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Why Study in Japan?

More than 100,000 international students are currently studying at universities, junior colleges, professional schools and other educational institutions in Japan. Their number has been increasing rapidly since the 1980s, with two thirds of the students coming from China.

Visa Matters

Short time studies at Japanese language schools are permitted on a tourist visa. All other foreign student in Japan need a student visa in order to study in Japan. Visa applicants require an educational institution as their sponsor in order to obtain a student visa.

Student visa holders are not allowed to engage in any paid activities, unless they get the permission of the school and the immigration office. Even then, students may work only a set maximum number of hours per week. Working on a tourist visa is prohibited.

Language Schools

Japanese language schools exist in many cities across Japan, ranging from informal conversation schools to government recognized institutions that offer preparatory courses for students to enroll at universities.

There are language schools for all proficiency levels, and courses of different durations from just a few weeks to more than one year.

Universities

The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) is a standard examination in existence since 2002, simplifying the process of admission to Japanese universities for international students.

The examination covers the Japanese language, science, mathematics, Japan and the World and is held biannually in Japan and selected cities outside of Japan. The examination can be written in Japanese or English (except the section on Japanese language; some testing sites don’t offer tests in English).

Almost all national universities, about two thirds of the public universities and roughly half of the private universities use the EJU as admission criteria for international students, while the others apply their own entrance exams.

Naturally, most university courses in Japan are only available in Japanese, although quite a few universities offer one or more English courses at a master’s and/or doctoral level. Only a handful of universities offer English courses on the undergraduate (bachelor) level.

Scholarships and Exchange Programs

The Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) is a standard examination in existence since 2002, simplifying the process of admission to Japanese universities for international students.

The examination covers the Japanese language, science, mathematics, Japan and the World and is held biannually in Japan and selected cities outside of Japan. The examination can be written in Japanese or English (except the section on Japanese language; some testing sites don’t offer tests in English).

Almost all national universities, about two thirds of the public universities and roughly half of the private universities use the EJU as admission criteria for international students, while the others apply their own entrance exams.

Naturally, most university courses in Japan are only available in Japanese, although quite a few universities offer one or more English courses at a master’s and/or doctoral level. Only a handful of universities offer English courses on the undergraduate (bachelor) level.

About Japanese Universities

Top Japanese Universities

Background:

In 2001 the Ministry of Education proposed to change the funding model to strengthen the “Top 30” universities. Among the various “Top 30” lists floated at the time, this one, attributed to the prep school Kawaijuku, is probably the most useful.

It was based on four factors: research funding (Kaken only), citations of research publications, entrance exam difficulty, and a reputation survey.

Weaknesses:

This ranking was done to identify “world class research universities” as seen in strengths in science and engineering. For public universities this gives a reasonable approximation to an overall quality ranking, because Japanese public universities have fairly similar profiles, and so strength in one area tends to be matched by strength across the board, including in recruiting good students and in educating them well. Private universities, however, tend to have different profiles, including strengths in education and in the humanities which are not reflected in this ranking. Thus in a list of the truly best, Waseda and Keio would probably belong near the top, and other private universities, including Sophia, International Christian University, Meiji, and Nihon, would probably also be mentioned. Some smaller, specialized universities, such as The Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, The University of Electro-Communications, The Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, and Hitotsubashi University would probably also deserve a place.

Purpose:

My reason for hosting this list was the lack of good information on Japanese Universities on the web. Probably this list will be most useful to graduate school admissions committees considering applicants from Japan. It may also be useful for those considering study in Japan.

Links:

Lists of top Japanese Universities are also provided by World Education Services and by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Other resources with coverage of Japan include Webometrics Top Asia Universities. Two other well-known sources are the Times Higher Education ranking and that by Quacquarelli Symonds. A good starting place for finding rankings for universities in various countries is the University of Illinois’ College and University Rankings