Updated September 5, 2023

Your Guide to International Schools in Japan


Japan Dev Team

Japan Dev contributor

The Japanese education system ranks as one of the best in the world.

And even though there are free public schools, some opt for private or international schools. That means expats staying in the country have plenty of options when it comes to education for their kids.

If you’re unsure about where to start with your school hunt, this guide is for you.

What is an International School?

First let's get this out of the way: Not all private schools are international schools.

The International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) defines an international school as an educational body with:

  • Transferability of students’ education across international schools
  • A moving population (higher than in national public schools)
  • A multinational and multilingual student body
  • An international curriculum
  • International accreditation, such as from CIS, IBO, North Eastern ASC, Western Ass. of Schools and colleges
  • A transient and multinational teacher population
  • Non-selective student enrollment
  • English or bi-lingual as the language of instruction

International School Curriculum

Pre-school and Primary School Curriculum

There are two types of curricula for younger children.

You can enroll your child in a school where the curriculum is determined by the country the school is affiliated with. For example, you can enroll your kids in an international school that follows the American educational system if you plan to go back to the States after five or six months.

Otherwise, you can enroll them in a school where the curriculum is determined by an ideology or method of teaching, like Montessori or Waldorf.


Secondary School Curriculum

The most popular options are the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), both of which are recognized in over 140 countries.


Does Japan have International Schools?

So what's the status of international schools in Japan? Don't worry, there are many international schools in Japan.

If you're interested in enrolling your children in an international school here in Japan, then you'll have plenty of options.

As one of the world's largest metropolitan areas, Tokyo especially has a wide variety of choices for international schools. They offer schooling in a wide variety of languages and various curricula and formats.

Let's take a closer look at some of the top international schools in Tokyo, then we'll expand to schools in other cities in Japan.

International Schools in Tokyo

Here are just some of the best international schools in Tokyo.

International School of the Sacred Heart

  • Address: 4-3-1 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0012
  • Telephone: +81-3-3400-3951
  • Fax: +81-3-3400-3496
  • Email: [email protected]

The International School of the Sacred Heart is an all-girls Catholic school founded by religious sisters from the Society of the Sacred Heart, which was originally from France. The goal of this educational institution is to “prepare women from many countries and faiths for global citizenship.”

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Tuition Fees (annual)
Kindergarten K3-K4 ¥1,990,000
Kindergarten K5 ¥2,090,000
Grades 1-8 ¥2,170,000
Grades 9-11 ¥2,190,000
Grade 12 ¥2,260,000
School Fees
Application Fee (per applicant, to be paid at the time of application) ¥20,000 (non-refundable)
Registration Fee (per student) ¥300,000 (non-refundable, one-time fee)
Educational & Building Development Fee (per student) ¥600,000 (non-refundable, one-time fee)
Building/Maintenance Fee (per student) ¥100,000 (non-refundable annual fee)

K. International School Tokyo (KIST)

  • Address: 1-5-15 Shirakawa, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0021
  • Telephone: if outside Japan, +81-3-3642-9993 (English); +81-3-3642-9992 (Japanese); if within Japan, 03-3642-9993 (English); 03-3642-9992 (Japanese)
  • Fax: if outside Japan, +81-3-3642-9994; if within Japan, 03-3642-9994
  • Email: [email protected]

KIST started from sincere and humble beginnings of wanting to provide a venue for children of different backgrounds and races. Over time, it has become an educational institution where students of different nationalities and financial standing can enter and hone their academic skills to become employable after schooling.

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Type of fee Grades Amount When Paid
Application Fee Non- refundable All grades ¥20,000 Upon application
Enrollment Fee ¥300,000 (Re-enrollments: ¥60,000) When first admitted to KIST
Capital Fee ¥600,000 (Re-enrollments: ¥120,000)
Tuition Fee ¥2,150,000 Annual
Building Maintenance Fee ¥100,000
Community Association (CA) Fee (per family) ¥2,000
IB Diploma Examination Fee Grade 12 only ¥160,000 September 15: 80,000 December 15: 80,000
IGCSE Examination Fee Grades 9 and 10 only Amount varies With first payment installment
iPrimary Examination Fee Grade 5 only
iLowerSecondary Examination Fee Grade 8 only
ISA Examination Fee Grade 3 - Grade 9 only
Camp Fee Grades 5, 7, 9 and 11 only Amount varies
Program Progression Fee Grades 1, 6, 9 and 11 only ¥3,000

KIST also offers a scholarship program for academically gifted students who require 100% tuition coverage and housing arrangements (if necessary).

Seisen International School

  • Address: 12-15 Yoga 1-chome, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-0097
  • Telephone: 03-3704-2661
  • Fax: 03-3701-1033
  • Email: [email protected]

Seisen International School is a Catholic International school that nonetheless opens its doors to students of different faiths and nationalities. The curricula it offers are Montessori and IB Primary Years Program in the pre-school, IB Primary Years Program (PYP) in elementary, IB Middle Years Program (MPY) in grades 6- 10, and IB Diploma Program (DP) in high school.

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Application Fees
Initial Fees
Registration Fee ¥300,000
Land and Building Development Fee ¥500,000
Annual Fees
Building Maintenance ¥100,000
Kindergarten Half-Day ¥1,150,000
Kindergarten Full Day ¥2,030,000
Tuition Elementary (Grades 1-5) ¥2,150,000
Middle School (Grades 6-8) ¥2,170,000
High School (Grades 9-12) ¥2,170,000
Additional Fees
IB Exams (per subject) ¥20,000
School Bus One Way: ¥170,000
Both Ways: ¥300,000
School Trip Depends on location but can range from ¥30,000 to ¥65,000

Expect to pay additional fees for school lunch and accident insurance, as well as the graduation fee for Grade 12 students.

That said, scholarship is available to students whose parents are enjoined in the Corporate Contribution Plan

Aoba-Japan International School

Hikarigaoka Campus

  • Address: 7-5-1 Hikarigaoka, Nerima-ku, Tokyo 179-0072
  • Phone: 03-4578-8832

Meguro Campus

  • Address: 2-11-5 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042
  • Phone: 03-4520-2313
  • Fax: 03-5456-1800

Bunkyo Campus

  • Address: 6-18-23 Honkomagome Bunkyo-ku Tokyo 113-0021
  • Phone: 03-4560-3422

The Aoba International school is accredited by the Council of International (CIS) and the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). It is also a member of the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS) and the East Asian Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS).

As an IB World School, it offers PYP (K2 to Grade 5), MYP (Grades 6 to 10), senior school (Grades 11 to 12), as well as a Global Leadership Diploma. Its vision is to ensure a safe environment for its learners to complete rigorous international education in order to create “globally-minded, compassionate, collaborative students who are inspired to learn, take risks and lead change in the world.”

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Application Fee (new students only)
Registration Fee (new students only)
Tuition Fees
Kindergarten K2 ¥1,652,000
Kindergarten K3-K5 ¥1,859,000
Grades 1-5 ¥2,168,000
Grade 6 ¥2,363,000
Grades 7-10 ¥2,463,000
Grades 11-12 ¥2,414,000
Online GLD (Global Leadership Diploma) ¥1,500,000
Additional Fees
Building Development Fee (new students only) ¥302,000
Building Maintenance Fee ¥154,000
Family Community Membership Fee ¥12,500
EAL (English as an Additional Language) Support Program ¥485,000
Tuition Sibling Discount -10%

American International School in Japan (ASIJ)

Early Learning Center - Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten

  • Address: 6-16-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo 106-0032
  • Phone: (+81) 03-5771-4344
  • Fax: 03-5771-4341
  • Email: [email protected]

Chofu Campus

  • Address: 1-1-1 Nomizu, Chofu-shi Tokyo 182-0031
  • Phone: (+81) 0422-34-5300
  • Fax: 0422-34-5304
  • Email: [email protected]

Dubbed as Tokyo’s leading international school, the American School in Japan has a very long history dating back from 1902. It offers students from different backgrounds success in STEM, arts, athletics, and even service. It offers creative learning spaces for students to reach their full potential.

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Application Fee (one-time)
Registration Fee (one-time)
Building Maintenance Fee (one-time)
Tuition Fees (annual)
Nursery to Pre-Kindergarten ¥2,635,000
Kindergarten-Grade 5 ¥2,680,000
Grades 6-8 ¥2,783,000
Grades 9-12 ¥2,830,000
Other Expenses
Capital Assessment (annual, non-refundable) ¥250,000
School Bus (Chofu Campus), if desired ¥350,000

On top of that, expect to pay for food services and travel programs.

International Schools Outside Tokyo

Here are just some options for international schools outside Tokyo:

Horizon Japan International School (HJIS)

  • Address: 1-24 Ono-cho Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 221-0055, Japan
  • Telephone: +81-45-624-8717

HJIS is an international school just outside Tokyo. It has received accreditation from the Council of International Schools (CIS), the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, USA (WASC), and the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).

It follows IB curriculum — PYP (Kindergarten-Grade 5), MYP (Grades 6-10), and DP (Grades 11-12) — and follows an inquiry-based approach to teaching.

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Application Fee (one-time)
Registration fee (one-time)
Total Tuition Fee Amount When Paid
Early Years (pre-school, pre-kinder, kindergarten) ¥1,600,00 ¥640,000 1st Payment (Due July 20)
¥480,000 2nd Payment (Due Nov 20)
¥480,000 3rd Payment (Due Feb 20)
Primary School (Grades 1-5) ¥1,750,000 ¥700,000 1st Payment (Due July 20)
¥525,000 2nd Payment (Due Nov 20)
¥525,000 3rd Payment (Due Feb 20)
Secondary School (Grades 6-12) ¥1,900,000 ¥760,000 1st Payment (Due July 20)
¥570,000 2nd Payment (Due Nov 20)
¥570,000 3rd Payment (Due Feb 20)
Maintenance Fee
¥200,000 ¥80,000 1st Payment (Due July 20)
¥60,000 2nd Payment (Due Nov 20)
¥60,000 3rd Payment (Due Feb 20)
Additional Fees
EAL Support Fee (if required) ¥300,000
Learning Support Fee (if required) ¥300,000
IB Programme Fee (Grades 11-12) ¥150,000

Scholarships are available to students whose parents are in the school’s Corporate Contribution Plan.

Makuhari International School (MIS)

  • Address: 3-2-9 Wakaba,Mihama-ku, Chiba City, Chiba
  • Telephone: (043)-296-0277
  • Fax: (043)-296-0186
  • Email: [email protected]

The Makuhari International School was accredited by the Council of International Schools (CIS) in 2017. It is recognized by the Ministry of Education in Japan and is a member of the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS).

MIS follows Japanese curriculum but supplements it with other curricula. Particular interest is given to English and Math, and Social Studies in Grades 5 and 6 are taught in both English and Japanese.

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Entrance Fee (one-time)
Maintenance Fee (one-time)
Tuition Fees (annual)
Kindergarten K1-K3 ¥1,200,000 (paid in three installments during the first year)
Grades 1-6 ¥1,500,000 (paid in three installments during the first year)

Columbia International School

  • Address: 153 Matsugo Tokorozawa Saitama, Japan 359-0027
  • Telephone: +81-4-2946-1911
  • Fax: +81-4-2946-1955
  • Email: [email protected]

Columbia International School is a member of the Japan Council of International Schools and is accredited by the Japanese Board of Education and the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Its mission is to equip students with the skills to become ready for English-speaking universities and the international scene through social awareness and respect for achievement. Using the Ontario Curriculum, this international school has sent students to universities in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and others.

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Entrance Fee (first year only)
Tuition Fees (annual)
Kindergarten ¥1,612,500 (¥558,500 per term)
Elementary ¥1,650,000 (¥571,000 per term)
Junior ¥1,725,000 (¥596,000 per term)
High School ¥1,725,000 (¥596,000 per term)
Other Fees
PTSA Fee (per family) ¥12,000 per academic year
Lunch Fee (per term) Kindergarten ¥109,800 (¥36,600 per term)
Elementary to High School ¥120,600 (¥40,200 per term)
Entrance Donation (discretionary) ¥200,000 per set
Facility Fee ¥420,000
Maintenance Fee ¥150,000 (¥60,000 per term)
Textbook Deposit ¥20,000 (refundable upon withdrawal)

Hokkaido International School (HIS)

  • Address: 1-55, 5 jo 19 chome Hiragishi, Toyohira-Ku Sapporo, Japan 062-0935
  • Telephone: (+81) 11-816-5000
  • Email: [email protected]

The Hokkaido International School (HIS) does not only value academic excellence but also character development and global engagement through mindful leadership and learning. Aside from core subjects, students also engage in music and experiential or outdoor education.

HIS follows multi-age instruction in which different age groups are allowed in grade levels so that students can be challenged. From Kindergarten to Grade 5 and High School (Grades 9-10 and 11-12), multi-age instruction is in two-year bands; while from Middle School (Grades 6-8), it is in three-year bands. In secondary school, classes are categorized into Honors, Standard, and Developing.

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Application Fee (one-time)
¥15,000 (to be paid at interview)
Entrance Fee (one-time)
Tuition Fees Annual Payment Quarterly Payments
Pre-school (half day) ¥850,000 ¥212,500 x 4
Pre-school (full day) ¥1,240,000 ¥310,000 x 4
Kindergarten-Grade 5 ¥1,360,000 ¥340,000 x 4
Middle School (Grades 6-8) ¥1,390,000 ¥347,500 x 4
High School (Grades 9-12) ¥1,440,000 ¥360,000 x 4
Other Fees (annual)
All students ¥200,000 ¥50,000 x 4
Insurance ¥5,000 (required)
PTA ¥5,000
Device Management Fee ¥15,000 (yearly, nonrefundable)
Outdoor Ed. Course Lab Fee (Elective Class) ¥10,000
Instrument Fee (Band/Instrumental Elective) ¥15,000 (yearly, nonrefundable)

Tohoku International School (TIS)

  • Address: Izumi-ku Yakata 7-101-1 Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture 981-3214 Japan
  • Telephone: 022-348-2468

The Tohoku International School (TIS) developed learning goals called the 5 STARS, which serve as the backbone of its education. These stars aim to make students knowledgeable, risk-taking, open-minded, responsible, and communicative.

TIS has accreditations from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Japanese Ministry of Education. It is also a member of the East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS) and the Japan Council of International Schools (JCIS).

Tuition and school fees are as follows:

Administrative Fee (one-time)
Entrance Fee (one-time)
Tuition Fees (annual)
Kindergarten ¥1,200,000 (paid in three installments during the first year)
Grades 1-8
Grades 9-12 ¥1,500,000 (paid in three installments during the first year)

Are International Schools in Japan expensive?

Now that you’ve landed your dream job in Japan — perhaps thanks to our interview tips — and you’ve calculated your cost of living here, it’s time you factor in the expenses of your family.

So how much do international school tuition fees cost?

First of all, **private schools in Japan are already quite expensive – they cost an average of JPY 2,000,000 (roughly $18,000) per year. And that's not including uniforms, the randoseru backpacks, and other school materials.

International schools, on the other hand, can range from JPY 1,500,000 (roughly $13,000) to as high as JPY 3,000,000 (roughly $28,000) per year. That’s up to six times as much as public school tuition fees.

So yes, you should expect to pay significantly more to enroll your children in an international school in Japan.

Pros and Cons of Enrolling in International Schools

Now, don’t let those figures faze you. Let’s be more logical and think about the benefits (or drawbacks) in the long term.


  • Gain credits recognizable in other countries should you move
  • Be proficient in another language apart from your mother tongue
  • Learn about another culture
  • Have an opportunity to travel other countries
  • Experience more extracurricular activities than regular schools
  • Gain friends from different cultures
  • Better opportunities for employment


  • Pay more
  • May hinder oneself from immersing in the local culture
  • Expose oneself to alienation in terms of social class
  • Leave friends behind should you move

If you have kids, you don’t need to worry about their education when you move to Japan. Though getting into an international school is costly, there are still more advantages to doing it than not doing it. However, that’s still your call.

Ultimately, there are many international schools available in Japan; you can be spoiled for choices. Now that you’ve finished this guide, it’s time to make a decision. Best of luck to you!


Japan Dev Team

This post was written by our Japan Dev editorial team.