Studying in Japan for a Year in 2024: Your Ultimate Guide

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A person wearing a backpack looking at a Japanese town from afar.

If you’ve dreamed of living and studying in Japan for a year in 2024 but are unsure of where to begin, worry not! We have put together all the essential information needed to guide you through the process before coming to Japan. From finding the perfect school, when to apply, deadlines, necessary document preparation, and student visa application, here’s an overview of everything you need to know!
For completely free and personal assistance through the entire process of the language school application use the contact form to get in touch with one of Go! Go! Nihon’s student coordinators, we offer support in seven different languages.

Timeline for studying in Japan for a year in 2024

Graphic of timeline for studying in Japan for a year in 2024.

The timeline in this guide will follow the process to follow before living and studying in Japan for a year starting sometime in 2024. If you’re curious about studying for a shorter (3 months, 6 months) or longer (up to 24 months) period, check out our article on different Japanese language school terms.

There are four intake terms that will allow you to study for a year or more in Japan

  • January start – final application deadline is the end of August 2023.
  • April start – final application deadline is the end of October 2023. 
  • July start – final application deadline is the end of January 2024.
  • October start – final application deadline is the end of April 2024.

Please note that not all language schools offer all four intake terms. Some schools may only have intake terms once or twice a year.

12 – 6 months before: Find your Japanese language school

The first and arguably most important step before studying in Japan for a year in 2024 is finding the perfect school. Discover and learn more about different Japanese language institutions across the country by checking out our school partners

Once you’ve found a school that interests you, reach out. Go! Go! Nihon will help select the best school based on your personal needs and study goals. 

9 months before: Study 150 hours of Japanese language

Japanese immigration now requires specific individuals to have studied 150+ hours in an official Japanese language school or passed any Japanese language proficiency test, JLPT level. Self-study may be acceptable with specified materials. We offer a 12-week beginner course and a pre-intermediate online course created with the famous language school, Akamonkai to help satisfy those requirements.

Confirm with a Go! Go! Nihon coordinator whether or not the 150-hour study requirement applies to you.

Application process timeline

While the process of studying in Japan for a year in 2024 at a language school may seem daunting, Go! Go! Nihon has a unique online application platform that helps students keep track of their applications in one secure place, so you do not have to manage everything on your own.

7 – 5 months before: secure your spot

To secure a spot and begin studying in Japan for a year in 2024, you will need to pay the school’s application fee. This should be done as soon as possible to avoid missing the chance to attend your dream school. Unfortunately, language schools have a limited number of spots for students each term, and these spots can fill up rapidly. Therefore, starting this process sooner is advisable for a better chance to get a spot.

Submit documents

While each application varies and required documents depend on the school and immigration, there are a few things everyone needs to prepare to study for a year in Japan in 2024. These include:

  • Completed school application
  • Passport-style profile picture
  • Copy of passport ID page
  • Copy of high school diploma (or proof of having completed 12 years of education)
  • Letter of financial guarantor (*not applicable to all schools)
  • Recent bank statement with at least 1,000,000 yen equivalent
  • You, or your sponsor’s, recent tax return

In general, students need around two weeks to collect all the documents and send them to Go! Go! Nihon. However, immigration may request more information from students after review, so we recommend sending these about seven months before your start date. The school will submit the visa application to immigration after paying the application fee and compiling the above documents.

Person holding a Go! Go! Nihon visa application School Accommodation catalogue.

3 – 2 months before: Tuition, flights, and accommodation

Pay your tuition:
Go! Go! Nihon staff will send you the full tuition fee invoice issued by the school. Once you receive the invoice, make the tuition payment right away to complete the enrollment procedure. Until this step is done, it is impossible to move on with the visa process. The Go! Go! Nihon team will then confirm the payment.

Book a flight:
The next step is to book a plane ticket. While it may seem illogical to purchase a plane ticket before receiving the visa, making sure you have secured an affordable ticket for the exact date you want to arrive will make the process of coming to Japan a lot smoother. That being said, you should get a ticket with a flexible cancellation policy to better help you navigate the visa process.

We recommend aiming to arrive 2-4 days before school starts. Because the student visa is valid upon arrival in Japan and linked to the school term, if you arrive before school starts, you may not be able to stay in Japan until the end of the course. Every school has different rules about arrivals, so it’s best to confirm with the school you’ll be attending about their policies beforehand. We know this step is a bit tricky so Go! Go! Nihon is always here to help, ask us for advice at any time.

Find a place to stay:
After booking a ticket and knowing your arrival date, make sure to figure out and arrange your housing situation.  Go! Go! Nihon partners with a wide selection of partners with different accommodation options all over the country, so you can find the perfect living space.

1 month before: Get your student visa

After submitting the application and the tuition fee has been paid in full, it’s time to wait for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). You will need to take the COE to a local Japanese embassy or consulate. The embassy will need this document to issue the student visa. Keep in mind that depending on how busy your local embassy is, it can take a while for the visa to be processed.

To convert the COE to a student visa, you need:

  • The COE
  • A good quality and recent portrait photo
  • Your passport
  • Visa application form
  • School guarantor information – our team will share this with you if you apply through Go! Go! Nihon

Once you’ve received your passport with a student visa inside from the embassy, it’s time to start packing and getting ready to study in Japan for a year in 2024!

3 – 2 weeks before: Pack it up

By now you should have the student visa, school tuition should be confirmed, and accommodation booked. It’s time to pack up and get ready to start studying in Japan for a year in 2024! We have a full packing list recommendation that might be helpful.

Stay up to date with Japan

For any questions about the school or student visa application procedure or to get started, contact Go! Go! Nihon staff today. We will assist you during the whole process, and want to welcome you to Japan in 2024!

To read more about Japanese culture, make sure to follow our blog where we cover everything you need to know about Japan!

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