As I prepared to write this post, I realized that many people were searching Google for “GoGo Nihon review.” Unfortunately for them, most of the results that appeared were forum posts from anonymous or unverified accounts, presenting grievance-filled diatribes that lacked complexity and nuance.
I’ve tried to be mindful of this deficiency in crafting my own review, which I hope will succeed where many others have failed. What follows is neither an endorsement of Go! Go! Nihon’s services nor a condemnation of them—it’s simply an account of my own experience, rich with detail (perhaps to a fault).
Of course, I’m sitting in Japan as I type these words—tomorrow is my first day of Japanese class. So, while I can’t say that Go! Go! Nihon is perfect or even necessarily right for you, I can say with 100% certainty that it works.
Why I Used Go! Go! Nihon
I couldn’t find a trustworthy GoGo Nihon review prior to pulling the trigger on using the service back in September 2020. This wasn’t shocking, of course—I started my application to study Japanese in Japan just two weeks before admissions for the January 2021 term closed. Of course, I didn’t simply choose Go! Go! Nihon because I was working on an expedited timeline. I’d previously applied directly to a Japanese language school, and while I got accepted, their support (especially in the era of Covid-19, which I hope has passed by the time you read this) was…lacking.
To some extent, my trust in Go! Go! Nihon was a leap of faith. I submitted reams of my personal, private information (and paid over 200 USD) to a company that is well-known (but not a household name) and which has as many deriders as fans lurking on the internet. However, it ended up being a worthwhile gamble, given that I arrived in Japan less than four months after making my first contact with the company. (NOTE: While Go! Go! Nihon officially recommends starting your application between 6-12 months in advance of entering Japan, I am living proof that a tighter turnaround time is workable!)
5 Things I Love About Go! Go! Nihon
They spell everything out
The list of requirements to apply for Japanese language school (and, subsequently, a Japan student visa) is exhaustive, including high school and college diplomas, statements of income, tax returns and scans of every stamp from every time you’ve entered Japan in the past. Gathering these was tedious, but the fact that my personal Go! Go! Nihon adviser (yes, you get your own personal adviser!) succinctly spelled out everything I’d need made things a lot easier. (I actually went a bit crazy and decided to submit everything in a day, though I imagine it will take you longer.)
(And put it all in one place)
I was surprised that no GoGo Nihon review I found prior to applying mentioned the service’s awesome platform “GoGoWorld.” In addition to having a fast, intuitive interface, this custom backend serves not only as a communications hub, but also as the place where you submit your application details, upload supporting documentation and, if you’re successful, receive your documents from immigration and the school. Here is also where you receive exclusive offers for things like discount cellphone service in Japan and even accommodation in the city where you’ll study.
They do the dirty work
Getting a Japan student visa requires first being accepted to your school, and then submitting your documents to Japan’s Immigration Services Agency. As a result of the strictness of the aforementioned requirements, this can quickly become a cumbersome dance. Thankfully, your Go! Go! Nihon adviser takes care of all the communication, both with Japanese immigration and with your school itself. When you use Go! Go! Nihon, getting the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) you’ll need to apply for your visa merely requires you to follow instructions and be patient.
They provide a great return on investment
Many GoGo Nihon reviews list a “cost” for availing the service, but this isn’t technically accurate. You do need to pay your school’s application fee (in my case, ¥23,000) to Go! Go! Nihon in order to begin the application process, but using the platform (including, most importantly, unlimited communication with your adviser) is free past that point. Indeed, even if I had put ~220 USD directly into the pocket of my Go! Go! Nihon adviser, it would have been worth it. Essentially, I had a personal Japan visa concierge for four months, at a cost that boils down to less than $2 per day.
They want you to succeed
Although I had some complaints about Go! Go! Nihon—and I’ll share them in a second—the fact is that I was able to enter Japan and begin my studies just months after submitting my application, amid a global pandemic no less. This is partially because I met all the requirements to gain admission to my school and to get a Japan student visa, but Go! Go! Nihon’s support and guidance also played a big part. In particular, my Go! Go! Nihon adviser encouraged me to overcome the difficulties that accompanied traveling to Japan during Covid-19.
My Main Gripe with Go! Go! Nihon
My personality is about as Type A as a personality can get. I complete tasks as soon as I notice they need to get done; I reply to messages as soon as I see them. Although Go! Go! Nihon eventually got back to all my inquiries and ultimately, always resolved them, I noticed immediately that their response time was slow. In almost every case it was more than a day, even when I replied to one of their communiques within minutes of their having sent it. This was little more than an annoyance for most of the application process—until one day, it was much more.
Well, two days actually. The first was in mid-December, when my school lost my placement test and threatened to delay my entry by three months—in other words, due to their own error. My Go! Go! Nihon adviser was MIA; I had to call the school directly (and in the middle of the night) several times to set things right. Then, at the end of December, just days after Go! Go! Nihon’s annual Christmas break began, Japan announced a surprise renewal of its near-total border closure. While I don’t begrudge the staff for taking their planned break, the fact that it took a full 48 hours for anyone to log in and officially address or provide solutions to this literal emergency was unacceptable.
Other FAQ About Go! Go! Nihon
How much does Gogonihon cost?
Go! Go! Nihon is free, although you do need to pay your school’s application fee in order to avail their services. In September 2020, this amounted to a sum of ¥23,000 (around 220 USD) for ISI Kyoto, where I began studying Japanese in January 2021. I assume the school remits a part of this fee to Go! Go! Nihon as a commission, although their monetization model is not public.
Is Go Go Nihon legit?
Go! Go! Nihon is legit in the sense it works—I applied with them on September 2, 2020 and entered Japan on December 30, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic no less. With this being said, Go! Go! Nihon is not perfect. In particular, I found their communication to be slow, sometimes unacceptably so.
How much does language school in Japan cost?
In order to begin my long-term studies in Kyoto (I got a visa good for 15 months, although I’m not sure how long I’ll actually stay), I needed to pay six months’ worth of tuition (¥340,000, as of November 2020, when I paid), as well as additional fees totaling around ¥100,000, which apply to an entire year of prospective studies. This is in addition to the ¥100,000 or so I pay monthly for accommodation in Kyoto, and the cost of food, transportation, entertainment and travel within Japan. Studying Japanese in Japan is many things, but it is not cheap!
The Bottom Line
My GoGo Nihon review isn’t effusive in its praise or abrasive in its criticism—it simply tells the truth. Broadly, my conclusion is that while Go! Go! Nihon provides exceptional convenience (and, ultimately, that it fully serves its purpose), certain aspects of the arrangement may alienate some prospective Japanese language students, particularly in the era of Covid-19. Regardless of whether you use Go! Go! Nihon along your journey to study Japanese in Japan, I hope you’ll explore the rest of the site, including my guide to Japan destinations and my collection of Japan trip ideas. You can also hire me to plan your trip to Japan, whether in conjunction with enrollment at a Japanese language school or otherwise.