system is divided into 5 Parts as shown in the table below:

Responsive Table: Roll the table sideways with your finger >>
3-4 Kindergarten
(幼稚園 Yōchien)
6-71Primary school
(小学校 Shōgakkō)
Compulsory Education
12-131Middle School
(中学校 chūgakkō)
Compulsory Education
15-161Secondary school
(高等学校 kōtōgakkō, abbr.高校 kōkō)
19…だから、おなかが空いても がまんしました。University - FacultyDaigaku (大学寮): Average duration of four years.

As in Brazil, in elementary school, a teacher teaches all subjects for each class, which has an average of 30 to 40 students. In addition to classes within the classroom, students have extra-curricular classes and practical classes within laboratories. In high school, students have several teachers, and some even have classes in different rooms.


See some videos below that show a little about what Japanese schools are like. Don't forget to leave your comments, too, if you think we forgot to mention anything important. Thanks for the comments and shares.

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