Guide to Japanese Universities

By Jashan Sidhu and Roungnak Praem | March 19, 2021 

In this guide, we will talk about Japanese universities, why you should study in one, some scholarships, and how to apply to Japanese universities. 

This article is a subsection tof our series on helping you learn more about Japanese universities. Find out more about Life in Tokyo here. 

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    Japanese City

    Why Choose Japanese Universities?

    Who would not want to pursue higher education in Japan? As of 2020, 300,000 international students are doing this right now, why not become number 300,001? Did you know that Japan is the number one country in Asia with the highest number of Nobel prize winners ( 27 Nobel prize winners)? This is because Japanese universities have high education standards. You can choose from 700 universities to study in and 41 of them are ranked in the top 1000 worldwide.

    It’s cheaper

    It is “cheaper” if you are coming from countries like the United Kingdom or the United States, Japanese universities are way cheaper and offer a good education at a reasonable price. Universities in Japan also give out a tuition fee exemption for foreign students which helps international students, not to mention there are a lot of scholarships that you can apply for from private universities, foundations, and the Japanese government. 

    It looks good on your CV

    Studying abroad in Japanese universities will look good on your resume. The world is globalizing and countries worldwide are doing more international business than they used to do. A lot of companies value the skills that you learn while studying abroad as an international student. Not only do you grow on a personal level but being in another country in another culture, interacting with people from different countries will also increase your international awareness. Students with these skill sets are highly sought after, most of the companies will recruit you easier if you have studied abroad.  After your studies, you can go back to your home country and will have an edge if you apply for a job that is involved in international business. For the students that would like to stay in Japan, there is a high demand for students that have a Japanese degree and can speak both Japanese and English. 

    Discover a new world and develop as a person

    Applying to Japanese universities has its perks, Discover the rich history of Japan through shrines, temples, and museums. Learn the history of Japan while studying in Japan. Going abroad also gives you an opportunity to explore a different culture. You will not be able to fall back on your parents or your friends. You will have to come out of your comfort zone and become independent. Living abroad will make you appreciate the differences between cultures and it will open your eyes to see things from a new perspective.

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    Japanese University

    Tier 1 of Japanese Universities

    We will talk about popular Japanese universities that offer a lot of programs and help for international students. They are divided into three tiers. With tier one being the most prestigious. As stated earlier there are over 700 Japanese universities and talking about each of them here in this guide would be too much. We have done our best to choose each university, you will read a bit about their history, programs, fees, support for international students, dorms, and housing and extracurriculars. Hopefully, our guide will make you choose a Japanese university that fits best with you!

    Tokyo University

    Tokyo University is perhaps one of Japan’s most prestigious universities as it continually ranks among the top 100 universities worldwide and ranks number one among Japanese universities in prestige. The Japanese university was established in 1877 and became Japan’s first national university. It has since then managed to build a name for itself around the world. The university has grown considerably in size since its establishment because it has merged with a number of schools and institutions. The university consists of 10 faculties, 15 graduate schools, and 11 research institutes. Among its alumni, the university has amassed 8 Nobel prize winners, 15 Japanese prime ministers, and five astronauts. So to say the least, the university has a high standing in society and it is a great place to study alongside some of the brightest students in Japan. If you are also looking for a university close to the city, it is only an 11-minute drive from Tokyo University to Shibuya Station, or a half-hour subway ride. 


    Tokyo University, as mentioned before, ranks highly each year in terms of its performance on the world stage. Some programs that it exceeds in include modern languages, physics and astronomy, chemistry, mechanical engineering, and chemical engineering. However, in total, the Japanese university offers programs in Law, Psychology, Health, Physical Sciences, Business and Economics, Arts and Humanities, Life Sciences, Computer Science, Engineering and Technology, and Education. These courses all offer undergraduate programs. The school also has a total of 15 graduate programs, all of which are open to international students. Most graduate programs are offered in English, however, only programs in Arts and Sciences are available in English at UTokyo. This program is also known as PEAK (Programs in English At Komaba). If you are looking to do an exchange, the university has two types of exchange programs as well. TypeG is for graduate students and TypeU is for undergraduate students. If you are looking for something that is more short-term, you can explore the university summer internship programs as well which give you an opportunity to do research on campus in a variety of different fields. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    The fees for students are broken up into 3 sections; tuition fee, admission fee, and examination fee. The fees are also dependent on which program you are looking to enroll in. Undergraduate programs require a ¥535,800 annual tuition fee, ¥282,000 admission fee, and a ¥17,000 examination fee. If you are planning to study law, your total would be more expensive, around ¥1,116,000. However, if you plan on doing an exchange to Japan, you are most likely going to be paying the tuition fees you normally would for the university you are originally studying at. That would also exempt you from paying examination and admission fees to UTokyo. If you are a brilliant student, but you are having trouble paying the fees due to economic issues, you can apply for deferral of payments and the university will look into your situation and try to help out. 

    Support Services for International Students

    The University of Tokyo has specific support services for international students. There is an International Education Support Office on each campus of the institution. They offer orientations for all sorts of programs and events. The offices also are able to help you through any difficulties you may be having with your visa or if you are looking for any type of career support. They will guide you through different options in job hunting and consistently support you through the process. The university also has a special handbook that is designed specifically for international students. You can take a look at that here.  

    Dorms and Housing

    The university has an option for international students to reside in the residence halls. The applications for this are open twice a year, and you must apply 3 months prior to each semester. There are 8 different options available to international students, and an additional 4 that are exclusively for international researchers. If you are an international student who is in an English program, you will most likely be residing on the international lodges on either the Komaba or Kashiwa campuses. Fees are different for each residence hall as well. For example, if you plan on staying at the Komaba International Lodge, your monthly accommodation fee would be between ¥63,400 - ¥97,800 depending on whether you choose to stay in a large room with a washroom or a small room with just a bed, desk, and closet. On top of this, you will also be charged for utilities and wifi each month. You can check out UTokyo Housing for more information on the halls. The more popular choice among international students tends to be private apartments. If you would rather lease or move into a privately owned apartment, you can check out the university guide for help on finding what will suit your needs. This option usually tends to be cheaper as well. 


    There are a number of student associations on campus that you can choose from to get involved in. For example, there are associations for students from all different parts of the world, such as the European Student Association, or the Tokyo University Islamic Culture Society. You can also join “circles” which is a group of students that participate in activities they have similar interests in. They are sort of like clubs. If you are looking for something more athletic, you can join sports clubs such as soccer, lacrosse, and even ice skating. The sports clubs require more commitment and are usually done throughout your whole stay at the university.  


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    Kyoto University

    Kyoto University is one of the more famous Japanese universities. It was opened in 1897, and it was the second university to be established in Japan. Officially the presidents of the university would be selected by the Ministry of Education, however, by 1919 the faculty members were able to appoint the new presidents of the university. Initially, the university offered three-year programs, but by the mid-1900s, it changed to four-year programs. Today the university has a total of 10 faculties, 18 graduate schools, and 13 research institutes. In 2020, the university had a total of 2,715 international students. The library at Kyoto University has over seven million books and the campus also has 11 registered cultural properties. In just the year of 2019 alone, the university was home to 411 inventions. So if you are looking for a more science-based and research-oriented university, this one may be for you. Kyoto is also the cultural capital, so it is a great opportunity to engage in traditional events and practices. 


    Programs in this Japanese university for undergraduates and graduates include Integrated Human Studies, Letters, Law, Economics, Education, Science, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Engineering, and Agriculture. If you are looking to study primarily English at the university, your only option at the undergraduate level is engineering. However, at the graduate level, you can take most programs in English. Kyoto University also has a program called Kyoto iUP which is the Kyoto International Undergraduate Program. Through this option, you will take courses both in English and Japanese. You are not required to have any knowledge of Japanese prior to enrollment. It is a 4.5-year program and there is a six-month preparation course in which you will learn Japanese. During the first two years, you will take courses in Liberal arts while continuing to learn Japanese. In the third and fourth year, you’ll take courses in the chosen field of study, but you can only choose the iUP option for 7 out of the 10 faculties listed above. For more information, you can check out Kyoto iUP

    Tuition and Fees for International Students 

    The tuition fee for undergraduate and graduate students is the same at Kyoto university, and it is ¥535,800. However, the examination fee is ¥17,000 for undergraduate students and ¥30,000 for graduate students. The matriculation fee, which is paid upon admission, is also equal for both levels of study and it is ¥282,000. The tuition is paid in 2 separate slots, one in May and one in November. Again, if you have excellent academic standing, you may be eligible to defer your payments or even be exempted from paying all or half of your tuition. If you are planning to do an exchange program with the university, your tuition will depend on what partnership your current university has with Kyoto University. You may pay the regular fees you pay for your current university, or you may have to pay the regular fees at Kyoto University. 

    Support Services for International Students

    The university has a couple of programs that work to help advise students from abroad who are having trouble finding their way into their new life in Japan. One of these resources is the International Student Advising Room. You are required to first make an appointment in order to meet with the professional psychologists and medical doctors who are specifically working to make it more comfortable for students to study in Japan. You can either call or email to reserve a time slot. Currently, it is all online due to the ongoing pandemic. Another option is Student Lounge Kizuna. This lounge is a place for students from all over the world to create bonds and new friendships. It is not only limited to students, staff, and faculty members are also encouraged to join and participate. The club hosts events every month that are centered around Japanese customs, such as tea ceremonies. They also provide resources for students studying abroad and help to provide information concerning any question you may have regarding your studies in Japan. For more information, check out the link to Kizuna.

    Dorms and Housing

    Kyoto University has seven different international houses. The applications for dorms are accepted three months prior to the move-in dates, which are in April and October. The closest house to campus is Yoshida House. The houses are shared spaces with your own room. You can either stay here as a single student, single researcher, or as researchers who are married. The monthly payment for students is ¥38,300 for a single room with a bed, desk, and closet. Shared spaces include laundry, lounge, and kitchen. If you are looking for a cheaper option, check out the Ohbaku International house. The monthly fee is ¥12,400 for single students, however, it is further from campus. You are also welcomed to find private apartments as well if you do not plan on staying in the dorms.   


    The university encourages students to join sports clubs and other social groups in order to stay healthy and integrated with the school community. In order to sign up for these clubs, you must attend the university orientation sessions or visit the Extracurricular Activities Office on campus to apply or get information on each club.

    Osaka University

    Osaka University is another top-tier Japanese university that continues to show why it deserves a place at the top. The school's motto is “Live locally, grow globally”. It began out in 1838 and its roots are in humanitarian programs. It was also once a medical college. Today it is a public research university and it hosts about 2,271 international students from across the globe. It consists of three campuses with 11 schools and 16 graduate schools. The school also has 18 research centers and six research institutes, along with four libraries and two university hospitals. In 1949, the university also gained a Nobel Prize winner, Yukawa Hideki. Did you know that the co-founder of Sony is also an Osaka University alumni? Clearly, the university boasts a fantastic research-oriented status. It is also still a large city to explore like Tokyo and Yokohama, but it is less crowded than the other two. Therefore location may be something you are also looking forward to when choosing a university.


    The Osaka University offers 11 different schools of study at the undergraduate level, and they are Dentistry, Economics, Engineering, Engineering Science, Foreign Studies, Human Sciences, Law, Letters, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Science. Considering these options, you can clearly tell the school is mainly focused on science and medicine. If you are looking to do an exchange with the university, you have four different options. The first option is iExPo and it is the regular exchange option with a partner university. For this option, you do need to have a certain degree of fluency in Japanese, and it depends on which program you are entering into. If you are eligible for this option, you are free to choose the courses you’d like to take and conduct research on campus. Another option is OUSSEP (Osaka University Short-term Student Exchange Program). In this option, you must be in your third or fourth year and your lectures and courses will be provided in English. The third option is FrontierLab and it is for graduate students looking to do research at Osaka University. Lastly the fourth option is Maple, and it is designed specifically for students interested in Japanese culture and language. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    The tuition at Osaka University is similar to other Japanese universities. The tuition fee is ¥535,800 for both undergraduate and graduate levels, but the exam fee is ¥17,000 for undergraduates and ¥30,000 for graduates. The matriculation fee is also ¥282,000 for both levels of study. You are expected to pay by May 27 for the first semester and November 27th for the second semester. The university also allows for students who meet the academic requirements to apply for fee exemptions or deferrals. For more information on tuition fees check out the OsakaU website.

    Support Services for International Students

    On the Osaka University website, there is a tab for international students, and when you click it you’ll find support for students who are looking for jobs or even questions from students who are going to Osaka on their own, and not through another institute. You can find the link to that here. Osaka also has a support office for international students where you can get information about your visa, housing, and orientation. They also provide a handbook for students from abroad. The handbook helps students get comfortable with the campus and what Osaka has to offer. If you are a student who is bringing along a child or expect to be having one, the support office is prepared to offer you information and support on that as well. The support office is also there to connect you with any professional support you may need regarding your health, legal issues, insurance, and banking. 

    Dorms and Housing

    This Japanese university has five options for International students and one option for international researchers. Whether you are single or married also changes the outcome of the fee for your room as an international researcher. There is the Suita dorm, which is for male students only, and the rent is ¥23,000 monthly for stay and utilities. The Niina dorm is for female students only and the rent is ¥17,000 for each month. If you would rather live in a dorm that is not limited to one gender, you can stay at the Tsukumodai dorm. Here the rent is ¥21,500 for each month, and that includes utilities. The dorm for researchers is a bit more expensive, as couples must pay ¥87,000 monthly and singles must pay ¥59,000 monthly for the best options. Payments are expected to be paid for the whole month, even if you only stay for a portion of it. The school dorms are shared areas, so other Japanese students who are looking to make international friends may stay in these dorms as well. If you would not like to stay in a dorm, you are also able to find private apartments in the area. More info on Osaka University dorms can be found here.  


    There are 58 different sports-oriented activities offered at the university, such as Judo, Basketball, and even Windsurfing. If you are not looking for athletic activities, there are also cultural activities like dance, choir, and even magic! There is definitely a group at this university for you no matter what your interest may be. If you'd like to take a look at the different activities checkout the campus life on the university website. If you would rather something with less commitment, there are always different university circles for people with similar interests.

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    Japanese University

    Tier 2 of Japanese Universities

    Hokkaido University  

    Originally known as Sapporo Agricultural College, it was founded in 1876. It was one of the first Japanese universities to offer bachelor's degrees. The Japanese university is best known for its involvement in humanities, social and natural sciences. The university has a total of 12 undergraduate programs, 21 graduate programs, and 26 research centers and institutions. It has many mottos, but one significant one is “Frontier Spirit”. The University is located in the town of Sapporo, and it is a certain attraction for many students who choose to study here. The university has over 2000 international students, out of its total population of 18,628. Hokkaido’s campus is often regarded as one of the most beautiful campuses in Japan with its blissful environment. It is surely a sight to see in the fall as all the leaves change colors. It’s definitely a different environment compared to the hustle and bustle in Tokyo. 


    If you are looking to study in Hokkaido, the undergraduate programs offered are Agriculture, Dental Medicine, Economics and Business, Education, Engineering, Fishery Sciences, Humanities and Human Sciences, Law, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Science and Veterinary Medicine. If you are looking to study here in English, you can do so through programs like the ISP (Integrated Science Program). This program allows students to learn the core sciences in English while studying in Japan. Another program is MJSP (Modern Japanese Studies Program). This program is a four-year bilingual degree in which you can choose to either study history and culture, or society and political economy. You do not need to be fluent in Japanese to apply. If you would like to do an exchange through the university you may already be studying at, you can choose HUSTEP (Hokkaido University Short-term Exchange Program). In order to participate in this exchange, you must have completed two years at another university and have a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale. This program allows students to take courses at Hokkaido University in English or Japanese in whatever degree they are studying. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    Like many other Japanese universities on this list, the tuition for undergraduate students at Hokkaido is ¥535,800, plus ¥282,000 as an entrance fee, and ¥17,000 for the examination fee. However, if you are a transfer student to Hokkaido, then your examination fee is actually ¥30,000. The tuition and entrance fee is the same for graduate students, but the examination fee is ¥30,000 as well as the transfer students. If you are looking to do programs like law, you can expect to be paying ¥804,000 for tuition each year. It is important that you pay attention to fee guidelines, for example at Hokkaido the fees must be paid in Yen. 

    Support Services for International Students

    On-campus, the university has an Office of International Affairs where it offers support for students from abroad. They are able to provide students with professional counseling and tuition so that there is an easier shift into the Japanese university. The office also has space for international students to study or hang out with other international students, sort of like a safe space. In different programs, such as ISP, there are also student supporters. These student supporters are Japanese students who will stay by you throughout your stay in Japan and make sure your questions are answered. They will even pick you up from the airport! 

    Dorms and Housing

    Hokkaido University has five international student dormitories. All the dormitories are separated to accommodate same-sex tenants except for one. The Kita 8 is the only house where everyone can stay together, no matter what sex. The rent here for students is ¥37,000 per month. If you would rather stay at a male or female dorm the average rent is between ¥24,000 to ¥28,000 per month. You also have the opportunity to do a short-term homestay with a Japanese family near the university. This is offered through the Student Communication Station and you must apply two months prior to arriving in Japan. As it is a short-term homestay, you are only permitted to stay with the family for six days and fixe nights. You also still have the option to stay in a private apartment. That is not coordinated through the university, but you can get help at the Office of International Affairs. 


    The university has a variety of recreational activities for students to take part in. There are also numerous sports facilities on campus, including pools, gyms, fields, grounds, and training halls. There are also clubs that look specifically for international students such as the Aikido club or the English Speaking Society. If your interest lies in Japanese traditions, you can also join clubs such as the tea ceremony club, or the Kendo club. Also, there are numerous bands and dance clubs on campus for you to discover no matter what your background in music is.  


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    Keio University

    Keio University is one of the most globally-focused Japanese universities. It was established in 1858 by Yukichi Fukuzawa who leveraged Western learning. One of their mottos is “Preserving tradition while continuing to evolve”, which clearly reinstates their mindset of learning from the global world. The school initially started out as a place for Dutch studies but has since evolved into a research and education-driven university. The university has six campuses spread throughout Tokyo and Kanagawa, along with five other research campuses. Some notable alumni from Keio include Toshio Suzuki who is a producer at Studio Ghibli and Takeshi Kasai who is regional director at WHO. The school has 10 undergraduate faculties and 14 graduate faculties. They also have specific programs for people who are interested in globally engaged degrees, so if you are interested in global affairs this may be the university for you. The university is located in Tokyo and is a great place for international students to build connections with other foreigners. 


    At this Japanese university, the faculties at the undergraduate level include Letters, Economics, Law, Business and Commerce, Medicine, Science and Technology, Policy Management, Environment and Information Studies, Nursing and Medical Care, and Pharmacy. This university also offers correspondence courses which are taught by professors who also have experience teaching on Keio’s campuses. The correspondence courses are taught nationwide and may be an option if you are not looking to study in Tokyo but would like a Keio university degree. The most popular program among international students however is the Japanese Language Program. This program enables international students to learn Japanese in a steady manner and gives them the skills and proficiency required to do their own structured degrees and research in Japanese. If you are looking for a short-term learning opportunity in Japan, Keio also has the KJSP (Keio Short-term Japanese Program). It takes place for two weeks in the summer and it’s a great chance to learn about Japanese culture and get to experience living in Japan for a short period of time. You get intensive in-class sessions, but they are also interactive activities where you go out and explore Japan through the information you learned earlier in class. You can check out the Keio University International Center for more information on programs like this. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    The tuition at Keio varies greatly from faculty to faculty. For example, the undergraduate tuition fees for programs like Letters, Economics, Business, and Law is ¥880,000, but the tuition fees for programs like Policy and Nursing are ¥1,040,000. The most expensive program to enroll in is Medicine, and at the undergraduate level, your tuition would be ¥3,040,000. The fees are collected in two parts, at the end of April for the first semester and then at the end of October for the second semester. If you are looking to apply to programs like the Japanese Language Program or KJSP, your fees will depend on the amount of time you intend on studying in Japan. For more information, you can read about fees on the Academic Fees page.

    Support Services for International Students

    If you are having trouble with your international exchange or transfer to a Japanese university, you can head over to one of the counseling rooms on the campuses. The campuses with this service include the Mita, Hiyoshi, Yagami, and Shiba-Kyoritsu campuses. If you are struggling with your mental health, you are more than welcome to head over to the wellness center on the Fujisawa campus. Here students can acquire professional counseling for mental and physical health. You can also keep up with the latest news regarding international students on the International Center page. 

    Dorms and Housing

    Keio University has nine separate dormitories for students, international students are eligible to stay in any of the nine options. Some dorms, such as the Hiyoshi Dormitory, are made specifically to have two Japanese students for every two international students. Therefore, the four of you would live in one unit. The Motosumiyoshi dormitory is the closest to central Tokyo. So if you are looking for the easiest access to the city attractions, this would be the most suitable for you. Otherwise, you can stay at the Omori Student Dormitory if you would like to be closest to the airport, which is the Haneda airport. The maximum amount of time you are allowed to stay at the dormitories is one academic year. You just apply in late January if you are deciding to move in by March, or by late July if you are moving in for the September semester. 


    The extracurricular activities are run by the students at the university and there are over 400 different clubs for you to choose from, with new ones emerging every year. The Athletic Association at Keio is one of the oldest student-run organizations at the university. They have compiled over 40 different sports clubs ranging from archery to hockey, and even an equestrian club. If you aren’t into sports, you can choose from the long list of other student clubs such as the debate club or even the KPOP club for music enthusiasts.

    Nagoya University

    Nagoya University has continued to excel in research and build a name for itself as a competitive university. Did you know that from all the Japanese universities that six out of the 13 Japanese Nobel Prize recipients of the 21st century, were faculty members at Nagoya University? Established in 1871 as a medical school and public hospital, the university planted its roots in research. It later went on to become the last Imperial University in Japan in 1939. Some of the universities’ current focuses include internalization, gender equality, and social contribution. The school offers nine undergraduate faculties and 13 graduate schools. Ideally, this school is for people pursuing higher education such as graduate school. Currently, the international population at Nagoya is over 1300, and the majority of the students are graduate students. Nearly half of the international students are from China, and the second largest international demographic is from Korea. Other countries include Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Uzbekistan. Also if you are someone who is looking for a university away from the busy city life, Nagoya is a perfect option as it sits fairly far from cities like Tokyo or Kyoto. Nagoya is home to many historical museums and you also have the opportunity to visit the Nagoya castle which was reconstructed in 1612. 


    Although the number of undergraduate international students at Nagoya is smaller compared to the graduate students, you still have all the faculties to choose from for your studies. The 9 faculties include Agriculture, Economics, Education, Engineering, Informatics, Law, Humanities, Medicine, and Science. A more specialized program for international students is also offered at Nagoya, and it is called the Global 30 International Program. It’s designed to bring in international students who plan on studying in Japan for a total of 4 years. In the first year, students must take liberal arts and science courses, alongside Japanese language courses. In the second year, you move on from basic specialized courses to specialized courses. In the third year, you take specialized courses and laboratory courses. In your final year, you work on your thesis and do your research. You have seven different faculties to choose from to specialize in for this program. This program is also accommodated for international students as it is offered in English. It is also offered to graduate students, and they of course have a larger variety of specializations to choose from. The issues that this program focuses on cater to international needs, such as environmental studies. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    The tuition fee for undergraduate and graduate students is ¥535,800 annually. The admission fee is ¥282,000 for both as well. The examination fee for undergraduates is ¥17,000 and for graduates, it is ¥30,000. If you are deciding to go as a research student, your tuition would be ¥29,700 monthly, as well as ¥84,600 for admission and ¥9,800 for examination fees. However, if you decide to do the Global 30 International Program( a program that wants to attract more international students to Japanese universities), you would pay the same tuition and admission fees, but your examination fee would be waived and instead, you would have to pay a ¥5,000 application fee. The school estimates that you would spend between ¥86,500 to ¥106,500 monthly on living expenses on top of your other tuition fees. If you need financial support, you can check out Tuition and Finances for international students for more information on specific scholarships, such as ones for the Global 30 International Program. 

    Support Services for International Students

    International students at Nagoya have access to academic advising through an International academic advisor. They will help to guide you through orientation and even further through getting a job. There is no topic that is off bounds, even if you need personal support, they will make sure to make your stay in Japan as comfortable and stress-free as possible. For G30 students, there is a professor assigned to them who will continuously guide them through the academic process on a more in-depth level. Health and medical care are also available for students who need support either mentally or physically. There is also a free mandatory annual physical checkup for all students. 

    Dorms and Housing

    Nagoya offers seven dormitories for international students and there are 6 options for international researchers. The application dates for all dorms are in January and July. Depending on which campus you will be studying or doing your research on, you will be assigned to the nearest residence. Most of the dorms are only for international students and researchers, with the exception of Ohmeikan House. Ohmeikan house also houses Japanese students so that there is a chance for more cross-cultural friendships, and these students are there to offer guidance and help as well. If you are looking for the dorm with the biggest rooms, Higashiyama has the biggest space with rooms that are 16m² for singles and 34m² for couples. The rent for the Higashiyama house is ¥15,000 a month, the cheapest dorm is Ohmeikan with a monthly rent of ¥14,100. You are also allowed to find private apartments in the area that you find suitable. 


    Clubs at Nagoya extend from sports such as rifle shooting to even an aviation club. There are also other regular sports such as basketball and tennis. There are also many liberal arts clubs at the university. You can explore your talents from dance and theatre to radio and manga. Besides sports and clubs, Nagoya University also hosts the largest central Japan festival every June. It attracts nearly 50,000 people and it is called Meidaisai and it is like an open house where the clubs and circles of the university come to plan events and shows.

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    Japanese Universities

    Tier 3 of Japanese Universities

    Waseda University

    Waseda University is located in the Shinjuku region of Tokyo. The school was established in 1882 as Tokyo Senmon Gakko, and it was later named Waseda in 1902. It is a private institution with a student population of over 50,000. From all the Japanese universities, Waseda University really prides itself on its location as it emphasizes the importance of everything Tokyo has to offer for foreign students. The mix of modern pop culture and ancient traditions in Tokyo provides a strong foundation for students to get accustomed to Japanese culture. The school offers over 50 English-based degree programs and over 2,400 English-based courses. It is one of the larger schools on our list, and although it is ranked highly in many areas, it does not have that same prestige as the tier 1 universities worldwide. It is also recognized as an advanced research institution. Besides its success in research, Waseda university also produces many of Japan’s leaders. The university can count 7 Japanese presidents who are Waseda alumni and countless other government officials. This is due to the pressure in the school on creating students who are ready to take on leadership roles as they graduate from the university. The school has 13 undergraduate schools and 21 graduate schools. 


    If you plan on studying at Waseda University as an international student, you can choose from either Japanese-based or English-based programs. The faculties that you can apply to include Political Science and Economics, Law, Commerce, Education, Social Sciences, Human Sciences, Sports Sciences, Fundamental Science and Engineering, Creative Science and Engineering, Advanced Science and Engineering, Culture, Media and Society, and Humanities and Social Sciences. In order to apply for the Japanese-based programs, you must have a high level of proficiency in Japanese in order to write the exams and understand the course materials. However, if you plan on taking the English-based programs, you can only pick from seven of the 12 faculties offered to the Japanese-based programs. For the English-based program, you do not need to know any Japanese, and there are multiple different types of accepted standardized test scores such as SATs, IB, Abitur, GSAT, and Provincial Exams of Canada. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    Waseda is definitely one of the more expensive Japanese universities on this list as it is a private university. The tuition for undergraduate programs for international students can be anywhere from ¥1,171,000 to ¥1,745,000 for the first year. These totals do not include other expenses such as dorms or food. If you are looking to do a graduate program, you will have more options for programs and the range for tuition is also greater, you can expect to pay between ¥832,000 to ¥1,843,000 for the first year. You can take a look at their Tuition and Visa page for international students if you would like to see exact numbers for specific programs. You can also stay at the Tokyo International Exchange Center (TIEC), the rent per month for a single room is ¥35,000. If you would prefer to get a private apartment, that is also a great option since the university is in Tokyo and there are many options there.  

    Support Services for International Students

    At the university, there is a special program called the Intercultural Communication Center where you can interact with students from all over the world. These students will likely have all the same questions and worries as you, so there are always people there to help you find your way through the experience. Although it is operated by students, for students, there are lots of faculty and staff on site who are more than eager to get to know you and your story. The program actually goes beyond students, staff, and alumni, you are able to interact with locals as well. This way you can really get the best out of the variety of backgrounds at your doorstep to explore.  

    Dorms and Housing

    Waseda University has one of the longest lists of dorms on this list. The school has 24 different dorms for international students and researchers. The largest dorm is the Waseda International House and it has a capacity of 872. The dorm is co-ed and there is a shared kitchen. If you would rather stay at a dorm with a meal plan, you can stay at one of the Kyoritsu Maintenance-owned dormitories where breakfast and dinner are provided. Waseda university also has dorms that are separated for females and males if you are not looking for a co-ed dorm. There are also options for dorms that have students from other universities. That would definitely be a great way to meet people from all different backgrounds and life paths! You can have a look at this guide on the dorms and how far each is from different campuses. 


    Sports are a crucial part of Waseda’s roots as the founder of the university, Okuma Shigenobu, would host annual sporting events where students and faculty would both participate. Today there are 44 different sports clubs for students to choose from and engage in. Joining these clubs is a great way for students to really feel like they are a part of the community and are contributing to the university's legacy in sports. You can also look forward to joining circles with people who have similar interests as you, such as music. 

    Meiji Gakuin University

    Maybe you are looking for a smaller or religious university, in that case, you should check out Meiji Gakuin. This school is a Christian university and it has a student population of just over 12,000. The school has been around since 1863, and it was originally discovered by Dr. James Hepburn. The school also has a University song and it was written by Toson Shimazaki who was part of the first graduating class at the institution. The university continues to carry on its traditions in keeping Christianity a fundamental part of the school's culture. There are several events and historical buildings that revolve around religion on campus. The university also has 21 partner institutions around the world from which it welcomes international students each year. The school has a small population of around 250 international students but it leaves space for a more intimate experience at a smaller university. The university is located in Tokyo and Yokohama, so it is still close to all the city life, but its campuses are full of greenery and scenic landscapes. This university is ideal for anyone who isn’t looking to get into a prestigious university but rather would go to a university that will give you a unique small-town experience.  


    The university has six undergraduate faculties with 16 departments and seven graduate faculties with 12 majors. The undergraduate faculties consist of Letters, Economics, Sociology, Law, International Studies, Psychology, and Liberal Arts. If you enter the school without an exchange program, you will have to take these classes in Japanese. However, the university has an exchange program with its affiliated universities and you will be able to take English courses in this program. You will also take six credits in intensive Japanese language courses so your time in Japan is as fulfilling as possible. The English courses will be centered around Japanese culture and society as well. The exchange program gives you a choice between either one semester or two semesters of study. The English courses are not limited to exchange students, regular Japanese students at the university are able to take the classes as well. This creates a diverse experience not only on campus but in class too. If you have previous experience in the Japanese language and hold a level 1 in JLPT, you are able to take other MGU courses as well. The program is very versatile and you can build your schedule to accommodate classes given on multiple campuses. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    Depending on which program you decide to join at the university, you will have a total sum to pay for tuition and other fees. At the undergraduate level, total fees for a program like sociology would end up costing you about ¥1,270,680 for a year. However, a program like Global Legal Issues could end up costing you ¥1,513,400 a year. If you are a graduate student at Meiji, you are most likely going to pay a lot less for tuition. In the same program, Sociology, a graduate student would pay ¥630,100 as opposed to ¥1,270,680 in an undergraduate degree. The fees are even less for graduates who are returning to Meiji and aren’t transferring from other universities. These are all estimates for international students. Tuition may also depend on partner universities who send exchange students, because you may have to only pay your home university’s fees. 

    Support Services for International Students

    As soon as you arrive on the campus, you are introduced to a student buddy who is your care buddy as well. They will make sure to take you through any questions you may have and introduce you to new hobbies or even friends! The school also does an International Bus Tour where you can sit, relax, and learn about the area surrounding the school. It’s also a great opportunity to sit down and conversate with new people. You may even end up making plans with people to go visit the places you learn about on the tour! 

    Dorms and Housing

    The university has two different dormitory options for international students. Depending on which campus you are mostly studying on, you can choose between the Shirokane and Yokohama dormitories. The Okusawa dorm is about 30 minutes from the Shirokane campus, and it is located in central Tokyo. It takes approximately an hour to travel between this dorm and the Yokohama campus. Okusawa dormitory is reserved specifically for ISP students, however, the Yokohama dorm is shared among ISP and other MGU students. The MISH dorm is only 20 minutes away from the Yokohama campus. In this dorm, you have a more mixed environment where you can mingle among both international and local students. Both dorms have single rooms that come with a desk, chair, bed, closet, and internet access. They also both have shared spaces such as the kitchen or dining areas, and lounge areas. The Okusawa dorm is ¥50,000 per month with no meal plan and the MISH dorm is ¥60,000 per month with a mandatory meal plan. Again, you still have the option to opt-out of dorms and instead, look for apartments to rent. 


    This university has a special emphasis on volunteer work and encourages students to join. The programs and events are often created and led by student voices. Events include charity functions and even helping out at care homes. One of the school’s motos is “Do For Others” so therefore, although it is not expected of you to engage in volunteer work, it will definitely help you get a better feel of acceptance at the school. It’s also an extracurricular activity that not only helps fulfill charity needs, it will also leave you feeling satisfied as a helpful civilian.  

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    Tsukuba University

    Tsukuba University is another national university and it actually has the second largest single campus in Japan. Initially, it was a part of Tokyo University of Education, but 28 different college institutions came together in 1973 and formed what is known today as Tsukuba University. It has over 16,500 students today, of which just under 10,000 are undergraduates. This university is a bit special in the sense that it does not group its programs and staff members under ‘faculties and departments’, instead the university has designated schools for each department. In this format, students will study within their degree program school but will be taught by professors from different faculties so they get a variety of backgrounds. The school also excels in its STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine) programs, as it focuses on research. However, this is a wonderful school for anyone interested in physical education. In fact, this school has produced 70 athletes who have represented Japan in the Olympics. Besides athletes, this school has also had its fair share of Nobel Prize laureates with 2 in physics and 1 in chemistry. As already mentioned, the campus is huge, but it’s also beautiful. It is packed with gardens and interesting sculptures, and it also offers a great view of Mt. Tsukuba!


    The university offers nine different schools to choose from for undergraduate studies if you are an international student. These schools include Humanities and Culture, Social and International Studies, Human Sciences, Life and Environmental Sciences, Science and Engineering, Informatics, Medicine, Health and Physical Education, and Art and Design. Within these schools, there are 25 different colleges for more specific degrees, and then there are more specific fields to choose for your degree within each college. This university also allows students to graduate within 3 years instead of 4 if their grades are outstanding. The university currently only has 3 programs that are offered in English, in which you can get a full degree. These programs are International Social Studies, Life and Environmental Sciences, and Education Program for Medical Scientists. Tsukuba has many graduate schools as well and they include all the undergraduate ones, plus some extras such as Law, Business, and Computer Sciences. If you are looking to do an exchange at Tsukuba University, you can do so through a letter of permission from your current university. It is not a guaranteed seat though as there is a selection process. Also, be aware that the majority of the courses are taught in Japanese, so contact the university to see if your program complies with it. 

    Tuition and Fees for International Students

    For undergraduate students, you must pay a ¥17,000 application fee upon enrollment, and then a ¥282,000 admission fee. Your tuition costs will be ¥535,800, and if you are able to keep your grades up and graduate a year early, you can save two semester's worth of that tuition. For more information on fees for international students, you can check out the university's enrollment guide. All students who come on a college, visa are also required to apply for medical insurance. The National Health Insurance plan has a fee of ¥20,000 per year, but it offers you a 30% discount in case of serious illness or injuries. 

    Support Services for International Students

    International students need not fear when going to study at the University of Tsukuba. Each international student gets provided with an academic adviser and personal tutor. Academic advisers are professors who come from other countries themselves so they know how intimidating it can be to move to a new country. They will provide guidance in terms of graduation requirements and they will also help you with your well-being. The advisers are also the ones who are responsible for providing recommendation letters for scholarships and tuition fee waivers.

    The personal tutor is a senior student from the University of Tsukuba, who takes on the responsibility of helping the new student with their day-to-day living requirements. For example; You can refer to your tutor if you need help with opening a bank account or registering at the city hall. Most of the time the personal tutor will be an international student themselves. If you are still in need of more information do not worry, every year the university updates and distributes an “International Students’ Guidebook”. Which contains a lot of information regarding life in Tsukuba. You can find the guidebook here.

    Dorms and Housing

    The University of Tsukuba has 67 dormitories with about 3777 rooms. The global village which consists of 11 buildings was established to encourage the internationalization of the campus. The room type in the global village is house-share-type accommodation. This means that you have an individual room but the rest of the house is shared. Each “house” can house up to five people per unit. The size of the individual room is approximately 10m² and the shared spaces are approximately 18.45m². The individual room comes with a desk, chair, bed, air conditioner, curtains, bookshelf, full-length mirror, wall clock, LED desk lamp, and wireless LAN. The cost of such a room is ¥35,800 a month with a required deposit of ¥30,000 when moving in. This deposit fee will be used for cleaning after moving out and any unpaid charges. Staying in a dorm is not mandatory. Again, you still have the option to opt-out of dorms and instead, look for apartments to rent. For more information about dorms and housing, you can visit this page.


    The extracurricular activities are run by students at the university and are one of the bests in sports. As stated earlier they have a lot of athletes that have won Olympic medals.  They have tons of sports clubs available which you can choose from. If you are not interested in sports they also have a lot of other activities like music, book clubs, anime clubs, etc. For more information regarding their extracurricular activities check out their page which has tons of more information.

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    Scholarships to Japanese Universities

    There are a ton of scholarships available in Japanese universities. Almost every university has its own scholarship program so we recommend you check on the website of the university that you are interested in. We will talk about one of the biggest scholarships available to international students wanting to study in Japan. It is called the MEXT scholarship also known as the Monbukagakusho Scholarship. The MEXT scholarship is offered by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. You also have the Student Exchange Support Program. These are scholarships granted by the Japanese government.

    MEXT scholarship

    The MEXT scholarship is one of the best scholarships you can receive if you would like to study in Japanese universities. The MEXT scholarship provides the scholar a monthly stipend of around 117,000 yen. Scholars who get the MEXT do not have to pay a tuition fee as they get an exemption. If applying for the MEXT undergraduate scholarship (which lasts for 5 years) you get 1-year free preparatory education. The scholar also gets his travel expenses paid for when receiving the MEXT.

    Everyone that is from a country that has diplomatic relations with Japan and meets the eligibility criteria listed in the application guidelines can apply for a MEXT scholarship.

    You can apply for a MEXT at your Japanese embassy and consulate found in your country or you can apply through a Japanese university. Each country or university has its own specific instructions with their exact forms containing which documents you need to include and its submission methods.

    The dates for applying for a MEXT through the embassy or consulate in your country mostly start around April or May and the university starts around Fall. Once again be sure to check out the exact dates on your preferred university or local embassy and consulate as the exact dates are not the same worldwide.

    The MEXT scholarship is a highly sought-after scholarship meaning that it is very competitive. You will need to do your best to get this scholarship. The purpose of the MEXT scholarship is to attract outstanding scholars from the world to Japan. MEXT wants to establish and strengthen the relationships with these students in the hope that they will become bridges between the country they hail from and Japan in the future.

    Student Exchange Support Program

    This scholarship is an interesting scholarship for students that are already studying higher education in their home country.  JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) offers this scholarship for international students who are accepted by a Japanese university. The scholar gets a monthly stipend of 80,00 yen while they are doing their exchange in Japan which can be no longer than one year.

    Applying for this scholarship is through the university that you are currently attending and the application eligibility can be found here. The selection method is different for each school and each program, for more information about how to apply for this scholarship you are advised to ask your home school.

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    Higher Education

    How to enroll in Japanese Universities

    So you have read our guide and are itching to enroll in these Japanese universities. We will tell you the steps that one has to go through when applying for Japanese universities. It is a long and tedious process but once you get in it will be worth your time.

    The first thing you will need to do when applying for Japanese universities is of course figure out which subject you would like to study. There are many choices and only you can pick what you would like to study. The great part of studying in Japan is that the first two years at most universities are general classes so do not worry if you are still struggling to find out what you would like to study. Now comes the part where you look at different Japanese universities and figure out where you would like to study. Luckily you have read through our guide and maybe one of the schools that came up might have caught your attention.

    Now comes one of the harder parts and that is applying for these Japanese universities. Each university has its own so you should go to your preferred university website and submit your application there. There are some documents you will need to include in your application, the most common documents are your high school diploma (applying for a bachelor’s), Bachelor’s diploma (applying for a master’s), your transcript of records, motivation letter, Passport and of course your completed application form. Do not forget that these documents might need to be translated into Japanese or English.

    If applying for a Bachelor’s program in Japanese universities, chances are that you will need to take an EJU exam. The EJU determines if you (an international student) have the necessary academic and Japanese language skills to enroll in these Japanese universities.

     You will need to apply before the deadlines. Do not forget that the Japanese universities start in April and ends in March! Go to your preferred university website to find out the correct dates. Most of the time the deadline will be in November if it is the spring intake and April if it is the autumn intake.

    After submitting your application you have to wait a couple of weeks for your acceptance letter. If you do finally get one you can take the last steps which are applying for a student visa in Japan for the duration of your studies. You would also need to apply for medical insurance which your university can help you with.


    Studying abroad in a Japanese university might not be a dream if you put in the time and effort. Applying to these Japanese universities might be a long, hard, and tedious process but once you get in, you are guaranteed to graduate. With a Japanese degree, you will surely find work in Japan and have an edge over other people without one. Do not let the process scare you off, study hard, believe in yourself, and go for it!