About San Mateo Nippon Gakuyen

Established in 1919, San Mateo Nippon Gakuyen (Japanese School) is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the Japanese language and culture to students in grades TK-12.


Our school has continued to flourish as a result of three driving forces that successfully support one another – the strong backing of the Board of Directors which oversees and guides our school, devoted parent volunteers who organize and assist with school events, and our dedicated faculty who are passionate about teaching and engaging students.


Marking our 100th anniversary milestone, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded San Mateo Nippon Gakuyen the Foreign Minister's Commendation for outstanding achievement and contribution to the promotion of friendship with Japan.


About Our Students

Our students come from various backgrounds -- from families that are fluent in Japanese to those wanting to learn Japanese for the first time.


About Our Classes

Classes are formed based on the students’ level and age group, and instructors tailor their teaching plan to each class.  


Session 1st Saturday after Labor Day in September to 1st Saturday of June
Class Times

Students assigned to A class:      8:20 am ~ 10:10 am

Students assigned to B class:    10:25 am ~ 12:15 pm


(Students are placed in either A or B class based on level and age group)

# of Classes: 16 classes ranging from beginning to advanced
# of Students/Class: up to 12 students in younger classes; up to 14 students in older classes


In addition to teaching the Japanese language, a variety of cultural activities such as Kakizome (New Year’s Calligraphy), Hinamatsuri (Japanese Doll Festival) and Children’s Day are incorporated into the curriculum to create an engaging learning experience. Our annual ‘Big 3’ events include a picnic-undoukai at a nearby park, a stage presentation by each of the classes, and our completion/graduation ceremony. Teachers also support students in their participation in outside events such as the Japanese-Language Proficiency Tests and speech contests.


ABOUT PARENTal involvement

Active parental involvement is a crucial part of our school’s tradition to maintain an enriched school curriculum for our students as well as keeping the tuition low. Each year, parents are required to volunteer for at least two events or as a Class Parent Representative, and one day of yard duty. Some time after the students' 1st year, the parents are asked to take part in the PTA as an event coordinator, committee member, or other position for a minimum term of 2 years. 


San Mateo Nippon Gakuyen is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization