Kyoto is one of the most historically and culturally rich city in all of Japan. If tradition is one of the most important factors in choosing a location to learn Japanese in Japan, choose Kyoto. You will be able to learn Japanese while participating in so many cultural events! It’s a great choice for anyone serious in learning Japanese.

Like most cities, Kyoto has its own dialect, known as Kyou-kotoba, or Kyoto-ben, within the Kansai dialect. When it was the imperial capital for those thousand years, it was the standard. Now that Tokyo has become the capital of Japan, the standard Japanese has been influenced by the Tokyo dialect.

Kyoto-ben is much more soft, and much more polite and indirect than the Tokyo standard. It is said to be more feminine, and it is not used regularly except between close Kyoto-native friends. It was important in the world of geisha and the inheritance of traditional customs, and so often the language of geisha would be Kyoto-ben. Therefore, the existence of the dialect would not be detrimental to your language experience in Kyoto! If anything, it would add onto it.

Every program is different, and so it is important to choose a program that works best with your schedule, what type of learning style you have, and what you want out of the experience. Here are some programs that are popular in Kyoto:

Private tutoring/group courses

Both of these are great options for those who are not able to attend universities. These can also take advantage of the small amount of people and encourage communication between students, which tends to be the best environment for language learning. Beware however; private tutoring tends to be double the price of group courses.

University courses

Taking language courses at a university happens to work best for learners currently enrolled in a college or university, since many universities can place their students in institutions overseas. The most popular choice for language study is at Kyoto University, for Japanese Language Education at the International Center. This program is easy for university students because students are able to transfer credits gained abroad in their respective home universities.


A homestay is the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the Japanese language. This allows you to learn the language while living with a host family and while taking courses at the same time; usually the program provides the courses for you. Some programs also offer a combination of living and teaching homestays to keep the costs low, as well.

  • Did you know…? Most of Japanese action films are shot in Kyoto’s Toei Uzumasa Eigamura!
  • Don’t miss: Shugaku-in Imperial Villa, one of the best imperial gardens
  • YUM: Yudefo – soft tofu simmered with vegetables! Delicious!

Kyoto has retained its traditional roots more than any other city in Japan, as well as one of the best-preserved. Two of the most famous imperial palaces in Kyoto are the Kyoto Imperial Palace and the Sento Imperial Palace, both homes of Japanese emperors for centuries, and one of the oldest shrines in human history: the Shimogano Shrine, built in the 6th century.

Along with these cultural relics scattered throughout the city, there are quite a few festivals! Aoi Matsuri, one of the three big festivals in Kyoto, started in ancient times as a simple prayer for a bountiful harvest, and has grew into a procession composed of six hundred people dressed in traditional Heian period clothing. It's now held annually every May 15th.

Also worth attending are Jidai Matsuri, the Festival of the Ages, held annually on October 22, and Gion Matsuri, which lasts for the whole July. During this time Kyoto's streets are filled with food stalls, girls dressed in yukatas, and lanterns are hung everywhere.

Contributed by Tiffany Qi

Japanese Language Programs in Kyoto

Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 programs
JaLS Group
Standard Intensive Japanese Language Course in Kyoto
9.83 •23 reviews

The Kyoto JaLS Standard Course includes 15 morning Japanese lessons...

JaLS Group
Japanese Language & Internship Program in Kyoto
10 •5 reviews

Our Japanese Language and Internship Program is ideal for those...

JaLS Group
Standard Course & Intensive Private Lessons
9.6 •5 reviews

JaLS GROUP's Standard Course & Intensive Private Lessons program take...

JaLS Group
JLPT Preparation Course in Kyoto

The JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) Preparation Course at...

Genki Japanese Language & Culture School
Genki Japanese School in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is the heart of Japan, and our Kyoto School is right in the...

Go! Go! World
Go! Go! Nihon Japanese Language Program

Whether you want to study in Japan short-term or long-term, Go! Go...

Kyoto Minai Japanese Language School
Kyoto Minai Japanese Language School

We offer both short term and foundation courses. The short term and...

The Best Japanese Language Programs in Japan with MOTTO JAPAN

Whether you’re interested in short-term programs for a short as 1 week...

Arc Academy Japanese Language School
Arc Academy: Learn Japanese in Kyoto

Our school has a variety of programs for you to choose from. We have...

Kyoto Institute of Culture and Language
Kyoto Institute of Culture and Language: Learn Japanese

We offer a variety of courses ranging from beginners to advanced. We...

Kyoto International Academy of Japanese Language
Kyoto International Academy: Japanese Language Courses

We offer a variety of courses ranging from the beginner to advanced...

Nihongo Center
Nihongo Center: Learn Japanese in Kyoto, Japan

We offer intensive courses and regular courses with levels ranging...

The Kyoto Center for Japanese Linguistic Studies
Improve Your Japanese at The Kyoto Center!

We offer a variety of courses ranging from intensive courses to...

Kyoto University of Foreign Studies
Kyoto Japanese Summer Experience (3 weeks)

We are delighted to introduce 3-week Japanese Summer Course in July...

Other Japanese Language Programs in Japan

Not enough options in Kyoto? Check out these other Japanese language programs in Japan!
  • EF International Language Campuses
    Learn Japanese in Tokyo with EF
    9.37 •19 reviews

    Learn Japanese among Tokyo’s soaring skyline and fast-paced culture...

  • Meiji Academy
    Study Japanese in Fukuoka, Japan with Meiji Academy
    9.63 •30 reviews

    Meiji Academy provides high standard beginner to advanced level...

  • KCP International
    KCP Intensive Japanese Language and Culture Program in Tokyo, Japan
    9.52 •25 reviews

    Head over to Tokyo to study Japanese! The KCP International Japanese...

  • JaLS Group
    Standard Intensive Japanese Language Course in Hokkaido
    9.83 •41 reviews

    Hokkaido Japanese Language School’s Standard Course includes 15...

  • LanguBridge
    LanguBridge Summer Language Program in Tokyo, Japan
    9.25 •4 reviews

    Study Japanese in Tokyo with LanguBridge! Our 3-, 4- and 7- week...

  • The YAMASA Institute
    SCSP (SILAC Special Program in Summer and Winter)
    9.5 •2 reviews

    SCSP combines the tight conversational focus of our existing SILAC...

    Traditional Japan (Language Course)
    9 •2 reviews

    Hello / こんにちは Japan has much more to offer than skyscrapers, bright...

  • CET Academic Programs
    Pre-College at CET Japan: Global Perspectives & Intensive Japanese

    Spend the summer learning Japanese in Osaka or exploring how Japanese...

  • Genki Japanese Language & Culture School
    Genki Japanese School in Fukuoka, Japan

    Travel to Fukuoka to learn Japanese! Genki's Fukuoka school offers...

Tours & Trips in Japan

Looking for something to do during your time in Japan? Check out some of these tours and trips!
  • Intro Travel
    Japan Adventure Trip with INTRO Travel
    10 •19 reviews

    From the neon lights of buzzing Tokyo to ancient temples on snowy...

  • Discover Corps
    Japan: Cultural Odyssey
    10 •1 review

    With a population of over 9 million, Tokyo alone will instantly...

    Learn Japanese in the Summer in Tokyo
    10 •3 reviews

    So you’ve heard about the modern architecture, the glorious food and...

  • The Dragon Trip
    13-Day Budget Japan Tour with The Dragon Trip
    9.33 •12 reviews

    Every day on our epic 2 week Japan tour you'll see a different side to...

  • Travel Hokkaido
    Adventure and Culture Tour in Japan
    10 •2 reviews

    Nomad Tours are aiming at young adults wishing to travel Japan through...

  • Oyster Worldwide
    13 Day Backpacking Tour of Japan

    Visit Japan for culture, adventure and Japan. This 13-day group tour...

  • Kichi Japan
    Yamabushi 16-day tour of Japan - Kichi Japan
    10 •1 review

    Not your average tourist experience, this tour is specifically...

  • Stunning Tours
    9 Days Japan Delight Tour
    10 •1 review

    Guided tour starts in Osaka through Tokyo. You will visit: Osaka 1...

  • Adventures in Japan
    The Perfect Introduction to Japan

    Starting with several days in Tokyo, plus day trips from Tokyo to...

Related Language Schools Articles