Study In Japan

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If you fancy studying in Japan, the homeland of the bullet train, Nintendo Wii, instant noodles, and karaoke, you’ll be pleased to know Japan wants you too.

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 marks 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.

One thing that will certainly help to attract international students is the introduction of more courses taught partly or entirely in English. Other schemes to attract more overseas students include:

  • Hiring special staff to support international students
  • Allowing students to start courses in September (instead of April, which is when Japan’s academic year usually starts)
  • Recruiting more teaching staff from outside of Japan
  • Increasing exchange programs with universities in other countries

Aware that living and studying in Japan are 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).

There are approximately 780 universities in Japan, of which about 80 percent are private. There are also specialized schools and colleges that provide more vocational types of degrees.


Student Visa

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Why study in Japan?

  • High Level of Education

    Japan has over 700 universities to choose from and 10 of them are ranked in the top 200 worldwide. That already shows their extraordinary academic dedication. Japan has the second-highest number of Nobel prize winners of all countries in the world.

  • Japan’s Amazing Culture

    Japan has thousands of years of history that have been shaping their culture until today; study in Japan and get to experience a whole new fascinating way of life! Combining traditions and modern technology is one of the uniqueness of Japan, especially seen in Japanese businesses too.

  • Stunning Nature & City Life

    The great thing about studying in Japan is that no matter where you are you can get out of the city life anytime and see the great nature this country has to offer! From hot springs, volcanoes, mountains, and snow monkeys to blooming flowers and the beautiful coastlines.

  • Economic Growth

    Japan is the second-largest developed economy in the world, the 3rd largest automobile manufacturing country, and the largest electronics goods industry – so studying here will give you opportunities you would never have thought are there! Japanese are known for their love of precision and creativity.

  • High Standard of Life

    Japan is one of the safest and most peaceful places to visit in the world! In addition, they have one of the world’s best healthcare systems with a very high life expectancy. The streets are clean and easy transport systems help travel around the country conveniently.

Japan Overview

Schools In Japan

Most students start out by studying Japanese at a language school since the language is the key to the Japanese culture. You can take a short language course of 2-12 weeks or you can sign up for a long-term program. Japanese people are not very good at English and the universities only offer a few programs in English. So if you want to study in Japan for a longer period of time then you had better start by learning Japanese. Language schools usually teach four semesters of 10 weeks per year. If you are a beginner you can study for 80 weeks at a Japanese language school and that might be needed if you want to continue in a higher education program in Japanese.

Once you master the Japanese language you can continue your studies at a Japanese university or a Senmon Gakko – a Japanese vocational College. On our page about universities and language schools in Japan, you can find the 100 highest-ranking Japanese universities as well as recommended language schools.

When and how to apply?

The Japanese school year starts in April and the second semester usually starts in October. Language schools often have start dates in January and July as well, and short term courses start every month at some schools.

For long term courses on a student visa, you need to apply approximately 6 months in advance to most language schools due to the visa application that is done through the school. Universities and high ranking schools can handle the visa process quicker but they often set their deadlines about 6 months before the course starts anyway. Some universities only take applications during a couple of short application windows so make sure to check the application information of the university that you are interested in.

If you want to study at s Senmon Gakko or University in Japan you will usually need to take an exam to show that you can fulfill their requirements. A Senmon Gakko usually demands JLPT 2 while universities favor the EJU-exam.

How much does it cost to study in Japan?

Schools in Japan charge a tuition fee and a number of other smaller fees. A one-year course at a Japanese language school costs approximately 800000 Yen, excluding living costs such as accommodation, food, and travel, etc. Universities cost approximately twice as much, about 1600000 Yen per year but prices differ from school to school.

On top of that, you will probably need about 150000 Yen per month to cover your living expenses. If you study in a smaller city where the accommodation and travel costs are low you might get by on less, but in Tokyo, it is easy to spend much more especially if you live in your own apartment.

Many people think that Japan is expensive but this is not entirely true. Shopping and food are often cheaper than in Europe, not least considering the quality that you get. Student accommodation, on the other hand, can be a bit costly in Tokyo considering the size and standard that you get.

The Japanese language and language levels

Is it difficult to learn Japanese or is it easy? The answer is that it is both difficult and easy. Japanese pronunciation is rather easy. Japanese consists of 46 syllables that can only be pronounced in one way. Almost all of those syllables exist in English and other European languages so you can master the pronunciation rather quickly and people will often understand you when you read Romanized written in our alphabet. Japanese also use thousands of English loan words, gairaigo, that has been adapted to Japanese pronunciation. Once you master this you will have immediately have access to a huge vocabulary.

The challenge when learning Japanese is the grammar, the levels in the language, and not least the writing. Written Japanese consists of three writing languages. Hiragana and Katakana have one character per syllable where Katakana is only used for loan words. Those two writing languages are quite easy to learn but Kanji, the third writing language, consisting of a couple of thousand Chinese characters is much more challenging.

At Japanese language schools, you can study Japanese from beginner level to advanced level. However many schools ask that beginners have at least a passive knowledge of Hiragana and Katakana when you start a long-term course in Japan. You can learn those on your own by for example memorizing one character per day. Here are some resources for learning Hiragana and Katakana on your own.

Student visa to study in Japan

Many nationalities can take a short language course in Japan for up to 90 days on a visa waiver. Some nationalities can even extend this with another 90 days.

If you want to study in Japan for a longer period of time you will need to apply for a student visa. This procedure starts with applying to and becoming accepted by a school in Japan including sending the school a number of visa-related documents. You will need to apply to your school approximately 6 months before the course starts. Then they will send you a CoE, Certificate of Eligibility, about 1 month before your course starts. With this document, you can do the final visa application at the Japanese Embassy in your home country.

Work in japan as a student

Students that have obtained work permission are allowed to work part-time in Japan. Then you can work 28 hours per week on school weeks and 40 hours per week during semester breaks. Students are not allowed to take any jobs related to night clubs or adult entertainment. This even includes being a DJ or working as a dishwasher in a nightclub.

Most students work in shops or restaurants where you can earn around 1000 Yen per hour. However, it can be hard to find a job before you speak decent Japanese. The best-paid jobs for students are often to work as a teacher in your native language. Either at a school or just give private conversation lessons in a café then it is not unusual to earn up to 3000 Yen per hour.

The work permit is a sticker in your passport. To obtain it you must be in Japan on a student visa. The easiest way to get the permit is to apply directly to immigration in the airport when you first arrive in Japan. Then you can get it immediately. Otherwise, you will be stuck in the Japanese bureaucracy where you will need several visits to the Immigration Bureau and at least 3 weeks of processing time before you can get your work permit.

Scholorship for studying in japan

We have a language school partner in Tokyo that offers 50% of scholarships on the tuition fee for American students. We also have several partners who offer discounts for other nationalities up to 90000 yen off the official price. Fill out an information request to get the scholarships.

Insurance when you study in Japan

It is always important to have good insurance when you study abroad and Japan is no exception. We recommend Dr. Walter’s Protrip World insurance.

If you are studying on a student visa in Japan you will be asked to pay a small monthly fee for the national health insurance. However, this is no replacement for real insurance as it only covers 70% of your health care fees and nothing else. Some schools offer top-up insurance covering the remaining 30% but most of those insurances still don’t give you complete coverage. You need insurance that also covers transportation, accidents, theft, liability, legal costs, etc.

Accommodation in Japan

The standard for student housing is simple in Japan. Rooms are small and insulation is poor. You will depend on your AC for heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.

Most students stay in either host families, share houses or apartments. We can help you to find accommodation in Japan at discounted prices.


  • Visa application form
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Identification card copies
  • Four filled self-adhesive name and address labels
  • Passport-sized photo(not older than six months)
  • Formal educational documents(photocopy)
  • IELTS certificate
  • Criminal record check results
  • Proof of funds from a suitable source
  • Proof of cash deposits
  • Medical reports and x-ray examinations
  • Proof that the student has an Overseas Student Health Cover for the total duration of the visa