Japan has one of the highest standards of living in the world due to its expansive public transport system, an abundance of affordable and healthy eateries, and some of the lowest crime rates in the world.
For a comprehensive guide to Japan for students, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website Study in Japan.
Web Japan offers information on Japanese culture, tourism and history.
Timing of study sessions
Most Japanese higher educational institutions have an academic year that runs from April to March of the following year, with two semesters, first semester (April ~ September) and second semester (October ~ March).
Preparatory language opportunities
Many universities offer short Japanese language courses as do a wide variety of private language schools. Some private universities such as Sophia, Waseda and Keio Universities offer short-term programs that can be undertaken as part of broader study or independently. For further information about language study, see the Study in Japan website.
Studying in English
Japanese universities are increasingly offering more courses and degrees in English. This is particularly evident at the burgeoning number of international universities and at the post-graduate levels.
- Asian Students Cultural Association University Degree Courses (English website)
- The Japan Student Services Organisation also provides information on education institutions in Japan
VET or technical colleges in Japan
Work and internships
Students on a ‘College Visa’ or ‘Pre-college Student Visa’ who wish to work a part-time job are required to obtain a work permit (‘Permit to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted’). Applications for work permits can be made at the local immigration bureau.
Part-time jobs most commonly available to international students include: food service industry jobs; sales and marketing; language teacher; and cleaning.
Internships are not common in Japan but are attracting growing student interest. Most are arranged through individual connections after arrival in Japan, and host universities and supervisors are a key source of advice on internship opportunities.
Organisations in Japan that can be of assistance include:
The Tokyo Employment Service Centre for Foreigners (Operated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, caters primarily to full-time employment but can advise on internships).
Students in rural areas such as Kyushu and Shikoku should budget on average ¥110,000 per month (including tuition fees), while Tokyo-based students can expect to get by on about ¥150,000 yen per month. The Japan Student Services Organisation (JASSO).) provides an overview on living costs according to each region in Japan.
Fees and funding
Academic fees in Japan tend to be more attractive than in Europe and North America. There are a number of opportunities for tuition fee exemption/reduction and scholarships specifically for international students.
In addition to tuition fees, students are required to pay fees for admission (in their first year), facility and equipment usage. For information regarding academic fees, visit the website of the Japan Student Services Organisation (JASSO).
You should not expect the same level of service at ATMs as in Australia. In some areas, ATMs are closed at night and/or on weekends, and may not accept international credit cards. Not all banks have money exchanging services available. For information on currency and money exchange visit the Japan National Tourism Organisation website.
Scholarships and support
See Financial assistance for information about financial support and scholarships.
The Japan Student Services Organisation (JASSO) and the Japanese government offer scholarships for international studentes:
Visas and insurance
Visas and entry
Healthcare and insurance
International students may join the National Health Insurance System on arrival in Japan (mandatory if staying for more than one year), and many Japanese universities offer additional insurance plans for students. As the national system does not cover the full costs of medical treatment, students are advised to take out travel insurance before departure or seek advice on host university insurance arrangements. For more information, see Study in Japan.
Accommodation and transport
Japanese universities have adequate facilities for student accommodation from low cost dormitories to private, higher cost accommodation options. Accommodation may require a commute to campus. Campuses provide low cost dining options ($4-5 meals), and usually offer low cost restaurants in surrounding areas.
In Japan taking out a lease on private accommodation may require a down payment of up to 6 months of rent, and a guarantor is necessary.
Its extensive and reliable public transport network operates until 12am in major cities.