Entrance exams for private junior high schools have begun in Tokyo and neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture, with a record number of students expected to take the tests.
About 250 private junior high schools are located in Tokyo and Kanagawa. Exams in nearby Saitama and Chiba prefectures started in January.
Students began arriving at Kaisei Junior High School in Tokyo shortly after 7:00 a.m. on Thursday.
They were seen checking their belongings and reference books until the last minute, before they were seen off by their parents.
They said they'd studied hard for hours, and they definitely want to pass the exam. A mother said she watched out for her child's health.
A company that collects data on entrance exams says the number of this year's examinees in Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures will likely be about the same as last year, when a record 52,600 students took the tests.
Private junior high schools are becoming popular for the diverse curricula they offer, including global education and specialized science classes.
The exam season in the Tokyo area will peak through Monday.