Moving to Japan with family can be a scary yet exciting journey! It can be very challenging yet worrisome with adapting to a new life in Japan. There are so many new factors and changes that need to be taken into consideration prior to moving to a totally new and different country. For a family, children’s education can be one of the most concerning factors when moving.
There is a wide variety of international schools located around Japan. Most international schools in Japan have English as the main native language in the school. There are also Japanese classes held during the week in the student’s daily curriculum.
As Tokyo is known for having a wide international resident demographic in Japan, most of the top international schools are nestled in this bustling urban city. Choosing an international school for your children is not as intimidating as one might presume. Before we dig into more information regarding international schools in Japan, there are a lot of International Baccalaureate (IB) accredited international schools here in Japan, which focuses beyond simply education, and on strengthening student’s learner profiles (eg, being a risk taker or developing caring social skills).
Let’s go over some of the top 10 International schools in Japan.
- 1. American School in Japan (ASIJ)
- 2. The British School in Tokyo
- 3. Yokohama International School (YIS)
- 4. Tokyo International School (TIS)
- 5. Aoba-Japan International School
- 6. Nishimachi International School
- 7. Seisen International School
- 8. International School of Sacred Heart
- 9. Montessori School of Tokyo
- 10. St. Mary’s International School
- Factors to consider
1. American School in Japan (ASIJ)
First on our list is American School in Japan (ASIJ). As a foreigner working in the education scene here in Japan, ASIJ has been a prominently mentioned international school in Tokyo.
Founded in 1902, this international school boasts more than 100 years of excellence in the education industry in Japan. There are two campus locations: Elementary and High School located in Chofu area and Pre-school located in Roppongi. Pre-school ages are from three to five. The Roppongi campus is also known as the Early Learning Center.
One of the highlights of the Chofu campus is the 570-seat theater. Other features of the Chofu campus includes a Creative Arts Design Center which is fully equipped with fabrication labs and a robotics lab. In addition, this international school has a 25m indoor pool as well (which can be a rare gem in Tokyo). This campus is located slightly outside of the central parts of Tokyo.
ASIJ follows the American curriculum and students graduate with an American High School Diploma. Graduating classes move on to admissions into colleges and universities around the world, not only in America!
The student demographic of ASIJ is very diverse with a large percentage coming from a dual nationality or American background. The school also holds daily Japanese classes in the Elementary school curriculum.
For more information on American School in Japan, please refer here: https://www.asij.ac.jp/
2. The British School in Tokyo
Moving onto the next international school on our list is The British School in Tokyo. Similar to ASIJ, The British School in Tokyo has a long-standing history in academic excellence. Its name is also no stranger in Tokyo.
The British School in Tokyo was founded in 1989 with two campuses: Setagaya for Year 4 to 13 (8 to 18 years old) and Shibuya for Nursery ages to Year 3 (3 to 7 years old).
This school follows the British curriculum. Students graduate following the ICGSE A level Diploma and move onto colleges and universities around the world. Those who are familiar with the British school curriculum will find it comfortable to go with this international school here in Tokyo.
The student demographics compose from more than 60 different nationalities, with more than 1000 students.
For more information regarding The British School in Tokyo, please refer here: https://www.bst.ac.jp/
3. Yokohama International School (YIS)
Yokohama International School (YIS), located in Yokohama, is an International School that has a very high reputation in Japan.
Established in 1924, YIS is one of the oldest pioneers in the international school scene in Japan. Located in Yokohama, the school offers the IB program and is CIS accredited as well. Offering classes from kindergarten up to year 12, with more than 700 students from 54 different nationalities. The school also offers a safe and green campus scenery in a lovely neighborhood in Yokohama.
YIS boasts for its strong sense of community through its Mother Tongue program that teaches student different languages such as Chinese, German, French, and more other than Japanese and English!
For more information about Yokohama International School, please refer here: https://www.yis.ac.jp/
4. Tokyo International School (TIS)
Also no stranger to the international school scene here in Japan is Tokyo International School (TIS).
TIS was founded in 1994 as a pre-school school before moving to the IB scene. TIS recently moved their campus to Minato (central Tokyo) in 2013 and is one of the many IB schools that offer IB curriculum from early childhood education (PYP-Primary Years) all the way to high school years (MYP-Middle Years). TIS is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS).
One of the highlights of TIS is the use of advanced technologies in classes. The use of i-Pads or Macbooks are a compliment to the excellent education service provided to students in their daily learning journeys.
Students graduate and move onto the global world beyond Tokyo. TIS is home to 63 different nationalities from around the world, with majority from America and Japan.
For more information of Tokyo International School, please refer here: https://tokyois.com/
5. Aoba-Japan International School
The next one on our list is Aoba-Japan International School. Founded in 1976 with 40 years of history in the education field.
Aoba-Japan International School has 2 different campuses in Tokyo. The K1 to K3 age groups (4 to 6 year olds) are located at the Meguro campus along with the young learners from the ages of 18 months to 3 years old (two different buildings at the Meguro campus). The Grade 1 to Grade 12 (7 to 18 year olds) are located in Hikarigaoka Campus.
Aoba-Japan International School is also an IB accredited international school in Japan. This school is accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS), and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) with most of the graduates moving unto universities abroad especially in the UK.
The student demographics mainly comprises of Japanese students and is home to 49 different nationalities.
For more information on Aoba-Japan International School, please refer here: https://www.japaninternationalschool.com/
6. Nishimachi International School
Located in the heart of Tokyo, with more than 70 years of history, is Nishimachi International School. Nishimachi International School is one of the first international schools to distinguish itself as bilingual school where English is the main language with daily Japanese classes.
Nishimachi International has a six-building campus size with 3 roof-top play spaces for students to play with. Its’ campus is located Moto Azabu.
Nishimachi International provides students with a complete private camp at Gunma at the rural parts of Japan. Students can visit Gunma to plant rice during rice planting seasons and are even able to return during harvesting seasons to harvest the planted rice. It is a great opportunity for students to learn about the rural parts and lifestyle in Japan beyond the concrete jungle that Tokyo is in.
The curriculum that Nishimachi provides ends at grade 9 (age 15) with students moving on to high school abroad or even in Japan (such as moving to Yokohama International School or ASIJ). This school boasts 100% graduation rate and home to around 470 students from 35 different nationality backgrounds.
For more information on Nishimachi International School, please refer here: https://www.nishimachi.ac.jp/
7. Seisen International School
Taking a different turn from all the previously mentioned international schools is an introduction to an all-girls international school in Tokyo.
Seisen International School was founded in 1962 and is one of the strongest international schools in Japan. It is a Catholic all-girls schools located in Setagaya, Tokyo. It is home to over 650 students comprising of more than 55 different nationalities.
Seisen is also an IB accredited school with 3 IB courses offered from primary years to high school. Similar to most international schools in Japan, Seisen offers the required facilities to students such as science laboratories, media center and music rooms.
Typically, 50% of students move on to universities in North America, with a large percentage moving on to UK or Europe.
For more information about Seisen International School, please refer here: https://www.seisen.com/
8. International School of Sacred Heart
Another all-girls Catholic school that snags one of the top spots in the international school scene in Japan is International School of Sacred Heart.
Founded in 1908, unlike Seisen International School, International School of Sacred Heart has a co-ed Kindergarten class. But from Year 1 (7 years old) to Year 12 (18 years old), it is an all-girls school.
Located in the heart of Tokyo at Shibuya, this school is home to over 500 students from 45 nationalities. The school has a wide variety of clubs for students to participate in. The campus has three art studios, two libraries and a large campus surrounded by greenery, much to the contrary of being surrounded only by high rise buildings in Tokyo. The school regularly holds events outside of school for students to experience a wide variety beyond school curriculum.
For more information on International School of Sacred Heart, please refer here: https://www.issh.ac.jp/
9. Montessori School of Tokyo
Montessori School of Tokyo is currently the only school in Tokyo that still offers to Montessori educational program. Similar to Nishimachi International School, the Montessori educational program is only offered up to Grade 9 (15 years old).
As the school curriculum follows the Montessori program, the classes are very brightly litted and encourages a lot of hands-on learning. Founded in 2003, the school has grown both in size and numbers. The curriculum offered here truly encourages freedom and room for creativity especially among young learners.
It is a great way to start for young children from the Kindy ages on.
For more information on Montessori School of Tokyo, please refer here: https://www.montessorijapan.com/
10. St. Mary’s International School
Switching from an all-girls international school to an all-boys school: St. Mary’s International School is an all-boys school, focusing on the needs of boys.
Founded in 1954, St. Mary’s International School boasts as one of the most prestigious all-boys schools in Tokyo. This school has a nine-acre campus in Setagaya that offers world class facilities to students. This campus was recently renovated in 2010 to a much more ecological approach with solar-powered facilities.
Sports are very much encouraged at St. Mary’s International School and many move on to achieving great accomplishments in the sports world (even making it to the Olympics!) The student demographics comes from more than 50 different nationalities. Curriculum is offered from kindergarten up to year 12, with students moving on to pursuing an undergraduate degree around the world.
For more information about St. Mary’s Internaional School, please refer here: https://www.smis.ac.jp/
Factors to consider
Now that we have gone through some of the top international schools in Japan, there are some factors to take into consideration in choosing the ideal school to go with.
Most international schools offer bus pick-up and drop-off services, which can be very convenient for working parents. It would put your mind at ease with choosing a school that is at a convenient location to your residential area.
Needless to say, money is always a big factor in any decision-making process. Tuition fees vary from school to school, depending on age groups as well. It may cost a lot more to send your children to an international school in Japan.
As mentioned above, most international school are IB accredited or follows each individual curriculum provided. Most accreditations are recognized globally, opening doors to your children’s future. However, it would still be best to take into consideration the accreditation desired and provided by each international school.
In summary, choosing an international school depending on the needs and service provided can be a tricky decision. There are different factors that each play a part in making the absolute decision. There is no one size fits all school for every student’s needs. Depending on the exposure, school size, facility provided, and curriculum taught in class, I hope this list of top international schools in Japan has provided more insights in choosing the right international school that fits your needs.