colleges in japan

14 best colleges in Japan for International students

Japan is known as one of the best study-abroad countries for international students, rich in culture, history, unique artistic traditions, etc. It is also one of the world’s most literate and technically improved countries; there are hundreds of Japanese universities: some public, some private, and others national.

Studying in Japan is a fun experience but it is really an adventure, it can broaden your knowledge, create opportunities, build friendships, and even make you enjoy the beautiful Japanese culture, especially for international students who want to study abroad in Japan.

Is college free for international students?

Although some public schools are tuition-free for primary and secondary schools, However, college in Japan is not free for international students.

But you can find cheap or low-tuition colleges in Japan for international students and apply for scholarships as well.

In fact, there are also fully-funded scholarships that will cover the entire cost of your tuition and allow you to study for free in Japan, one of which is Sophia University which offers two scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition so that international students can study in Japan for free.

How much does it cost to study in Japan for international students?

If you are applying to a public university in Japan, set aside a budget of at least $9,000 for tuition and the cost of living during your semester overseas. If you go through a program provider, you’ll need a budget of around $20,000 or more as a mid-range estimate.

The direct enrollment tuition fees for colleges in Japan for International students can range from less than $3,000 to almost $20,000 for one semester. If you’re on a budget, consider studying at a public university in a lesser-known city or small town to save money.

Admission requirements for colleges in Japan for international students

Just like in all academic institutions, in other to be eligible to enroll in the universities in Japan as an international student, foreigners must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid passport, like a study permit or student visa
  • Certificates showing that you completed 12 years of school in your home country or an International Baccalaureate diploma
  • A financial statement that shows that you can pay all of your expenses while studying
  • Japanese language skills (not technically a requirement, but you will struggle in university courses without a working knowledge of the language)
  • Posses all academic transcripts
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Attestation letter
  • Study plan and letters of recommendation
  • Passport or a valid ID
  • Personal statement
  • If you are applying to an English-taught program then you need to submit test scores of an English proficiency test such as the IELTS or TOEFL.

Foreign students 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).

Once admitted, your university will help you obtain your student visa, mainly by providing you with a Certificate of Eligibility.

All applications are done online and also, remember to send in your application early so that it can be carefully reviewed by the admissions office.

Now, let’s see the colleges in Japan that accept international students and pick schools to send your admission application.

Best Colleges in Japan for International Students

Check out this list of the best universities in Japan for International students and what makes each of them unique.

  • The University of Tokyo
  • Osaka University
  • Hokkaido University
  • Nagoya University
  • Kyushu University
  • Keio University
  • University of Tsukuba
  • Akita International University
  • Waseda University
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Kyoto University
  • Tohoku University
  • Ritsumeikan University
  • Yokohama National University
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1. University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is the first on our list, although this list is in no particular ranking order, but because it is Japan’s first Imperial University.

UTokyo is Japan’s first national university, one of the colleges in Japan for International students; it was established in 1877 as a public research university and has kept leading in research education, it has 10 faculties and 5 graduate schools. Something that’s interesting about the school is that students change campuses throughout their studies.

For the first two years, they are on one campus, and then they change to another one in their third year. The campus has attractive sight features for those who want to sightsee around because it’s located close to the main attractions, visit the official website to know more.


2. Osaka University

Osaka University is widely considered one of the best colleges in Japan for International students because it is home to over 15,000 undergraduate students, about 8,000 graduate students, and around 2,000 international students.

It is a public research university, so it won’t be too expensive, international students will be accepted with ease, and programs are research-intensive. Furthermore, Osaka University is ranked among the top three public universities in Japan and 75th in the world according to QS World University Rankings.

If you attend Osaka University, you will have attended the same school as Sony founder Akio Morita. Interested persons should visit the official link to know more.


3. Hokkaido University

Initially, Hokkaido University was called Sapporo Agricultural College and was Japan’s first higher education institution to issue bachelor’s degrees. If you are seeking the best colleges in Japan for international students then you shouldn’t skip Hokkaido University.

It is a prestigious national university in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, and was established to be a research-intensive citadel of higher learning. It is the 5th best university in Japan according to the Times Higher Education Japanese University Rankings.

This institution has 14 faculties for undergraduate education offering a diverse range of programs in agriculture, dental medicine, law, education, engineering, etc. and there are 22 graduate schools also offering a wide range of programs that lead to masters and doctorate degrees. In a bid to attract international students, there are many programs that are taught entirely in the English language.


4. Nagoya University

Nagoya University (名古屋大学, Nagoya daigaku), abbreviated to Meidai (名大) or NU, is a Japanese national research university located in Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, and is also one of the top colleges in Japan for international students; this institution was founded in 1939 and is one of seven imperial universities which have developed into one of the nation’s leading universities.

Nagoya University has a legacy of academic excellence and boasts about 33% of Japan’s Nobel Laureates in Science, so it comes as no surprise that the university is well known for its research.

Nagoya University is one of the top Public universities in Nagoya, Japan. It is ranked #118 in QS Global World Rankings 2022.

Nagoya University is proud to have developed into one of the truly world-class colleges in Japan for international students and aims to gain even further ground and compete with the top universities.


5. Kyushu University

Are you looking for top colleges in Japan for international students in Fukuoka city?

Kyushu University is one of the national universities in Japan and is the fourth oldest university in the country. As the fourth oldest university on the island, Kyushu University can trace its history back to 1903.

The Institution is massive enough to accommodate over 18,000 students, so if jumping into a big university setting is what interests you, this might be the place for you!

The admission acceptance rate here is 42.4% which is fair for a prestigious university like this. The two major languages of instruction are English and Japanese, hence, international applicants must submit either the English or Japanese language proficiency test scores.

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For your Interest: Top Japanese language schools in Japan.

6. Keio University

Keio University is Japan’s first private research institution for higher education. In 2019, it was ranked as the 10th best school in all of Japan and colleges in Japan for international students, the school has a great reputation for international research and a diverse network around the world.

As a private school, it is only predictable for its tuition fee to be higher compared to the public ones but you can apply for scholarships to study in Asia and also for other financial aid opportunities provided by the Japanese government for international students.

Aside from the huge tuition fee, there is no reason why you wouldn’t want to come here as it is one of the best colleges in Japan for international students, the campus is situated in a vibrant environment that stimulates learning, research, and innovation.

The campus is also filled with people from diverse backgrounds allowing you to create a network of connections with people from around the globe. It is one of the most prestigious colleges in Japan for international students to consider applying.


7. University of Tsukuba

The University of Tsukuba is one of the top colleges in Japan for international students which focuses more on research, more than a third of Japan’s research institutes exist on this campus.

The University of Tsukuba was founded in 1872 as a public research institution of higher learning and places learning and training as its top priority and is ranked among the top 10 Designated National Universities.

There is a strong focus on international studies, with cooperative agreements with North Africa and Central Asia. Interestingly, roughly 70 of its current and previous students have participated in the Olympic Games.

The university has a main campus in Tsukuba which is divided into 28 colleges and schools offering a wide range of courses for students to pursue their career interests. There is also a branch campus in Bunkyo-Ku that offers graduate degree programs to working adults in Tokyo.


8. Akita International University

With the word International in its name, Akita International University has 26%, international students. The school offers both short- and long-term programs and is one of the best colleges in Japan for international students

This institute of higher learning was established in 2004 as a public university in Akita City, the university has gained recognition among foreign students and is recognized as one of the best colleges in Japan for international students. It is one of the very few universities in Japan that offers all of its programs in the English language and is partnered with 185 institutions all over the world.

Studying here will expose you to a vibrant community of students from different parts of the world.


9. Waseda University

Are you looking for a diverse institution in Japan to attend? Then you should consider Waseda University. This institution is located in Tokyo, Japan with over 5,000 international students studying on the campus, coming from over 100 different countries. This diversity ranks the institution as one of the best colleges in Japan for international students.

However, it is a private institution and at that, the cost of attending this university can be higher than the others.

The majority of its programs are offered in English and Japanese languages aside from language programs. The school is really large with 13 undergraduate schools and 23 graduate schools; you should find a program of your choice here.


10. Tokyo Institute of Technology

Demonstrated by its name, the Tokyo Institute of Technology has educated some of the world’s brightest math and engineering minds. 13% of its students are international.

It is a research university open to international students who wish to study technology-related programs abroad in Japan.

The academic strength lies in research-intensive programs such as technology, engineering, and mathematics. It is one of the best colleges in Japan for international students to consider applying to.


11. Kyoto University

KyotoU as fondly called is one of the best colleges in Japan for international students who are interested in research programs. State-of-the-art laboratories and hands-on training make Kyoto University an incredible place for students who want to perform research.

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This university was established in 1897 as a public research higher institution in Kyoto Japan. It is an institution that is consistently ranked among the best two universities in Japan, the top ten in Asia, and the top 50 in the world. It is a large institution sitting on a 33-acre campus in an environment that stimulates learning, research, and innovation.

The University has three campuses, 10 faculties, 18 graduate schools, 13 research institutes, and 22 research and educational centers. A wide range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered here with the most popular being engineering, humanities, and law.

This is a perfect place for research and world-class education that would meet the academic needs of every foreign student.


12. Tohoku University

Tohoku University led the way into the future of education in Japan by allowing both women and graduates from technical schools to enroll. The university continues to be a pioneering force as one of the best colleges in Japan for international students through its research in next-generation medicine.

It is located in Sendai, Japan which is a huge metropolis with over a million people. It is a national university and the third Imperial University in Japan after UTokyo and KyotoU. In 2020 and 2021, Tohoku University was ranked the No.1 University in Japan by Times Higher Education.

This institution is too good, making Japan one of the best study-abroad countries; it definitely should be on your watch list. It offers bachelor, master’s, doctorate, and professional degree programs have a diverse campus with about 1,400 students, cutting-edge research facilities and centers, and is one of the world’s best higher institutions and top university in Japan.


For your Interest: Check out the Top 10 high school foreign exchange programs in Japan

13. Ritsumeikan University

This Institution was established in 1900 in Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the best private research colleges in Japan for international students, and that may be more expensive than most public colleges.

What is most amazing is that Ritsumeikan University has an acceptance rate of 36%, so your chances of getting admitted here as an international student are very attainable.

The institution embraces the diversity of programs, offering from the bachelor’s and master’s levels to Ph.D. and special programs. Courses are mainly taught in Japanese and English and you could join the online programs too if you wish to.

The infrastructure, cutting-edge facilities, and research centers specially build up to make it an attraction for international students which makes it one of the top colleges in Japan for international students


14. Yokohama National University

The last on our list of colleges in Japan for international students is Yokohama University. It is a national university in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, and was established in 1876

In comparison to the other universities listed in this article, Yokohama University is actually smaller, with only 5 graduate schools and 4 undergraduate faculties with less than 12,000 students.

However, you might be a person interested in less populated universities and this makes this institution a good fit for you, and unlike other universities mentioned that are known for their research programs, this institution is globally known for business programs and is the best in Japan.

So if you are looking for schools in Japan to learn business, this is one of the best colleges in Japan for international students in that regard.



This brings an end to the post, there are however many good colleges in Japan for international students, this post helps you select the top choice universities and we hope it helps you make a better decision, we are happy to assist you.

Finally, you can apply to as many schools as possible and ensure to send in your applications early.


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