What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Many, but hard to get acceptance at most. Local rich kids make up the majority. - Mar 2019
Lots of choices. None guarantee admission so apply early (like the fall before you come) and to more than one as you may be waitlisted. Most kids go to the American School in Japan which goes through high school but is a commute. There are several grade schools with no high schools that have a handful of families, including all girls Catholic, and IB school, Montessori, British school. Most of these are closer to the compound. - Jun 2018
Available but awkward commutes. There is some cliquishness and I would say bullying at the international schools. Academics are good but socially it can be hard for the kids. US embassy kids are not "uber rich" like most of their classmates. - Mar 2017
There are a lot of options. Many people use the American School in Japan (ASIJ), which is approx. 45 minutes by bus from the compound. Closer options that are also very good are Tokyo International School (TIS), the British School, Nichimachi (with English and Japanese curriculum), the International School of the Sacred Heart (ISSH) (all girls), St. Marys (all boys), and others. There is a good preschool on the compound for 18 months - 4 years. - Feb 2014
There are lots of international schools to choose from, and one will have to do their research before choosing the right one for their child/ren. Our kids attend two different schools. Our older attends ASIJ. We've found the school to offer a strong academic program, great teacher support, and a wide variety of extra-curricular and elective classes. Our kid is being pushed to excel and (we think) will be well prepared to go to any school after we depart. The school offers late buses and weekend buses for the multitude of programs and classes, and will offer the parents buses for events. The one downside is that the school is 45 minutes to an hour outside of the center of town. Our second child is younger, and we did not want her on the bus for an hour, so we chose TIS (Tokyo International School) which is a warm and friendly environment that serves kids pre-k-8. Our daughter is happy and reading (at 5) and thoroughly enjoys the IB-style curriculum and learning Japanese language and culture in a fun way. The school is moving to a new location, which will replace an old building and should prove to be a great improvement. They're also expanding the Japanese language instruction. We love the staff and administration, who are on a first name basis with the kids, and we think our daughter will develop a real love for school based on this early experience. The school is sometimes regarded as the touchy-feely school in the pool of Tokyo schools, and this is probably accurate---although this hasn't taken away from the academic strengths of the school. I couldn't comment on the academics for older children, but for elementary-aged kids, it's a great option. Other schools include Nishimachi (more traditional, with a Japanese focus), ISSH for girls (Catholic and highly regarded), British School, ISS, KAIS, and the list goes on. - Apr 2013
Several. Our son is having a great experience and is speaking Japanese already. He attends ASIJ. It is a very nice school and the faculty seem very good as well. - Jan 2011
There are many schools with varying options. The American School is a long bus ride (about 1 hour without traffic) and they are quite competitive. Most people seem pretty happy with the schools but the entrance process is a hassle. - Jan 2008