Considering studying in Japan?

The government is keen to attract more international students, and has set a target of having 300,000 foreign students in the country by 2020 (it reached the 100,000 mark in 2003). As a result, universities are focusing on making life easier for foreign students, from the application process all the way through to finding a job after graduation. There are approximately 780 universities in Japan, of which about 80% are private. There are also specialized schools and colleges that provide more vocational types of degree.

Aware that living and studying in Japan is expensive compared to many countries, the government has also introduced additional financial support for foreign students. Various university scholarships and grants are available through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).

Cost of Living

How to Apply

Eligibility for Japanese university

1.Have a valid passport
2.12 years of school in your home country or an International Baccalaureate diploma (the German Abitur is also accepted by many universities).
3.Proof that you can pay all of your expenses while studying
4.Japanese language skills (not technically a requirement, but you will struggle in university courses without a working knowledge of the language)

Foreigners have an easier time getting into Japanese universities than Japanese students, mainly because the Japanese government encourages a diverse university population (the non-Asian population at most universities is still extremely low, however). In addition, the decreasing numbers of young people in Japan are translating into more space at universities.

University application requirements

Don´t think you will be able to apply without taking an entrance exam. 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).

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Top Universities


University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo, or “Todai”, continues to be Japan’s highest entrant in the overall world rankings, and has a very strong global reputation across a wide range of disciplines. Featured in 39 out of 46 subjects in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, the University of Tokyo performs very well, ranked among the global top 100 for every one of these subjects.


Kyoto University

Based in Japan’s old capital city of Kyoto, Kyoto University is the second highest-ranked university in the country, up one place to rank joint 36th. It also has a strong presence in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, featuring among the world’s best in 35 of the 46 subjects covered in 2017.


Osaka University

Located in the third most populous city in Japan, Osaka University, also known as “Handai”, is ranked 63rd in the latest QS World University Rankings. It holds a strong reputation across a number of research fields, featuring among the world’s best for 29 subjects in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017