JaLS Group

Why choose JaLS Group?

At JaLS GROUP you can not only study the Japanese language, but also have fun and use Japanese in real life situations! We have small class sizes and flexible teaching styles, and we combine this style of study with a range of cultural and social activities. Every week you will have the opportunity to meet local people, make new friends, explore the city, and learn a range of new skills and abilities.




We are looking forward to meeting you! Let's study Japanese together!



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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Internship Experience

I participated in the Kyoto JaLS Standard + Internship course over Winter and Spring 2020. I had an amazing time, both in class and outside of it. I was able to meet so many people from different parts of the world, and I made a lot of new friends. The school found me a really great apartment near Sanjo Bridge, about 15 minutes by train from the school. After classes ended for the day, there was a huge variety of activities to sing up for. I was able to try making lots of traditional Kyoto style crafts (kumihimo, yuzen, karakami, etc), and I even got to make Soba! One of my favourite events were the Japanese Conversation classes. We students got the chance to practice our conversation skills with locals, who had some really interesting stories about the city.

The classes were very small, with a max of 8 students, but the average was more like 5 per class. The placement test was fairly accurate, though getting into the swing of things the first week was really the only confusing thing. The teachers were amazing! They were very friendly, and extremely patient - especially when it came to difficult concepts. My Japanese skills improved a lot while I was learning with them, and I don't think I would have advanced as quickly without them. By the time you graduate, the teachers feel more like old friends.

The Internship course was the first time I had done an internship. The staff members were very welcoming, and constantly made sure I could understand what I was doing, since most of the instruction was in Japanese. They arranged for me to take a private Japanese Business Etiquette class, and helped me practice interacting with customers. Part of my responsibilities included running and hosting student events, working in the on-site cafe, and coordinating social media. The staff constantly checked in with me to check if I wanted to try learning something new, or if there was something specific I wanted to learn from them. If you are interested in taking the Internship course, I would recommend already knowing some conversational Japanese, since most of the internship takes place in that language.

I would definitely recommend Kyoto JaLS to anyone looking to improve their Japanese. The facilities are excellent, and they have a free resource library to help you study. Both the teachers and the staff are amazing, and are really invested in giving each and every person the best experience possible.

What was your funniest moment?
Being told it only took 20 minutes to climb to the Monkey Park in Arashiyama, and then hiking up an entire actual mountain. The funniest moment was probably thinking we had almost gotten to the top and then having the progress map tell us we weren't even a third of the way up the mountain.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Most of the thing was great

The lessons is totally perfect, teachers are good, the lesson was easy to understood, teacher are very helpful. During class, best part was to get extra exercise paper and chat in Japanese. Having a conversation in Japanese at the beginning of class is very good to heat up before study, very helpful. My favorite teacher was Rie sensei she is very active and always kind to all students. The book we use and paper exercise is just perfect not to easy not to hard. The test once of the week is just perfect. The lounge and cafe of the school is very nice, the atmosphere makes people go there during day off, also steady study room option like wifi and comfy chair was very nice. The activity after school was fun, most of them are very interesting, very good to join, at the end...good to have story to talk about in the class. Staffs san was very helpful, kind and friendly. Keep up the good work... Total was great makes me wanting to come again.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
friend & family atmosphere. Lots of options. Good coffee. Good lounge. Staff were friendly. Teacher were very nice and speak good English
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Yes, I recommend this program

JaLS Kyoto Review

It has been satisfying for 9 weeks. Everything was perfect and I was impressed by the support at the school. The teachers are kind of teaching and always try to let us understand well.

When I arrived I only understood how to read Horagana but now I can speak Japanese and express my feelings and opinions as well. Thanks to teachers I could speak Japanese.

In addition, the staff were also kind so that they let us know what Kyoto is like well. Thanks to the staff, I am now interested in Kyoto and Japan. I am company employee so that I want to work in Japan if I have an opportunity. With their support I could stay well in Japan.

I really recommend other people who are interested in Japanese to attend this school. Because I was satisfied with the school.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Kindness. Japanese people are really kind. School staff and teachers were always kind
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Yes, I recommend this program

My 1 week at Hokkaido JaLS

I signed up for only a week because I was unsure what to expect. It was my first time in Hokkaido, and the first time studying at JaLS.
After my one week, I find JaLS--with its teaching method, the Sensei, and the supporting staff--to be excellent, and I plan on coming back again.
Among the JaLS' teachings that I find especially valuable is what they called "shadowing". It involves memorizing and reciting a set of short dialogues--dialogues, in the vernacular/casual form, involving situations that you're likely to encounter often. Now, when I speak to Japanese people, I use (with slight modifications) some of the sentences and phrases from those dialogues.

I studied under three sensei during my week there. All were excellent. All were approachable and receptive to your questions--whether during class time or during break time.

A final point that makes me want to return to JaLS is its support staff--your point persons for everything relating to JaLS. They've among the most friendly and helpful staff I've ever encountered. Sayakaさん, in particular, made my stay in Hokkaido especially enjoyable. She helped me with suggesting what to do in Sapporo, finding a good maid cafe, directing me to the best Hokkaido ramen place, etc.. And she follows up!
Go ahead and give JaLS a try. It's great!

What would you improve about this program?
Teaching Japanese culture alongside Japanese language would be nice. Language and culture often reflect one another, and learning both together can lead to a better understanding.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Spring Course with Hokkaido JaLS

The small size of class is perfect for practicing conversation of a language. JalS staffs are energetic and helpful as they can speak in Japanese and English during non-lesson hours and cultural activities. The home stay life is the best choice if you want to integrate into the local life.

Visit unique coffee lounge where great care and pleasure has been taken to create a thoroughly relaxing environment and atmosphere for you to enjoy a bit of time out. You are invited to take a seat in one of comfortable chairs or relax on one of sofas and read the note or books. Keep stay there for a tasty local coffee or drinks and enjoy communicating with your classmates or new friends.

Let the study life in JalS be the happiest moment in your memory.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I wanted to gain work experience in Japan while improving my Japanese language skills at the same time. I also thought that doing this internship would be useful because I want to become an English teacher in Sapporo in the future and, during the internship, you get the opportunity to attend and assist in English classes for Japanese people, as well as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher).

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider assisted me with finding a place to stay in Sapporo and during my internship by answering my questions, if I had any. For example, a previous intern who had designed events for the school before helped me with coming up with ideas for future events of the school, like for the English Chat Night, for example.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

You should be motivated to learn Japanese and to use it during your internship. You should also be creative and be able to design stuff for events the school holds. Besides that, you should be good at presenting in front of a group, since you are going to lead the events the school holds. Presenting in front of a group might be scary at first, but you will get used to it eventually and you will learn a lot from it.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

You will go to Japanese language classes from 09:30 until 12:20. You will have lunch after that - from 12:20 until 13:30. After that, you will have your internship from 13:30 until 16:30. Sometimes you will also have events during the evening, like the English Chat Night. You will have to lead these events and explain to the participants what they are going to do during the event. Also, you will answer any possible questions they might have.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was that I would not be able to make friends. I tried to overcome that by being friendly and talking to new people instead of waiting until they started talking to me. So if you just do your best and if you are just open-minded and friendly, you will make friends eventually and you will have nothing to be scared about.

Why should you choose Hokkaido JaLS and not another language school in Sapporo?

I think that you should choose Hokkaido JaLS because it's very different from other Japanese language schools in Japan in general. The atmosphere is really great, the people who work there are very helpful and friendly, and you will feel at home right away. You will not get the ''gaijin'' treatment like you would usually get at other Japanese language schools. They treat you like you are one of them, and you will meet a lot of amazing people and become friends with people from countries from all over the world.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Rieko Nakano

Job Title

What position do you hold at Hokkaido Japanese Language School? What has been your career path so far?

Rieko: I’m the Principal of Hokkaido JaLS, and started the school just over three years ago. My career path has always involved my passion for teaching Japanese language and culture. I trained to be a Japanese teacher at a specialist college and gained my teacher’s license. Afterwards I became a Japanese teacher in Tokyo, and later in Vietnam for 2 years. I then returned to Japan and gained further experience in marketing and sales before moving to Malaysia to teach Japanese.

Throughout my time teaching Japanese I met so many students and heard their stories. I found that often students studying Japanese abroad had such a passion to learn the language because they loved the culture and Japanese people and the idea of what living in Japan would be like.

However, when I taught Japanese in Japan, I also met students who didn’t enjoy Japanese life as much when they moved here. Many of them had found it difficult to make friends or told me they felt like there was a wall between them and the Japanese community. Japan often wasn’t the same as their vision.

After I met many students with these experiences, I decided I wanted to come back to Japan and create a different kind of Japanese language school. Our vision is that our students would love their life in Japan, be able to make real friends and be part of real community and enjoy their language learning journey. Hokkaido JaLS is now three years old and we have many stories from students who have enjoyed every moment of their time here - this makes us more passionate to keep developing our school and community!

Did YOU study abroad?! If so, where and what inspired you to go?

Rieko: I’ve studied abroad twice in my life, and also worked abroad as a Japanese teacher. At 16 years old I studied in Vancouver, Canada for one month at summer school, which I really enjoyed; and then when I was 20 years old I went to a volunteer work camp in France for one month.

My time in France was really life-changing because I met so many people from all over the world. This experience really made me want to become a Japanese teacher. It was the first time I had met people from so many countries, and it was also the first time I had really begun to think about how foreign people saw Japan from outside. My mind was really broadened and I saw the value of having cross-cultural relationships and learning. I had wanted to go and study abroad for the challenge and experience, and it was definitely an incredibly valuable one!

What does the future hold for Hokkaido Japanese Language School - any exciting new programs to share?

Rieko: Yes! I think this year is incredibly exciting for us. We want to change the experience for students studying abroad in Japan. We want foreign students to be able to make real friendships with people from all over the world and attract people from all over the world to come and study here in Sapporo.

We have found that in the last three years, many people meet in Sapporo at our school and keep in touch using social media. It’s so easy now to maintain these relationships. This year we want to develop this idea further and create a large global community where past and current students can link together, support each other, share experiences and become friends.

Next month we are launching a special network called Connec; a community development project that aims to join all of our student body (inside and outside of Japan) together in a borderless community. This is exciting for us in Sapporo. We also run two sister schools in the city called The Language House (where Japanese students study English) and Asian Cafe (where Japanese students study other Asian languages), and Connec will offer many events and experiences that link all of our students together and create real opportunities for language exchange, friendships and community.

Why is language learning and cultural immersion important to you?

Rieko: I think language and cultural learning makes life more fun. If you only experience one language and culture then your thinking can be narrow; but learning a new language and culture means that your thinking is enlarged and grows wider. It often means your life has many more choices. It makes your life fuller and richer to really experience something else of the world.

Cultural learning is so important to our school. We offer learning not just in a classroom setting and from textbooks, but also learning where language is used outside of the school in a variety of real life environments. We believe this makes learning more fun and that these creative ways of learning mean you can apply your language straight away.