12 Colleges in Japan for International Students

Looking for information on the colleges in Japan for international students? Then you’ve come to the right place. We have thoroughly discussed these institutions and what makes them a good fit for international students.

Japan makes you think of advanced technologies, math, ramen, sushi, and anime, doesn’t it? Well, these are the things that the Asian country is commonly known for. You can soak in all the cultural experience, ramen, sushi, and all these other wonderful Japanese stuff in your mouth, mind, and brain by attending one of the higher institutions there.

There is no better way to soak it all in, that is at a less expensive rate and for a long time, while you gain academic skills and knowledge and make a network of international friends. Japan isn’t a popular education hub among international students, well it is on the other side of the earth and there’s also the language barrier.

While nothing can be done about its location, a lot of changes have been made about the language issue. In a bid to attract more international students and increase and strengthen the country’s link with other nations and foreign universities, Japanese universities had to start offering English-taught programs.

These universities and the people are warm towards international students and foreigners. Although making the decision to study in Japan won’t be an easy one but there are some benefits that come with it aside from the great food and cultural experience.

Japan is a hub of technological innovation and top research centers and has a good economy too which is top in Asia and in the world too after the US and China. How will this help you as an international student in Japan?

Firstly, the technological innovation and good economy mean that there are many companies here and even more would like to come and establish one in the country. Therefore, they’d be plenty of jobs for you if you decide to stay a little longer.

And secondly, the fact that the Japanese engage in serious research has also made their universities take research as a top priority. Therefore, attending a Japanese university means you will be engaged in some serious research. This is experiential learning at its finest, you will see how it is done, learn how to get it done, and get yours to work too.

You will be working with industrial and field experts and professionals in whatever discipline you are pursuing.

And oh, did I mention that Japan is safe? You can’t even lose your wallet in a market. The culture there completely frowns against theft and maltreating foreigners. Has something to do about honor, but whatever, it is completely safe.

Now, these are just the general reasons why you should consider pursuing a degree in Japan. Let’s move on to see what the colleges in Japan are for international students and what they have to offer.


Can Foreigners go to Study in Japan?

The Japanese government and universities warmly welcome international students and encourage them to apply to their universities to pursue any program of their choice. To make this feasible, they offer English-taught programs, make the application process easy, offer scholarships to foreigners, and make the tuition fees cheaper.

Is College Free for International Students in Japan?

Higher education in Japan is not free for international students. However, you can find cheap or low tuition colleges in Japan for international students and apply for scholarships as well. In fact, you may get a fully-funded scholarship that will cover the entire cost of your tuition and allow you to study for free in Japan.

Sophia University in Japan offers two such scholarships.

College Admission Requirements in Japan for International Students

Typically, if you are applying to any institution you must meet certain requirements and Japanese universities are no exception. If you are considering going all the way to Japan to pursue an academic degree, here is a list of requirements you need to possess.

  • You must have a valid passport, like a student visa or study permit
  • You must have completed 12 years of school in your country or an International Baccalaureate diploma
  • Show financial proof that you can handle the cost of your education and other expenses while in Japan.
  • If you are applying for an undergraduate program then you need to possess your high school diploma
  • If you are applying for a graduate program, you must have your bachelor’s diploma
  • All your academic transcripts should be in your possession
  • A complete application form
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Motivation 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.

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

Here, we have listed and discussed the best universities in Japan for international students and what makes each of them unique.

  • The University of Tokyo
  • Kyushu University
  • Akita International University
  • Kyoto University
  • Hokkaido University
  • The University of Tsukuba
  • Waseda University
  • Tohoku University
  • Keio University
  • Ritsumeikan University
  • Osaka University
  • Yokohama National University

1.      The University of Tokyo

On our first list of colleges in Japan for international students is the University of Tokyo. Although these universities were listed in no particular ranking order this one had to come first because it is Japan’s first Imperial University. It was established in 1877 as a public research university and has kept leading in research education.

UTokyo is divided into 10 faculties for offering undergraduate education in a wide array of academic disciplines and 15 graduate schools for offering programs leading to master’s, doctorate, and professional studies. About 30,000 students are enrolled of which 4,200 are international students.

Its academic excellence in research and achievements in various field makes it one of the best colleges in Japan for international students.

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2.      Kyushu University

Kyushu University is one of the national universities in Japan located in Fukuoka and is the fourth oldest university in the country. Like the one above, it is research-oriented and also a large university with over 18,000 students enrolled in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs.

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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3.      Akita International University

Recently 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.

Akita International University is designed to look like an American liberal arts college but focuses on graduate programs as much as undergraduate degree programs. The international students here make up to 26% of the entire student population and most of them are exchange students. Studying here will expose you to a vibrant community of students from different parts of the world.

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4.        Kyoto University

This is one of Japan’s oldest and best universities, 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, top ten in Asia, and 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.

Talking about large, KyotoU, as it is commonly referred to, 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 place of research and world-class education that would meet the academic needs of every foreign student.

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5.      Hokkaido University

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.

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

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6.      The University of Tsukuba

This is one of the best universities in Japan for international students as it is ranked among the top 10 Designated National Universities. 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.

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 which offers graduate degree programs to the working adults in Tokyo.

The academic strength lies in research-intensive programs such as medicine, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But you can equally pursue programs in business, arts, music, biology, and many more. It is one of the best colleges in japan for international students to consider applying to.

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7.      Waseda University

Looking for a diverse institution in Japan to attend? Then you shouldn’t miss Waseda University, which has the most diver campus in Japan with more than 5,000 international students from over 100 different countries. However, the cost of attending this university can be higher than the others here because it is a private institution.

It is a research university located in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and offers a wide range of academic programs in undergraduate and postgraduate levels of study. 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, it will be hard not to find a program of your choice.

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8.      Tohoku University

Located in Sendai, Japan Tohoku University is globally recognized for its outstanding standards in education and research. It is a national university and the third Imperial University in Japan after UTokyo and KyotoU. In 2020 and 2021, Tohoku University was ranked No.1 university in Japan by Times Higher Education.

There is no reason why you wouldn’t want to come here. 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.

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9.       Keio University

Just like the one above, this is also a private research university in Japan and it is one of the oldest types too. The tuition fee is definitely going to be more 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. 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 prestigious colleges in Japan for international students to consider applying.

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10. Ritsumeikan University

This is one of the best private research colleges in Japan for international students, established in 1900 in Kyoto, Japan. With an acceptance rate of 36% your chances of getting admitted here as an international student is pretty high and it is an opportunity, you shouldn’t let go to waste.

Diverse academic programs are offered 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 cutting-edge facilities and research centers specially designed to serve every field of study are another amazing things about Ritsumeikan University.

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11. Osaka University

Osaka University cannot escape this list of colleges in Japan for international students. It is a pretty popular higher institution among domestic and international students. It is home to more than 25,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programs. Out of this number, 2000 are international students from more than 50 countries pursuing a diverse range of academic degrees.

It is a public research university, therefore it won’t be 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.

In other words, this is a prestigious university in Japan, Asia, and globally. This makes it one of the best colleges in Japan for international students.

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12. Yokohama National University

Gracing our final list of colleges in Japan for international students is Yokohama University. It was established in 1876 as a national university in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Unlike the others on this list, this institution is really small with only 5 graduate schools and 4 undergraduate faculties with less than 12,000 students.

If less populated universities are your preference then you have the Yokohama National University to apply to. So far, all the universities on this list are nationally and internationally known for their research-intensive programs but this one is globally known for its business program offerings, it is the best in Japan.

Its other academic offerings are outstanding and earn it a spot among the best colleges in Japan for international students.

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This brings an end to the post on best colleges in Japan for international students. These institutions are known all over the nation for their academic excellence in teaching and training students to be the best in their respective fields. They are also the top choice institutions among international students and may seem helpful to you as well.

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