Before You Arrive in Japan
This page provides information for students who are already confirmed to study with GenkiJACS. Here you'll find information on completing
the application process, and preparing to come to Japan to study
at our Japanese school.
Completing your application
- Japanese Study
- Cell Phone
- Culture Shock
- Medication and Insurance
- Travel within Japan
- Your First Day
- Other Information
1. Completing 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.
Finally, if we've already sent you an invoice, don't forget to pay! (If you haven't received an invoice yet, please ask for one asap!) Payment information is available here.
Tokyo school: Book flights to Tokyo Narita or Tokyo Haneda airports.
Book flights to Fukuoka International Airport (airport code FUK).
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 (Generally 1,500 to 3,300 yen per night).
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.
If your arrival plan changes, be sure to contact us! If you do not arrive when your accommodation expects you, they will be very worried.
- Tokyo Narita Airport is about one hour from the school/Shinjuku by train. The fastest way to get to the city is the Keisei Skyliner (only 36 minutes to the central area, 2,400 yen).
If you have requested an airport pickup for Narita Airport, your flight must arrive before 8pm. If you have requested an airport pickup for Haneda Airport, your flight must arrive before 9pm. If your flight arrives after this time, we cannot arrange an airport pickup, so you must either go to the accommodation yourself, or stay in an airport hotel for the first night and be picked up the next morning.
- Fukuoka Airport is connected to the subway system at the domestic terminal. Because the airport is central, it is often very cheap and easy to take a taxi to your accommodation, especially if your bags are heavy.
If arriving by train from within Japan, book a ticket to arrive at Hakata Station, the main train station for Fukuoka City.
More information about getting to Fukuoka is available on our Getting to Fukuoka page.
A packet of information about the school and the city will be sent to your accommodation in Japan before you arrive, to be waiting for you. You can download some of this information here, in Word format.
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. There is a lot more information about visas on our visa page 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
Your invoice includes details on your chosen payment method. A list of all payment methods and their details is provided here.
How much spending money you should bring to Japan depends largely on
what you plan to do during your time here. At a minimum, we would recommend
- 1500 yen per day for food (lunch and dinner) and drinks
- 500 yen per day for transportation
- Extra for activities/shopping, etc.
It's often hard to judge how much you will need, so here are the prices
some common things to give you an idea (bear in mind that the prices are
1) dinner with drinks in a restaurant: about 2000~3000 yen
2) a movie (late show): 1000 yen
3) a 10-minute taxi ride: about 1200 yen
4) a drink from a vending machine: 150 yen
5) dinner at McDonalds: about 600 yen
6) entry to an art gallery: about 800 yen
7) an anime DVD: about 2000 yen (You can watch anime dvd at school if a
room is free!)
8) a ride on the subway: about 250 yen
9) a concert by a famous musician: about 7000 yen
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.
Note that since April 2013, most Maestro-branded Mastercards cannot be used in Japan. Details are on Mastercard's website.
5. Packing List
- Passport (note: it must be valid until at least your return date to your home country)
- Seasonal clothing (Find out more about the weather when you will
be here using this
- 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
- 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. See Medication and Insurance below for details.
- Credit card (just in case)
- Your own towel
- GenkiJACS school information - address, phone numbers, etc. We
recommend printing out our Contact Info
- 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. The textbooks used in class are listed here.
6. Japanese Study
Make sure that you can read the hiragana (and preferably katakana) scripts before you arrive at GenkiJACS. All good textbooks use these scripts, so this basic study is a vital prerequisite for study at any good Japanese language school. There are many tools on the Internet to help you with this, from flashcards to quizzes and more. You can usually learn to read hiragana in about two days, if you work hard.
We provide you with free textbooks when you arrive, based on the result of your level check test. If you bring those textbooks with you, we will refund your textbook fee, so there's no reason not to study before you arrive!
After payment is received, all GenkiJACS students can receive three online lessons completely free, from our partner company JOI! Contact us for details. (Please note that this offer is only available once per student.)
Detailed advice on pre-arrival Japanese study is here. Please read through this information, and get started on your study early to make the most of your Japan trip!
Be aware that accommodation in Japan is often less spacious than you may be used to, and food that is prepared for you (if staying with a host family) may not be what you expect. Keep an open mind, and use everything as a learning experience. Some places have only a bath, no shower, and you may be expected to bathe in the evening, not in the morning.
If you are staying with a host family, or in a shared apartment, you will generally receive a key from the owner on the first day there. Be very careful with this key! If you lose it, you may be asked to pay the full price for locks to be changed.
If you have any problems with the host family, talk to them directly or ask them questions. If that doesn't work, then talk to staff at school and we can help.
If you are staying in a private apartment, we will generally place the key in the mailbox of the apartment, and send you the combination code to open the mailbox.
We generally send detailed accommodation information to you about a month before your study is scheduled to start.
Having a cellphone during your time in Japan can make the difference between enjoying your free time a bit, and enjoying it a lot. It's the one tool that makes making friends a possibility, so we absolutely recommend either bringing your own (if you can confirm that it works in Japan) or renting one here. To confirm whether your phone will work in Japan, contact your cell phone provider.
Read more about using cellphones in Japan here.
9. Culture Shock
Japan is very different from most English-speaking countries, and there will be things during your stay that amuse you, annoy you, or upset you. It is important to keep an open mind, and understand that there are reasons for everything that people do, even if those reasons are not obvious to you at the time. Ask your teachers if you are confused by anything!
It is important to be aware of your own reactions to the world around you, as culture shock can often creep up on you slowly. If you feel tired every day, unusually irritable, or have problems dealing with people, it is a good idea to talk to our office staff. They can suggest ways for you to deal with your feelings.
10. 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 Guard.me, 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):
- 100% of eligible hospital charges
- 30-day supply of prescription drugs
- 100% of eligible dental charges
- Air travel for family in case of long hospitalization
- Ambulance/emergency taxi fare
- Psychotherapy/psychiatry/other therapy services
- And much much more!
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.
11. Travel Within Japan
See this page for more details on recommendations for traveling within Japan, from your accommodation to the Japanese school.
12. Your First Day
The standard first day schedule is as follows:
- 9:00 - 9:30: Arrive at school
- 9:30 - 10:15: Placement test
- 10:30 - 11:30: Orientation
- 11:30 - 12:30: Lunch break
- 12:30~: afternoon classes
Please note that normally you will only have two core classes on your first day. However, depending on your placement test and class, you may be able to take four core classes on the first day. You will receive your schedule for the first week on the first day of classes, as your schedule can change based on the results of your first day testing.
The placement test consists of two parts: a written
test (approximately 30 minutes, mostly multiple choice with some written answers), and an interview test (approximately 10 minutes). You will be given one of three tests, depending on your language ability, but if you do very well or very badly, you may be asked to take a higher or lower level test too.
13. Other Information
The school is closed on certain days of the year. A full list is here. We either arrange an activity or event for that day instead of classes, or refund tuition for days the school is closed.