Q: Can you enroll at any time?
Admission for full-time students is in April and October. Admission for The Practical Japanese Language Course is in January, April, July and December. If you are applying for a student visa in addition to applying for the language course, you should begin your preparation approximately 6 months before you hope to start school.
(Visa applications take several months to process.)
Q: Is it possible for a person with no Japanese language background to be admitted?
Before applying, it is necessary for all students know at least hiragana, katakana, simple greetings and how to introduce themselves. In order to receive a student visa, applicants must have a record of having completed a minimum of 150 hours of Japanese language study. Also, this amount of Japanese knowledge is necessary to ensure the student a smooth adjustment to life in Japan.
Q: Can a student be admitted even if he /she has not completed high school?
Yes, this is possible if you reside in Japan and your sole purpose is language study. However, the law in Japan stipulates that one can not enroll in a college or a technical school without completing 12 years of schooling prior to admission, therefore, without a high school diploma, one would not be able to enroll in the regular program. It is also possible to enroll in YMCA after earning a diploma from a Japanese high school. If you desire to study at YMCA with the purpose of entering Japanese high school, please schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.
Q: Can elementary or junior high school students enroll in the program?
The policy at this school is to not accept students under the age of 17. However, in the case that an applicant is between 14 and 17 years old, and his/ her parent (or guardian) lives with the applicant, they should come for an interview. Sometimes exceptions are considered. For details, please schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.


Q: How shall I submit my documents?
After all your papers are prepared, please have your guarantor or representative go to YMCA in person, to submit them.
If you have applied through a study abroad communication service overseas, you may submit your documents there.
Q: What kind of person can be a financial guarantor?
A financial guarantor is one who will be responsible to pay tuition and daily living expenses for the student for the complete time he / she is studying at YMCA. If the student has plans to study long-term, the financial obligations are heavy, so we recommend that parents (or a close relative) assume the role of financial guarantor. YMCA will not recognize the support if it is a loan. Therefore, friends are not considered appropriate guarantors. Exceptions to this are sometimes made when students are sent by their schools when they deem language study to be essential for the foreign student.
Q: Are there any overseas offices where I can prepare my application?
Yes. We have partnered with recruitment agencies or YMCAs in Asia mainly. For more information, please refer to the page of each language.


Q: Is it possible to get a visa for a Japanese language school?
Applicants for the Comprehensive Japanese Language program and the Practical Japanese Language program can apply for either the college student visa. This is the only visa that YMCA Japanese students can apply for. Only applicants who have a visa already, or have already applied for one, are eligible for the Step Course.
Q: Is there an age limit for student visa applicants?
There is no law regarding age, however there are some standards that must be met. It will be difficult to obtain a visa if you have been out of school for more than 5 years and have no specific reason for Japanese study nor a clear plans upon completion of Japanese study. The screening standard seems stricter for applicants who are above a certain age – for high school graduates older than 23 and for 4-year college graduates over 27. However, as mentioned earlier, if your purpose for Japanese study is very clear, there is no need for concern. YMCA does not have an age limit, so students with different visas can apply regardless of age.
Q: What is the difference between the college student visa and the pre-college student visa?
The college student visa is really a residency permit for studying abroad while the student is receiving a higher education. College student visas apply to the Comprehensive Japanese Language Program which is recognized by the Ministry of Education. This visa term is for 1 to 2 years.
The pre-college student visa is for applicants who have no intention of going on to higher education.
The Practical Japanese Language Course fits into this category, which is the same as other Japanese language school courses. The term of the pre-college student visa available for this course is 6 ~ 12 months.
In actuality, there is little difference between the college student visa and the pre-college student visa. There is little difference in policies regarding terms of residency or authorization for part-time work, conditions for receiving scholarships or moving to a new location. As long as the student does not get involved in trouble while residing in Japan, renewal is a simple procedure.
Q: Is it possible to study while traveling in and out of the country on a Temporary Visitor’s visa?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Japanese embassy has stipulated that visa holders of this type are in Japan for the purpose of language study and therefore they are only allowed entry to Japan once during the visa term. This is all the information we can disclose.
It is likely that you will be denied entry if you have stayed in Japan with no clear purpose or destination and stayed for more than a month.
Therefore, we do not recommend you make an extended trip to Japan prior language school enrollment.


Q: How much do you improve in one year?
If you enroll as a full-time beginner student in the Comprehensive Japanese Language Course or in the Practical Japanese Language Course, you will finish the intermediate level in one year. You will have a pretty good understanding of what is going on around you, you will be able to communicate what you want to say. For more details please look at the description for each course.
Q: If you improve at a fast pace, can you skip classes?
Our policy is that there is no skipping. Our school’s levels require 4-5 hours of daily language study in order to finish a given level. Each level lasts 6 months. It is not feasible to think a student could skip a level when there is so much studying necessary. In order to learn Japanese, repetition of material covered daily is necessary. Understanding grammar in theory and being able to use it properly are very different skills. It takes time and diligent preparation for classes, review of material covered and completing assignments to make steady improvement.
The shortcut to improvement is to have a defined purpose and to be consistent in your studies.
Q: How are classes decided?
A student’s score on the placement test administered just before school begins, determines the class he/ she is placed in.
Q: Are any preparation courses offered for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) or the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students?
Full-time students studying in the Comprehensive Japanese Language Course or in the Practical Japanese Language Course have an elective course for preparation for the JLPT. Students can therefore select this as one of their classes. Also, Comprehensive Japanese Language Course students receive thorough care and guidance. They can also take a class to prepare for the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students. However we do not have a whole course designed for exam preparation. Even if one can pass the exam, they may not be able to communicate in Japanese and sometimes their knowledge is not at all practical. Therefore, our policy is to help students attain a high level of Japanese rather than offer test preparatory classes.
Q: Is English a required class for the Comprehensive Japanese Language Course?
For applicants on a student visa, English is a required class. For all other applicants, English is an elective class.
Q: Is it possible to study at school after class?
Yes. Some classrooms at YMCA are open for students’ use. Please ask at the office for more details.


Q: How much Japanese do I need to study in order to get into a Japanese university?
Generally, students starting at the beginner level need to study at least 1.5 years to finish the advanced level classes. April enrollees apply for the 2-year course. October enrollees apply for the 1.5 year course.
Q: I graduated from high school in my home country but it does not amount to 12 years of study. I was told by a Japanese university that I could not enroll in their school. What should I do?
If you study in our Comprehensive Japanese Language Course for 1 year or more, you will be permitted to apply for higher education at universities or technical schools. The Comprehensive Japanese Language Program is recognized by the Ministry of Education as a preparatory course and therefore it is counted toward the 12-year education requirement and upon completion, students are eligible to apply for universities or technical schools.


Q: Is there a discount available for students?
We do not have a discount system for new applicants. However, if a student belongs to a Christian missionary organization and needs Japanese language skills, Christian workers (pastors, missionaries, etc) can receive a discount. Likewise, applicants from NPOs or NGOs who are serving to bring peace and social justice can apply for a discount or a scholarship.
Q: Is it possible to reserve a scholarship?
Scholarships offered at YMCA are introduced at this site. Click here. The scholarships are only available to students who have already spent time studying at YMCA. Eligibility is based on attendance, grade and effort. Students are nominated, then selected, therefore there is no method of reservation.
Q: Can tuition be paid in installments?
If the course is a year or longer, payments can be made every 6 months. If you want to make your payments in this installment method, please discuss this at the office at the time of application.


Q: How much will I need for living expenses?
You will need at least 100,000 yen per month.
Q: Can I get help from YMCA to make living arrangements in a place other than the dormitories listed on the website?
Yes, you can. However, there are few places that we can introduce you to where you can live cheaply and will have a safe and clean environment. If there are vacancies, we can help you with your application. We do not go to realtors with students.
Q: Will YMCA recognize a joint guarantee for housing?
No. YMCA does not recognize any joint guarantorship.
Q: Are students allowed to have part-time jobs?
Students who are in Japan on a student visa must go to the Immigration Office 3 months after arrival in Japan to request a work permit. Once the student has this permit, they can begin to work. However, as a student, there are guidelines with the permit to maintain that the students are only working a reasonable amount of time. In the case of the college student visa, the work hour is maximum 28 hours per week. If a student’s attendance is poor, he /she will not be permitted to apply for the work permit.
Q: Is there a ‘pick-up’ service from the airport?
If a student has no guarantor or contact in Japan, and the student is going to live in one of the YMCA dormitories, someone from YMCA will meet the student at the airport and help him/her with the documents necessary to apply for the dormitory and take the student there. However, we do not meet students at the airport if 1) they have a guarantor or contact person in Japan or 2) they are not going to stay in one of the dormitories.


Q: Is it possible to do a class observation?
We do not have class observations for the full-time courses.
Q: Is it possible to take a leave of absence?
No, it is not. If the student is sick or has reason to be absent for more than one month, we request that the student officially withdraw from school.
Q: Is it possible to transfer from another Japanese language school to YMCA or from YMCA to another language school?
As a general rule, transfers are not possible. However, it is possible under certain circumstances.
Q: Is there a student cafeteria?
No. You can bring a lunch, buy lunch nearby or go out to eat. Some classrooms and lobby areas can be used at lunch time. Microwave ovens and hot water are available for students’ use.

About YMCA

Q: What kind of organization is YMCA?
YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) was founded in 1844 in London,England. The original intention of the organization was to put Christian principles into practice. Also, its target of meeting social needs in the community was central from the start. Now the YMCA promotes peace and social development encompassing spiritual, intellectual and physical elements. As of 2008, the YMCA has grown to become a worldwide movement of members from 124 countries.
LinkIconThe National Council of YMCAs of Japan
Q: YMCA is a Christian organization, but do I have to be a believer in Christianity to enroll in the school?
No. Any person is welcome, regardless of religion. As a Christian school, we have volunteer activities, and celebrate Christian events like Christmas and Easter. However, students are not forced to participate nor are students restricted from participation. Students from all over the world, and of various religions are welcome to come and study here. Our desire is that we can learn from one another and create a peaceful community with people of different races, religions and cultures.