Why should I study in Japan?

The country of stunning temples and shrines, amazing natural landscapes, food and culture...

How to study in Japan?

Around 300,000 international students are currently studying at universities, junior colleges, professional schools and other educational institutions in Japan. Their numbers have been increasing rapidly since the 1980s, with a majority of the students coming from China and Vietnam. Most university courses in Japan are only available in Japanese. However, a small number of universities offer four-year undergraduate degrees with courses taught entirely in English. Furthermore, several universities offer one or more English courses at a master's and/or doctoral level.

Japan's Higher Education System in International Comparison

In this section, we highlight the overall performance of Japans universities on the institutional level per U-Multirank dimension. The table below shows the national breakdown of Japans universities and how they stand across the spectrum of above average (receiving a score of ‘A’ (very good) or ‘B’ (good)), versus below average (receiving a score of ‘D’ (below average) or ‘E’ (weak)). In doing so, U-Multirank offers a clear picture on the country’s strengths and areas for improvement.

It becomes apparent that in general Japan's higher education institutions perform strongest in U-Multirank’s teaching & learning and knowledge transfer dimensions.

National performance: Japan

Percent of all Universities 100% 80% 60% 40% < below Average above > 40% 60% 80% 100% Teaching & Learning 2% 97% Research 37% 39% Knowledge Transfer 18% 80% International Orientation 49% 35% Regional Engagement 53% 40%

How much does it cost to study in Japan? 

Monthly living expenses (including tuition) in Japan for international students on average nationwide comes to about 138,000 Yen. Regionally, the Shikoku region has the lowest living expenses at 104,000 Yen, while the Kanto region has the highest living expenses at 154,000 Yen.

What are the entry requirements for Japanese universities?

A typical Japanese university application requires the following items:

  • References from professors/teachers
  • Proof that you can financially support yourself while studying
  • High school transcripts and/or diplomas

You have to take part on an entrance exam to be able to apply for Japenese universities. While foreign students are not subjected to the sanity-bending rigours of the Japanese exams, they are required to take the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students. This includes academic and language testing, and is offered twice a year (in summer and fall, respectively). If you are applying to a university that requires English language skills and you are not a native English-speaker, you may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

How to get a Stipend/Scholarship in Japan?

No matter the reason, paying high tuition fees can be a source of stress for many. However, there are many options for financing your studies, including the use of scholarships. There are various scholarship opportunities available for international students looking to study in Japan. Depending on your country of origin and the level of studies, there are different options for funding. To explore what scholarship options are available, check this scholarship database.

Do I need a Student Visa for Japan?

International students intending to study for more than three months in Japan will need to apply for a student visa. For this, a Certificate of Eligibility is needed, which will be applied for on your behalf by the Japanese institution.


Top Student Cities in Japan


How do Japanese universities fare in U-Multirank?

  1. The 2020 edition of U-Multirank includes 34 universities from Japan.
  2. 7 universities from Japan score more than 10 top group positions (‘A’), with Osaka University reaching 16 ‘A’ scores. Hokkaido University and Tokyo Medical and Dental University follow with 12 top group positions. Keio University, the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Tohoku University and Nagoya University achieved 11 ‘A’ scores.
  3. Compared to the full global sample of institutions, Japanese universities perform particularly well in the Teaching & Learning as well as in the Knowledge Transfer Dimension. 98% of all indicator scores of Japanese universities in Teaching & Learning and 88% in Knowledge Transfer are above average, i.e. in the rank groups ‘A’ or ‘B’.
  4. This strong performance in Knowledge Transfer is highlighted by the fact that 6 universities from Japan are listed among the global Top 25 performers in the (size-normalised) number of patents awarded to the universities: The Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Kanazawa University, Kumamoto University, Kyoto University, Shinshu University, and the University of Tokyo, with the latter being part of the Top 25 in terms of the absolute number of research publications just as well.
Japanese universities in global comparison

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