The Guide The Relevent The Useful
where you are:SSG Home/the guide/japanese studies
Japanese Langauge Education
Living in Japan offers an excellent opportunity to improve your Japanese language ability. There are a variety of options to choose from, whether you are a beginner or advanced speaker.

Japanese language classrooms are generally operated through city offices and volunteer groups. These programs are usually inexpensive, meet weekly, and are geared toward the beginner to intermediate level.
  • Otsu City International Friendship Association
    Contact: (Tel./Fax) 077-525-4711
  • Hikone International Friendship Association
    Contact: (Tel.) 0749-22-1141 (Fax) 0749-22-1398
  • Hikone International Exchange Association (VOICE)
    Contact: 0749-23-6228
  • Hikone Japanese Instructors' Association
    Contact: 0749-23-7833
  • Nagahama UNESCO Association
    Contact: 0749-62-8251
  • Omihachiman International Exchange Association
    Contact: (Tel.)0748-36-5526 (Fax) 0748-32-2695
  • Kusatsu Japanese Circle (OLIVE)
    Contact: (Tel.)077-561-2321 (Fax) 077-561-2482
  • Yasu International Exchange Association
    Contact: (Tel./Fax) 077-586-3106
  • Kosei Japanese Volunteer Group
    Contact: (Tel.) 0748-72-3390 (Fax) 0748-72-3390
  • Imazu Japanese Class
    Contact: (Tel.) 0749-22-4320 (Fax) 0740-24-1457
  • Yokaichi International Exchange Association
    Contact: (Tel.) 0748-24-1234 (Fax) 0748-24-1457
  • Nagahama Japanese Research Association
    Contact: 0749-62-2434
  • Minakuchi Board of Education Life-long Learning Division
    Contact: (Tel.) 0748-62-1621 or 63-4077 (Fax) 0748-63-4087
While there are a few Japanese language schools in Shiga Prefecture, Kyoto offers a wide assortment for study after work, during school holidays, etc.. The following are some of those options:
  • H.E.C. Nihongo Center (075-351-4441)
  • Kansai Nihongo Kyoto Gakko (075-343-5033)
  • Kyoto International Center of Languages (075-722-5066)
  • Kyoto Nihongo Kenkyu Center Kawara-juku (075-231-1608)
  • Kyoto Nihongo Kyoiku Center Kyoto Nihongo Gakko (075-414-0449)
  • Kyoto YMCA Gakuin Japanese Department (075-231-4388)
  • Berlitz Schools of Language Kyoto School (075-255-2311)
  • Suzuki World (075-712-0521)
For classes in the Japanese language and culture, information for foriegn residents and CNN on the lobby television, visit the Kyoto City International Foundation:
2-1 Torii-cho, Awata-guchi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606
(Located directly north of Keage Station, toward Heian Shrine.)
(Tel.) 075-752-3010 (Fax) 075-752-3510

The Japanese Proficiency Exam is offered worldwide on the same day in the beginning of December each year. The exam ranges from Level One (Advanced--required for trance to a Japanese university) to Level Four (Introductory). Registration for the examination must be completed in September. Application forms, as well as copies of previous years tests, can be purchased at Maruzen (in Kyoto) or Kinokuniya (in Otsu, Osaka), and a variety of other bookstores dealing in Japanese study materials. The cost of registration is 500 yen. The test is offered in Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe (as well as a number of other areas throughout Japan and worldwide) and the site at which one can write for the exam will vary depending upon the level being attempted.

The Shiga International Friendship Association provides a service to introduce foreign residents of Shiga to volunteers in their area who will teach them Japanese. Fees vary according to the individual agreement between the student and teacher, but tend to be nominal. For more information, contact the Shiga International Friendship Association at 077-526-0931. If you are interested in studying on your own, some of the following texts and magazines have been recommended:

The following are commonly used introductory texts:
  • Japanese for Busy People
  • Japanese for Everyone
The following are texts recommended by The Japan Times:
  • A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammer
  • An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
  • Aspects of Japanese Society
  • Kanji in Context: A Study System for Intermediate and Advanced Learners
  • Writing Letters in Japanese
  • Formal Expressions for Japanese Interaction
  • Talking Business in Japanese
  • 24 Tasks for Basic Modern Japanese
  • A dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammer
  • Nihongo Journal
  • Hiragana Times
  • Mangajin
All of these materials, and a plethora of others, can be purchased at Maruzen (Kyoto) or Kinokuniya (Otsu, Osaka). See the section on shopping & entertainment for more details.

The World Wide Web is also a great resource for Japanese Studies as many sites offer free on-line tutorials. The following are just a few examples of what can be found by running a search on any search engine (for a look at the listing produced by Yahoo!, click here.):
Web Sites:
  • The Daily Yomiuri's on-line tutorials:
    Pera Pera Penguin
    "Five minute" lessons offered by a fifteen year veteran of Japanese language instruction. New lessons published bi-weekly on Mondays.
    Words in the News
    The title says it all, master Japanese through learning the kanji and vocabulary that appear in the news.
  • Kansai Ben Homepage
    Learn a sampling of the dialect spoken throughout Kansai and Shiga Prefecture

health & medicine news & information