How to Learn Japanese in Shibuya: A Step-by-Step Guide

With the anticipation of Coto Academ’s fourth Japanese language school in Shibuya, we want to provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to improve your Japanese language skill in Shibuya.

From choosing the right language school to immersing yourself in the local culture, this guide covers everything you need to know to make the most of your language-learning journey in Tokyo’s most vibrant and youthful neighborhoods.

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Why Learn Japanese in Shibuya?

Shibuya is a bustling neighborhood located in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. It is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and locals alike, and it has a lot to offer language learners looking to immerse themselves in Japanese culture.

At the same time, a lot of people might be deterred from studying Japanese in Shibuya because of its crowd and nightlife. Is the area really a good place for language school students?

We like to think so. Shibuya is home to many international students and professionals, so it’s easy to network and make new friends with people from all over the world. This not only helps you establish connections but also enables you to practice your language skills in real-life situations.

From fashion to music, there are plenty of opportunities to experience and participate in aspects of Japanese culture that are unique to the neighborhood. You can also visit a traditional temple, such as the Meiji Shrine, which is located in a beautiful forested area and is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort Empress Shoken.

We’ve made a full neighborhood guide to Shibuya, where we cover where to go and what to eat. Explore the area here!

Preparing for Your Language Journey

Are you ready to embark on a journey to learn Japanese in Shibuya? Congratulations! Learning a new language can be a challenging and rewarding experience that opens up new opportunities for personal and professional growth.

However, before you dive into your language studies, there are a few things you need to consider to make the most of your language journey.

Setting Your Learning Goals

Before enrolling in a language school in Shibuya, it’s important to assess your current proficiency level and set realistic learning goals. Do you want to learn Japanese for business purposes or to communicate with Japanese friends and family? Are you interested in Japanese culture and history and want to deepen your understanding of the language? Whatever your reasons for learning Japanese, setting clear and achievable goals will help you stay motivated and track your progress.

For example, if you’re a beginner, your initial goal might be to learn basic vocabulary and grammar structures to hold simple conversations. As you progress, you can set more advanced goals, such as reading Japanese literature or watching Japanese movies without subtitles.

Long-Term or Short-term Study?

This is probably the first thing you need to consider. How long are you planning to stay in Shibuya? For most of us traveling on a tourist visa or the visa waiver program, this is probably around 2 weeks to 3 months. People from certain countries can also study Japanese on a working holiday visa, which allows them to stay in Japan for one year.

However, some of us might be looking to study for a longer time — for at least one year. Students who want to study in Japan for this duration or more need to enroll at a Japanese language school that sponsors student visas (check our guide here).

Short-term Japanese language schools like Coto Academy can’t accept students who need a student visa. Similarly, long-term language schools in Shibuya like Shibuya Gaigo Gakuin or ISI Shibuya can’t sponsor student visas if you are planning to only study for less than 6 months. You can contact us to discuss your options, as Coto also partners with language schools to match you with the right program!

Choosing the Right Language School

Shibuya has a vast selection of language schools, each with its own teaching methods, curriculum, and price range. Take the time to research and compare different language programs to find one that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Consider factors such as class size, teacher qualifications, student reviews, and extracurricular activities when choosing a language school. Some schools offer specialized courses for specific purposes, such as business Japanese or JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) preparation, while others focus on conversational skills or cultural immersion.

Check out this article that breaks down the things you need to consider when choosing the right school.

Budgeting for Your Stay

Living and studying in Shibuya can be expensive, so it’s essential to budget your finances carefully. Consider factors such as tuition fees, living expenses, transportation costs, and leisure activities to make sure you can cover all your expenses comfortably.

The typical tuition to study in Japan for one year is around 750-850,000 Japanese yen. For short-term courses, the price range is a bit bigger.

If you’re staying in Shibuya as well, keep in mind that hotels, apartments, or other accommodations will. be more expensive because of its prime location.

One way to save money is to find affordable accommodation in Tokyo, like shared apartments or dormitories with other language students.

Navigating Shibuya’s Language Schools

Once you’ve prepared for your language journey, it’s time to enroll in a language program and start studying Japanese in Shibuya. Here’s what you need to know:

Types of Language Schools

Shibuya has a variety of language programs, ranging from traditional classroom teaching to online classes. Consider your learning style, schedule, and budget when choosing a language program that suits you.

If you’re someone who prefers a more structured learning environment, then a traditional classroom setting may be the best option for you. These schools offer a more formal approach to learning with set schedules, lesson plans, and experienced teachers who can guide you through the language learning process.

Top Language Schools in Shibuya

Some of the top-rated language schools in Shibuya include Shibuya Gaigo Gakuin, Coto Academy, ISI Shibuya, and Bunka Institute of Language (. Each of them is great in its own way.

Shibuya Gaigo Gakuin is known for its immersive language programs that allow students to practice their language skills in real-life situations. Coto Academy focuses on practical conversations for residents in Tokyo. ISI Shibuya, on the other hand, specializes in career support and business communication in Japanese. Check out our article — 8 Top Japanese Language Schools in Shibuya — for more pros and cons of each school.

Enrolling in a Language Course

After selecting a language school, it’s time to enroll in a language course. Be sure to communicate with your school to ensure that you are placed in a class that matches your proficiency level and pace.

When enrolling in a language course, it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself. Learning a new language takes time and effort, so be patient and persistent in your studies. Take advantage of the resources and support offered by your language school, such as tutoring, language exchange programs, and cultural events.

Affordable and Easy Ways to Learn Japanese in Shibuya

We’ve discussed a lot about finding a language school in Shibuya, but even enrolling in short-term courses takes time. What if you don’t have the time to attend class but still want to make your learning affordable and effective?

Joining Language Exchange Groups

There are many language exchange groups in Shibuya that offer opportunities to practice your conversation skills with native speakers. Because it’s basically (not geographically) the center of Tokyo’s social life, most meeting points are set in Shibuya. One thing we recommend is to find language exchange partners. Many langue exchange apps can help you filter language exchange partners who can meet in Shibuya Shibuya. A few of them include:

Shibuya-san, the tourist and information center located in Shibuya FUKURAS, hosts a few events every other week, like board games and, of course, language exchange events. Everyone is welcome to join, and you can check their upcoming get-together here.

Participating in Cultural Events

Shibuya hosts many cultural events throughout the year, from traditional festivals to contemporary art exhibitions. Attending these events is an excellent way to experience Japanese culture and practice your language skills.

For example, you can attend the annual Shibuya Festival, which celebrates the local community with food stalls, music performances, and traditional dances. You can also visit the Shibuya Hikarie Art Gallery, which showcases contemporary Japanese art and hosts artist talks and workshops. The official Shibuya website has an event calendar for everything that is scheduled for the year.

Making Friends with Locals

Making friends with locals is an effective way to practice your language skills and gain valuable insights into Japanese culture. Consider joining clubs or attending events where you can meet new people and expand your social circle. Of course, there are other ways to make new friends organically. We’ve heard stories of people making friends at pubs, izakaya — or even just randomly on the street.

Enhancing Your Learning Experience

To make the most of your language learning journey in Shibuya, take advantage of the many opportunities to explore the city and learn more about Japan. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Exploring Shibuya’s Attractions

Shibuya has a lot of famous cultural landmarks, such as the iconic Shibuya Crossing and the Hachiko Statue. If you decide to make your way to Shibuya, you might find it hard to sift through everything and have an enjoyable time, so here is a list of things to do in Shibuya to get you started exploring.

Trying Traditional Japanese Cuisine

Japan’s cuisine is renowned for its variety and unique flavors. Shibuya boasts many excellent restaurants, that serve traditional Japanese dishes such as sushi, ramen, and tempura. Trying these dishes is an excellent opportunity to experience Japanese culture through its food. For example, sushi is not just a meal, but a work of art that requires years of training to master. Ramen, on the other hand, is a hearty and comforting dish that is perfect for cold winter days. Tempura is a dish of battered and fried seafood or vegetables, which is often served as a snack or appetizer. Be adventurous and try something new!

Tracking Your Progress and Staying Motivated

Learning Japanese can be a challenging and rewarding experience, but it requires discipline and commitment. Here are some tips to help you track your progress and stay motivated throughout your language-learning journey:

Setting Milestones and Celebrating Achievements

As you progress in your language studies, it’s important to set milestones and celebrate your achievements. This will help you stay motivated and focused on your language learning goals.

For example, you could set a goal to learn a certain number of new vocabulary words each week or to master a specific grammar concept. Once you achieve these milestones, take time to celebrate your progress. This could mean treating yourself to your favorite Japanese dish or taking a day trip to a nearby Japanese cultural center.

Overcoming Language Learning Challenges

Learning a new language can be frustrating at times, but it’s important to stay positive and not give up. When facing language learning challenges, reach out to your teachers or classmates for support and guidance.

Additionally, try to incorporate different learning methods to keep things fresh and engaging. For example, you could watch Japanese movies or TV shows with subtitles, listen to Japanese music or podcasts, or even attend a language exchange event to practice your speaking skills with native speakers.

Continuing Your Japanese Studies Beyond Shibuya

Finally, remember that language learning is a lifelong process, and there are always opportunities to improve your skills. Whether through online classes, cultural immersion, or further studies, continue to practice and refine your Japanese skills to reach new heights and achieve your language learning goals.

You can join Coto Academy and study Japanese in Shibuya soon, visit this page to get started!

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