Here we answer some questions we often get asked about homestays and life in Japan.
If your question isn’t answered below, feel free to contact us directly.

*Conditions may vary depending on the programs offered by the affiliated Japanese language schools and universities. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Questions About Our Homestay Programs

What is the difference between a homestay and a dormitory, guest house, or other type of accommodation?

Unlike at a dormitory or guest house, at a homestay you are welcomed as a member of a Japanese Host Family. Not only can you improve your Japanese skills, you can also learn about Japanese customs and lifestyle.

How much does a homestay program cost?

Homestay program fees includes an "arrangement fee" and a per-night "homestay fee". The amount will vary depending on the meal plan you choose (breakfast only, or breakfast and dinner included) and of course the length of your desired homestay.
The longer your homestay length, the cheaper the price per-night, saving you money on longer stays.

There are also "limited-time discount offers" and "special discounts for those attending affiliated Japanese language schools" available at certain times.
Please let us know your desired plan using the inquiry form and we will email a tailor-made quote just for you!

What is included in the Homestay Fees?

Your Homestay Fees include a homestay with a private, furnished room, meals (breakfast only or breakfast and dinner), utility costs, and 24-hour emergency support.

What’s not included are transportation expenses and misc. expenses (ie. “fun money”, snacks for yourself, souvenirs to take home, etc.).

Are there any meal plans without breakfast?

At the moment, we don’t offer any meal plans that don’t include breakfast. When applying for a homestay program, please choose the 1-meal or the 2-meal plan.

Will my Host Family be able to speak English or other languages besides Japanese?

Yes, some families can speak English or other languages besides Japanese. If you have a language-related request we can try to accommodate you, but if your family speaks only Japanese, please think of it as a great opportunity to improve your Japanese skills and try your best to communicate in Japanese.

Will there be other Guests at my homestay?

Most homestays only have one Guest; however, there are some Host Families who host multiple Guests, so you may meet someone else. We hope you consider it a great environment for cultural exchange!

In the case that you prefer a host family with no other guests, please mention it during your application – however, please note that we may not be able to meet your request.

I’d like my own room during my stay. Can I request a private room?

All homestays arranged by Homestay in Japan have a private room available for each guest.

Will my homestay be located close to my language school?

Schools are often located in the city center while most host families live in the suburbs, so most guests can expect a school commute time of around 30 to 60 minutes. Some families live closer, and we will strive to arrange your homestay as close to your language school as possible.

Will my homestay have Wi-Fi?

Many houses have Wi-Fi, but you may find that depending on the type of house and where your room is, it might be difficult to get a good signal. We recommend purchasing a prepaid SIM card at the airport so you can access the Internet on your way from the airport to your homestay or while commuting to school.

*Please note that prepaid SIM cards are often not sold in stores near homestay locations, so consider purchasing it at the airport.

I’m a vegetarian. Will that be a problem during a homestay?

No, it won’t be a problem at all. Just remember to let us know when you apply for your homestay and we’ll take care of the arrangements.

I’d like to do a homestay together with my son/daughter – is that possible?

Yes, it is possible. Contact us directly for more information.

Can I apply for a short-term homestay, or a long-term stay?

You can apply for homestay as short as one night, and long-term stays are also possible.

I have a chronic illness. Can I participate in a homestay?

Yes, you can. Please inform us of the types and names of any medication you require and/or what kind of help you might need from your host family. Also, kindly let us know the details of your illness and what treatment you require.

*Please understand that depending on the type and/or severity of your illness, we may not be able to accommodate you.

Is it possible to get a different Host Family if the one assigned to me is not what I expected or hoped for?

Not in general, as our professional and experienced staff will do their best choose the family most suitable for you based on the information you provide on your application form. However, if for some reason you feel would like a different Host Family, please let us know.

*Please note that we cannot promise to arrange a Family that matches every request you may have.

Can I get in touch with my Host Family in advance, after my homestay has been decided?

You certainly can! Two weeks before your stay begins, you can get in touch with your Host Family using the contact info we’ll send you, so feel free to say “Hi” and introduce yourself as they are looking forward to meeting you, too!

However, please leave the arrangement of details such as the meeting time, place, and move-in date to Nextage to avoid confusion.

Do I have to spend all my time with my Host Family during my homestay?

No, you don’t. Of course, you will need time to study, do your homework, refresh, and enjoy some time to yourself as well – you’re visiting Japan, after all! It’s best to enjoy spending time with your family while adjusting your daily rhythm to make time for yourself as well.

What should I do if I’m unable to eat the food I’m given during my homestay?

If there are any kinds of food that you prefer not to eat, be sure to let your Host Family know in advance. Also, if you are served something that you really don’t like or can’t eat, don’t hide it or pretend to like it, and definitely don’t secretly throw it away: this is seen as rude and a waste of food. Instead, politely let your family know and they can adjust your meal for next time. Honesty is the best policy!

Can I take a shower after I wake up in the morning?

In most Japanese homes, the washroom adjacent to the bath/shower room is used to get ready for work, school, etc. and is usually not available in the morning. If you can’t adjust to bathing at night during your stay, or have another reason you’d like to shower in the morning, let us know when you apply for your stay.

Can I choose the Host Family I want from a selection of families?

Unfortunately, you cannot choose your family by yourself, but our professional and experienced staff will do their best choose the family most suitable for you based on the information you provide for us when you apply, and we also take your requests into consideration. However, please note that we cannot promise to arrange a family that matches every request you may have.

*If you have health concerns such as allergies, we will make it our highest priority to arrange a host family that can accommodate you.

Is it possible to change my Host Family after starting my homestay?

Yes, it is possible to change families. If you would like to request a change, please contact Homestay in Japan first before telling your current family. We can first help you to see if there are any issues that can be resolved, as small differences in culture or customs can be the cause of misunderstanding during homestays. If it’s deemed better to move to a new Host Family, we’ll take care of it for you.

During my homestay, is it possible to change from a homestay to an apartment or other kind of accommodation?

Yes, it is possible to change to a different kind of accommodation; however, you will be charged a cancellation fee in that case. If you are planning a long-term stay and wondering whether to choose a homestay or an apartment, we recommend that you first apply for a few months of homestay instead of for the entire period of your stay in Japan. That way, you can either extend your homestay, or move out without a cancellation fee.

What should I do if there is trouble or some kind of problem with my Host Family?

First, take a deep breath, relax, and remember that it does happen. Let’s face it: language barriers and cultural differences can lead to misunderstandings on both sides. Also remember that in Japan, it’s important not to only speak your mind, but also try to understand the feelings and culture of Japan and your Host Family.

Also, feel free to talk to us at Homestay in Japan and we’ll do our best to help you work out any problems you encounter and what to do next. Problems can often be a learning experience.

Questions About the First Day of Homestay

Where will I meet my Host Family on the first day of my homestay?

In most cases, you will meet your Host Family at the nearest station (i.e. train or subway, etc.). If you are unsure or worried about how to get from the airport to your meeting place, you can use Homestay in Japan’s airport pick-up service.

Can my Host Family pick me up at the airport?

As a rule, no, your Host Family should not pick you up at the airport. If you are unsure about how to get from the airport to your meeting place, you can use Homestay in Japan’s airport pick-up service.

Can you tell me more about Homestay in Japan’s airport pick-up service?

Certainly. A member of Homestay in Japan’s staff will meet you at the airport be your guide as your make your way to your designated meeting place using public transportation. However, the “pick-up service” does not mean we will “pick-up” your bags -- we kindly ask that you carry your bags yourself. Thank you for understanding.

Other Questions About Visiting Japan

Can I purchase SIM cards at the airport for immediate use?

Yes, you can. At the airport, you will find various prepaid SIM cards for sale at convenience stores and even in vending machines.

*We recommend you purchase a SIM card at the airport as they are often not sold near most homestay locations.

Which communication app is most popular in Japan?

“LINE” is by far the most popular messaging and calling app in Japan. We recommend downloading it before coming to Japan. LINE also has a desktop app and is quite useful, but the process for signing up and transferring accounts on LINE might be a little different from other apps such as WhatsApp, etc. so be sure to read the instructions carefully.

Should I bring cash with me? Are credit cards and smartphone payments prevalent in Japan?

Japan has traditionally been a cash-based society, but in recent years payment by credit card and smartphone has become much more mainstream. However, in some cases you may only be able to pay with cash, so we recommend that you bring at least 20,000 yen with you.