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Universities for Expats in Japan

Submitted: February 2014

If you or your child chooses to attend university in Japan, there is no doubt that you will receive a world class education.  A number of Japan’s universities consistently feature on the world’s best lists. The University of Tokyo for example is ranked as the number one institution in Asia and twenty-third in the world.  Prospective students can pursue programmes to obtain undergraduate degree, masters or doctorates.

There are approximately 86 national, 92 public and 595 private universities in Japan. National universities are provided for by the government of Japan whereas public universities are the product of the local municipalities. Due to the high standard of education, national universities are regarded as being more prestigious.

Entry into universities in Japan varies depending on whether you have graduated from a local high school or a high school from abroad.  If you attended a Japanese high school you will be required to sit a general screening test and if you attended a school abroad, you will then have to sit a special screening test. This special screening test is called the Examination for Japanese University Admission (“EJU”). This examination tests your Japanese language proficiency as well as your designated subject area. At many of the national and public universities, programmes are taught in Japanese. As such, the entry tests are in Japanese. For more information on these screening tests for entry into the university, please see the links below:

If you are not proficient in Japanese, do not fear; you can still receive a university education at one of Japan’s national universities. The University of Tokyo for example offers its PEAK program or “Programs in English at Komaba”. For more information about admission into this programme, please refer to the link below:

Because of the language requirements, most foreign students may choose to study at a private university. These universities often offer a number of English taught programmes. For an overview of the various admissions procedures of a private university, please see the page below:

Additionally, you can use the resource below to find other English taught programmes at national, public and private universities in Japan:

The cost of tuition depends firstly on whether you attend a national or public university or a private university. Having decided which type of institution you wish to attend, the tuition costs vary depending on the programme studied. An undergraduate programme at a national or public university can cost on average ¥500,000 ($5,000US). An undergraduate programme at a private university however can run up to ¥1,000,000($10,000US). For an overview of the fee breakdown of some universities in Japan, please see the links below:



Osaka University:

University of Tokyo:



Tokyo Metropolitan University:

Aichi Prefectural University:



Keio University:

Sophia University:

You can apply for a scholarship given by the Japanese Government through the Ministry of Education, Sports Science and Technology (Monbukagakusho Scholarship).  These scholarships may be obtained through the Japanese embassy or your university. For more information about this scholarship, for example through the University of Tokyo, please see the link below:

You can apply for accommodation with your school or you can choose to rent accommodation near campus. You can use the resource below to work out the average cost of living in Japan:

If you plan to study a long term course in Japan, you will be required to obtain a student visa if you are not a resident of Japan. You can do this through the Japanese embassy in your home country or your prospective school can make an application on your behalf to the local immigration office. For more information on this process, see the link below:

You can refer to the websites below for helpful information about studying in Japan:



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