Study in Japan: A detailed guide for international students



Study in Japan: A detailed guide for international students

Studying in Japan is becoming increasingly attractive to international students. The country offers high quality education and is known for its innovation, cultural richness and hospitality. However, moving to another country to study can be a complex process that requires detailed planning and preparation. Find out more about how to study in Japan

Order a travel guide for a comfortable and safe trip to Japan
Order a travel guide for a comfortable and safe trip to Japan

Studying in Japan can be an incredible adventure! This country attracts students with its unique synergy of tradition and modernity, which creates a unique atmosphere for education. Japan is not only about books and lectures, but also an opportunity to explore the depths of their culture, which honours harmony, respect and creativity. According to statistics, most international students come to Japan for higher education from China, India, Taiwan and Korea.

Choosing to study in Japan is a choice of quality education. The country's universities are world-leading, offering a wide range of disciplines and opportunities for personal and professional development. Here you can join cutting-edge research projects using the latest technologies and innovations.

Studying in Japan also fosters valuable skills such as discipline, collaboration and community interaction. These skills prove useful not only in the academic environment, but also in modern life and career development. 

By choosing Japan to study, you will receive much more than just an education - you will immerse yourself in a unique culture that will forever remain in your heart and deepen your understanding of the world!

If you are planning to move to Japan to study or work, you can use the guides from Visit World. These documents contain basic advice on visa application, border crossing, employment, citizenship and much more.

Higher education system in Japan

Japan is famous for its education system, which emphasises academic knowledge, discipline and work ethic. This system covers six levels, ranging from pre-school education to postgraduate studies.

Preschool education, while not compulsory, reaches over 70% of children and focuses on social skills and early literacy. Primary and junior high schools provide general education, while secondary school offers public, private, and vocational options.

In higher education, Japan stands out for its network of educational institutions. The country has 781 universities, 607 junior colleges and 1,085 specialised training colleges.

Postgraduate studies in Japan offer competitive master's and doctoral programmes with an emphasis on advanced research and critical thinking. The number of international students peaked at 312,214 in 2019, although it dropped to 242,444 in 2021 due to the pandemic. However, this number is now growing again, confirming Japan's attractiveness as a study destination.

Choosing a university in Japan

When choosing a Japanese college, it is important to consider several key factors that will affect your educational trajectory and life in general. One of the most important aspects is the academic reputation of the institution. The University of Tokyo and Kyoto University are known for their high quality of education and ranking in the world. Tohoku University and Osaka University are also highly ranked in global rankings, making them attractive to international students.

The second important aspect is the study programmes offered by the university. You need to pay attention to what fields of study you are interested in and what specialisation opportunities a particular institution offers.

You should also pay attention to the location of the university. The choice of the city where the university is located can affect your student life and opportunities for development outside the classroom.

In addition, don't forget about other important aspects such as the language of instruction, support for international students, scholarship programmes, and opportunities for research or internships. By considering all these factors, you will be able to make an informed choice of the university that best suits your needs and goals.

Choosing a study programme in Japan

When choosing a study programme in Japan, it is important to consider your personal interests and goals. Consider different fields of study such as engineering, medicine, data science, business, Japanese language, and environmental science, and then choose the one that interests you the most.

It is also important to consider the level of study. There is a variety of educational pathways in Japan, ranging from two- or three-year associate or diploma programmes that prepare students for immediate employment to four- to five-year bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programmes that provide a deeper knowledge and intellectual background.

Don't forget about opportunities for additional research or internships that can help you gain hands-on experience in your chosen field. By considering all of these factors and taking into account your personal interests and goals, you will be able to find the perfect study programme in Japan that meets your needs and contributes to your personal and professional development.

Tuition fees in Japan

In Japan, tuition fees for international students depend on the level of education and type of institution. For example, for bachelor's degree programmes, prices usually range from 820,000 to 900,000 yen per year, including the application fee. Master's programmes cost between ¥800,000 and ¥1,000,000 per year, and doctoral programmes cost between ¥680,000 and ¥1,100,000 per year.

National universities often charge between ¥820,000 and ¥900,000, public universities between ¥820,000 and ¥1,000,000, and private universities between ¥1,000,000 and ¥1,500,000.

Despite the high costs, the quality of education and the experience gained often justify the investment. Studying in Japan can be a rewarding experience, and the costs are outweighed by the benefits of a world-class education.

However, students should carefully research and plan for all related costs before applying to avoid unexpected expenses and ensure a stable financial plan for the duration of their studies.

Financial aid and scholarships in Japan

There are a variety of financial aid and scholarship options for international students in Japan. Among them are scholarships from the Japanese government (MEXT), which cover tuition, living and travel expenses. Universities also offer their own scholarships, and private foundations provide assistance based on various criteria.

Specific types of scholarships include the Honjo International Scholarship Fund, which covers tuition, accommodation and travel costs, and the JASSO Scholarship for Japanese language studies.

It is possible to get fully funded scholarships or scholarships with full tuition fees, but the competition is high. To increase your chances, it is worth starting your research early, meeting the selection criteria, maintaining a high level of academic performance, writing a convincing application, obtaining strong letters of recommendation, and meeting the deadlines. Diligent preparation greatly increases the likelihood of obtaining these prestigious study opportunities in Japan.

University admission requirements in Japan

Admission to Japanese universities involves meeting certain requirements, such as academic criteria, language proficiency, etc. Most universities require at least 12 years of formal education, which is equivalent to a high school diploma. For courses taught in Japanese, a language proficiency level of JLPT with a minimum of JLPT N2 is required.

For courses taught in English, language proficiency is also required, as evidenced by TOEFL iBT (minimum score of 80), IELTS (minimum score of 6.5) or DET (minimum score of 105). Additional requirements may include an application form, an entrance exam, a motivation letter and, for PhD programmes, a research proposal.

Application deadlines vary, but are usually in the autumn and spring semesters. Strategic planning, thorough research, and meeting the admission criteria significantly increase the chances of successful admission to Japanese universities.

Documents required for admission to a university in Japan

To apply to Japanese universities, international students need to have a full set of documents. First, there is a completed application form containing personal information, academic transcripts, and letters of recommendation. Then comes the application fee, which is usually around 30,000-50,000 yen. Official transcripts from previous educational institutions, translated into Japanese or English if they are not in these languages, are also required. Letters of recommendation are also important to confirm the student's academic ability and potential.

Language test scores, such as JLPT, TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English Language Test, are required to determine language proficiency. Some programmes may also require results of entrance exams, such as EJU. PhD's students are required to submit a motivation letter or research proposal explaining their interests and goals. Finally, additional documents are required, such as a copy of your passport, financial aid documents, or a health certificate.

How to get a student visa in Japan

A Japanese student visa opens the door to higher education opportunities in Japan. It usually costs around, ¥3000-6000 and can be valid for up to four years, depending on your study plan. This document confirms your commitment to study in a country rich in culture and academic opportunities.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan sets standard requirements for obtaining a student visa:

1. Passport;

2. Photographs;

3. Completed visa application form;

4. Certificate of eligibility for study.

These requirements may vary depending on the country of origin or other individual circumstances. The visa application process is usually quite simple and straightforward. The main steps include obtaining a certificate of eligibility, submitting the required documents, a possible interview, paying the visa fee and waiting for the visa to be processed.

Once you have successfully obtained your visa, all you have to do is fly to Japan to start your studies. This is an opportunity to explore a new culture, meet interesting people, and expand your academic capabilities.

The editors of Visit World recommend using the Work Guide for Japan for a comfortable and safe trip.

The guide is a detailed written document that contains basic advice on obtaining a visa, crossing the border, getting a job, citizenship, and much more. More details at the link.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Checklist for obtaining a visa and necessary documents in Japan;
Legal advice on migration to Japan;
Travel insurance for foreigners in Japan;
Medical insurance around the world.

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