The cost of educating a child in Japan

According to this month’s (March 2008) Kids Esse publication, the estimated cost of educating a child from kindergarten/yochien (private), through public elementary school, middle and high school to university entrance point, is: 12,970,000 yen.

This estimate I think is very much at the low end and the cost would be far more for those living in the Kanto and Osaka metropolitan areas.

Anyhow, the breakdown of the costs of education from Kids Esse is as follows:

Kindergarten (yochien):

500,000 yen (two years of public kindergarten or yochien)

1,080,000 private kindergartens or yochien (note: public kindergartens are rare and few in number in Japan since preschool education is not considered compulsory)

Elementary school(shogako):

2,000,000 yen (6 years of public schooling)

8,240,000 yen (6 years of private schooling)

Middle school(chugako):

1,420,000 yen (3 years of public schooling )

3,810,000 yen (3 years of private schooling)

High school(koko):

2,160,000 yen (3 years of public schooling)

3,230,000 yen (3 years of private schooling)

University (daigaku):

4,290,000 yen (4 years of public university)

6,310,000 yen (4 years of private university)

The above estimates are national averages and rather conservative estimates I think.

Also the above figures do not factor in the cost of cramschool or juku which cost between 35,000 to 50,000 yen per month (for 4 hours X three or four days of juku classes)…according to a parent quoted in Japan Times, he paid 800,000 yen a year.

Nor do the above estimates include afterschool extracurricular activities (naraigoto). For which, you should factor in the monthly estimated costs (again they are on the low end for Kanto and Osaka metropolitan areas) below:

Swimming: 6,050 yen

Piano or other music classes: 6,951 yen

English instruction: 6,762 yen

Karate: 3,120 yen

Eurythmics or gym classes: 4,398 yen

Soccer: 4,110 yen

Math: 10,013 yen

Do you think the cost of educating a child in Japan is a sustainable expense for parents?

16 thoughts on “The cost of educating a child in Japan”

  1. I don`t think this is a sustainable figure for educational costs. I think Japan needs to seriously rethink their taxing system for Japanese citizens and people working within Japan. I that as long as they do charge tax they should consider doing something similar to Canada or a Scandinavian country. This type of system only proves that those who can`t afford to attend will truly get left behind by society.

  2. @benjamin

    Public tuition is free in Japan just like in Canada. However, both Japan and Canada have educational costs. The difference is that Japanese schools make you pay most of them up front, while Canadian schools ask you to pay them during the year as the need arises.

    So in the end you pay about the same amounts to Japanese and Canadian schools.

    Also, if you can’t even afford the basic cost, there are subsidies you can apply for which are provided by the Japanese government.

    1. At The English instruction ill add 4times/ week 16.000¥. Now the question is , How about the education quality in Japan ??? In the kindergarten they don’t learn anything , primary school neither at secondary school they are forced to get in serious learning exactly by the age of 12 when for our brain is more dificult to ” suck ” the information . They need just fresh meat to work in factories not smart people . Save money and go home gaijin San were you think your child can get a better education .

      1. I beg to differ. It is not true that children don’t learn anything in J. kindergartens. People misunderstand this when they perceive that a lot of J. kindergartens don’t teach writing and reading. But this is no different from Scandinavian education which fosters the belief that children benefit by learning left-brained type of learning of literacy components from a later age. J. early education systems are usually considered the best (or among the best) aspects of J. education, the environment is rich in naturalistic and holistic learning, art and music, learning of folk tales, rhymes and songs, outdoor or forest or cultural activities, depending on the individualistic philosophy of the school … just it isn’t upfront, doesn’t mean the school doesn’t have educational or learning goals. My children went to many types of local kindergartens, as well as foreign international ones, and the local ones they attended were inferior in no way, despite the often shoddy and humble buildings of the typical J. kindergarten. In fact, their language and vocabulary learning was extremely rich and natural all round, and school life was certainly a lot healthier with much more bodily activity than most overseas kindergartens. I do have a beef however with the cost of early education in Japan, since they are nearly all private, and therefore expensive, whereas you can find cheaper public ones in other Asian countries. In any event, things are slated for change, since preschools now have to abide by international preschool standards and the new guideline that came into effect the last couple of years, means that reading and writing at least of the alphabet now have to be introduced in preschools.

      2. I have to agree with @heritageofjapan. You have to be philosophically close-minded to be able to say that Japanese students don’t learn anything from Kindergarten through Elementary school. It’s just a different approach to education, and you need to properly understand the philosophy behind it before you brush it off just because it’s different to what you’re used to.

        And also, I was born and raised in Chiba prefecture and went to Japanese public school there, so if I were to “go home” it would be to Chiba. Be careful with your judgments based on shallow observations.

        Unless you’re trying to offend people instead of having a constructive conversation. Then carry on as you were.

  3. Is there any free schools in japan for ages 3-4 years old. We are about to live there in a week from now (osaka). I heard there’s none. Except elementary to junior high. Is it true? Can somebody help me about this? My daughter is 3 years old.

    1. Ages 3-4 are practically still infants, and don’t belong in school, but in daycare hoikuen. School is not legally compulsory except for elementary to middle school, which is why the gov. is not obliged to provide public schools except for the compulsory schooling period. There are public hoikuen however, but these are few and far between in Japan, and waiting lists are usually long crowded cities, and getting in, depends on your need to work and income level, the lower, the more likely you are to qualify. Depending on where you live, you are often able to receive subsidies for childcare. Again, eligibility and conditions vary. Best to ask your local ward or city office for details upon arrival or check out your city webpage which usually has an English page with such information.

  4. What is the current structure of education fees prevailing in Japan? The data is somewhat old and I presume many changes would have taken place since 2008…

  5. @davidkazuhiroDavid – can you clarify: you said public tuition is free but schools have educational costs. I’m confused and I know nothing about the Japanese school system so it would be great if you could elaborate. Thanks

    1. By public tuition is free I mean that the government covers tuition, you don’t have to pay for it. By educational costs, I mean pencils, erasers, transportation for field trips, uniforms / school shoes etc

  6. […] In short, there’s a lot of drama… and surprisingly, there’s a lot of shouting (for a Japanese drama show) throughout that usually ends in quiet moments (with a few tears) of honest reflection. The problem with Wakamonotachi 2014 is that it feels like a 1960s setting with the gadgets of our modern life. That’s just lazy remaking. If the setting is 2014, the project in itself shouldn’t be about five siblings because you’ll find it hard (I suppose that even harder in Japan) to find people in their 20s (with Tsumabuki being almost 34, playing a 29-year-old) who have these many brothers and sisters. I’ll make it three siblings in total, tops. You’ll also find it hard to believe that a high-school dropout who works paving roads will be able to put three younger siblings through school and post-secondary education (and cram school) [1]. […]

  7. The most recent article I read had 2016 statistics and stated that on average its 540万円(5,400,000 yen) to send a child from Nursery through till the end of High School.

    That’s just roughly how much it costs in fees and equipment to send a kid through the whole package. I’m not sure about college though. There are savings plans with the bank and other things that you can start as soon as you want.

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