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Hokkaido Japanese Language School students with their certificates Hokkaido Japanese Language School students with their certificates

Short-term Japanese Courses & Cultural Activities in Sapporo

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

4 weeks at Hokkaido JaLS

I spent 4 weeks as a beginner Japanese language learner at JaLS in autumn of 2016, and I enjoyed my experience there so much that I plan to go back in 2017.

I signed up for the standard course with private lessons, and I found both to be very useful. The standard lessons were taught by very engaging native Japanese speakers and were quite well structured. Grammar concepts are introduced early, then worked on them throughout the week, and they'll be sure you'll never run out of vocabulary to study! Outside of the classrooms, the rest of the staff are very engaging and once they know what you're trying to learn, they'll work it into normal conversation. Over and over again, until you know it. It is a fun and supportive learning environment. The staff also really cares about the students and is happy to get to know them.

The private lessons gave me the opportunity to delve into specific topics while also reviewing information from previous weeks that hadn't quite sunk in yet. I think these lessons were worth the time and money, but I don't think they're necessary for everyone.

Another positive aspect of the school is the diverse student body that it attracts. I am an American, and I can count the other Americans I encountered at the school on one hand. Most everyone speaks English, so meeting new people was no problem, and everyone was very welcoming and happy to show me the ropes in my first week. If you stick around to study later in the afternoon, you will also get the chance to meet some Japanese people who come to the school to study English! I met a language exchange partner who I am still in touch with that way.

The location is excellent, right in the middle of Sapporo, and is easily walkable from the subway lines. There are tons of places to eat and shop nearby at a variety of price points, and the café in the school is a great place to hang out and study.

I was very happy with the educational quality, community, and pretty much everything else at JaLS. As I said at the top, I intend to go back. Hopefully I'll see you there!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Winter course 2016

When I was looking for a Japanese language school in Japan, JaLS immediately got my attention, because of how many interesting activities it offered besides regular lessons, and also because classes were so small in comparison to all the other schools. So I chose to enroll for the 2016 Winter Course (which last approximately a month) and after that to attend the Standard Course for two more months. To put it shortly: the best 3 months of my life!!! :-D

The lessons were always extremely interesting and fun, and a lot of focus was given to conversation, which was my weak point. It’s amazing how much progress I made in such a short period (and having such a great time!), all thanks to the amazing work of brilliant, super-friendly and dedicated teachers who really motivated me day by day.

Also, the classes being very small, they can give a huge amount of time and attention to individual needs, which really gives you the opportunity to practice your language skills a lot. Every lesson was useful and challenging, making for very pleasant mornings. And the afternoons and weekends the learning process didn’t stop, as there were always great trips or cultural/recreational activities to join, where you really had a great chance to relate to local people, their culture, their everyday language, their way of thinking. Just to name some of the fantastic experiences I had: I had a barbecue in an igloo, followed by a bath in a beautiful onsen in the snow, I learned how to make sushi and soba, I watched the penguins march in beautiful Asahiyama zoo, I watched fireworks shining over enchanting Ice sculptures at Shikotsu lake, I learned how to fish in the ice and how to swing a kendo wooden sword…and I could go on and on and on…It was a memorable, fascinating journey, made all the more special by the great people from all over the world I met along the way. I made a lot of friends of all ages and from all countries, I learned a lot of things and I cried a lot of tears when it was time to say goodbye to JaLS.

The accomodation was fantastic, too. I wanted to have my own room in a dormitory to have a lot of privacy, and the school staff really went out of their way to accommodate my requests. I stayed at a very lovely dormitory, where I had a huge room with private kitchen and toilet and two very tasty and abundant meals every day. It was clean, cosy and very close to the metro, I couldn’t ask for more!
I’m so happy I chose Hokkaido and found JaLS. Sapporo is an elegant, beautiful, vibrant city, and at the same time it’s way cheaper and easier to live than megalopolis like Tokyo or Osaka. Hokkaido’s nature is just breathtaking, especially during winter and there’s lots of ice and snow festivals in the city and all around the region. And if you go, get ready to get a few kilos, because food in Hokkaido is heavenly good!

To conclude, I think what made this adventure so magical is the people. JaLS people are just special, both the teachers and the staff go out of their way to make everyone happy and safe and to make sure everyone’s learning, socializing and having fun. It really felt like a big family, a strong bond was created among students, teachers, staff people and the atmosphere was always friendly and vibrant. I’m grateful to all of them, and I can’t wait to see them again…which I will, because I will certainly go back to this amazing school very soon! :-D

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Winter Program 2016

I spend nearly 7 weeks at this school for their Winter program and two weeks of standard course, and overall it was the best 7 weeks of my life. Not only did I learn Japanese, but I had fun as well. I believe having fun is one important component when it comes to learning. To make learning more effective, the classes are separated into small groups, which each class has no more than 6 people in them. This allows the teacher and students to interact with each other a lot more. There was never a lesson that had a dull moment in it, and there was always laughter.

After class, the school would organized fun activities for students join, such as culture activities, trips, and conversation lessons. Since it was the Winter program, many activities allows us to enjoy and play in the snow, for example, we went snow walking and snow tubing as one of the activities the school offered, and we also had the chance to eat BBQ in a snow hut. Culture activities, allowed us to engage ourselves in Japanese culture, in which we had the opportunity to try on kimonos, learn kendo, have a tea ceremony, make sushi and soba, and ect.


Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed everything the school has to offer. If in the future I have the chance I will defiantly attend the school again. I will never forget the experience I had here, and also all the new friends I had met.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

Excellent program

My personal experience of 2 sessions: 3 month of standard course and 2 month of standard + private course. I have started from basic conversational Japanese and reached an intermediate level, (Minna no Nihongo lesson 10 to 50) and 500 kanjis.

The standard lessons are about 55 minutes long and a maximum of 6 students in each classrooms but most of the time, we were 4 or 5. They really care to put you in a class of your level. For 3 weeks, because there was no other students of my level, they started a class just for me!
The school uses Minna no Nihongo and teaches 2 lessons per week that means lots of homework to acquire vocabulary and grammar at home and practicing in class. Also the Shadowing book for speaking/listening and a small essay per week. Although they speak english, we used to speak only in Japanese. Without being bossy, those classes are really effective and I was able to learn fast.
You may have a maximum of two teachers in a week, so they can follow your progress individually. Along my 5 month, I had 6 different teachers. All of them were good and experienced teachers.
The whole staff is nice and friendly, dedicated to your Japanese studies and also they really cares about your well-being in Sapporo. Most of them speaks english.
I recommend it for short term studies, people interested in visiting Hokkaido and experience Japanese culture.
They propose a wide range of activity: food, cultural class, visits, festivals, sightseeing, lots of advices for food or nice places to go out.
This school is definitely worth it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    10

best school ever

Went to school last year for 5 weeks. Would consider that time as the best time in my life. Met great people and had great time. JaLS staff is better than family. Even you dont like to study, you feel like you want to study at school and spend there every day of your time. Came back this year twice and it was even better. As a result im moving to Sapporo for good next year!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Unforgettable experience

I chose Jals since the small class and various programs. Teachers and staffs were so kind and full of energy that I could learn a lot only only from the lessons but through chatting with them. I think it's the best way of language learning. At first I could only say some single words and phrases, but after graduation I could find a part-time job in Japan. It's absolutely one of the best memories of my life. If there's any chance, I'd like to go back again!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

great learning experience at JALS

I learned Japanese during six weeks at the Hokkaido Japanese language school and had a great learning experience. The teachers have a long standing teaching experience and are very patient, caring and professional. The classes are small and a big effort is made on oral skills. Progresses are here after few weeks. In addition to the classes, cultural activities are offered to discover Japanese culture. Prices are reasonable, and Sapporo is cheap and not too big a city, ideal for nature lovers.
I highly recommand this school.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

Great Short Term Program

I would recommend Hokkaido Japanese Language School as great way to enjoy Hokkaido on the short term. They offer all levels of Japanese from beginner to advanced for formal study and employ effective learning methods such has shadowing to help in the language learning process. More importantly Hokkaido JALS allows for activities outside the classroom which encourages students to immerse in real world Japanese through an enjoyable informal setting. The school is not so intensive as to over burden and prevent you from enjoying the Sapporo experience, yet they are a completely legitimate language school that focuses on obtaining practical Japanese language. I picked this school so I could travel and have fun while complimenting my personal self-study of Japanese with lessons from an authentic language learning institution. The teachers at Hokkaido JALS are patient and respectful people. I would highly recommend.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

JALs Private Lesson

I`m a little biased with my opinion on Sapporo due to me living here. The winters can get cold and the roads slippy but it`s worth it, for the awesome Summer weather. Summer in Sapporo is fantastic. There`re so many festivals and fun things to see and do.

The school trips are well put together and help students not only see more of Hokkaido but meet some good people and share some fantastic experiences!

All in all the school is fantastic. The whole experience from dealing with the office staff with my countless queries and schedule changes, to being taught are effortless regardless of Japanese ability!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great people, great learning, great fun!!

My time at Hokkaido JaLS as a student included morning group classes, afternoon 1-1 lessons, and activities. Everything was brilliant! I had a great time, made some amazing friends and gained confidence in my Japanese!

The morning classes are a maximum of 6 people so there's loads of time to talk and ask questions. The 1-1 classes were great for helping me learn the Japanese I needed to at the time (I was writing a thesis on the Japanese education system for my Masters!), and my teacher was really supportive. The active social environment of JaLS also made it easy to make friends, meet local people and just have the best time.

Normally, each week there were at least 4 social activities or planned trips which meant there was never a boring moment!

I would really recommend studying here, whatever your Japanese level!!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • The Campus

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

The perfect mix of japanese experiences and studies

When i made my decision to go study Japanese in Japan, i directly aimed to live in Sapporo.
In many ways a city that did fit my preferences with its closeness to nature and mountains, it's a big city without all the rush and stress you can experience in Japan's other major cities.

For me it was the perfect mix of Japanese studies and culture experience, even though class is only 3 hours per day you will learn and progress a lot since it's small classes and you get a lot of attention from the teachers.
This was my first time leaving my home country alone, but i went back home with so much awesome experiences and awesome new friends!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • The Campus

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

JALS April 2016

I spent four weeks studying Japanese in JALS and had such an amazing time. The class sizes are small, and learning for three hours a day really lets you improve your Japanese ability really quickly - but I never felt stressed out at all. The lessons are very well-structured and focused on conversational ability, and it was really fun to go out every afternoon and practice whatever I'd learned that day on unsuspecting wait staff and my host family.

The activities after classes are all really interesting as well (e.g. sushi-making, cloth dyeing), but the best part was meeting so many different people from all over the world and making new friends, hearing a huge variety of different languages, and going out for dinner, drinks, or karaoke in the evenings. I had friends from Europe, Taiwan, America, and a load of other places. It's really a mixed bag of people but everyone is really fun. The staff and teachers are all really amazingly nice and helpful as well and felt like friends too :)))

Living in Japan is also super interesting. I stayed with a host family and got to experience life like a local - speaking Japanese at home also does wonders for your language abilities, although my host family also spoke perfect English, if anyone's worried that it might be too difficult. We went out a lot on weekends to do things like cherry-blossom viewing, and visiting nearby towns :) Sapporo itself is probably my favourite city in Japan - it's like Tokyo without all the horrible overcrowding and insanity, and I highly recommend living there. I will definitely try to come back to do more time at JALS at some point in the future :)