Studying in Japan

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(Updated on November 30, 2023)
There are many reasons for purchasing real estate in Japan. One of the reasons is to study in the country. However, there are numerous cumbersome procedures you are not used to. In this section, we will explain the reasons and necessary procedures for studying in Japan. 

Reasons for Studying in Japan

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to deciding in which country you are going to study. Among so many countries in the world, why do you want to choose Japan? Here are several reasons and benefits for studying in Japan.


- Since Japan is a safe country, parents can send their children without worries.

- Japan is clean and there is little risk of getting sick. Even if you get sick, you can receive advanced, high-quality medical treatment throughout the country.

- Living in Japan is highly convenient (e.g. convenience stores are open 24/7 all over the country) with well-developed public transportation.

- High level of education. According to the Times Higher Education, a British magazine focused on education, four universities from Japan rank within the top 300 of the World University Rankings 2023.

- Overall expenses are cheaper than studying in the US or UK.

- There are many scholarships and tuition exemption systems available for international students.

- International students can also have part-time jobs, and the hourly wage is higher than other countries.


As we can see from the above list, there are various benefits for studying in Japan. In addition, many students choose Japan because they are interested in Japanese culture.

Procedures for Studying in Japan

In this section, we will explain procedures for studying in Japan, necessary expenses, time period and other matters to consider. You can clarify what you want to know more by going through the general procedures for studying in Japan.

1) Plan for studying in Japan

Make your plan for studying in Japan by considering factors such as your purpose, field of study, length of stay and expenses. By making a clear plan, you can smoothly gather information for the next step.


2) Gather information

Gather information on requirements for admission, procedures for enrollment, costs, scholarships and other facts about the schools you want to enroll in. A large number of schools exist in Japan and their systems are not the same. Try to find as much information as possible.


3) Select your school

Pick a school that meets your purpose. There are various types of schools you can choose from, including Japanese language schools, special courses for international students in Japanese private universities, universities, graduate schools and colleges. Universities are basically divided into national or public universities and private universities. Graduate schools can be divided into national or public graduate schools or private schools focusing on arts or science. Costs differ significantly depending on the type of institution (see details of costs in the following section). Choosing a school also narrows down the area in which you might want to live. You should consider different aspects when selecting a school.


4) Prepare for application

Check the requirements and procedures for applying to the school of your choice and prepare application forms. You may need to take exams, such as the Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students and the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test, depending on the schools you choose. Check the exams you need to take and take them before applying to the schools.

Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students

An exam for international students testing your proficiency of Japanese language and basic scholastic ability. The test is conducted twice every year, in Japan and in some other countries.


Japanese-Language Proficiency Test

A test to measure your Japanese language proficiency. This test is also conducted twice a year in Japan and other countries.


5) Apply

Submit your application forms to each school. Carefully review that the forms are completely filled out and all the necessary documents are in place.


6) Take an exam

Depending on schools, you may have to take an exam in addition to the two exams described in 4). Check the instructions from your school.


7) Prepare for studying in Japan

When you receive an admission from a school, prepare for studying in Japan, such as obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility and preparing other documents.

Certificate of Eligibility

You need to obtain a visa for enrolling in Japanese universities or other schools. In order to obtain a visa, your school must first submit an application for obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility to the municipal Immigration Bureau responsible for the area where the school is located. The issuance of the Certificate of Eligibility will take about one to three months after submitting an application. After obtaining the Certificate of Eligibility, you need to apply for your visa at a Japanese consulate within three months after the date of issuance of the certificate. A proxy needs to submit this application for you. It will take about four working days until the issuance of visas. You can stay in Japan for three months or up to four years and three months with a valid Certificate of Eligibility.


You will need approximately ¥3 million to study in Japan for two years. However, this will largely differ depending on the area you will live in, your school and your field of study.

The following chart is a rough estimate of school tuition and admission fees.

Types of school Tuition per year Admission fee
Japanese language schools ¥500 thousand to ¥1 million -
Special courses for intrnational students in Japanese private universities  ¥600 thousand to ¥700 thousand -


National or public  ¥500 thousand to ¥550 thousand ¥300 thousand to ¥400 thousand
Private ¥900 thousand to ¥1 million ¥250 thousand to ¥300 thousand
Graduate schools  National or public ¥550 thousand ¥300 thousand to ¥400 thousand
Private (Arts) ¥700 thousand ¥230 thousand
Private (Science) ¥900 thousand ¥250 thousand
Colleges  ¥1 million ¥150 thousand to ¥200 thousand

 Source: Embassy of Japan in China


Period of Stay

Now let’s look at course terms by type of institution.


Japanese language schools: You can choose from short-term courses for about three months or longer courses over one year.


Special courses for international students in Japanese private universities: These courses are provided by private universities as prep schools for high school students, university students, or people who are going to become researchers. These courses teach you about the Japanese language and Japanese culture for about one to two years.


Universities: The term of all universities in Japan is four years. However, if you are learning medical science, dentistry or veterinary science, it will be six years.


Graduate schools: It will take two years to earn a master’s degree and three years to earn a doctorate.


Colleges: The term will vary from school to school, usually two years.

Other Matters to Consider

- The monthly cost of living for an international student in Japan, including tuition, is ¥138,000 as a national average. However, the cost of living in Tokyo is ¥154,000 per month on average. The cost will vary from place to place. You also need to consider your rent and transportation costs.


- In order to get a part-time job as an international student who obtained the Certificate of Eligibility for the purpose of studying, you need to apply for “Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted” and obtain permission beforehand. Even if you obtain permission, there are restrictions on when and where you can work. In principle, you can work only up to 28 hours a week or eight hours a day when you are on a long vacation. You are not allowed to work in the entertainment and amusement businesses such as bars or pachinko halls. Students staying for three months cannot apply for permission.


We have explained the procedures, costs, terms and other matters to consider for studying in Japan. Studying abroad requires a lot of paperwork and you need to follow necessary procedures. Some of these will require a long period of time, and therefore making a good plan is vital. By making careful preparations, you are guaranteed that you will have an enjoyable experience in Japan without worries or problems.




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