The city of Sapporo in Hokkaido prefecture is the fifth largest city in Japan and is also the largest city. It is the capital city of Hokkaido Prefecture. As with most of Hokkaido, the Sapporo region was once home to settlements of the indigenous Ainu people, before Japan colonized and annexed the island. Before then, many Japanese people did not venture up north to the island of Hokkaido as a whole do to the harsh winter climates and the dangerous wildlife on the island itself.

Only a handful of Japanese bakufu bureaucrats knew how to speak and understand the Ainu people. However, as the Meiji restoration began to occur Sapporo was increasingly settled by Japanese migrants in the late 19th century, which caused the Ainu people to dwindle and not speak the language. Today, many experts are now trying to conserve the Ainu culture and language, with the language almost becoming extinct from memory. 

Learning Nihongo in Sapporo

In modern times, Sapporo is known for hosting the 1972 Winter Olympics, which was the first Winter Olympics ever held in Asia, and the Sapporo Dome hosting some games during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. 

Besides sports, Sapporo is home to many cultural events and cuisines. For example, in February, Sapporo hosts the Sapporo Snow Festival, in which many of Japan’s Self-Defense personnel participate in showcasing their works made of snow and ice.  Such works include not only sculptures but buildings and towers as well. 

As for cuisines, Sapporo is especially famous for its ramen and dairy. Sapporo ramen is famous, especially miso flavor, which it is said that the miso flavor ramen was created in Sapporo.

As for dairy, cheese tarts from Sapporo use milk from its dairy farms and are famous for their warm and rich creamy flavor and texture. Hokkaido’s organic milk and butter are the most common in Japanese supermarkets. Personally, Hokkaido dairy is the best. As for other cuisines, Sapporo is famous for seafood-based cuisine, as well as curry soup. 

For those interested in an environment that is somewhat suburban but close to nature, and does not mind the cold northern weather, perhaps this prefecture is the best place for some people to study Japanese language and culture.

Sapporo :Hokkaido Japanese Language Academy (北海道日本語学院  札幌本校)

School Fees (First year as of 2019-2020)

Application Fee21,600 Yen
Enrollment/Entrance Fee64,000 Yen
Tuition 570,000 Yen
Facility fee etc.75,600 Yen

Other Information

RequirementCompletion of 12 years of formal school education or equivalent
Admissions  April and October

Hokkaido Japanese Language Academy is a few minutes away from Hokkaido University, a former Imperial University of Japan, and still one of the most prestigious educational institutions in Japan. 

This Japanese language school offers prospective students an opportunity to study Japanese not only in a conveniently-located place but also a new facility. Hokkaido Japanese Language Academy also offers extracurricular activities in an area of Japan which boasts not only delicious cuisines to eat but also the natural beauty of Hokkaido and a variety of activities to do. The Japanese language school is also proud of the student’s closeness between each other, which they create a global environment by working together with the staff to create a friendly but also a productive environment.


Hokkaido Japanese Language Academy states that their curriculum is rated at an intensity of Medium-High. In other words, it means that the school teaches its material at an efficient pace. A student is expected to study every day around 2 hours outside of class, which depends on the student’s level. As such, this school is recommended to prospective students who are not only serious about learning Japanese in class and outside of class but still want to enjoy some free time.

As for accommodations, the Japanese language school offers dormitory facilities that students can either room share or have their apartments. Also, the school provides support in finding part-time and full-time employment. 

As a fair warning, unlike other Japanese language schools, Hokkaido Japanese Language Academy does not have a one-year course program but instead has a one and a half year or two-year course program. So total pricing will determine on how long a student is studying. For further information, please check the school’s official website, or if you have any questions please contact them directly.


Sapporo :Japanese Language Institute of Sapporo (札幌国際日本語学院)

School Fees (12 Months as of 2019-2020)

Application Fee22,000 Yen
Enrollment/Entrance Fee77,000 Yen
Tuition 605,000 Yen
Material fee26,400 Yen
Facility fee8,800 Yen
Other Fees11,000 Yen

Other Information

Application Email
Number of Students180
Number of Teachers9 (Including Full-time Teachers: 3)
RequirementCompletion of 12 years of formal school education or equivalent
Admissions January, April, July, October

The Japanese Language Institute of Sapporo simply states that the weather in the city of Sapporo is mild during the summers, but can also experience some of the best snow/ski resorts in the world. Also, with the fact that Hokkaido is a colonized prefecture, there is no regional accent/dialect like many other parts of Japan. As such, students will be able to learn proper standard Japanese with ease. 

As for the intensity level of the Japanese language school, it is rated at a medium level. The Japanese language school provides students with a perfect balance between studying and finding some free time. As such, students at the Japanese Language Institute of Sapporo will have the ability to explore and see Japan, while doing their studies.

The Japanese language school states that English-speaking staff is available to help students with any type of issue that may occur while attending the school. In addition, the school provides support to students in finding part-time employment and preparations for job interviews.

For accommodations, the Japanese Language Institute of Sapporo offers dormitories such as single rooms, co-op, and apartments. There are different pricing and offerings for such accommodations, so please check the school’s website for further details. 

If you are interested in studying at this school and want to learn more about it, please check for further details on their official website or contact the school directly by email. 

In conclusion

This article introduced the city of Sapporo and two examples of Japanese language schools that are available to prospective students who meet the criteria to apply and enter for. If you have read previous articles related to Japanese language schools, you might remember that the schools are monitored and approved by the Ministry of Justice. Therefore, schools that are not approved by the ministry are not seen as “official” Japanese language schools under the law.  For further details, please read the article, “Learning Nihongo in Tokyo: Introduction of what Japanese Language Schools are and choices in Tokyo to choose from”.

Hope this was helpful and happy school hunting and studying!


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