The Japanese school year is from April to March with three main breaks during the school year. Summer Vacation is approx 5-6 weeks long in late July and August. Winter Vacation is 2 weeks long in late December and early January and Spring Vacation is 1 week long in late March. Classes are usually either 45 minutes long or 50 minutes long depending on which schedule the school uses for the day. There are usually 5-6 classes a day at school.
Classes typically start after morning homeroom at around 8:30 am and the last class is usually around 3:30 or 4 pm. A lot of kids have club activities and these will take place before school early in the morning from 6:30 am - 7:30 am and after school from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm.
There used to be school on Saturdays when I first started teaching 10 years ago but this stopped several years ago. The students are sometimes required to attend school on a Saturday for an Open Day, Lesson Observation Day or Sports Day, but this is rare and only about 3 times a year.
Most students at my school either walk to school or ride their bicycle. The interesting things about middle school in Japan for me is they have a prepared school lunch and they eat lunch in their home room with the home room teacher. They are not allowed to bring food to school like students in Australia. They also have 20 minutes of Cleaning time a day where all the students and teachers clean the whole school together.
The Secrets Of Speaking Japanese Fluently