Japan’s Educational System

The school system in Japan essentially consists of a 6-3-3-4 structure: there are six years of
elementary school, three years of junior high school, three years of high school and four years
of university. Education is compulsory at elementary and junior high schools. Instead of going
on to high school at the age of 15 or 16, some students study at colleges of technology, usually
focusing on marine mercantile studies or engineering. Instead of university, many students study at community colleges or vocational schools.

Japan’s school year begins in April, though to meet the needs of international students, many
English-taught programs start in September or October. Classes are held from Monday to
Friday or Saturday. Each school year is made up of two or three terms, which are separated
by short holidays, usually in December and at the end of March. There is also a six-week-long
summer break.