What sets us apart
Unlike almost all other Japanese schools, 90% of our students are from the US, Europe and Australia. Course content is tailored to their specific needs.
Almost all ability levels accepted
Whether you are a complete beginner, an expert, or somewhere in between, we have a class for you! Multiple ongoing classes means you're not stuck in a group with people much higher or lower than you.
The Story of GenkiJACS
GenkiJACS founder Rie Kirby studied English in the UK, and taught Japanese to her friends there, before getting her Japanese teacher certification and starting work as a Japanese language teacher in Japan. She worked at several Japanese language schools around Fukuoka City, but found that none of them were the perfect fit for the educational needs of the people she had taught in England. As Rie says, “most Japanese schools focus on how to help students pass university entrance exams, but so many students want to enjoy their study. Learning Japanese is hard enough by itself, but even harder when the syllabus isn’t made for you.”
So, in 2004, Rie decided to open her own Japanese language school! This was the birth of GenkiJACS.
Rie chose the name “Genki Japanese and Culture School” to represent how truly learning Japanese means not just learning the language, but also the culture – that is, not just what to say, but why to say it. In her own words, “I chose the Japanese word “Genki” to symbolize the energetic attitude and lively nature of our classes”.
She opened the first GenkiJACS branch in early 2005 in Fukuoka City, where she had lived for most of her life
GenkiJACS was an immediate hit! Applications began pouring in from Europe, North America, Australia and more. GenkiJACS provided lessons for participants in the JET Programme, for performers at Cirque du Soleil, for staff at embassies worldwide, and more. Within one year, we had outgrown our original 3-classroom school premises, and moved to a bigger location in the central area of the city.
From there, Rie and her team of excellent teachers and staff continued to provide the highest quality Japanese language lessons in some of the smallest group classes worldwide, while GenkiJACS popularity grew further. In 2009, we became one of only two Japanese schools to be accredited worldwide by the International Association of Language Centres, and in the same year we were voted one of the top language schools in the world at the ST Star Awards! This gave us the confidence we needed to open a second branch, in Tokyo, and to apply for government accreditation in Fukuoka, to begin offering student visas.
Then, in 2016 came our biggest honor yet. After 11 years of tirelessly working to raise the standard of Japanese language classes nationwide, GenkiJACS was voted Star World Language School of the year at the industry Star Awards, the highest honor possible for a language school, let alone a Japanese school! We managed to repeat this historic feat in 2018 and 2019, becoming the only Japanese language school ever to win this award multiple times.
Finally, in 2019, to handle the needs of everyone who wants to study with us, we opened our third location, in beautiful historic Kyoto.
The Unchanging Vision
Throughout all of this, GenkiJACS’ core mission has not changed at all: to provide the highest quality Japanese lessons possible for students from European language backgrounds. Our continuing popularity is a sign of how essential this is even today. But GenkiJACS goes far above and beyond this, by committing to always treating staff and students alike fairly, and by continuously innovating to ensure that we provide you with not just the best lessons available in Japan, but the best lessons in the world. Our founder Rie Kirby’s vision brought us where we are today; our commitment to doing what’s right for you will keep us here.
Begin the journey of a lifetime. Speak Japanese, live Japan.
Accredited and award-winning Japanese school in Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukuoka. Learn real-world, communicative Japanese in small, intimate classes. Kickstart the journey of a lifetime in Japan, or bring your existing skills to new levels.
Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi 812-0013,
+81 (0)92 472 0123