In Japan, almost all schools run a three-term school year (trimester system), and most universities and colleges have a semester system. Most schools with a trimester system have a first term from April 1 to late July. The exact date of the beginning of the summer break and its duration vary across regions, but commonly the break lasts for about 6 weeks. The break originated to avoid the heat in summer, so elementary, middle, and high schools in Hokkaidō and Nagano Prefecture tend to have a shorter summer break than the rest of schools in Japan.
A second term lasts from early September to late December with a 2-week long break for Christmas and New Year's at the end of the year. The term is followed by a third term from early January to late March and a brief week-long spring break. The graduation ceremony occurs in March, and the enrollment ceremony in early April.
Some universities and colleges accept students in September or October in order to let those students from other semester systems enroll. In recent years a few colleges have begun experimenting with having two semesters instead of the traditional three with the break between two semesters in summer.