Urakawa Town, Hokkaido - Alternative School Exchange Program Details

In Urakawa Town, we offer programs for elementary school students, namely "Urakawa Friend Forest School (Alternative School)" and "After-School Program." Utilizing large Mongolian-style tents (ger) as classrooms within a forest where horses reside, these programs provide various experiences such as nature play, crafts, art, fire starting, and local exploration.

Urakawa Friend Forest School

"Urakawa Friend Forest School" is a place where you encounter "real experiences." Prioritizing children's "happiness" and "spontaneity," the school nurtures resilient minds and bodies that can live flexibly in the future through a variety of activities such as playing in the forest, river, and sea, as well as engaging in art, craftsmanship, and experiences utilizing local resources.
The after-school program, "Woodpecker Forest," takes place inside the school building designed like a forest kindergarten, where play activities are developed with respect to the children's interests and curiosities.

1. About the School

Facility NameUrakawa Friend Forest School
Official Websitehttps://school.nakayoku.jp/ (Japanese website)
Address4-339-14 Higashimachi Kashiwa, Urakawa-cho, Urakawa-gun, Hokkaido
Phone Number+81 80 8058 5551 (Weekdays 09:00~17:00)
School LunchAvailable (*1)
Distance to Kindergarten”Urakawa Friend Forest School”: Adjacent to the kindergarten After-School Program "Woodpecker Forest": Within the kindergarten premises
Distance to AccommodationApproximately 7km (10 minutes by car)
(*1) The school lunch fee is included in the service charge.
[Photo Album]

2. Terms of Use

[Applicable Age]
Elementary School Students (All Grades)
[Available Schedule]
Urakawa Friend Forest SchoolAfter-School Program "Woodpecker Forest"
During the School Term (Mon-Fri)08:30~13:3013:30~17:00
Long-Term Holidays (*2)08:30~17:00
Sundays and Public Holidays
(*2) Schedule of Long-Term Holidays
The schedule for long-term holidays during the 2023 academic year is as follows. During this period, the Urakawa Forest School is closed, and only the After-School Program is available.
  • Summer Vacation: July 21st to August 21st (Obon Holiday: August 11th to August 16th)
  • Winter Vacation: December 25th to January 18th (Year-End/New Year Holiday: December 29th to January 3rd)
  • Spring Vacation: March 25th to April 5th (End of Academic Year Break: Last 3 days of March)
  • Note: The schedule for the spring vacation period is provisional. We will provide confirmation around January 2024 through this pamphlet (as of November 2023).
[Additional Information]
  • Elementary school children can use Urakawa Friend Forest School and the After-School Program in a set, divided by time slots.
  • Children will walk from the kindergarten to the facility by themselves; there is no need for parents' daytime transportation.
  • On Saturdays and during long vacations (summer, spring, and winter breaks), Friend Forest School is closed, and only the After-School Program is available.

3. About the Town

Urakawa Town is located approximately 2 hours by car from New Chitose Airport in the southern part of the Hidaka Subprefecture in Hokkaido. Surrounded by majestic nature such as the Pacific Ocean and the Hidaka Mountains, it is a town where one can feel the changing seasons throughout the year. With a cool summer and a mild winter, the town is often referred to as the "Shonan area of Hokkaido" due to its gentle climate. It is also renowned as a breeding ground for Thoroughbred horses, providing opportunities for interactions with horses, such as horseback riding experiences, as part of daily life.
In this warm and inviting land with both the sea and mountains, you can experience living and raising children in a unique way known as "School Exchange," allowing for a lifestyle full of excitement and enjoyment.

4. About the Accommodation

We provide three accommodation options, including two resettlement experience facilities for an immersive residency experience and the hotel-style Urakawa Yushun Village AERU. The first two options offer an affordable taste of local living, while the hotel-type accommodation provides dining options for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.
Room Z1-1 / Z1-2, a resettlement experience facility
Room Z1-1 / Z1-2, a resettlement experience facility
Urakawa Yushun Village AERU
Urakawa Yushun Village AERU
Adjacent to the accommodation is the co-working space Masago, which features both an open workspace and private rooms. Equipped with a printer, it provides convenience for document printing. Moreover, at the Urahawa Yushun Village AERU and the workspace at the Urakawa Town Horse Riding Park, you can work while enjoying the view of grazing horses.
Workspace in Masago, the co-working facility
Workspace in Masago, the co-working facility
Workspace in Urakawa Horse-riding Park
Workspace in Urakawa Horse-riding Park

5. School Exchange Experience

Here is an interview article with a family who sent their sisters to "Friend Forest Kindergarten" and "Friend Forest School" for a study abroad experience.

6. Important Notes

  • If only elementary school students are participating, please note that the payment method is limited to bank transfer. We appreciate your understanding.