Immigration & Life in Japan

For students interested in the long-term program

As a general rule, student visa is needed to study Japanese in Japan.
Student visa allows students to study 1-2 years of Japanese in the long-term course.
After graduating from a Japanese school, student visa is also needed to study in vocational schools or universities.
Normally, valid visa period is 12 months to 24 months; a total of 24 months can be extended.

Qualifications for Visa Extension

An average school attendance rate of 80% is required for student visa extensions. The school is mandated to report all students’ attendance condition to the Immigration Bureau of Japanese.

Part Time Work

Student visa holders may apply for a work permit allowing students to work 28 hours per week. It takes about 2-4 weeks for the permit to be issued. Starting from July 2012, the regulations have changed and students are able to apply for the “Permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted” at immigration in the airport when entering Japan.

For students interested in the short-term program

Travel/Sightseeing visa is generally valid for 90 days; however it may vary by country. Travel/Sightseeing visa is issued after arrival in Japan. Please consult with your local Japanese Embassy/Consulate for details.

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About living in Japan

National health insurance for illness and injuries

International students are mandated to join the national health insurance. Once enrolled, 70% of hospitalization and treatment fees are covered by the national health insurance. Students will be responsible for full hospitalization/treatment fees if ill and without health insurance. Having national health insurance provides a peace of mind for students while studying in Japan. For short-term program students, please enroll in travel health insurance in your home country before entering Japan.


After you’ve moved into your apartment, please register your address with the local ward or city. *For those who did not receive a Residence Card at immigrations when entering Japan, please obtain the card with necessary documents. When there is a change of address, change of visa, necessary documentation and reports need to be made.
A one room apartment in Tokyo city area costs around 60,000~80,000 yen. Students often share an apartment . Please contact the school’s information desk for apartment/rental information.

Transportation & commuter passes

The main transportations in Tokyo are cable trains, subway, and bus. Trains, subway, and bus run according to schedule, extremely on time. Especially in the city area, trains run frequently, offering convenient services. Commuter passes can be purchased for the duration of 1, 3, 6 months. Commuter passes are discount transportation passes for a limited route and period. Students are able to receive student discounts on the Toei Subway Line and Toei Bus. For other transportation routes, please purchase a work commuter pass. (*Toei Line includes Toei Oedo Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Toei Mita Line, Toden Arakawa Line, Nippori Toneri Liner)


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Cellular phone

There are three big cellular companies in Japan: NTT Docomo, KDDI AU, Softbank. Cellular phones/plans can also be purchased at large electronic shops and specialty shops. There are different plans and services offered, it is recommended to research beforehand. Documents such as student card, national health insurance card, bank book, name seal, etc. are needed for making a cellular service contract. However, it may vary by company. Please contact the cellular companies directly for detail information.

>>> For detailed information on NTT Docomo
>>>For detailed information on KDDI AU
>>>For detailed information on Softbank

Opening a bank account

Residing in Japan up to 6 months and over is required in order to open a bank account in Japan. Residence Card (Alien Registration Card), passport, name seal are needed to open an account. Don’t forget to sign up for a cash card; it will arrive by mail.

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Guide for the school’s surrounding facilities

SAM Language School is in Shinjuku, the center of Tokyo. There is also a residence area near the station. Students living nearby the school often come to school by bicycle. Here is a guide to the surrounding facilities around the school.


Living in foreign countries can be stressful at times for international students and some students may become ill due to difficulties in adjusting to the local weather and living style. “I don’t feel well”, “maybe I caught a cold”; during days like these, let’s go get checked up by a doctor.



The area surrounding Shi-Okubo is called Hyakunincho. It is famous for being Japan’s largest Korean-town. There are cuisines from Korea, North Korea, China, Thailand, Burma, Nepal and other Asian countries. There is also Toyama Park, sports facilities (Shinjuku Sports Center, Okubo Sports Plaza), and a college town nearby composed of many vocational schools and Waseda University.

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There are around 10 libraries in Shinjuku ward; the largest is the Shinjuku Chuo Library.

●Shinjuku Chuo Library
1-9-8 Ochiai Shinjuku Ku, 161-0033
>>>Shinjuku Chuo Library Access Map


JR Seibu Shinjuku Line Takadanobaba (Waseda Exit) 8 minutes walk
Subway Tozai Line Takadanobaba (Exit 1): 8 minutes walk
Seibu Shinjuku Line Ochiai Station (North Exit) 6 minutes walk

【Library Hours】
Chuo Library Calendar
Tuesday-Saturday 9:00am-9:45pm
Sunday, Holidays 9:00am-6:00pm

【Library Closed】
Monday (open on holidays and closed the next day)
New Year’s (12/29-1/4) Library Arrangement Day (3rd Thursday of the month, open on holidays and closed the next day)
Special Library Arrangement Day (7 days a year)

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Sports Facilities

Public indoor sports facilities are conveniently 20 minutes by walk from the school. Students can enjoy swimming pool, gym, and take lessons in karate, badminton and many other classes.

●Shinjuku Sports Club
【住所】3-5-1 Okubo Shinjyuku-ku,Tokyo,169-0072 Japan
>>>Shinjuku Sports Club Access Map

JR Takadanobaba Station: 10 minutes walk
Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line Nishi-Waseda, Exit 3: 5 minutes walk

●Shinjuku Cosmic Center
3-7-42, Okubo Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, 169-0072 Japan
>>>Sinjyuku Cosmic Access Map


JR Takadanobaba Station: 10 minutes walk
Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line Nishi-Waseda, Exit 3: 5 minutes walk

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In the middle of the high rise buildings in Shinjuku, there are many great parks. In spring, there is Cherry blossom viewing, and beautiful autumn leaves in the fall cherry.

●Shinjuku Gyoen
Public Park with Japanese garden. 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014
>>>Shinjuku Gyoen Access Map


JR, Keio, Odakyu Line, Shinjuku Station South Exit: 10 minutes walk Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Shinjuku Gyoen-Mae Station: 5 minutes walk Toei Shinjuku Line Shinjuku Sanchome Station C1, C5 Exit: 5 minutes walk

●Toyama Park

2-1-8 Okubo Shinjuku Ku Tokyo 169-0072
JR Shin-Okubo Station/Subway Tozai Line Takadanobaba: 10 minutes walk
Subway Oedo Line Wakamatsu-kawada Station: 15 minutes walk
>>>toyoyama Park Access Map


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There are many shopping spots in Shinjuku.
There are many shops from historic department stores such as Takashimaya, Isetan, Shinjuku Rumine and Tokyu Hands of the Station Building, to affordable clothing shops Uniqlo and Shimamura. Large bookstore Kinokuniya, electronic stores Yodobashi, Bic Camera, and Yamada.
Japanese living expenses rank as one of the top in the world; it can get costly when you are living alone. However, there are 100 Yen shops! Students can use the 100 Yen shop for big savings on general house wares, kitchen wares, food and many other goods.

●伊勢丹百貨店 新宿店
●高島屋百貨店 新宿店
●小田急百貨店 新宿店
●京王百貨店 新宿店
●東急ハンズ 新宿店
●紀伊国屋書店 新宿本店
●100円ショップキャンドゥ 新大久保店
●100円ショップギャンドゥ 西武新宿ぺぺ店

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