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Kindergarten in Japan for Tourist - 11-10-2009, 06:27 AM

Hi,

we are a young family (couple+1.5 yo boy) and we plan to make a long visit to Japan. We will go as tourists, as this is what we want to do (we won't work).

We want to settle down in one place (rent a flat) and put our kid in a local kindergarten. Will that be possible? For the flat we will take a japanese speaker with us to translate all docs etc.

But is it realistic with the kindergarten issue? Will our kid be given a place as a tourist? Are there any private kindergartens? How much is it per month?

We won't go to Tokyo, we prefer a smaller town that has a karate dojo and a relaxed atmosphere...any tips on that?
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11-10-2009, 06:35 AM

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Originally Posted by kashitta View Post
Hi,

we are a young family (couple+1.5 yo boy) and we plan to make a long visit to Japan. We will go as tourists, as this is what we want to do (we won't work).

We want to settle down in one place (rent a flat) and put our kid in a local kindergarten. Will that be possible? For the flat we will take a japanese speaker with us to translate all docs etc.

But is it realistic with the kindergarten issue? Will our kid be given a place as a tourist? Are there any private kindergartens? How much is it per month?

We won't go to Tokyo, we prefer a smaller town that has a karate dojo and a relaxed atmosphere...any tips on that?
Tourist visas are 90 days, so renting a flat will not be possible, unless you want to pay a year's worth of rent up front. In general, tourists cannot rent apartments, so your future will be hotels or weekly mansions, which tend to be designed for single travelers.

Private day care is certainly an option, and there are all kinds of choices, at least in urban and suburban areas, but public school will not likely be possible unless one or both of the parents is a Japanese citizen. An 18 month old is too young for public school, regardless. Private kindergartens do not start that young, but private day care is an option.
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grr - 11-10-2009, 06:48 AM

thank you for your reply.

I actually saw many agencies that publish a monthly (or 3-monthly) based flats for rent. I guess they are more expensive than regular ones, and perhaps only possible to find in the bigger cities?

School is so far from us...our baby is too young to be thinking about it, so the daycare sounds good. What is the Japanese word for daycare? Or better, private daycare?

My husband is German and I think he gets 6 months tourist visa. We only plan on a year in Japan, and since we won't work there I hope it will be possible to renew our tourist visas from there. Hope I'm not too naive about it?

kashitta
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11-10-2009, 06:57 AM

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thank you for your reply.

I actually saw many agencies that publish a monthly (or 3-monthly) based flats for rent. I guess they are more expensive than regular ones, and perhaps only possible to find in the bigger cities?

School is so far from us...our baby is too young to be thinking about it, so the daycare sounds good. What is the Japanese word for daycare? Or better, private daycare?

My husband is German and I think he gets 6 months tourist visa. We only plan on a year in Japan, and since we won't work there I hope it will be possible to renew our tourist visas from there. Hope I'm not too naive about it?

kashitta
Pre 9/11 I think renewing tourist visas was relatively easy. Now I would say that it is more difficult.

Day-care is a borrowed word from English, so a day-care center would be デイケア・センター but there are also Japanese words like 保育園 and 保育所.
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11-10-2009, 07:08 AM

Even as a tourist, you should be able to rent a place through somewhere like Leopalace. You may disappointed at the size of the place though. They do offer 2 bedrooms, but they are rather scarce. Your best bet is to look into 1 bedroom places and all sleep in one room. You`ll need to pay for the rent and like in advance in one lump sum.

At 1.5, kindergarten is out. Kindergarten in Japan is 3+, public and private.
Public hoikuen (a combined nursery school and kindergarten) accepts children 3 months and over, but unless you are in a very lax area (with tons of spaces for kids open) you will need to be a resident and both parents working. As a tourist, both of these are impossible, even if you are able to rent a place.
You shouldn`t have any trouble with private daycares. The cost can be really prohibitive with those though - especially if you are short term and paying by day. It generally runs around 30000yen a month for around 8 hours a day. Otherwise, around 500yen an hour.

As for location, pretty much anywhere in Japan would fit that. With the long-term living plan and needing to rent a place to stay, I would say to stick to fair sized cities and their outskirts.
I personally recommend Nagoya area, as it`s a bit city with a lot of resources yet low priced, plenty of day cares and karate dojos, and a decent number of family type monthly rental rooms.
But - as I said - most places in Japan outside of Tokyo and Osaka will work.

ETA; And while I was away eating and taking too much time to type this message up more information appeared...

You probably won`t be able to renew inside Japan unless you are on a working holiday visa that is split into segments.
I have never once heard of a daycare center being called デイケア in Japan. There is "デイ・ケア" but it is always used to refer to care of those with disabilities, and never for child care. (Unless the child has a disability that requires specialized care.)
You`ll want to look for 保育所 / 保育室 or 認可外保育施設 to be more specific.


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Last edited by Nyororin : 11-10-2009 at 07:15 AM.
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11-10-2009, 07:32 AM

thanks for the information.

so the crucial step remains the tourist visa issue...
does anybody know anything about the cultural studies visa? my husband is planning on continuing his karate studies...but it's not like he has a 1st dan already...does it make sense to try and go on this visa? and would this visa give me (wife) and our son a visa to stay there next to him?

I saw somewhere that the tourist visa given to Germans (and another 30 countries) is for "UP TO 6 MONTHS". Do they give normally the 6 months? Or less? And does it matter that I am not a German citizen? Would I get the same visa he gets since we go as a family?

hate visa issues.

will check the Nagoya area. we were thinking about Okinawa (karate, the weather) - but we are afraid it has too much of the "american military" style people...? No offends, but it's not what we want.

kashitta
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11-10-2009, 07:59 AM

With the tourist visa, your husband`s visa should have no effect on your own. Regardless of family connection, with the tourist visa you will all be receiving it based on your nationality. If you are not from a country with 6 month tourist visas, you will not be able to receive one even if your husband is.

I do not know the policy on issuing length for those with multiple tourist visa lengths. He may have to come in on 3 months then renew the tourist visa, he may have to show proof of funding in advance to receive the longest, etc.

If he comes to Japan on a cultural activities or student visa, you should be able to receive a dependent visa allowing you and your son to stay in Japan with him for the length of his study.
However, with the cultural activity visa I believe that he will have to be enrolled into some sort of program with them sponsoring him. In the case of Karate, it`s likely that he`ll need to have the dojo set and have contacted them about learning there long term before that route would be open to you.

I`ve never been to Okinawa, so can`t comment on how things are there... But I have heard that the local attitudes toward foreigners tend to be colored by the US military presence.


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11-10-2009, 01:51 PM

I dodn't believe Kindergarten teachers in Japan have any formal qualifications. I may be wrong.

Having said that, I would not fancy enrolling my son in an all local Kindergarten.


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11-10-2009, 03:12 PM

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I dodn't believe Kindergarten teachers in Japan have any formal qualifications. I may be wrong.

Having said that, I would not fancy enrolling my son in an all local Kindergarten.
You`ve heard wrong. There is a series of examinations and courses you must go through to receive your qualification to become a kindergarten teacher. You`re also required to take part in 2 refresh courses a year (usually done during summer break).

In a daycare, there has to be one certified caretaker per every 3 for children over 3, and 1 out of every 2 for children below that.

Qualifications are very strict, as are examinations of the buildings and their cleanliness, etc.

The biggest difference between what is termed as a "certified" preschool/kindergarten and an "uncertified" one is the curriculum. Certified are required to teach so much, while uncertified are not required to do any "teaching" at all.


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11-11-2009, 01:47 AM

kashitta, don't count on being able to stay in Japan for more than 6 months on tourist permits. The unwritten rule is that in any 365 day period, you can only spend 6 months in Japan. If you leave Japan for a few days and then try to come back in again, you will most likely be put on the next plane back to where you came from. Japan Immigration considers stays of more than 6 months in a year on tourist visas to be abuse of the tourist visa, and therefore will not allow it.

Nyororin is correct in saying that it doesn't matter how long your husband gets on a tourist visa, if you are from a country whose citizens are only given 90 days or less, that is all you will get. You can try leaving Japan and coming back in for another 90 days, but as above, you will most likely only get away with that once.

Your husband will need to show serious previous commitment to his karate studies to qualify for a cultural visa, as well as arranging in advance a dojo that will sponsor him, and commitment to spend a lot of time practicing while in Japan.

If you are only on a tourist permit, your accommodation choices are limited because most agencies won't rent to people who don't have a visa allowing them to stay longer-term in Japan.

In Japan, as in other countries, there is no system that makes it possible for people to just come and hang out here long term. You have to either get a visa that shows you have some reason to be here (spousal, working, student), or you accept the shorter time that a tourist permit allows you. That's just how it works.
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