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Start of the School Year

The Japanese school year begins in April, not in September like in the United States and other countries. The first term runs to around July 20, when summer vacation begins. Kids return to school in early September for the second term, which lasts until about December 25. The final term begins in early January and continues to late March.


Most people think spring - when life begins anew - is the perfect time to start new things. Kids get excited and are full of expectations when the new school year approaches. Early April is also the time when cherry blossoms are in full bloom. So when people think about entrance to new schools and the start of a career, they often conjure up images of these beautiful blossoms. Many schools have cherry trees growing on their grounds, and parents like taking pictures of their kids entering school for the first time under the light-pink blossoms.


There are some, though, who want to change the school year so that it starts in September. They say that this will make it easier for students in other countries to come and study here and for Japanese students to attend schools abroad. But because spring is so closely associated with new beginnings, the school year will probably continue to start in April.


The fiscal year, which the government and businesses use in planning their annual activities, also starts in April.