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I cannot communicate in Japanese!

Matsudo International School has staff that can communicate in English, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese and Mongolian in addition to Japanese.

If you have any concerns about communication, please do not hesitate to let us know and we will be happy to answer them.

Do I need prior Japanese knowledge to take the Student Visa Course?

The Japanese Immigration Bureau rules state that potential students from China, Mongolia, Nepal, Vietnam, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines must meet a minimum Japanese language requirement (JLPT N5 and at least 150 classroom hours) before any Immigration application will be considered.

For other countries, you are also required to have basic Japanese knowledge before arriving in Japan.
This is necessary as Matsudo International School’s curriculum is not designed for absolute beginners (no knowledge of hiragana or katakana).
If you do not have any prior Japanese knowledge at the point of application, you may sign up for any basic Japanese course near your location and provide us with the proof of enrolment.

It is highly beneficial to have at least JLPT N5 and 150 classroom hours of Japanese for the following reasons:

  • Better application standing with the Immigration Bureau
  • Easier time adapting to life in Japan
  • Learn more, faster and better during your studies with us

The Embassy of Japan in certain countries (other than the 8 stated above) may also request for Japanese language interviews before the visa can be issued. Failing this interview will result in the rejection of visa application, therefore learning Basic Japanese before your application to us is highly recommended.

When can I start regular classes?

You can apply for regular Japanese classes any time as long as there is a class suitable for your level. Beginner classes start every January, April, July and October. Please enquire for more details.

How old do I have to be to enrol?

You must be age 18 or over to qualify for the Student Visa course.

There are no age limits for regular courses and private lessons.

Do I need any academic requirements to take the course?

Yes, to qualify for the Student Visa, you must have completed 12 years of schooling in your country (equivalent to High School graduation).

Why does it take so long to register for the Student Visa course?

The application process for the Student Visa course requires an involved application process through the Japanese Immigration Bureau that takes up to 4 months in total, on top of the application documents that Matsudo International School has to submit.

When are the application deadlines for Student Visa Course?

The application deadline dates vary depending on the level of course you are interested in.

Please see this list for details.

When are the course starting dates?

Intake months are January, April, July and October. Courses start the first week of each intake month.

Beginner courses start each intake. Intermediate and Advanced course start dates vary.

If you have studied Japanese before or have a current Japanese certification and wish to join the Student Visa Course, please enquire with us so that we can help you determine a suitable intake and duration.

How do I know which class is suitable for me?

On your first day with us, our staff will give you a written test and short interview to determine your level, before a suitable class is allocated.

Can I join a class which is already in progress?

Yes, as long as your level is suitable for that class.

What nationalities are the students in your school?

We currently have students from all over world, such as England, Australia, France, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Mongolia, China and more.


I wish to study at a Japanese university. Do you have a course aimed at passing the EJU exam?

We do not have a specific EJU-only course, but our courses cover the curriculum necessary to be able to pass the Japanese component of EJU. Most universities also require a minimum of JLPT N2 to qualify, so you are highly encouraged to take JLPT as well.

Do you have JLPT-specific courses?

The material in the JLPT syllabus is covered during normal courses. Approximately 3 months before each JLPT examination period, we will announce the commencement of the JLPT curriculum. Please check the school news page for more details.

When is the JLPT held?

The JLPT is held twice a year, usually on the first Sunday in July and December.

When is the EJU held?

The EJU is held in June and November every year.

Are textbooks provided or do I have to buy my own?

Textbooks are provided for Student Visa students. Students from other course types will have to purchase their own textbooks.

What textbooks are used?

The main textbooks used are:

  • Beginner – Minna no nihongo series
  • Intermediate – Chuukyuu kara manabu
  • JLPT – Various

For advanced levels, the main textbook may differ from class to class depending on the current curriculum.

Is class advancement automatic?

No. At the end of each term, every student is given a test to assess their ability. Students are then streamed into appropriate classes according to these results.

What holidays are there?

There are 12 public holidays a year, and spring, summer and winter school holidays.

Please refer to the school calendar for more details.


What are the class hours like?

There are two sessions per day, a morning session (9:00AM to 12:15AM) and an afternoon session (1:15PM to 4:45PM). A session consists of 4 periods, each lasting 45 minutes followed by a 10 minute break.

Each student will study for one full session per day, every day from Monday to Friday, totalling approximately 20 hours of study per week.

Self-study is encouraged, and students will also be given assignments for completion outside of class.

Class Times
Period Morning session Afternoon session
1 09:00AM – 09:45 13:15 – 14:00
2 09:55AM – 10:40 14:10 – 14:55
3 10:50AM – 11:35 15:05 – 15:50
4 11:45AM – 12:30 16:00 – 16:45

What are the class sizes?

Each class has approximately 8 – 15 pupils.

What language would the teacher teach in?

All classes are taught in Japanese only. For beginner classes, some materials used will come with multi-language translations to ease the learning process.

Our teachers are professionally certified, experienced teachers with experience in teaching to Japanese to absolute beginners with no prior Japanese knowledge.

Do I have to take the JLPT?

No, but we encourage it as the JLPT is a world-recognised Japanese-language certification and is used as proof of language proficiency for employment and further education in Japan.

Most universities and colleges also require a minimum of JLPT N2 to qualify.
Most employers in Japan or Japanese companies also expect a minimum proficiency level of JLPT N2.


Do I have to book my accommodation through Matsudo International School?

If you are coming to study on a Student Visa course, then yes, as you are required to stay in school-approved accommodation.

Oversea students on other courses who intend to come on a short term tourist visa do not have to book accommodation through the school, but you may request for our assistance if necessary.

A group of us intend to apply together. Would we be able to live together?

We will attempt to fulfil specific accommodation requests, however accommodation requests are subject to availability. Please give as much advance notice as possible if you do have such requests.

Can I change my accommodation later?

Yes. However, you would have to finish the contract at the current location first, and inform us if your intention 2 months in advance.

Can I be picked up from the airport when I arrive?

Yes we can. We require 14 days of advance notice and a fee of JPY10,000. Please indicate your flight details when you contact us.


Do I have to pay all of my tuition fees at once?

Student Visa course students are required to pay in advance. Students will have to pay for the current year’s tuition fees upfront, and the remaining amount for the remaining year 3 months before the next year begins.

Students on regular courses are to pay monthly, by any of the payment packages stated on the regular courses page.

Can I get a refund if I were to cancel my application?

Yes. For Student Visa applicants, if the course has not commenced, refunds will be issued after deducting the application and registration fees and bank transfer cost. If the course has already commenced, we will be unable to provide refunds.

For Regular Course and Private Lessons, fees for these are non-refundable except for extenuating circumstances such as natural disasters or severe illness, injuries and hospitalisation, for which proof is required.

What payment types do you accept?

Student Visa Course – Bank Transfer / Paypal

Other Courses (Regular, Private etc) – Bank Transfer / Paypal / Cash

Please take note that Paypal payments incur a 3% surcharge


Life in Japan

Isn’t it Expensive to live in Tokyo?

While central Tokyo is one of the most expensive areas in the world to live in, Matsudo International School is located in the Chiba Prefecture, and is much more affordable.

How much will my average expenditure be each month?

You can expect to have the following expenditure per month.

  • Rent – JPY 30,000 -60,000k
  • Utility bills – JPY8,000 – 10,000
  • Food – JPY 15,000 – 30,000

These are approximates based of the average cost of living in Japan. Actual expenditure may differ.

Can I get a mobile phone in Japan?

Students with the student visa will be able to get a mobile phone with a post-paid plan (subscription).
Japan mobile phone companies do not offer pre-paid plans.

If you are on a tourist visa, you will be unable to purchase a mobile phone and subscribe to a post-paid plan as proof of residence is required. However, you can rent a wi-fi data modem, sim card or a mobile phone from rental services such as

Can I open a bank account in Japan?

Yes. During your first week orientation, our staff will assist you in getting ready for for life in Japan, including opening a bank account. Please note that a few banks require at least 6 months of stay in Japan before you can open an account with them.

What about health care while I am in Japan?

All students are required to pay for the National Health Insurance and Student Insurance. Under the scheme, you will be provided with coverage of up to 100%** of the medical bills for all acute conditions and non-cosmetic procedures. Dental care is considered as cosmetic in Japan and is not covered by the scheme.

**Terms and conditions apply.

What are prices like in Japan?

The prices for various items are show in the list below. These prices are the averages and are not exact. They are meant to be used as estimates.

Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant 1,000 10 6 7
Meal, Mid-range Restaurant 3,000 30 18 21
Meal, McDonalds Combo, 650 6.5 3.8 4.6
Soft drink, canned 130 1.3 0.8 0.9
Soft drink, bottled 180 1.8 1.1 1.3
Mineral water 1.5 litre bottle 160 1.6 1 1.1
Savoury snacks 1 bag (potato crisps) 150 1.5 0.9 1
Instant noodles, 1 cup 150 1.5 0.9 1
Instant noodles, 5pack 400 4 2.3 2.8
Rice, white 1kg 500 5 2.92 3.5
Chicken breast, 1kg 900 9 5.3 6.3
Eggs, 12 pack 210 2.1 1.2 1.5
Lettuce, 1 head 200 2 1.2 1.4
Apples, 1kg 500 5 3 3.5
Monthly expenses
Rent, 1 bedroom apartment 60000 600 350 424
Rent, 1 room, apartment share 40000 400 230 283
Utilities (Electricity, Water, Garbage) 7000 70 41 50
Internet, optic fiber 5000 50 29 35
Mobile, basic 3000 30 18 21
Mobile, with unlimited data plan 9000 90 53 64

What should I do when I fall sick?

You should inform your form teacher or the school reception immediately via telephone at 047-389-0901.

If you are not confident in communicating in Japanese, our staff can take you to the nearest clinic as soon as possible.

Please remember to take along your Residency Card, Student Card and National Insurance Card when you visit the clinic, and keep the receipt and any relevant documents after the visit. When you are feeling better, please hand the receipt and relevant documents over  to the school reception and you will be advised on how to claim your medical coverage from the National Insurance.