Fukuoka has 2nd most foreign students in Japan!

Posted on September 20, 2015 | evankirby

Japanese Immigration tell us that from this year, due to a massive increase in the number of students, Fukuoka now has the second highest number of foreign students in Japan, after Tokyo of course. That's right - Fukuoka is proving attractive to more foreign students than Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, or any of Japan's other wonderful cities!
Part of the reason for this is that Fukuoka is a university city, with a stunning 24 universities listed! This is also part of the reason it's Japan's youngest city, with the lowest average age across the whole country.

If you haven't visited yet, it's time to make plans!

Cat Street View

Posted on September 17, 2015 | genkijacs

In what is arguably the best marketing move in the history of the internet, Hiroshima prefecture has teamed with with Google Maps to create a cat's-eye street view of Onomichi, in order to promote tourism to this relatively little-known city. Users can take to the streets of this picturesque town with their new feline friends and explore the interesting alleys, crowded arcades from a whole new perspective.


You can even meet new friends along the way!


Our tour guide, Lala, offers interesting facts about the city, such as information on the ropeway and stores, cafes and locations that are popular with tourists.


She'll also pop up when there are other cats nearby. See if you can spot them all!


Cat Street View even allows you to scale the rooftops and see the city like no human ever has before!


There are currently three main areas of Onomichi mapped out for your exploration pleasure. If you like cats and Japan (and let's be honest, who doesn't?!) you should definitely check this out!


The mountain in the middle of Fukuoka city

Posted on August 31, 2015 | genkijacs

We're willing to bet there are at least a few of our Fukuoka Japanese language students not born in a big city, who miss the greenery and beauty of being out in nature. Ever felt the urge to go for a hike or climb a forested mountain, but couldn't because of the restraints of the city?
Well, we have some good news for you! Did you know that there is a "mountain" in the middle of Fukuoka city?


The ACROSS building in Tenjin is covered by a huge hanging garden. And the best part? You can climb up the side of the building, strolling through a forest almost as good as the real thing!
The ACROSS "mountain" is about 60m high and consists of 809 steps spread over 16 floors. That's a lot of stairs! But the view from the top makes it absolutely worth it.



The highest platform is only open on weekends and public holidays, from 10AM to 4PM, and the mountain itself has restricted opening hours that differ from season to season, so make sure to check the opening times before you go!

Genki Japanese Schools shortlisted as one of world's star language schools!

Posted on July 29, 2015 | evankirby

Best Japanese school award

We've done it again! For the 7th year in a row, we've been shortlisted by popular vote as one of the world's top language schools (not just Japanese schools!) at Study Travel Magazine's yearly industry Star Awards, the language school equivalent of the Oscars. Thanks to everyone who voted for us this year again! It's an incredible honor, especially in such a big year for us.
In the last 12 months, our Tokyo school almost doubled in suze, our Fukuoka school moved to a new six-floor(!) building, and we began the process of applying for Japanese government accreditation. We're so happy that everyone who voted for us felt we were doing a good job this year too. The Japanese language school industry is a wonderful one to be a part of, and we've worked hard to bring international school standards to Japan too.
The awards ceremony will be held in London in September, so we won't find out if we actually won the award until then. Wish us luck, and stay tuned for an even more exciting 2016 and beyond!

Studying Japanese on a Working Holiday visa

Posted on July 13, 2015 | evankirby

Keen followers of our Japanese school may already know that we are currently going through the Japanese government's accreditation process for Japanese language schools. If we become an accredited Japanese school, we will finally be able to provide student visas! However, the earliest this could happen is April 2016, if everything goes smoothly.
Until then, the best way to study Japanese long-term with us is on a working holiday visa.

As of July 2015, the working holiday visa is available for people from these countries to come to Japan:
- Australia
- New Zealand
- Canada
- Republic of Korea
- France
- Germany
- United Kingdom
- Ireland
- Denmark
- Taiwan
- Hong Kong
- Norway
- Portugal
- Poland

This visa is very easy to apply for, and is also very flexible, as it allows you to study or work freely (or do neither!) while you are in Japan. Generally anyone between 18 and 30 can apply for it, and it allows the bearer to stay in Japan for up to a year in total.
One common way that people use it to study Japanese with us is to study for the first six months, then find a job for the remaining six months. The Japanese embassies in some countries recommend people to apply for a student visa if you plan to study for a long time, but in other countries they recommend the working holiday visa, so it seems to depend on the specific staff member, to some extent. We have had quite a few students from various countries study with us for up to a year on the working holiday visa, so if you are from one of the countries in the list above, it could be a great and easy option for you! For details, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or your nearest Japanese embassy.

Oharai at our new Japanese language school building

Posted on June 11, 2015 | evankirby

Before we began classes at our new Japanese school building in Fukuoka, we asked a shinto priest to come and perform an 御祓 (oharai) spiritual cleansing ceremony. This is often done for buildings, and also for people and things too.

oharai at Japanese school

The ceremony took about twenty minutes. Staff stayed to listen, and the effect of the chanting was quite hypnotic - some staff felt a little dizzy partway through!

Video of part of the ceremony is here:

Summer Japanese class availability in Tokyo and Fukuoka

Posted on June 02, 2015 | evankirby

An update on Summer Japanese class availability.
Our Japanese schools are now fully booked for most of summer.
Unavailable periods are as follows:
Fukuoka Japanese school: no availability from July 6 to August 7
Tokyo Japanese school: no availability from July 6 to August 14

We're very sorry to all the people who we couldn't take in this year.
There is still some availability for courses starting the middle of August or later - book early to guarantee yourself a place!

The Japanese custom of giving flowers to newly opened businesses

Posted on June 01, 2015 | evankirby

It's a tradition in Japan that when a company opens, or moves to a new office, the companies they work closely with will send flower bouquets or potted plants as a congratulation present. The closer the connection, the bigger the bouquet. Sometimes this can mean new businesses end up looking like a flower shop, for example this French bakery:
Bakery with flower bouquets

When our Fukuoka Japanese school moved into its new building last month, some of the companies we work with, as well as our host families and other people, were kind enough to send us some beautiful flowers and plants, which helped to create a lovely image for the new school, to greet new students on the first day of classes.

Here, for example, are the flowers we received from Homestay In Japan, who have helped us with our homestay placements in Tokyo since we opened our Tokyo Japanese school two years ago, as well as those from Revibe, who help arrange events for our students, and RMG, who arrange apartments.
Flowers at Genki Japanese School

And an amazing set of white orchids, 胡蝶蘭 (kochouran):
White orchids at Genki Japanese School

Thank you to everyone who gave us such beautiful flowers! We look forward to the next 10 years and more in our new building.
More flowers

AiiA theatre - 2.5-dimensional musical paradise

Posted on June 01, 2015 | genkijacs

Have you ever heard of a "2.5-Dimensional Musical"? This is one of the latest trends to come out of Japan, and the world-wide success of this phenomena should come as no surprise when you hear what it's about: specialized musical adaptions of manga and anime. (2-dimensional media presented on a 3-dimensional stage... 2.5 dimensions!)
Which of us, when watching Prince of Tennis, hasn't thought, "You know what this show needs? A dance-off."

Yes. Now you, too, can experience the magic of a Naruto and Sasuke duet.


These musicals have become so popular that a theatre dedicated entirely just to them opened in Tokyo this year. The AiiA theatre in Shibyua runs shows on a regular schedule, and has gained so much popularity with foreign tourists that they opened an English language webpage, including capabilities to purchase show tickets from outside Japan.

They have also recently introduced futuristic-looking headsets that display subtitles for the play in your chosen language.

(They actually look pretty great! Supporters of a live-action Naruto movie should make sure to check this out while it's running....)

Photos of our new Fukuoka school building!

Posted on May 20, 2015 | evankirby

Exactly two weeks after we moved in, we finally have some photos of our new Fukuoka Japanese school building for you! We'll be having professional photos taken in a week or so, but until then, these should give you a taste of the new and improved facilities here in Fukuoka City

New Japanese school building

Building from the front


Entrance hall

Student lounge

Student lounge

Reception and office

Library and meeting room

Japanese room


Another classroom

Yet another classroom

One more classroom

So many classrooms

Seriously guys I think we might have too many classrooms here

Alright that's it, you're just going to have to imagine what all the other classrooms look like because I'm done.