The definition of boarding school needs some elucidation here. It is sometimes considered that the term “boarding school” apparently doesn’t include “school/private school plus dormitory” definition.  And while there several Japanese private schools with dormitories, it is sometimes said that there were no Japanese boarding schools in Japan. Not in the sense of “traditional boarding school” or “elite boarding school” in the mould of Eton College or the Elite Eight or Top Ten/Twenty US Boarding Schools (such as Choate or Groton and others).

At least … there weren’t … not until  Toyota’s 2006 when Toyota’s former President founded Japan’s first elite boarding school called Kaiyo Academy. And Kaiyo Academy is a boys-only and boarding-only (Ie all students are boarders) school in the sense that the boarding-in factor is part of the whole educational package of building personality-character-old-boys’ network plus the boarding school environment-ambience. (You can read about Kaiyo Academy by clicking on this links:

It appears that that “elite boarding school” definition must matter and have great appeal because when Kaiyo Academy opened in its first year, its 120 places were oversubscribed many times over by the 900 applicants.

I still don’t know for sure, that there aren’t any other elite Japanese boarding schools in Japan …

But taking a less restrictive definition of the term, I do know there are Japanese private schools with dormitory facilities and there are also international schools in Japan with boarding facilities.

For example, Linden Hall Elementary School in Daizafu, Fukuoka comes close, though it is an elite private school with dormitory facilities, because it is greatly influenced by the prestigious Linden Hall school in Pennsylvannia. Established in 2004 by Leo Esaki, Nobel prize winner. (Website:  http://www.lindenhall.ed.jp/ click on the “English” page)

Meitokugijuku High School is another example of Japanese boarding schools in the looser sense, and there a number of private schools, elite or otherwise that have dormitories.

AICJ Junior & Senior High School is a private Japanese bilingual school that offers the IB programme and that has boarding school facilities for both boys and girls.

Kumon Kokusai Gakuen and Kumon Leysin Academy of Switzerland (KLAS) or Kumon Academy is an unusual and interesting example because it is a Japanese private boarding school with campuses located in Yokohama and Leysin, Switzerland. For more details and curriculum see this page http://www.kumon.ac.jp/k-gakuen/eng/kokusai/k91000e.htm. The prep school was founded by the Kumon Gakuen Educational Foundation in 1990. The school focuses on Japanese and Western university preparation for grades 10-12. KLAS is recognized by the Swiss Service de la Protection de la Jeunesse, Departement Sociale et des Assurances and is a member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS). KLAS is also accredited by Mombu-Kagaku Sho (Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) as an oversea educational facility. As such, the students obtain eligibility for entrance into Japanese universities upon graduation. (777 Kosuzume-cho, Totsuka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 244; Phone: 045-853-8200 / Fax: 045-853-8220)

Wikipedia has a listing of middle and high schools in Japan with dormitories here (in Japanese). I don’t have a list of boarding schools at our blog yet, but we do have a directory of private schools where you can check the individual listings to see whether the school has dormitory facilities or not.

See below for more recommendations and contributions from members of our discussion group. — A.K.

Toin Gakuen in Yokohama (but on the border of Tokyo) does some boarding, too. It is a rather conservative Japanese school, but they do board students. It is famous for baseball and well, being strict. Most of their students commute. — M.K.  More info on the school at http://www.cc.toin.ac.jp/GAKUEN/english/

I know Kamogawa HS does boarding too. Their focus is on sports. — J.

There are a number of Japanese boarding schools. One is Gyosei International School in Chiba Prefecture, which has three different program options for high school. One of them, the Yohane Kenkyu no Mori program, which I have visited, is multiage with Grades 4 to 12 together (about 80 students). The inspiration for that came from the Edo period, prior to the importation of the age-grade system to Japan from Prussia. The children do a lot of writing and research and they can apply to Japanese universities through the AO (Admissions Office) route, but I would say the living environment and routines are rather Spartan. The other two programs are more conventional, but in one the children can study quite a bit of English.

From a “Western” perspective I am not sure Japanese boarding schools would have much appeal, but everything is relative. — S.P.

Apart from the ones suggested above, the Foundation for the International School of Asia, Karuizawa has stated its intention to establish a fully functioning IB international boarding school by 2012. For details of the school, see this page.