private universities in japan for international students

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

Japan has more four year universities than any other country in the world.  It is not surprising that it is a favored International Education Destination for international students who wish to study abroad in Japan.

Read more about Japanese Art Universities For International Students, Top Art And Design Universities In Japan, and Cost Of Studying In Japan For International Students, Cheapest Universities in Japan for International Students. You can also find articles related to Best International Universities In Japan on infolearners

Reasons to Study Abroad in Japan

Before we go into the specific schools to choose from, let’s see why Japan is such a good choice for students who want to study abroad:

1. High-Quality Education:

Japan is consistently ranked in the top 10 countries for education. No matter what kind of institution you attend, from public to private, Japan takes education seriously.

2. Great Food:

Did we mention sushi? Traditional Japanese cuisine is world famous for being fresh, healthy, and delicious. From tofu dishes, miso soup, to the most quality sushi, Japan’s local cuisine has something tasty for every taste bud.

3. Good Job Opportunities:

Japan’s economy has a high demand for foreign workers. That means, upon graduation, if you feel like calling Japan home for longer, you can likely find a job. For example, the demand is consistently high for English teachers.

4. Unique Culture:

Japan is a hub of international impact and culture. From anime to technology, Japan boasts very unique experiences for adventurous spirits!

5. Japan Encourages Students from Abroad:

The government of Japan has a strong interest in welcoming students from abroad. As such, they are focused on making the application process easier for international students and increasing exchange programs with universities around the world.

Best Universities in Japan for International Students

Thinking Japan is the right place for your study abroad adventures?

Check out this list of some of the top Japanese universities:

1. University of Tokyo:

The University of Tokyo is Japan’s first national university. It was established in 1877 and has 10 faculties and 5 graduate schools. Something that’s interesting about the school is that students change campuses throughout their study. For the first two years, they are on one campus, and then they transition to another one in their third year. The campus is a good option for those who want to sightsee around because it’s located close to main attractions.

2. Osaka University:

Osaka University is home to over 15,000 undergraduate students, about 8,000 graduate students and around 2,000 international students. If you attend Osaka University, you will have attended the same school as Sony founder Akio Morita.

3. Hokkaido University:

Initially, Hokkaido University was called Sapporo Agricultural College and was Japan’s first higher education institution to issue bachelor’s degrees. In Japan, it ranks as #7 on the list of top universities.

4. Nagoya University:

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

5. Kyushu University:

As the fourth oldest university on the island, Kyushu University can trace its history back to 1903. There are over 18,000 students, so if jumping into a big university setting is calling your name, this might be the place for you! Despite the big campus, the student to teacher ratio is still just 9:1.

6. Keio University:

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

7. University of Tsukuba:

More than a third of Japan’s research institutes exist on this campus. 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.

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.

9. Waseda University:

Located in Tokyo, Waseda University is considered to be one of the most diverse campuses in Japan. Over 5,000 international students study on the campus, coming from over 100 different countries.

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.

11. Kyoto University:

State-of-the-art laboratories and hands-on training make Kyoto University an incredible place for students who want to perform research.

12. Tohoku University:

Tohoku University led the way into the future for education in Japan by allowing both women and graduates from technical schools to enroll. The university continues to be a pioneering force through its research in next-generation medicine. It’s located in Sendai, which is a huge metropolis with 1 million people.

Reasons to Study Abroad

As you can see, there are a lot of great options of top universities to enroll in Japan for a study abroad program. There are also countless reasons to choose to study abroad. Here’s an abbreviated list of the benefits you gain when you study abroad:

  • Explore the world
  • Expand your career opportunities
  • Network with a global community
  • Develop yourself personally
  • Step outside your comfort zone
  • Grow independently
  • Take part in new experiences
  • Learn a new language

Alternative Learning – Online Options

While some people may not have the urge to study abroad, they still want to network with people from around the world. Additionally, the costs of studying abroad could pose a hurdle.

As such, an alternative for a unique learning experience is attending online college. For example, the University of the People is an entirely online and tuition-free institution with four degree-granting programs. Students from over 200 countries and territories attend from all over the globe.

The flexibility of the program means that you log on when you want and from where you want to learn. That means you can study abroad from wherever you want and still earn your degree through the University of the People. The only constant necessity is for you to have internet access!

Cheapest Universities in Japan for International Students

What are the requirements to study in Japan?

Undergraduate students will need to show proof of basic education (high school certificate) spanning at least 12 years. Entrants also need to be 18 years of age upon admission.

Apart from these basic requirements, applicants should also provide a copy of his/her valid passport – as well as proof of proficiency in Japanese (or English for English-taught programs).

As for graduate students, a bachelor’s or master’s degree is required. Other documents that may be needed include letters of reference and proof of financial support

Can you study in English at Japanese Universities?

Yes. While most universities usually concentrate on Japanese-taught programs, some institutions offer English-taught programs. One is the University of Tokyo, which is lauded as the best university in Japan. Here, students may take several graduate degrees in English.

Another good option is Hokkaido University, which offers many Master’s programs in English.

Cheap Universities in Japan

1. Kyoto University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Kyoto University was founded as an imperial institution in the year 1897. Apart from being the second-oldest university in Japan, it is also heralded as the second-best institution in the country. Kyoto University is one of the cheapest universities in Japan for international students with a tuition fee of around $4,900 a year.

The university – which has 2 campuses in Kyoto and 1 in Uji – is home to almost 23,000 students. It also has a foreign community of more than 2,000 students (11% of the total population).

At Kyoto University, students may take undergraduate degrees in the fields of Integrated Human Studies, Letters, Law, Education, Science, Economics, Medicine, Engineering, Agriculture, and Pharmaceutical Sciences.The same programs are available at the graduate level, with the addition of Human & Environmental Science, Energy Science, Asian & African Studies, Informatics, Biostudies, Global Environment Studies, Government, Management, Law, and Public Health.

2. Tohoku University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Founded in 1907, Tohoku University is renowned as the third Imperial University in Japan. It’s also ranked the third-best in Japan after the Universities of Tokyo and Kyoto.

Currently, Tohoku University has 4 campuses in the Sendai area. The Faculties of Letters, Law, Education, and Economics are housed in the South Kawauchi campus, while Medicine and Dentistry are in the Seiryo branch. The Colleges of Science, Agriculture, Pharmacy, and Engineering, on the other hand, are housed in the Aobayama campus.

This cheap university in Japan has a big student population of more than 17,000 – 12% of which come from outside Japan.

3. Nagoya University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Nagoya University (NU), which was founded in 1871 as the last Japanese imperial university, is regarded as one of the country’s best. Ranked 5th in the World Rankings, it is also listed as the 41st best university in Asia.

NU’s undergraduate faculties are organized according to the studies of Medicine, Law, Engineering, Letters, Science, Economics, Agriculture, Education, and Information Culture.

The same courses are offered at the graduate level, with the addition of specializations in Science, Mathematics, International Language Culture, International Development, and Environmental Studies.

Currently, NU serves as home to more than 15,500+ students. It also has a bustling foreign student community, which corresponds to 11% of the total enrollment rate.

4. Osaka University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Founded as the Kaitokudo in the year 1724, Osaka University, one of the affordable universities in Japan, is a designated national institution. It used to be an imperial university back in 1931 before it was renamed as such in the year 1947.The university, which is ranked 7th in Japan, currently has 3 campuses in Suita, Minoh, and Toyonaka. These branches house the school’s 11 undergraduate and 16 graduate faculties.

Osaka University is one of the many Japanese schools to offer an English-medium undergraduate program. Launched in the year 2011, this project has helped attract many foreign students. They currently represent 12% of the university’s 22,000+ strong population.

5. Kyushu University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Founded in 1903, the former Imperial University is located in Kyushu, Fukuoka. To date, it is regarded as the 8th-best university in Japan. This prestige has helped attract many foreign students, representing 13% of the university’s 18,000+ enrollees.

This cheap university in Japan for international students is known to offer undergraduate programs in the fields of Interdisciplinary Science & Innovation, Education, Law, Letters, Sciences, Economics, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Science, Design, Engineering, and Agriculture. It also offers a handful of graduate programs in the mentioned fields, as well as that of Humanities, Socio-cultural Studies, and Human Environment studies.

6. University of Tsukuba

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

The forerunner of the Tokyo University of Education, the University of Tsukuba was formally established in the year 1973. Ever since then, it has become one of Japan’s finest – even placing 10th in the recent World University rankings.

Based in Ibaraki, Japan, the university specializes in the fields of Medicine, Mathematics, Engineering, Technology, and Science. Apart from these, the university also offers programs in Humanities, Social Science, and Art & Design.

The University of Tsukuba has one of the highest percentages of foreign students – corresponding to 20% of its 16,000+ enrollees.

7. Kobe University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Known in Kansai as Shindai, Kobe University is one of the most affordable universities in Japan for international students. It was founded in the year 1949 and is considered one of the largest in the country. To date, it has 15,000+ students and an international community of about 8%.

Kobe University specializes in several undergraduate degrees, such as Law, Economics, Letters, Human Development, Intercultural Studies, Business Administration, Medicine, Science, Engineering, Agriculture, and Maritime Science.

Kobe University also offers graduate programs in the areas of Humanities, Health Science, System Informatics, and International Cooperation Studies.

8. Chiba University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Chiba University, also known as Chiba-dai, is a national university founded in the year 1949. Located in the Chiba Prefecture, it is home to the Undergraduate Faculties of Letters, Education, Law & Politics, Science, Medicine, Pharmaceutical Science, Nursing, Engineering, and Horticulture.

Apart from these fields, Chiba University also offers MA/Ph.D. programs in Social Science, Humanities, and Education.

Ranked 21st in all of Japan, Chiba-dai has a medium-sized community of 13,000+ students. 5% of these are foreign nationals.

9. Sophia University

  • Tuition Fee For Undergraduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: from JPY 535,800 ($4,910) per year
  • Undergraduate Tuition Fee Link
  • Graduate Tuition Fee Link

Sophia University is a private research university based in Tokyo, Japan. Founded by the Jesuits in the year 1913, this cheap university in Japan is one of the top-rated Japanese institutions to offer classes in both Japanese and English. Such has attracted many foreign enrollees, which equate to 11% of the school’s 13,511 students.

Popular Universities for International Students in Japan

Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan)

One of Japan’s most popular universities, Kyoto University, offers many options for English speaking students. Undergraduates are limited to Civil Engineering, while the Graduate programs offer nine English degree programs. Those include Economic, Engineering, Agriculture, Energy Science, Informatics, Biostudies, Medicine, Global Environmental Studies, Science, and Management. Most degrees offer many opportunities to do research, as well as fieldwork. Many renowned scientists come to talk at the university and there are many local opportunities as well. There are strong student unions for international students and as a culturally rich area, there is no shortage of things to do outside of campus life.

Tokyo Institute of Technology

This Tokyo based famous University has one competitive option for international degree-seeking students: the Global Scientists and Engineers Program (GSEP). 10 students who apply receive four funded years of University by the MEXT scholars program and a few other independently funded students are accepted. The program believes that transdisciplinary studies are necessary for a well-rounded scientist and engineers, and include mandatory classes such as Science, Engineering, Management, and Liberal Arts courses. The topics are almost completely self-chosen, with each student receiving proper support in order to pick the area they want to succeed in. All GSEP classes are located in their Meguro campus.

Keio University (Tokyo, Japan)

Keio University is another top private university in Japan. It currently offers more English speaking graduate degree programs than undergraduate (24 in total). For undergraduates looking to study at Keio, the faculty of economics (PEARL) program, and the faculty of Policy Management, Environment, and Information Studies, (GIGA), offer classes in English. Graduate degree programs offer more choices like Engineering, Health, Media, and Law. The school has multiple campuses across Tokyo, and one close to the beautiful seaside of Kanagawa, where the PEARL program resides. Like Waseda, Keio also offers international dormitories, scholarships, and ways for foreign students to get involved with the community.

Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan)

Although smaller than the previously mentioned schools, Sophia University still has some good options for foreign degree-seeking students. It boasts two major English degree programs: FLA (Faculty of Liberal Arts), and the Faculty of Science and Technology, which offers the majors Green Science, and Green Engineering. Another private university, with a campus in central Tokyo near Yotsuya station. Since the international programs have fewer students, the community is known to be more tight-knit. Like the previous schools, there are many international clubs and opportunities to meet Japanese people.

English University Programs in Japan for International Students - Waseda University

Waseda University (Tokyo, Japan)

Waseda University is one of the biggest private universities in Tokyo with many options for international students. Currently, they have seven different undergraduate/graduate schools that are all run in English. In their engineering department they offer Fundamental, Creative, and Advanced Science and Engineering Degrees. Liberal Arts, Economics, Politics, Social Sciences, and the Culture, Media, and Society school are the other majors currently offered. These four-year programs are much smaller than their Japanese counterparts but offer a good opportunity to mix with Japanese and international students alike. Waseda’s international programs are one of the most popular in Japan, with its foreign students participating actively in campus life. Aside from foreign student life, the schools offer many dormitory options that are close to the main parts of the city and school and scholarship options for those who find the price to be too steep.

Asia Pacific University (Oita, Japan)

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University is located in Beppu, which is the South of Japan. It boasts an almost 50%-50% international to Japanese student ratio, which is rare in Japanese Universities. Additionally, half of the professors are also of foreign nationalities. Undergraduate students can choose from two majors: Asia Pacific Studies, or International Management. Asia Pacific Studies offers majors such as Environment and Development, Culture, Society and Media, Hospitality and Tourism, and International Relations and Peace Studies. International Management offers majors such as Strategic Management and Organization, Marketing, Innovation and Economics, and Accounting and Finance. While courses are offered in English and Japanese, foreigners are strongly encouraged to raise their Japanese proficiency enough to take major-related classes by the third or fourth year. The University stresses education from its students’ multicultural backgrounds. Located on a mountaintop, the student community is often contained within the campus and its close surrounding.

Meiji Gakuin University (Tokyo Japan)

Meiji University, located on four campuses across Tokyo, offers 7 English degree programs. Currently, only one is available to undergraduates: The School of Global Japanese Studies. This involves three areas of concentration: Culture and Art, Business and Society, and Globalization. Their graduate programs offer exciting majors like Architecture, Math, Media, Global Governance, and Business Administration. Since their English programs are mainly directed towards a doctorate or master’s student, there is less of an “international student culture” that can be found at larger, undergraduate-focused universities. Meiji University English degree programs also place a strong emphasis on learning the Japanese language in order to help assimilate with the culture.

Temple University Japan (Tokyo, Japan)

TUJ (Temple University Japan), is an overseas campus of Temple University in Philadelphia, USA. It is the oldest and largest foreign university in Japan. All of their classes and degrees are only offered in English, and as an offshoot of an American University, teach “American style” and follow the American academic calendar. 39% of students at TUJ are American, 40% are Japanese, and other nationalities make up the remaining 21%. It is truly an international campus. Their majors include: Art (commonly not offered in English in Japan), Asian Studies, Communication Studies, Economics, General Studies, International Affairs, International Business Studies, Japanese Language, Political Science, and Psychological Studies.

English University Programs in Japan - University of Tsukuba

University of Tsukuba (Tsukuba, Japan)

The University of Tsukuba is unique in the way that it offers some of its degrees in both Japanese and English. This means that international students with a strong command of Japanese have the opportunity to learn in both languages, with more degree options. Degrees taught only in English include International Social Sciences, International Medical Science, and Global Issues. Degrees taught in Japanese and English include Geoscience, Biology, Agricultural science, and Bio-resource science. As you can see, the University is mostly science-research-focused. It boasts a huge, sprawling campus with lots of grass and beautiful nature. Tokyo is only located an hour away for those who crave more eventful nights or weekends.

Tokyo International University (Tokyo, Japan)

Tokyo International University (TIU) is located in a nice Tokyo suburb, Kawagoe. It is about 35 minutes from the city center and in close proximity to Tokyo’s best attractions. E-track is its English degree program option for international students with majors in Business Economics or International Relations. Within business, economics are smaller concentrations such as IT, Management, Finance, etc. International Relations majors have a wide range of concentrations available such as Intercultural Communications, Japanese Society, and Tourism. As a smaller university, student life is more limited inside of campus, but the opportunities in Tokyo are endless.

Cost Of Studying In Japan For International Students

Before coming to Japan】After coming to Japan】
Examination fees(EJU/JLPT/TOEFL, etc.)Entrance examination feePhysical examination feeApplication mailing costsAirfare and lodging expensesPassport application feeVISA application feeAdmission fee / Tuition feeDormitory feeOthersHotel expenses (if necessary)Housing costsCommuting expensesFood expensesUtilities (electricity, gas, water)Insurance/medical expensesTextbook, etc.Miscellaneous expensesOthers

Other than above mentioned costs, if you are required to come to Japan to take entrance exam, you will need additional costs such as airfare and lodging expenses, visa application fee, and overseas travel insurance premium.

Academic Fees 

Academic fees in Japan are not as high as those in the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition, many Japanese schools provide scholarship programs and tuition exemption/reduction programs to international students.
Below mentioned table shows the average admission and tuition fees for the first year. Other than these, you may be required to pay entrance examination fee, facility/equipment usage fee, etc.
The admission and tuition fees are differ depending on the schools, so for more detailed information, please check the website of school of your choice.

NationalLocal PublicPrivate
(excludes medical, dental, and pharmaceutical programs)
Private
(medical, dental, and pharmaceutical programs)
Graduate SchoolApprox. 820,000 yenApprox. 930,000 yenApprox. 1,000,000 yenApprox. 800,000 yen
University (Undergraduate) Approx. 820,000 yenApprox. 930,000 yenApprox. 1,100,000 yenApprox. 3,200,000 yen
Junior CollegeApprox. 610,000 yenApprox. 960,000 yen
College of Technology(National)Approx. 320,000 yen
Professional Training CollegeApprox. 850,000 yen
Japanese Language InstitutionApprox. 610,000~1,050,000 yen ※1

Average Tuition Cost for a Semester in Japan

If you’re not planning to attend one of your university’s sister schools in Japan (if they happen to offer them), you will have to pay tuition to the institution directly. The direct enrollment tuition fees 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.

Third-party study abroad options are also available, but the total costs might be higher due to provider fees. They are generally more convenient as you pay for everything all at once instead of budgeting for yourself, but there are benefits and drawbacks to both.

Here are some sample fees for tuition to study abroad in Japan for one semester:

TUITION FOR DIRECT ENROLLMENT PROGRAMS:

  • Nanzan University: $1,703 per semester (2021)
  • Tokyo International University: $2,043 per semester (2021)
  • Kansai Gaidai University: $14,000 per semester (2021)
  • The University of Tokyo: $2,433 per semester (2021)

TUITION FOR THIRD-PARTY PROVIDER PROGRAMS:

  • CET Intensive Language & Culture Studies in Osaka: $21,990 (2021)
  • CIEE Tokyo: $25,450 (2022)
  • USAC Japan: $8,242 (2022)
  • IES Tokyo: $22,782 (2021)

Average Cost of Living in Japan

Choosing to  will ring up a massive bill, but the countryside won’t. The majority of Japan is covered in scenic mountains and gorgeous vistas making most cities equally attractive for prospective students. Consider studying in Hokkaido, Nagano, or Gifu as more budget-friendly alternatives to a major city. Food and rent are significantly cheaper outside of Japan’s sprawling urban centers. Plus, you’ll be forced to improve your language skills!

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