Explanations for the search criteria and results in the Japanese Language School Directory

Long-term Courses

College Preparatory

Course prepares students for undergraduate studies at a Japanese university. Course should focus not just on Japanese but also on skills required to pass the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU).


Comprehensive course that covers reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These courses will often be structured with the aim of passing level 1 or 2 of the JLPT.

Graduate Preparatory

Course focuses on preparing students for graduate school interviews and thesis writing. Most schools do not specify a separate graduate preparatory course and students looking to study at masters level or beyond should also search under general courses, as well, because the prerequisites are usually JLPT N1 or N2.


Course is designed specifically for students who have not completed 12 years of education in their home country (typically relevant for students from India, Malaysia, Myanmar, among other countries). By completing a “pre-college” course (大学入学のための準備教育課程) the student will be deemed to be on the same level as other students who have completed the 12 years of education required to enter a university or college in Japan. Only schools authorized by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) are allowed to offer courses. See the official JASSO website for further details.

Nisshinkyo Accreditation

The Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education (日本語教育振興協会) was established in 1989 with the approval of the Ministry of education, culture, sports, science and technology, the Ministry of justice and the Ministry foreign affairs with the aim of improving the overall quality of Japanese language institutions to create a better environment for students.

The association sets guidelines that each institution must meet in order to become accredited. They cover items like considerations of the student’s study environment, ensuring that the school admits only those with the correct application documents, and reimbursement rules regarding school fees. It should be noted that (1) an institution must voluntarily apply for accreditation (2) one standard is that the institution must offer long-term courses (one year or over), meaning that language schools which only provide short-term general purpose study courses cannot qualify for accreditation.

The accreditation is not a guarantee of the quality of teaching at the institution. Indeed, recently established language schools without any reported registered students (or in some cases even a website…) can become accredited with the requisite document checks. It seems that the association exists more to ensure that language schools do not merely serve to provide a visa to enter Japan, as well as to report statistics on foreign student numbers and trends each year.

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