High courts are located in eight major cities in Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Sendai, Sapporo and Takamatsu. Parties who need to litigate in these courts, but live outside of these cities, need to commute to one of these courts or hire a local lawyer to bring their case. Unlike the single judge courts that hear lower level cases, cases in the high courts are heard by a three judge panel.
Not every legal dispute requires a full trial and many smaller claims can be handled in a simpler, streamlined legal process. In America these cases are resolved in small claims court and are familiar to anyone who has watched Judge Judy or a similar show on TV. In Japan, these smaller disputes are heard in Summary courts.