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Our environment and curriculum is built around hands-on learning and giving students valuable experiences and life skills. 

Curriculum goals and standards are met through hands-on experiences, research, experiments, and reading living books. 

In the Eco-School there are experiences woven into weekly, monthly and annual rhythms:

  • Growing Food and Flowers

  • Caring for animals

  • Wayfinding by stars, the sun, moss, the tide, map and compass

  • Creation care

  • Seasonal celebrations

  • Daily nature observation and journaling 

  • Learning about indigenous way of life in Japan and other countries

  • Forest Craft — Foraging, how to build a fire and shelter

  • Cooking from scratch

  • Drying and fermenting

  • Making your own things for daily use (bags, bowls, tenugui)

  • Adventures

  • Teamwork, working together to complete a common goal

  • Independence, the freedom to discover what one enjoys 

  • Perseverance


We are often asked if we have thought about the futures of our students.

What follows are more details about our curriculum, learning environment, and posture towards the future of education and learning.

What is your heart language?

When we interview our students we ask 3 key questions that help us to help families navigate the bilingual picture of their child's life.

1) What is the child's heart language? (i.e. What language do they primarily dream in?)

2) What language do they desire to study in in high-school and university?

3) Do they eventually desire to live in our outside of Japan?



English-first education for third-culture kids in Japan, that still nurtures a love for Japanese language, values and culture.

The student will study 60% in English with daily supplemental Japanese classes. Most students will graduate Hinoki Academy being able to speak, read and write up to a 6th grade level in Japanese, and at a college preparatory level in English.

The student can continue their studies in English through distance learning with a community alumni group, and have the option of potentially studying at Asia Pacific University here in Oita, at another internationally-minded university in Japan or abroad. 


The experience at Hinoki gives the third-culture child a love of learning, an appreciation for where they grew up and their passport country, a connection with the natural world, positive relationships in English and Japanese which are an important marker for future success, and many opportunities academically. 

School Kids
Young Scientist


Japanese-first education for students that desire English proficiency.

What we offer Japanese students is the opportunity to learn in a diverse environment. This can be greatly beneficial for students that already are familiar with English, or who have struggled in the local school system.

We offer a 50% English 50% Japanese education to our Japanese-first students. While most of the direct teaching and activities happen in English, we offer homework in Japanese with assistance in Japanese so they can maintain both languages, and study kanji at at their own steady pace. We are able to do this because of our incredible fully bilingual staff.

Our goal as a school is to help Japanese-first students to pass their high-school entrance exams, not by teaching to the test, but by being aware of what is on the test and teaching those topics meaningfully. We also recommend that students receive tutoring in old Japanese when they reach middle-school. We can refer them to tutors and resources through our local network of like-minded educators.

What is the future for these students?

--More options for international high-school and university studies, whether in Japan or abroad 

--Greater options for working, traveling and living

--To not suffer from bullying, depression, or a lack of acceptance from peers

--To have confidence in one's giftings and abilities

--To have the gift of being able to communicate in the language that most of the world engages in

--To work in an international capacity with Japanese and global companies

--To not suffer from linguistic isolation 

Let's learn!

*We are accepting students*

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