Study abroad in Japan, famous for its ancient history, high-speed trains, and beautiful temples.

Why study in Japan?

Japan is an incredible place to study. It’s a place where ancient history co-exists with mind-blowing modern technology. Explore ancient temples and catch high-speed trains. Relax in beautiful Japanese gardens and admire dazzling skyscrapers. If you love the idea of immersing yourself in a totally unique culture, you’ll love studying in Japan.

It is honestly such an amazing life-changing experience that you can’t put a price on. The lessons, information, skills and things you never thought you would learn, you learn. It is so valuable but at the same time it is so fun and interesting.

Holly, Auckland


You can choose to study in Japan for as little as three months or as long as one academic year. Gap year students are welcome to apply but must NOT be 18 years or older by the 31st March in your program (although some exceptions can be made by negotiation). All students will receive a three-day orientation on arrival in Narita, which includes full lodging, orientation workshops, and a trip to AEON shopping mall. For academic year students, a farewell party is held at the end of the exchange. Japanese schools have strict regulations: you must wear the correct uniform and no piercings, tattoos or hair colouring is allowed.

Placements are mostly in rural towns in the southern area of Honshu. The map below shows some of the places our past students have been placed. All of our host families are carefully vetted. We conduct home interviews, inspections, and police checks to ensure our students are placed in a secure and supportive living environment.

NZIIU exchange students have been placed in Kyoto, Tochigi, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Miyagi, Mie, Hyogo, Kanagawa, Gunma and Osaka.

Application deadline
March 2021
June 2021
1 September 2020
August 2021
November 2021
1 February 2021
August 2021
January 2022
1 February 2021
Academic Year
March 2021
January 2022
1 September 2020
August 2021
June 2022
1 February 2021

Covered expenses

Included in the fee:

  • School and family documents for your student visa application
  • Visa application guidance and submission
  • Placement in a suitable host family and school
  • Full board and lodging with a host family, excluding school lunches
  • Pre-departure orientation in NZ and arrival orientation in Japan
  • Meet and greet at the airport in NZ and at the airport in Japan
  • Transfer to your host community from Narita (and back again)
  • Farewell party at the end of the exchange for academic year students
  • Monthly progress reports to your parents
  • Ongoing monitoring by the host organisation
  • 24/7 emergency assistance in Japan and NZ
  • Certificate of completion upon return

Other costs

Not included in the fee:

Flights You are responsible for paying all domestic and international airfares between your home and Narita.
Insurance You will be required to purchase comprehensive travel and medical insurance prior to your departure. You will also need to register with Japanese National Health Insurance in Japan. This covers 70% of all medical bills. However, you will still need to purchase travel insurance in NZ to get cover for your journey, luggage, and personal items.
School setup You will be required to pay for school equipment, a uniform, and extra-curricular activities. The exact cost varies depending on your school.
Spending money We recommend allocating approximately $450 NZD spending money per month to cover things like transport, school lunches, and weekend activities.
Optional trips It’s a good idea to save some money for optional trips organised by your host family or your host organisation in Japan.


Students must be:

  • Aged 15 by the 1st of April and NOT 18 years or older by the 31st March in their program year
  • A New Zealand Citizen or hold Permanent Residency
  • Enrolled in a high school
  • Willing to learn Japanese prior to and during the exchange
  • Fit, well, and have a suitable personality profile
  • Academically motivated
  • Willing to adapt to the Japanese diet. Japan does not accept students with special dietary requirements such as vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free.


NZIIU will guide you through the visa application process, and unlike most countries there is no charge for the application.


Students are required to study Japanese for at least one year prior to departure. They need a good understanding of the language – both written and oral.   

All the pros outweigh the cons. You will become so much better at Japanese, you will have the opportunity to taste all the delicious food and make so many great friends and the list goes on…

Irene, Japan

Make an enquiry

Information Days

Online Info Sessions

You don’t need to travel – or even leave your couch – to learn more about NZIIU’s student exchanges and how they work. Register for one of our online informational webinars, and you can find out all you need to know from wherever you are in the country.

‘Meet our Ambassadors’ Day

If you’d like the full lowdown on the student exchange experience, this is the event for you! Our NZIIU Education Perfect Ambassadors are students who have recently been on exchange and are enthused, ready, and raring to share their knowledge, experiences, and stories.’

Learn More »

Need extra pocket money?

NZIIU Scholarships

We know that financing your exchange might be a bit of a challenge but don’t let that be a deterrent! NZIIU offer a select number of scholarships each year to eligible students who require some financial assistance, as well as a fundraising kit.

Explore now »

NZIIU fundraising kit »

NZIIU Fundraising Kit