The most curious fact about Japanese High School to me is that it is not required. Students may stop attending school right after finishing the 9th grade at around the age of 14-15 years old. Most, though, do continue on to high school and unlike elementary and middle schools, high school students have a lot more options. For one, no residence requirement is needed in order to attend a high school of a student’s choice (i.e. they do not have to live within the high schools area to attend it) and for another, students may attend whatever high school they choose just as long as they pass the entrance exam of the high school of their choice.
30% of future high school students attend private school while the rest attend public school. Both public and private schools charge fees and require future students to pass their entrance exams. Depending on the school, it may be more inclined to a certain subject such as academics, sports, music, or other academic area. Students interested in pursuing a specific field may choose a high school for that reason. Others can, of course, also study abroad if the family is wealthy enough. If a high school is affiliated with a University, those graduating high school students may easily continue their education with that affiliated University. They do not have to do so but that option is available for them.
High School life is pretty much the same as middle and elementary school except no walking groups are required, they may use bicycles, and more clubs are available. High school students still have Sports Day, Cultural Festivals, and class trips.