If you’re applying to study Japanese in Japan, you might have come across a 150 hour study requirement. At the moment, this requirement isn’t enforced across the board and depends on the school and other factors. However, there is a possibility more schools will require it, for some or all cases of students applying for a visa in the future.
Read more about the 150 hour study requirement for Japanese language schools in Japan and how you might be affected, particularly if you are a beginner student.
What is the 150 hour study requirement?
This is a requirement brought in by Japanese immigration and enforced on some groups of people who apply to study Japanese in Japan. These include those who haven’t finished high school since most Japanese language schools require students to have a high school diploma. It also includes applicants who are older than 30 years old and also students who graduated more than five years ago.
Sometimes schools enforce this requirement for all applicants and other times, it’s the country you’re coming from that enforces it.
In any case, the requirement refers to 150 hours or more in an official Japanese language school program, or to have passed any level of the JLPT exam. Depending on the situation or the school, self-study can sometimes be accepted as long as they specify the materials used, etc. In most situations, students will need to have a certificate verifying their studies by the school.
For students who studied Japanese language at a university or college, the usual requirement is for the educational institute to issue a letter stating how many hours the student has spent in class studying Japanese language.
An option for prospective students who need to complete the 150 hour study requirement before they can study Japanese in Japan is our 12-week beginner course and our pre-intermediate online course.
These courses were created in partnership with one of our language school partners, Akamonkai, which is the largest Japanese language school in Tokyo. It’s taught by actual teachers from the school and it’s designed to take you from total beginner to JLPT N5 and N4-equivalent. At the end of it you can receive a certificate from the school verifying that you have completed the courses.
You can find more information about language requirements here – please note it is in Japanese only. In summary, it says JLPT N5 or a certificate of studies that shows the number of hours and method of study are acceptable to prove you have studied the requisite amount.
Does that mean I can’t study Japanese as a complete beginner?
All the language schools we work with have beginner language courses and are experienced with teaching people without a background in Japanese.
However, all our schools recommend that students have at least some basic hiragana and katakana knowledge by the time they start class. Some also ask as part of the visa process that students start studying the basics of the language before they arrive.
We recommend students self-study the basics of the language before arriving in Japan. Knowing the basic writing systems will help tremendously when you start school, so you don’t have to spend as much time learning the bare basics of the language.
For some basic language articles and tips on learning Japanese, see the articles on our blog.
As mentioned, some schools do enforce a 150 hour study requirement in order for applicants to get their Japanese student visa. If you fall into this category and apply with Go! Go! Nihon, our team will advise you of your best option to fulfil this requirement.
This is one of the reasons why it’s crucial to plan ahead when applying for Japanese language school in Japan. Most applications to study start between 12 to 6 months before your chosen study term. But if you’re required to complete the 150 hour study requirement first, then this might set you back a bit.
Read our article to get more of an understanding on the school and student visa application timeline.
As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any queries.