Fukuoka to start entrepreneur visa system!

Posted on November 23, 2015 | evankirby

Fukuoka City tokku

Fukuoka City was selected as one of the 国家戦略特区 (kokka senryaku tokku, National Strategic Special Zone) areas for Japan. This means the local government is allowed to apply for special local exemptions or changes to national law.

Fukuoka City is using this system to set up a "Startup Visa" system. Under this system, foreigners living either inside or outside of Japan can submit their plan for setting up a new business to Fukuoka City. If the city approves their business plan, they are given a 6-month visa to set up the company. Unlike a tourist visa or visa waiver, this allows the person to work and receive money, and also to make long-term contracts. They can also use the Tenjin Startup Cafe, as well as other facilities and services the city provides for new businesses. Before the 6-month visa expires, if the person wants to continue their business, they can then apply for the standard entrepreneur visa.

The system hasn't started as of this writing, but is expected to be made public before the end of 2015. We'll have more details when it is, but until then, better start writing your business plans, saving your money, and of course learning Japanese with the best Japanese language school we know!

Only a few days left to apply for our One Year of Free Japanese Study competition!

Posted on November 07, 2015 | evankirby

Free Japanese study

As you know, to celebrate our new government accreditation, we're currently running a competition to give away an entire year of intensive Japanese study completely free to one lucky person! The deadline is this Thursday the 12th of November, Japan time, so there are only a few days left to enter!
Additionally, the Japanese government has agreed that our Western students should be exempt from the student visa 150-hour Japanese study requirement. This means that even more people than before are eligible for this competition!

Here's the competition entry page. Good luck, everyone...

Free Japanese Study Competition Video

Posted on October 28, 2015 | evankirby

Liza and Evan made a quick video explaining a bit about our Year of Free Study Competition. If you're not sure what to talk about in your video and you have 3 minutes to spare, give it a watch!

Don't forget to enter the competition afterwards - not long left till we choose a winner!

Incredible Competition: Win One Year of Free Study!

Posted on October 23, 2015 | evankirby

One year of free study in Japan

Following on from the huge news yesterday that GenkiJACS Fukuoka has become the newest government-accredited school in Japan, today we have this announcement:

GenkiJACS is offering one lucky lucky person a full year of intensive Japanese study at our Fukuoka Japanese school!

This nearly unbelievable offer is only open until November 12, so get your entries in quick. One randomly selected entrant will be coming to Japan in April or October 2016 to study on our long-term student visa course. You'll still need to pay for your airfare, accommodation and living expenses, but you'll never have to worry about tuition!

It's a video competition, so to enter you'll need to upload a video of yourself to Youtube, but we've tried to make it as easy as possible for you. Click here for all competition details, and to enter.

Hope we'll see you in Japan soon!

GenkiJACS is newest accredited Japanese school!

Posted on October 23, 2015 | evankirby

Possibly the biggest news in our 10 years of existence: As of October 23, 2015, Genki Japanese School became the newest fully accredited Japanese language school in Japan!

This has been planned for a long time, so we're incredibly happy to finally see those plans come to fruition. The Japanese government's accreditation process for Japanese schools is slow, tough, detailed and often quite frustrating (sorry, Japanese government!). For example, schools are required to own the school building (no rentals allowed). This is the reason that we bought a 6-floor building in Fukuoka last year, and moved into it this May.

The reward for completing the accreditation process is that now, GenkiJACS can provide student visas to all qualified applicants who book to study for a year with us. This is awesome for two reasons:
1) People who previously could only study with us for short periods can now come for a full year. Citizens of most countries can stay in Japan for up to 6 months on a visa waiver, but anything longer than 6 months requires a formal long-term visa such as the student visa.
2) People studying on the student visa can receive lots of discounts such as cheap health insurance, travel, cell phone contracts and more!

It's important to note that for now, this accreditation only relates to our Fukuoka school, not Tokyo. This is because we don't own the school building in Tokyo. So, we can only provide student visas for long-term study in Fukuoka.

There is more information about the long-term course that is eligible for the student visa here.

There is more info about visas, including the student visas, here.

The official student visa application deadline is the 20th of November, but if we fill up before then, we will be stopping applications. Places on the student visa course starting in April are very limited, so if you're planning to study with us then, we recommend booking as early as possible. See you in Fukuoka in 2016!

Japan's 72 Seasons

Posted on October 21, 2015 | evankirby

We often say that to learn the Japanese language well, you also need to learn the culture, because the two are deeply intertwined. Here's one more example of that, with a full list of the 72 seasons of Japan, courtsey of Nippon.com! These seasons were originally taken from China, then adapted to Japan in the 1600s. Today is "Crickets chirp around the door" season, although we haven't seen many around our Japanese language schools in Tokyo and Fukuoka...

Our current favorite is probably June 11-15, "Rotten grass becomes fireflies". They are all based in nature, which makes sense for tracking the seasons, of course, but doesn't always work so well these days with climate change and urbanization. Perhaps we need to update the list - "September 17-20: Otaku swarm to Tokyo for the annual Tokyo Game Show", anyone?

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!