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International Schools in Tokyo, Japan

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Tokyo has many international schools and bi-lingual schools for expat students. Here are several of the more popular options.

Expats in Tokyo - International Schools in Tokyo, Japan

The British School in Tokyo

The British School in Tokyo is an international co-ed school that currently has over 850 students from ages 3 to 18. The Shibuya Campus serves the nursery to Year 3 students. The Showa Campus at Showa Women's University serves Year 4 to Year 13. A parent whose children attended The British School in Tokyo said, "the school itself is great, as are teachers and environment. They just don't have so much space and choice of extra curricular activities. They host repatriation talks and advice, they are very good at helping children with transition. Definitely a great school, if we were going back to Japan, I would certainly go back to BST."

New International School of Japan

The New International School of Japan serves students from pre-school through Grade 10 and is located near Ikebukuro station in Tokyo. This bi-lingual, English/Japanese school caters to students living in Japan for the long term. "I am a former parent. The classrooms, resources and staff were great, with several computers and an interactive whiteboard in each homeroom, two homeroom teachers per class, dozens of musical instruments--my child learned to play the violin as did all of the children from age 8 or 9 (now I think it is from age 6), an extensive library, and so on. No field, but there was a play area on the roof of one of the buildings and the kids had PE, TaeKwondo and the younger ones went to parks as well.. For a city school, not bad," said one parent whose children attended the New International School of Japan. However, another parent cautioned, "be careful. Japanese is the only language spoken by most students and students not fluent in Japanese are somewhat left out, as they are a minority. i.e. one or two per class. The bi-lingual approach, while nice in theory, is actually very Japanese oriented, with fewer native English speaking teachers, and far fewer native English speaking students."

Tokyo YMCA International School

Tokyo YMCA International School (TYIS) is an American school located in the Toyocho YMCA in Koto-ku, which is a five minute walk from the Toyocho Station on the Tozai line. "if you don't have problems with a smaller school, Tokyo YMCA International School is a good school. The class sizes are smaller. The curriculum is all taught in English and their reading/writing program is good. The administration also helps interested parents with children graduating from the school to locate and communicate with various other international middle schools in the Tokyo area," said one parent with children at Tokyo YMCA International School.

KAIS International School

KAIS International School is a boutique international school located in central Tokyo (Setagaya-ku). The school is 4-7, but is gradually expanding to 1-8 over the next few years. KAIS has a one MacBook per student policy and supplies students with a MacBook. One KAIS International School described the school saying, "I would say that if your child is a high achiever and creative, this is the perfect school for them. If your child is more comfortable "getting lost in the crowd" than participating in school functions, they may feel a bit overwhelmed. The school is very much like a family - for good and for bad; it's hard to blend in and be invisible in such a small environment, but there is a lot of support, encouragement, and love there. The students really love the school and they do really well."

St. Mary's International School

St. Mary's International School is a K-12 Catholic, all-boys school located in Setagaya, Tokyo near Kaminoge and Futakotamagawa stations. It's also located near Seisen International School, a Catholic all-girls school. One parent with children at St. Mary's explained, "The facilities are new and fairly big. They have cleaners everyday. The extra-curricular activities aren't very diverse however the school wins a lot of competitions through it. If your child is just arriving from another country and wants a place that helps adjusting to the environment, this school unfortunately won't do much. In this school, most students have been there most of their life and rarely lived abroad. The people aren't all that open-minded towards newcomers. So, the first few years will be a struggle to fit in."

Seisen International School

Seisen International School is K-12 Catholic, all-girls school located near the Yoga station in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. A parent with children at Seisen International School said, "The facilities have been improving over the years. The gym has been refurnished and the cafeteria has also been renewed. However, the facilities are quite poor compared to the American School. As for the extracurricula activities, there is a variety to choose from. Seisen provides excellent after school activities, frp, comptetitive sports such as basketball and volleyball to various clubs. The Mothers Association is an active parent- teacher organization in Seisen. The fathers are also becoming avtively involved. Seisen International School is a welcoming school with great values. All my daughters have made great memories here and continue to enjoy Seisen. "

International School at Sacred Heart (ISSH)

International School at Sacred Heart (ISSH) is an international all-girls, English school for Grades 1 through 12. They have a co-ed kindergarten. ISSH is located in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo just a few minutes from the Hiroo station. In 2011, a new building was opened which houses a state-of-the-art gymnasium and mini-gymnasium. It also houses the Kindergarten and Junior school classrooms, library, art studio and music room. Bonus: The gym's fitness area can be used by students and parents whenever the school is open.

Saint Maur International School in Yokohama

Saint Maur International School in Yokohama is a co-ed, international school for ages 2 1/2 to Grade 13. "If you want a very diverse child ratio and a friendly atmosphere with parent/teacher involvment---We have enjoyed our 2 1/2 years here and will come back again if given the opportunity," praised one parent whose children attended Saint Maur International School in Yokohama.

Yokohama International School

Yokohama International School has about 650 students from over 45 countries in grades K-12. "The school has a very responsive special needs committee. In general, the curriculum is very similar to schools in the USA. However, many diverse cultures enrich the curriculum. The school plans several week long events throughout the year to celebrate the diverse cultures and countries that make up the student population," said one parent with children at Yokohama International School

Columbia International School

Columbia International School is a co-ed international school for students from ages 3 through Grade 9. The curriculum is based upon the curriculum of the Province of Ontario. One parent with children at Columbia International School said, "the facilities are spacious as its in a rural setting. There are separate building for each division of school (Elementary, Junior, Senior High). There is a new gymnasium with a stage for performances and a big ground for sports behind the campus. The are many clubs that include sports, social and recreational areas. The school is very friendly and so are the students. Nationalities and differences are accepted and encouraged and everyone is made to feel at home. The school puts heavy value on the student being responsible for their studies and produces independent learners."

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

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First Published: Dec 09, 2014

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