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Top Colleges in Japan – Eligibility, Universities & more

Updated on 08 November, 2023

Bulbul Sharma

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Japan is one of the most-preferred global study hubs for international students, considering its reputation as a cultural and research hub of Eastern Asia. Japan offers a cosmopolitan mix of cultures while staying firmly rooted in its age-old traditions.


There are several reputed and highly-ranked universities in Japan, while the country’s famous global exports include Cosplay, Anime, fashion, and J-Pop. The country also offers a thriving job market where recruiters at the best universities in Japan come from leading MNCs and other homegrown brands. Some top names include Sony, Canon, Nikon, Toyota, Hitachi, Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Honda, among countless others. Japan is also a safe place to study, with its low crime rate, while most citizens are welcoming and friendly. Japan has a robust education system from kindergarten level to universities. 

The top colleges in Japan offer four-year programs at the undergraduate level, while students can expect two-year courses at the graduate level. Doctoral courses usually require three to four years on average. The academic session is from April to March, with the summer vacation beginning in the middle of July and lasting till the start of September. Winter vacations span end-December to early January. 

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Eligibility and Other Aspects

Applying to the top universities in Japan for bachelor’s or the top universities in Japan for master’s is not a complicated process. Here are the things you should keep in mind: 

  • You have to individually apply online at the websites of your chosen universities. 
  • Entry requirements usually include the following- proof of application fee payment, high school diploma (bachelor’s course) or bachelor’s diploma (master’s program), academic transcripts, passport-size photographs, personal ID and passport copies, personal statement, motivation letter, and letters of recommendation (LORs). 
  • Some institutions may take the Examination for Japanese University Admission (EJU) for international applicants. These assess science, mathematics, Japan and the world, and Japanese as a foreign language
  • You should also submit your scores in TOEFL iBT/IELTS Academic/PTE Academic. If you are studying a course in Japanese, you should clear the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test). 
  • Make sure you apply before the deadlines. 
  • After getting your acceptance letter, confirm your university enrollment, apply your student visa and medical insurance. You can then look up grants and scholarships for higher education in the country. 

Top Ranked Universities in Japan- A list

Here is a list of the top colleges and universities in Japan based on the QS World University Rankings for 2023: 

Institution QS World Rank 2023FeesPopular Courses
The University of Tokyo23¥535,800 (approx)Biological Sciences, Life Sciences, Medicine, Physical Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Arts and Humanities 
Kyoto University36¥535,800 (approx)Agriculture, Engineering, Economics, Global Environmental Studies, Energy Science
Tokyo Institute of Technology55¥635,400 (approx)Civil and Environmental Engineering, Architecture and Building Engineering, Social and Human Sciences, Technology and Innovation Management 
Osaka University68¥535,800-804,000Economics, Science, Law, Dentistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Engineering Science 
Tohoku University79¥535,800Accounting and Finance, Business and Economics, Social Sciences, Geography
Nagoya University112¥267,900 per semesterAutomotive Engineering, Bio-agricultural and biological sciences, civil and environmental engineering
Kyushu University135¥17-30,000Civil Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
Hokkaido University141¥535,800Biomedical Science and Engineering, Law, Health Sciences, International Media, Communication, and Tourism Studies 
Keio University197¥13,53,350-38,43,350Mechanical Engineering, Applied Chemistry, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Computer Science
Waseda University205 ¥1,209-1,646 (Year 1)Fundamental Science and Engineering, Political Science, Commerce, Economics, Social Sciences

Academic Cycle and Intakes

Universities with two intakes will have application deadlines as November and April for the spring and autumn intakes respectively. Those with three intakes will have the spring, summer and autumn deadlines in October/November, February/April, and June/July respectively. 

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Important Study in Asia Articles

Tsinghua University for International StudentsPeking University China

National University of Singapore Acceptance Rate

Colleges in Japan

University of Tokyo Acceptance Rate for International StudentsNanyang Technological University Acceptance Rate for International Students

The University of Hong Kong Acceptance Rate

Cost of Attendance

Students can expect to pay approximately ¥12,40,000-28,30,000 for undergraduate programs, while postgraduate courses usually cost around ¥12,50,000-44,00,000. Doctoral programs may cost approximately ¥19,000-1,20,000. 

Cost of Living

The accommodation costs vary between ¥12,000 per month for a room to ¥60,000 each month in major cities like Tokyo. Food and groceries may cost you around ¥800-1,000 per month. Travel costs may be roughly ¥10,000 per month while utilities may cost you ¥18,000 each month. 

Top Recruiters 

Some of the top recruiters for students including the following: 

  • Itōchū
  • Ajinomoto
  • Shiseido
  • Asahi Soft Drinks
  • Nintendo
  • JTB
  • Dai Nippon Printing
  • Sony Music Entertainment Japan
  • Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ
  • Dentsu 
  • JTB
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Mitsubishi Corporation

Career Prospects 

There are several exciting career fields open for international and domestic students in Japan. Here are some of the top arenas with their average salaries: 

  • Teacher of English- ¥29,94,000
  • Engineer- ¥50,95,000
  • Risk Analyst- ¥64,01,000
  • IT Professional- ¥58,81,000
  • Sales & Marketing Professional- ¥56,69,000
  • Doctor- ¥10,069,000
  • Business Analyst- ¥60,15,000
  • Banker- ¥11,210,000 

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Is studying in Japan expensive?

Japan is not as costly as many other global educational hubs. Students can expect approximately $12-18,000 annually in tuition fees which is comparatively lower than the costs of studying at universities in the US.

Does Japan have free universities?

Japan does not have free universities although the government has earlier declared a package of ¥800 billion. This will help lower-income students to gain eligibility for free studies at national universities of the country along with getting lower tuition fees at private institutions, vocational schools and two-year colleges.

What is Japan’s most prestigious university?

The highest-ranked Japanese university (as per the QS World University Rankings for 2023) is the University of Tokyo. It is globally acknowledged for its thoughtfully-tailored educational programs and high-quality research and teaching.

Can I study in Japan without knowing Japanese?

While several programs are taught in Japanese across universities, there are many courses which are also taught in English. Hence international students can study in the country without knowing the local language.

Bulbul Sharma

Manager- Content @upGrad

Bulbul is a self-driven professional and an expert writer & editor. She has been a part of the ed-tech industry for the past 2 years now and is motivated to provide study abroad aspirants with factually correct and relevant information. Her knack for impactful writing makes her blogs worth a read!

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