4 Best Japanese Language Schools in Hokkaido Japan 2024

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Discover the best Japanese language schools in Hokkaido, where language learning meets cultural adventure. Hokkaido’s unique blend of natural beauty, rich cuisine, and Ainu heritage offers a compelling setting for students. Learn why studying Japanese in Hokkaido is an exceptional experience, combining education with exploration and local warmth.


Introduction of Hokkaido

Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is celebrated for its stunning landscapes, fresh food, unique culture, and distinct seasons. This beautiful region is a dream for outdoor lovers, offering activities like skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and canoeing across its varied seasons. Winter transforms Hokkaido into a snowy paradise, while summer brings mild weather ideal for exploring its forests, lakes, and beaches.

Famous for its agriculture and seafood, Hokkaido’s cuisine, including dishes like Genghis Khan (grilled lamb) and fresh dairy products, is a must-try. The island’s mild summers and snowy winters provide a perfect backdrop for enjoying local specialties and seasonal activities.

The welcoming nature of Hokkaido’s people adds to the charm of studying here. The region is also rich in Ainu culture, offering insights into the traditions of Japan’s indigenous people. For those looking to study Japanese, Hokkaido hosts several language schools, surrounded by natural beauty and cultural experiences.

Attractions like Asahiyama Zoo and Lake Toya, along with educational opportunities, make Hokkaido an enriching place for students and tourists alike. The island’s economy benefits from tourism, agriculture, and fishing, contributing to a vibrant community. Each season in Hokkaido brings new experiences, making it a fascinating year-round destination for studying and exploration.

83,423 ㎢ (1st in Japan)

5,139,522 people

Avg. Temperature
9.2℃ (5.7〜13.1℃)

Min. Wage
960 JPY/hr

Best Japanese Language Schools in Hokkaido

1. Hokkaido JaLS|Hokkaido Japanese Language Schools

Hokkaido Japanese Language School, known as Hokkaido JaLS, is situated in Sapporo, the largest city on the island. It specializes in offering short-term Japanese language courses. Since its establishment in 2012, this school has been the recipient of numerous awards, gaining recognition for its excellence. Hokkaido JaLS prides itself on being inclusive, welcoming students from all backgrounds, and providing a nurturing, family-like atmosphere.

The primary mission of Hokkaido JaLS is to offer international students the necessary support for their success and to create wonderful, memorable, and profound experiences in Japanese culture. The school aims to inspire a deep love for the country, encouraging students to return for further studies in the future. Hokkaido JaLS imparts six core values to its students, defining its commitment to their educational journey.

WHY Hokkaido JaLS|Hokkaido Japanese Language Schools

  • Academic Excellence and Flexibility
    Hokkaido JaLS features a highly qualified teaching staff, small class sizes, and a proven curriculum, enabling students to work towards and achieve their language learning goals effectively. The school offers a range of courses and allows students to begin their studies on any Monday, providing flexibility in choosing the most suitable program for their needs.
  • Supportive and Welcoming Environment
    Students at Hokkaido JaLS can expect to feel right at home in a warm and inviting atmosphere. The school prides itself on the care and support provided by its dedicated staff and teachers, creating a comfortable and nurturing learning environment.
  • Cultural Immersion and Networking
    The school offers students the opportunity to engage in cultural lessons and activities throughout the year, fostering an intense learning experience that goes beyond the classroom. Students have the chance to connect with peers from all around the world as well as local Japanese residents, enriching their cultural and social experiences.

Takesato Bldg. 2F, Kita 2 Nishi 3 1-29, Chuo-ku, Sapporo Hokkaido 060-0002



2. IAY International Academy Japanese Language School

IAY International Academy holds accreditation from the Department of Justice and is officially recognized as an authorized educational institution for the Japanese language. This status streamlines the document application process for students at the school, making it notably straightforward.

WHY IAY International Academy Japanese Language School

  • Expert Instruction and Student Support
    IAY International Academy is staffed with experienced teachers who specialize in Japanese language education, ensuring that students receive detailed and efficient instruction, leading to the acquisition of practical Japanese language skills. The school provides dedicated life support counselors who are available to address students’ concerns, both regarding their daily lives and future academic pursuits. These counselors offer assistance in multiple languages and organize information sessions for universities and colleges, facilitating students’ transitions to higher education.
  • Effective Small Group Learning
    Classes at IAY are conducted in small groups, allowing for a personalized and efficient learning experience that caters to individual students’ proficiency levels. This approach ensures that students receive the attention and guidance they need to succeed.
  • Comprehensive Academic and Housing Support
    IAY International Academy offers extensive support to students who are committed to their studies, with a remarkable track record of nearly 100% of graduates (excluding returnees) advancing to higher educational institutions. The academy is renowned for its detailed advising, helping graduates secure job opportunities in Japan after completing their university education. The institution offers various types of residence halls tailored to students’ goals and study durations, making it possible for those without prior guarantees within Japan to easily find suitable housing accommodations. IAY’s commitment to holistic student support extends from academics to practical daily living needs.

Hinode Bldg. 6F, S1W4, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-0061 JAPAN



3. JLI|Japanese Language Institute

JLI, the Japanese Language Institute of Sapporo, proudly holds the top position among Japanese language institutions in Hokkaido. With the highest enrollment of students, JLI’s history and impressive achievements have established it as a reputable and dependable center for Japanese language education. What sets JLI apart is its commitment to constant improvement. The institution continually evolves by tailoring its classes to meet the diverse and evolving needs of its students. This dedication to adapting and enhancing the learning experience ensures that students receive the most relevant and effective instruction, making JLI a dynamic and student-centric institution.

WHY JLI|Japanese Language Institute

  • Diverse and Inclusive Community
    JLI brings together students from approximately 25 countries and regions, creating a multicultural environment where Japanese becomes a common language for communication. This diversity fosters a rich cultural exchange and a global perspective.
  • Supportive and Collaborative Atmosphere
    The school encourages interaction among students from around the world and future Japanese teachers who share their dreams. JLI strives to cultivate an environment where individuals support and motivate one another to pursue their aspirations, making it an inspiring place for personal growth.
  • Comprehensive Student Services
    JLI offers secure, safe, convenient, and affordable dormitory and apartment options, ensuring that students have comfortable accommodations during their studies. The institution opens the door to an array of cultural exchange events in Sapporo, enriching students’ experience and allowing them to immerse themselves in the local culture. JLI provides valuable support for students interested in furthering their education, offering assistance with applications for exams such as EJU and JLPT, expert guidance on school selection, document preparation, and other essential aspects of academic advancement.

Japanese Language Institute of Sapporo 2-7 Nishi 26 Minami 6 Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Japan, 064-0806



4. HJLS|Higashikawa Japanese Language School

Higashikawa Japanese Language School (HJLS) is a unique and distinct institution in Japan, as it is the sole public Japanese language school situated in the charming Higashikawa town of Hokkaido. At HJLS, students have the choice of enrolling in one of two courses: a comprehensive long-term course that spans either 6 months or an entire year, or a shorter-term course, which accommodates students for 1 to 3 months. The student body is exceptionally diverse, with individuals hailing from various corners of the globe, all sharing a common goal of mastering the Japanese language. HJLS, nestled in the heart of Higashikawa, offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity for language learners to immerse themselves in this picturesque locale while pursuing their educational objectives.

WHY HJLS|Higashikawa Japanese Language School

  • Versatile Course Offerings
    HJLS provides students with a choice between two distinct course options. The long-term course is tailored for those seeking an extended period of Japanese language study, available in 6-month and 1-year variations. It requires a student visa for enrollment. On the other hand, the short-term course accommodates individuals of any age and proficiency level, without the need for a student visa, making it accessible for a wide range of learners.
  • Convenient Accommodation Options
    HJLS facilitates a comfortable study abroad experience with dormitory options in Higashikawa Town. The Higashikawa Town International House and International House Ma Maison Higashikawa both have dedicated managers, ensuring a conducive environment for Japanese language learning and offering students a relaxed atmosphere in which to immerse themselves in their studies.
  • Inclusivity and Accessibility
    The institution’s provision of both short-term and long-term courses, with or without the requirement of a student visa, demonstrates HJLS’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility for learners from various backgrounds and aspirations. Whether students are planning for an extended educational journey or a short-term language immersion experience, HJLS caters to their needs, making Japanese language education accessible to all.

1-1-1 Kitamachi, Higashikawa Town, Kamikawa District, Hokkaido, Inside Higashikawa Town Complex Exchange Facility Sentopia I



Popular Hokkaido Dialect Phrases

  • あずましい Azumashii
    Comforting, soothing, wonderful.
  • 体がこわい Karada ga Kowai
    Feeling physically tired, short of breath. For example, when you want to take a day off from school due to feeling unwell, you might say, “My body is こわい today.” It does not mean “scary.” To express fear, you would use “おっかない” (Okkanai).
  • はんかくさい Hankakusai
    Foolish, ridiculous.
  • ザンギ Zangi
    Fried chicken, specifically a style of chicken called “唐揚げ” (Karaage). It’s common in Hokkaido, and you may see it listed as “ザンギ定食” (Zangi Teishoku) on local menus. It’s said to have originated from a yakitori (grilled chicken) shop called “鳥松” (Torimatsu) in Kushiro City. Initially, it was named “ザーキー” (zākī), which is the likely source of the word.
  • なげる Nageru
    To throw away. For example, “ごみをなげる/Throw away the trash” or “雪を投げる/Throw away the snow.” It’s commonly used in everyday conversation.
  • なまら・なんまら Namara・Nanmara
    Very. This word might be familiar from television and media, but it’s a relatively new expression and is considered somewhat coarse or lacking refinement. In recent years, terms like “めっちゃ”(Meccha-) or “超”(Cho-) are more commonly used by young people in Hokkaido.
  • めんこい Menkoi


In conclusion, Hokkaido, the northern gem of Japan, encompasses a diverse range of features that make it a truly unique and captivating destination. Its stunning natural landscapes, bountiful produce, and distinct culture create an environment that appeals to a wide array of interests. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a food lover, a culture explorer, or a nature admirer, Hokkaido offers something for everyone. Its friendly locals, deep-rooted connections to the Ainu culture, and rich culinary traditions further enhance the experience. With a thriving economy, top-notch education, and a calendar marked by the changing seasons, Hokkaido stands as a beloved and multifaceted region that continues to charm and inspire all who venture here.

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