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your journey to Japan

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  • Your journey to japan


This page runs through the whole process, from application, preparing to come to Japan, studying with us, and finally, saying goodbye.
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Pre-arrival study

Want to get a head start on your Japanese before starting at Genki? Feel free to check out the following textbooks, which are all used in our curriculum.

Since all our students need to know hiragana before starting, you may also want to to start learning those, if you haven't yet.

1. Textbooks

If you would like begin to study beforehand using the GenkiJACS curriculum, you can check out the following textbooks:

  • Beginner I: Genki I
  • Beginner 2: Genki II
  • Pre-Intermediate: Chukyu e Ikou (中級へ行こう)
  • Intermediate 1: Chukyu wo Manabou (中級を学ぼう 1)
  • Intermediate 2: Chukyu wo Manabou (中級を学ぼう 2)
  • Advanced: Chukyu kara Jokyu e no Nihongo (中級から上級への日本語), Jokyu de manabu Nihongo (上級で学ぶ日本語)
If you are in Japan, you can find them in any major Japanese bookstore. Alternatively, you can order them online through bookstores such as

Of course, you can study with us even if you used different textbooks previously.

2. Hiragana/Katakana

All students of GenkiJACS are required to learn the Japanese “hiragana” alphabet before starting their study with us. Why? Well, one reason is because the best textbook for beginner learners, Genki: An Integrated Approach to Japanese, uses only hiragana and katakana, not English letters, to display Japanese words. So, you need to be able to read the Japanese alphabet to be able to sound out the words in your textbook. This is equivalent to being able to read the letters of the English alphabet before you go to study English abroad – without learning the alphabet first, you can’t really learn anything else! Luckily, it's not so difficult to learn - unlike English, each letter in the alphabet has basically one pronunciation, so it's just a matter of remembering the sound associated with each shape.
check out this handy guide on learning hiragana

Preparing for Japan

There are many ways you can prepare yourself for Japan. Remember, learning about Japanese customs and culture in advance will make your transition much easier. Also, meeting Japanese people is the best way to practice Japanese! Therefore, we recommend the following:

  • Make friends before coming: Look online for penpals, or join a Japanese social network. You can also join the GenkiJACS Facebook page and contact former, current, and future students.
  • Understand daily life in Japan: familiarize yourself with Japanese etiquette, culture shock, and lifestyle.
  • Make a few plans: Whether you will stay in Fukuoka/Tokyo during your entire stay or go travel throughout Japan, it never hurts to plan beforehand so you can make the most of your time here! There are many travel resources online.

Complete your application

We need a little more information from you to complete your registration with the school. Please access your personal portal, log in with the username and password we sent you, and fill out the required forms there. Click here to access your personal portal.
  • Please send your full application form and homestay details (if required) as soon as possible.
  • Please send your arrival details as soon as you book your travel.
  • Please send your Japanese placement test at least a month before you start your study.


You should book your travel so that you arrive in Japan at least the day before the start of classes. As classes usually start on Monday, this would mean arriving on Sunday. However, if you think that you would need extra time to recover from jetlag, arrange to arrive a day or so earlier. Standard accommodation is from Sunday until Saturday. If you arrive earlier than Sunday, you will need to pay an additional fee for the extra nights’ accommodation.

Also, bear in mind that if your flight arrives late in the evening (after 9pm in Fukuoka, after 8pm in Tokyo), it may be difficult for you to go to your accommodation that night. In this case, you will not need to pay for that night’s accommodation, but you will need to pay for alternative accommodation, which we will be happy to arrange for you. Therefore, please inform us of your flight schedule well in advance.

If your accommodation information sheet gives instructions for picking up your accommodation key from the accommodation managers, make sure that you will arrive during their office hours.

For information on how to get to each location from the airport, please see below:

Important Info

If you are applying to GenkiJACS from overseas (i.e. outside Japan), there are some important points that you should keep in mind:


As we are a short-term language study school, most students will study with us on visa waivers. A visa waiver (automatically received for nationalities of many countries) or tourist visa is sufficient to enter the country and study with us for up to 3 or 6 months. Please note that a tourist visa will not allow you to work in Japan.
It is your responsibility to confirm whether a visa is required for you to enter Japan. If a visa is required, begin the application process as early as possible. Visitors from most countries do not require a visa to stay in Japan for 3 months or less.
More information on visas here

Be aware that even if you do not require a visa, you will be questioned at Immigration upon entry to Japan. The immigration officer is likely to ask you the following:

  • where you will stay (the address of your accommodation)
  • what you will do in Japan (study at GenkiJACS)
  • the start and end dates of your study
  • what you will study (your course name)
We recommend carrying the following documents with you, to show to the immigration officer as necessary:
  • accommodation information sheet
  • invoice from GenkiJACS
  • return plane ticket


You can access money held abroad from Japan in the following ways:

1. Credit cards
Foreign credit cards are accepted in most major shops in Japan, but not in smaller places. Visa and Mastercard are the most common. American Express can be used in a few locations. Maestro cards cannot be used in Japan.

2. ATM (debit) cards
Post office, 7-11, and some bank ATMs can be used to take money out of a foreign bank account easily. However, sometimes your card or bank account needs to be pre-approved to allow use from overseas. If you plan to use your card in Japan, contact your bank before you go to check if there is anything you need to do. There may be extra fees for taking out money abroad - check with your bank before coming.
There are branches of Citibank and HSBC in Japan, so Citibank/HSBC card holders can take out money directly from their own bank.
Most shops do not allow you to use debit cards to pay bills.

3. Bank transfers
If you require additional funds after arriving, you can arrange for someone to wire money to the school bank account, and we will give you the cash. Please note that bank charges will apply, and we cannot give you money until our bank confirms we have received funds from you.

Packing List

  • Passport (note: it must be valid until at least your return date to your home country)
  • Seasonal clothing Check the weather here
  • An alarm clock
  • Plug adaptors (100V, 60Hz, 2-pin. No adaptors are required for US-type plugs)
  • Gifts (omiyage) - your host family will be very appreciative if you bring a small present for them from your home country. GenkiJACS teachers probably won't say no either! Local specialty food or drink items are common presents.
  • Paper or electronic dictionary (although we will be happy to help you buy one here!)
  • Notebook, pens, and any other materials that help you study effectively
  • International driver's license (if you plan to rent a car). Check regulations carefully to make sure your license will be valid.
  • Digital camera cables (you can transfer images at our school)
  • Medication, if required
  • Credit card (just in case)
  • Your own towel
  • GenkiJACS school information - address, phone numbers, etc
  • Homestay family information - print out and bring with you
  • International Student ID Card (if available)
  • Textbooks - If you bring the textbook used at your class level, you can either receive the wholesale price of the book as a refund, or opt to receive a different textbook instead

Insurance and Medication

You are required to have medical insurance for the duration of your stay. The kind of insurance you must buy depends on your visa status, and how long you will stay in Japan.

1. Staying on a visa waiver or tourist visa: You must have travel medical insurance to study with us. We offer discounted insurance from CareMed, an internationally accredited and award-winning insurance company. This insurance costs only 250 yen per day, and covers the following (assuming policy conditions are met):

Travel Health Insurance
CareMed Gold
Insurable at the insurance start date, up to 69th birthday
Insurance duration 12 months, extensions possible
Deductible per claim according to insurance confirmation
2.1 Out-patient treatment costs
2.1.1 Treatment 100%
2.1.2 Psychotherapy, up to six sessions €/US$ 1.000
2.1.3 Rehabilitation measures 100%
2.2 In-patient treatment costs 100%
2.2.1 Medical transportation 100%
2.2.2 Treatment 100%
2.2.3 Rehabilitation measures 100%
2.3 Dental treatment
2.3.1 Pain-relieving dental treatment at 100 % per policy year up to €/US$ 1.000
2.3.2 Restoring function of dentures at 50 % per year up to €/US$ 2.000
2.3.3 Accident-related dentures per year up to €/US$ 2.000
2.3.4 Dentures (waiting period of 6 months) €/US$ 2.000
2.4 Medication, bandages, remedies and medical aids
2.4.1 Medication and bandages 100%
2.4.2 Remedies per insurance year 100%
2.4.3 Accident-related aids 100%
2.5 Costs for pregnancy examinations
2.5.1 Pregnancy treatment due to complaints 100%
2.5.2 Pregnancy examinations and childbirth (waiting period of 8 months) 100%
2.6 Medical repatriation 100%
2.7 Repatriation of remains /funeral costs €/US$ 30.000

2. Staying on a special visa such as working holiday visa, etc.: You are required to join the Japanese health insurance system. After you arrive in Japan, you must register at the local ward office where you stay. They will ask you to fill out a health insurance application at that time. National health insurance is very cheap, roughly 1,500 yen per month for the first year. This covers 70% of medical expenses. Even if you already have other health insurance, you will be required to join the national health insurance.

If you require any medication, bring it with you to Japan, along with a doctor's note. There are limits on the amount of medication you can bring in to the country, so if you will stay in Japan for a long time, check if your medication or a version of it is available in Japan, and get a note from your doctor as required. There are differences in licensing between countries, so medicine that requires a prescription in your country may not in Japan, and vice versa. Confirm with your doctor or pharmacist before coming.

A Typical 2 weeks at Genki

Ever wondered what a typical 2-week course at GenkiJACS looks like? What you can do after school every day? How you'll keep busy on the weekend? How much karaoke it's possible for one human to sing? Check out the flow of a typical course to find out more.

Beach Volleyball Club 2018


  1. Arrive in Japan, usually the Sunday before your classes start (Saturday is OK too, if you want some extra time to get over the jetlag!)
  2. If you requested an airport transfer, the representative will be waiting for you at the arriavals gate to take you to your accommodation. (Don't come to school - we are closed on the weekend.)
  3. If you don't have a transfer booked, use the instructions we sent you to travel to your accommodation using public transport, or hop in a taxi and show the driver your address in Japanese (not recommended in Tokyo, as taxis are very expensive!). Remember to call ahead and let your accommodation know you are heading their way, if necessary!
  4. If necessary, fetch your keys from the accommodation managers or meet with them to check in/have your orientation and get to your room.
  5. Get settled in and prepare for your first week of school starting on Monday!


First Day of School

  1. Make your way to school so that you arrive between 9:00AM and 9:20AM on Monday.
    Train delays are pretty common in Japan during rush hours and the stations are large and can be very confusing.
    Hence, please try to give yourself a little more time so that you won't be lost or late:)
    In the event you won't be able to arrive on time, please contact us!
  2. Upon arrival, you will have to do a written test and/or a vocal interview.
  3. Once the interviews are done, there will be an orientation session to give you more information about the school, your classes, and life in Japan in general. Your schedule for the first week will be given to you then.
  4. Time for lunch!
  5. Classes will start in the afternoon and should end by 6pm latest, depending on your allocated class and schedule.
  6. If you have time, you are welcome to join the weekly free city tour to learn about all the important spots around the city.

And that concludes a busy first day in school!


First Week

Every weekday, you will have two lessons of 4-skills application class in the morning, and two lessons of Japanese grammar in the afternoon.

After school, you can explore the city and go to many of the exciting restaurants, karaoke boxes or other entertainment areas with your new classmates and friends.

On Friday, pick up your schedule for the next week of classes. After classes are over, you can join our school party, held at a local izakaya (Japanese-style restaurant). After the party, you might want to go to karaoke (again!) with other students. One can never do enough karaoke, after all.

On the weekend, you could spend time with the other people at your accommodation, and visit some famous local attractions.


Second Week

Your second week of study is mostly the same as your first.

On Wednesday evening, you watch a big-screen movie with other students at school.

On Friday, after classes, a graduation ceremony is held, and you are presented with your certificate of completion. You may want to give a short speech in Japanese - all the other students are doing it!

Time for another Friday party and, you guessed it, more karaoke!

On Saturday, you packs your bags, and make your way to the airport to catch your flight home.

Having trouble deciding which course is right for you?

Try our handy course finder quiz to find the right course for you!

Launch coursefinder

Done with Genki - Now What?

We hope you had a fun and rewarding experience at Genki Japanese School. We hope that, not only did you learn about the Japanese language, but had the chance to enjoy Japanese culture and living in Japan to its fullest. Whichever destination you will go back to, and whatever job or study you are returning to, it is important not to forget what you have learned at GenkiJACS! We therefore recommend the following in order to keep studying and improving your Japanese:

1. Self-Study

1. Watch movies, dramas, anime, and read manga in Japanese. Listen to Japanese music to retain comprehension skills. Some specialty bookstores both in Japan and overseas offer bilingual manga, with both the Japanese and English on each page.

2. Get new information in Japanese! Read books & magazines, and Japanese websites and blogs.

3. If you would like to continue to use the GenkiJACS curriculum, you can check out the following textbooks:

  • Beginner 2: Genki II
  • Pre-Intermediate: Chukyu e Ikou (中級へ行こう)
  • Intermediate 1: Chukyu wo Manabou (中級を学ぼう 1)
  • Intermediate 2: Chukyu wo Manabou (中級を学ぼう 2)
  • Advanced: Chukyu kara Jokyu e no Nihongo (中級から上級への日本語), Jokyu de manabu Nihongo (上級で学ぶ日本語)
If you are still in Japan, you can find them in any major Japanese bookstore. Alternatively, you can order them online through bookstores such as

2. University Courses

It’s never too early or too late to join a university course! Remember, GenkiJACS can provide any documents required by your school if you would like to get credit for your stay here. Many students in the past have been able to receive credits for their study. More info is here.

3. Local Japanese Community

Your city may have a Japanese community that offers classes for non-Japanese people, or can put you in touch with speaking partners.

4. Getting Involved

  • Keep your Japanese friends! Try not to lose contact with the people you have met and had fun with in Japan. Send your Japanese friends or classmates Japanese e-mails or letters, or practice conversation on Skype.
  • Meet new friends! Look online for penpals, or join a Japanese social network, or join an interest group in your local area.
  • Volunteer! If there are any Japanese exhibitions or events in your area, it may be worthwhile to volunteer for them. That way you can meet new people and also learn more about Japanese culture.

5. Returning to GenkiJACS

Returning students are always welcome back! GenkiJACS provides a 10% returner discount on tuition for students who originally booked with us directly, and of course a warm GenkiJACS welcome!

Request an estimate today!

And don't forget to put a check in the "returning student" box to receive your 10% discount!

Begin the journey of a lifetime. Speak Japanese, live Japan.

About Us

Accredited and award-winning Japanese school in Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and Nagoya. 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.

Head Office

Hakataekihigashi 1-16-23,
Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi 812-0013,

+81 (0)92 472 0123

Tokyo School

Hanazono Bldg 3F, Shinjuku 5-17-6,
Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0022,

+81 (0)3 6457 3554

Kyoto School

Hayashi Bldg 2F, Shimizuchō (Kawaramachidōri), 454-1,
Shimogyō-ku, Kyōto-shi 600-8025,

+81 (0)75-353-0003


Meieki-Nagata Bldg 4F, Meieki 3-26-19, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya 450-0002,

+81 (0)52-433-3152