Official standards determine the area of school grounds, their buildings, and other facilities. In the case of senior high schools, for example, the standard size of a school property is 70 square meters per student, the standard size of the athletic field is 30 square meters per student, and the standard floor area of school buildings is 10 square meters per student.
The size of school grounds in Japan varies widely depending on the location. Schools in urban areas are quite small, while those in the suburbs tend to be larger. A comparison of the area for each type of school reveals that property size tends to increase with each level of education, from elementary through senior high school. The average area per school in 2000 was 16,039 square meters for elementary schools, 23,676 square meters for junior high schools and 60,808 square meters for senior high schools.
Many school buildings are three- or four-story buildings. The typical facilities of a senior high school are described below.
Classrooms are of various types. Each class has its own homeroom where students study most of their subjects 《→kurasu/homu rumu クラス／ホーム・ルーム class/homeroom》. There are usually rooms for practical education and laboratory work in home economics, art, music, science, and social studies. There is also a language lab 《→eigo/gaikokugo kyoshitsu 英語・外国語教室 English/foreign language learning lab》, a computer room 《→joho kyoiku 情報教育 information science》, etc.
Physical education facilities consist of the school athletics field, gymnasium, swimming pool, tennis courts, volleyball courts, etc. In addition, some schools have special rooms for athletic training, kendo, judo, etc. One part of the school athletic field is usually equipped with horizontal bars and a sand pit for practicing the long jump, etc. 《→taiiku kyoiku 体育教育 physical education》. Other equipment includes soccer goals, handball goals, and a baseball backstop. Some schools also have clubrooms where members of each club store equipment, change clothes and hold meetings.
Facilities for teaching staff include the teaching staff room, administrative offices, watchman's room, janitor's room, the principal's office, a meeting room, and a printing room. Teachers work in the staff room during breaks, free periods, or after school. Whereas elementary and junior high schools have one staff room shared by all the teachers, some senior high schools have separate staff rooms for different subjects, reflecting the higher degree of subject specialization.
Other facilities include the education and career planning room (shinro shido shitsu), infirmary (hoken shitsu), guidance counselor's office (kaunseringu shitsu), library, and student council meeting room 《→seitokai 生徒会 student council》. In the guidance counselor's office students discuss problems with a school counselor dispatched under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology or a clinical psychologist provides counseling for the teaching staff and sometimes parents of the students as well. The education and career planning room is furnished with information on schools, jobs, occupational training, etc. related to advanced education or career opportunities. It serves as a center where they can consult with their teachers about future plans. The infirmary is staffed by the school's teacher in charge of health education. Originally, the health teacher provided only first-aid treatment and care of students who were not feeling well. In elementary and junior high schools, the infirmary is often a refuge for children who are victims of bullying or hazing 《→futoko 不登校 school refusal》.
Schools may also have a lunchroom, cafeteria or school shop where students can buy sandwiches, pastries, and other items for lunch. Meals sold in the lunchrooms or cafeterias are comparatively inexpensive and are well-balanced in terms of nutrition and calorie content. Menus with standard meals (teishoku) are the norm.