Summer Japanese class availability in Tokyo and Fukuoka

Posted on May 10, 2016 | evankirby

Every year, our summer courses are extremely popular, and we always have to disappoint some students who wanted to study with us. This year is no exception, and we've already had to limit new bookings. We currently cannot take new bookings as below:

Fukuoka: no bookings for less than 5 weeks between July 4 and August 12.
Tokyo: no bookings for less than 5 weeks during July

We sincerely apologize to everyone disappointed by this. We expanded capacity at both Tokyo and Fukuoka schools this year by approximately 20%, but the increase in student numbers is even higher. If at all possible, we recommend adjusting your study plans to come outside of the busy summer season, when the school will be quieter, and average class sizes smaller.

If you'd like to ask us a question, just send us an email and we'll do whatever we can to help!

Earthquake in Kumamoto

Posted on April 15, 2016 | evankirby

The earthquake yesterday (April 14, 2016) in Kumamoto Prefecture in Southern Japan caused quite a bit of injury and damage, but thankfully there was no effect at our Fukuoka school. All students and staff are of course safe, and lessons are being held as normal.
If you'd like to make a donation to the victims of the earthquake, we recommend the Japanese Red Cross, who do great work.

Ohanami (お花見)!

Posted on April 03, 2016 | genkijacs

The temperature rose a couple of degrees in Tokyo this week and we’re seeing cherry blossoms blooming in various parts of the city! Take some time this week to visit the various hot spots in Tokyo for the yearly anticipated Ohanami (お花見)! Here are our top picks for cherry blossom spots in Tokyo:

Shinjuku Gyoen
About 15 minutes away from our Tokyo school by foot, this beautiful park features cherry blossoms of many varieties, so you’ll get to see many different types of cherry blossoms. Shinjuku park is also not as crowded compared to Yoyogi Park and Ueno Park.


Opening hours: 9am to 4:30pm
Fee: 200 Yen

Ueno Park
Just a couple of minutes from Ueno station, if you are looking for a location that is in full festive mood, then this is probably the best spot for you :)

Opening hours: 24 hours
Night illumination: 5:30pm to 10pm
No entrance fee

Yoyogi Park

Another spot for festive Ohanami:) If you fancy yourself some chilling out with music and beer, then this is the place for you.

If you’re looking for something slightly different from the parks, then this may be the place for you. Just a few minutes from Kudanshita Station, the Chidori ga Fuchi showcases its spectacular cherry blossoms from slopes narrowing down to a river.
Opening hours: 24 hours
Night illumination: 6:30pm to 10pm
No entrance fee





Another great spot by the river. Located near Asakusa, we recommend you to take a leisurely stroll along the river from the famous Asakusa shopping district all the way to Sky tree.
Opening hours: 24 hours
No entrance fee


Probably the most oshyare place in Tokyo, Nakameguro is famous for the many quaint and exquisite cafes and restaurants that line the river. The restaurants are usually fully booked out during the cherry blossom season, so we recommend you get your reservations early if you’re planning a dinner there.
Opening hours: 24 hours
No entrance fee

And finally for more updates on cherry blossoms, check out this link for updates and tips!

Interesting Vocational and Technical Colleges in Japan

Posted on March 13, 2016 | evankirby

GenkiJACS' new one-year Japanese course doesn't prepare you for entering a Japanese university. (You'll generally need 1.5 to 2 years of study for that.) But one year with us is enough for most vocational and technical two-year colleges in Japan! And a lot of these colleges have more interesting programs than are available at universities.

We've compiled a list of some of the most exciting programs at vocational colleges around Japan, that learning Japanese with GenkiJACS will prepare you for. We've divided the list by major. There are of course lots more schools teaching more traditional majors, but we've focused only on those that are especially interesting to foreigners studying in Japan, such as videogame design, anime/manga, and traditional Japanese culture. Whatever your reason for loving Japan is, you're sure to find something related in this list!

Genki Japanese and Culture School Government Accreditation Published

Posted on February 23, 2016 | evankirby

GenkiJACS proudly announced the government accreditation of the Fukuoka branch of our Japanese school last October. However, as people who have dealt with the government know, they often work quite slowly, so we didn't have any proof of our accreditation to show at that time. Now, finally, the government has published the list of newly accredited Japanese schools!
Two lists are available:
1) The full list of all accredited Japanese language schools nationwide (PDF only). For reasons we can only speculate at, this 45-page list of several hundred schools is not searchable, but they're in order of prefecture, from north to south, and then in order of date of accreditation. GenkiJACS is on page 23, as Genki Japanese and Culture School.
2) A short list of only newly accredited schools (also PDF only). This list seems to be a scan of a the relevant page, but at least it's short... There are about 25 new schools accredited this year, of which most are of course in Tokyo.

Congratulations and a massive お疲れ様です! to all the other schools who managed to complete the accreditation process. It's an exciting time for GenkiJACS, and while it won't cause many changes to the short-term courses you all know and love, it will enable us to improve our services, and offer entirely new services, in the future. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!

Fukuoka becomes 5th largest city in Japan

Posted on February 19, 2016 | genkijacs

If you are looking for city life but feel a little overwhelmed by how huge and complex Tokyo is, why not Fukuoka? While it is not as well known yet as Tokyo and Kyoto, Fukuoka offers all the perks of urban living without the disadvantages such as traffic jams, crowded train commutes or the lack of nature. Now, the preliminary results of the 2015 census show that Fukuoka has moved into the top five largest cities in Japan, Fukuoka is one of the few cities in Japan experiencing positive growth while most others are shrinking or facing aging problems. Let’s see what our Director has to say about Fukuoka :)

Fukuoka has been steadily moving up the rankings of cities in Japan. (Note that for this ranking, Tokyo is not considered a "city" - I guess it's in its own category...) This is because, as the biggest city in Southern Japan, a lot of young people move to Fukuoka from the surrounding countryside, and these days many companies are relocating their headquarters to Fukuoka because of its relative safety, convenience, and air and sea links to Asia.
A few years ago Fukuoka's growing population surpassed Kyoto (whose population is shrinking), and this year it passed Kobe (whose population is also shrinking). In fact, the rate of growth of Fukuoka's population is quite surprising for Japan - the number of people grew by nearly 5% in the last 5 years, when most Japanese cities grew by 1% or less, or shrank. That settles it: Fukuoka is the place to be!

Let’s go hiking this new year!

Posted on January 25, 2016 | genkijacs

It may be all cold and freezing, but that’s not going to stop our Tokyo Japanese language school students from hitting the mountains! Last weekend, some of our students in Tokyo school signed up to go mountain climbing with a Tabimore, a volunteer community group in Mitaka.

It was SOOO cold, but this did not dampen the spirits of GenkiJACS students. Let’s go!


Arriving at the outskirts of Tokyo, foot of Mount Takao. And the hike begins!


Stopping for a short break with hot tea and bento! Itadakimasu^^


All recharged and ready to go!


Finally hitting the summit!


To visit the temple and pray for blessings for the new year ahead :)


And of course, it is now time to relax! What better time to enjoy Onsen (hot spring) after a hike in winter?



Genki Japanese Teachers write their New Year Kanji

Posted on January 17, 2016 | evankirby

Teachers at GenkiJACS' Tokyo Japanese school took some time last week to write 書き初め (kakizome, New Year calligraphy). This is a custom where people write a kanji for the year ahead, often representing something they want to focus on that year.

Japanese school kakizome

How many of the kanji can you read??

New Year at our Tokyo Japanese school

Posted on January 05, 2016 | evankirby

Happy New Year! Or rather, Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu! あけましておめでとうございます! We hope everyone has had some good rest and a chance to freshen up for the new year ahead! New year is probably one of the biggest and most important days in Japan. Also known as お正月 (Osho gatsu), Japanese celebrate this festival with a multitude of activities. Let’s have a look what the Tokyo students have experienced so far.

View from Tokyo Japanese school window

The tradition of going for 初詣 (Hatsu Moude), the first blessing of the year, symbolizes a smooth year ahead. The famous Hanazono Shrine next to the school is completely flooded with the hordes of visitors all queuing to get their first prayer. Some students tried joining the crowd as well!

Japanese students at shrine

Japanese students doing hatsumoude

Back in school, the teachers are all busy getting ready for some special new year lessons.

New Year cooking in Japan

Calligraphy items ready at Japanese school

More preparations going on.

Wonder what’s in for the students?

So finally after the lectures on Japanese culture and new year traditions, it’s finally time to dig in! Presenting to you the Osechi ryori (御節料理)! Each type of food has a special meaning behind it and having them at the start of the year signifies a good year ahead. Itadakimasu!

Students eating
Japanese school students eating new year food

And for the finale, we have our students and staff all write a Kanji for the upcoming year!


More calligraphy

Even more calligraphy

Students practising calligraphy

Japanese student write new year kanji

Happy new year and share with us what you did!

New Year Special Classes in Japan!

Posted on January 05, 2016 | evankirby

It's tradition at Genki Japanese's schools in Tokyo and Fukuoka to have special Japanese culture classes on the first day of the new year, as new year is a very important time in Japan. And this year was no exception!

At our Fukuoka Japanese school, students learned about new year customs.
Japanese students learn about Japanese culture

Then they played games such as 福笑い (Fukuwarai), where a blindfolded person tries to make a face from parts, like a much harder pin the tail on the donkey.
Fukuwarai at Japanese school
Japanese games

Next was traditional Japanese new year food, お節料理 (osech ryouri).
Japanese traditional food

Finally, they capped off the day with a visit to a nearby shrine.
Japanese students at a shrine

It was a busy, but educational day!