Kindergarten and daycare are divided into two systems: yochien and hoikuen. Kindergarten accepts generally older children and has some form of education; as a result, kindergarten hours are regulated. Daycare accepts children as young as 0 years and caters to the needs of working parents, with hours as late as six at night and operation on Saturdays.
Pre-elementary education is often based on parent income: the more parents earn, the more they will pay. For a yearly combined salary of around 6 million yen, this can come to around 30 thousand yen per month. Unexpected expenses will also occur for things such as photos, cardboard, and student insurance.
University is not free and not compulsory. Education costs average around 1.4 million yen per year. See this page for more details.
High school is optional and costs quite a lot. It can cost between 120 thousand yen per year for public to 300 thousand yen per year for private schools, plus other costs.
Explanation from Isesaki
Japan has some of the best schools in the world, but even with public funding, education can be expensive. Here is a look at some of the costs.