|Elementary students walking to school, Japan|
photo credit: Everything, Japan
How does a typical day in a Japanese school go?
Based on my experience and on research, Japanese students and teachers spend way more time in schools than other countries. They spend really way more time and days in the school than in their houses.
Schools officially start around 8 am and officially end at around 3 pm. But this is only the "official" time. In reality, students come to school as early as 6:30 am for club practice. Don't be surprised seeing students all sweaty and dirty even before class starts.
Before Actual Classes
As I've said, some students have club practice before 8 am. Five minutes before 8, all students must be in their classrooms. There, they'll have either homeroom time or individual reading time. This usually lasts for 20 minutes.
A few days in a month, this 20-minute pre-class time is allotted for student assembly. If you're working in schools and you can't find anyone during this time, they're probably in the gym for the assembly.