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High School Exchange in Japan

Endless discovery in Japan

As a destination for an exchange program, no destination awakens the adventurer within a student quite like Japan. Its vastly different culture showcases the wonder of Japan and allows a student on exchange to really step into another world and out of their comfort zone. Within cities which highlight the bustling and hectic nature of modern life, such as Tokyo and Osaka, there are still pockets of calm and history. Whether it’s a shrine or a tree glade, around every corner in Japan there is something to admire.

Japan is made up of four main islands with Tokyo located on the central island of Honshu. Despite its large cities, four-fifths of the country is covered with rugged, mountainous terrain. The contrast between the ancient, traditional ways and the modern western development of the past 70 years has a profound impact on the country and starkly shows the changes within Japan in recent time.

Life as an exchange student in Japan

The Japanese language presents a challenge to a visitor, so as an exchange student you will need at least one year of experience with the language prior to travel on exchange. You will be welcomed into your new family home and expected to follow the traditions and customs of the country and family life. Tasting new foods and eating meals in a new manner will be unusual at first, but soon you will embrace the change and experience life as you have never seen it before.

The Japanese school system

School life in Japan can be quite intense as the days can be quite long. The official school day is similar to the UK and students are in classes from around 8.30am – 3.30pm. However, many students travel quite long distances on public transport to get to school and at the end of the day you will be expected to join homework clubs and participate in a large variety of extra-curricular activities. These clubs are a great way to meet more students and extend your experience and learning.

Students wear a strict uniform at school and are not allowed to wear jewellery, make up or to dye their hair. Classes are usually with the same group of students and little choice is given about subjects. However, the after-school clubs offer you plenty of opportunity to try new subjects and hobbies. Some schools require students to clean their school once a week as part of their learning and developing experience.

Students are usually enrolled into senior school which consists of three years. Often students are enrolled in a year group that is slightly younger than their actual age in order to allow you to cope with the language difference and manage better at school. The clubs will give you great opportunity to meet students of your own age, so you should not let any age difference concern you.

Japan student at museum with host family

High School Exchange in Japan 2024-25 || 10 months: £12,495 || 7 months: £10,795 || 5 months £9,295 || 3 months: £7,895 || 4 weeks: £5,295

japan orientation

Arrival in Japan

On arrival in Tokyo you will be met by staff from our partner organisation. You either travel straight to your host community or you will spend two or three days in Tokyo, learning the language, preparing for life on exchange and exploring this magnificent city. You will meet students from around the world before travelling to your host family by train, shinkansen or aeroplane.

Japan Frances exchange student

Frances in Japan

Read about Frances from Hampshire’s exchange program in Japan. Learn about how she settled into school life and how she enjoyed living with a variety of host families. She shares some good advice for any exchange student looking to take on this adventure.

Apply for a high school exchange in Japan today!