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Universities in Japan and study in Japan - International Student Country Guide

Find universities in Japan and study in Japan, our guide for international students to study abroad. Mitsubishi, the bullet train, robots - Japan is a country that seems to be moving faster than the rest of the world, and it is this pioneering level of technology and innovation that attracts so many international students every year.

As the centre of economy and industry in Asia the country has a large number of world class universities, and the government are aiming to attract 300,000 international students per year by 2020 to study a degree in Japan.Study a degree in Japan

How can you study a degree in Japan?

Japan has around 780 universities, which offer four year bachelor’s and six year professional degrees. A number of these universities are internationally recognised. The most prominent of these include:

  • The University of Tokyo
  • Kyoto University
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Osaka University
  • Tohoku University
A professional degree is one that leads to a specific career, for example in the legal sector. Approximately 80% of Japan’s universities are private.
Many undergraduate courses are taught in English. However, you will be required to take the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students, which measures basic language skill, knowledge of Japan and academic ability, in order to ensure your suitability for study in the country.

Tuition fees

TThe average tuition fee per year for international students who study a degree in Japan is 802,800¥ - or £5,524.35

Immigration and visas

Foreign students intending to study a degree in Japan should obtain College Student Resident status, as well as a visa, which should be applied for directly from the Japanese embassy in their home country.  
Applicants will need the following:

  • The Application for Certificate of Eligibility
  • Two photographs
  • Letter of acceptance from university
It is advised that you apply for your Japanese visa within plenty of time in order than it can be sufficiently processed.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation in Japan varies depending on where you decide to study – whether you are in the centre of a city, for example. Tokyo is by far the most expensive place in Japan.
There are two main types of accommodation for students:

  • University accommodation – on campus dorms
  • Private accommodation – house and flat rentals
The overwhelming majority (76.8% in 2010) of international students in Japan live in private houses rather than university halls, and these can be found through estate agents, local government or the international student office of your university. University accommodation is organised through the university.

Living costs/rent: The cost of living in Japan is extremely high – although less so outside of the cities. Tokyo is the most expensive city in  the world, and even tiny one-room apartments can cost up to £400 per month. The city’s suburbs and surrounding prefectures are much cheaper.

For Parents

How safe is Japan?
Travelling abroad to study would be daunting for anyone. Japan however is one of the safest countries in the world, with one of the lowest crime rates globally – and some of the most hospitable people. The most common crime in Japan is bicycle theft (6.6 thefts per 100,000 people) and the homicide rate is almost six times lower than that of the USA. Japan also has the lowest percentage of people becoming victims of any given crime (21%) in the whole of the G20.**
In terms of living, on campus accommodation in dorms means a high level of security and peace of mind, and all universities that accept international students have dedicated support services for them.
Students should always take care to protect their own personal safety in order to avoid becoming victims of crime. They can do this by:

  • Avoiding carrying around large amounts of money
  • Staying in groups, especially at night, and never walking alone
  • Not making valuables obvious
  • Always having a route home planned and never getting into unlicensed taxis
  • Being wary of strangers
  • Being careful of traffic
Staying in touch
Staying in touch when your child is studying on the other side of the world might seem daunting – but there are ways you can talk regularly that don’t have to involve long distance phone calls and a nasty bill at the end of the month. Here are a few tips:

  • Skype – the free video calling service can be downloaded within seconds, and will allow you to talk face to face anywhere you have an internet connection
  • Blogging – maybe encourage your child to keep a blog of their adventures overseas, so that other families members (such as grandparents) can keep up to date
  • Local sim cards – it is also a good idea for your child to buy a phone with a local pay as you go sim card when they arrive so that they can text and call home without running up a bill

What to do next

If you would like more information on studying in Japan, fill out our Free Application Service and we'll be in touch with dedicated information tailored to you as soon as we can. Alternatively if you really want to learn outside your home country, but you’re not positive about where, take a look at our country guides here.