Currently in Japan the population is decreasing rapidly from the declining birthrate and aging population. Hence, there are many schools that accept foreign students. In 2008 the number of foreign students in Japan was 120,000 but in 2018 it has increased to 300,000. The number of foreign students have increased as twice as much in 10 years. This article will introduce the 5 ways to study in Japan.

5 Ways to Study In Japan

1. Undergraduate School

First of all, the most orthodox way of studying in Japan is to apply for a Japanese university. In regular programmes that opens courses in Japanese, in many cases you will need a high score in the “EJU(=Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students)” (日本語留学試験) or pass the N1(Top) level of the “JLPT(=Japanese Language Proficiency Test)” (日本語能力試験). Therefore, if you are going to study in Japan right after you come from your country you will need to take the exam of EJU or JLPT and attain a good score beforehand. You will need to take time on your Japanese studies before coming to Japan.

However, recently there are more universities that provide English courses to encourage more students to come over and apply using their English. Therefore, the need to have a high skill of Japanese before is getting unnecessary. Nevertheless, there will be a need of having high English skills in that case since there will be tests on English essays and submission of TOEFL scores.

For public universities the entrance fee is around 300,000 yen (※approximately 2760 USD) and the tuition fee is around 550,000 yen (※approximately 5060 USD).
For private universities the entrance fee is around 200,000 yen (※approximately 1840 USD) and the tuition fee is around 1,000,000 yen (※approximately 9200 USD).
In general the it will cost more to study sciences in Japan.

2. Japanese Language School

The second way is to get in a “Japanese language school”. This is actually the most used way by foreign students to study in Japan. After studying for around 1-2 years in a “Japanese language school” many of the students enter a university or a vocational college and ⅓ of the foreign students in Japan are learning at a educational institution that teaches Japanese. If you are entering a Japanese language school, it depends on the schools but most of the times the level of Japanese requires only the N5 level in the JLPT exam. Thus, it can be said that the required level is low compared to other ways to study in Japan.


Also, you will not need to be well educated since most of the times there will only be document screenings and interviews to get in the school. For the level of Japanese even if you did not pass any of the JLPT exams there are some universities that accept students that pass an easy Japanese test. (However, in general they only accept students that have graduated high school and to get scholarships a high level of scholastic ability is necessary.)

The school fee is around 700,000 yen (※approximately 6440 USD) including entrance fee. There are many students who study for 2 years and in that case it will cost around 1,400,000 yen (※approximately 12880 USD).

You can find scholarships information of each Japanese school from here.

Find School in Japan ? is the first stop when researching for language schools in Japan. This website has all the information including tuition fees and enrollment rates. More importantly, users will be able to read and write reviews for the schools. is the best aid for helping you choose a language school in Japan.


3. Vocational School

The third way is to enter a vocational school. Same with the universities, many foreign students enter a vocational school after studying at a Japanese language school. The reason is because in general vocational requires a N2 level in the JLPT exam to enter and students who cannot pass the exam decide to learn at the Japanese language school first.

Currently, the number of foreign students that learn in vocational schools is about the same with students that learn at a university. This is because vocational schools want more foreign students from the declining birthrate issue and many foreign students want to learn fields that are Japan is famous for such as anime, manga, and games. Vocational schools that teach arts is very popular as well among students from Asian countries.

Vocational schools have many fields including nursing, beauty, cooking, and programming. Thus, the fees change according to what you study. This article will give you an approximate amount of fees for some fields.

  • Nursing: Entrance fee 200,000 yen (※approximately 1840 USD) ~ Tuition fee 400,000 yen (※approcimately 3680 USD) ~
  • Beauty: Entrance fee 150,000 yen (※approximately 1380 USD) ~ Tuition fee 400,000 yen (※approcimately 3680 USD) ~
  • Cooking/Snack production: Entrance fee 200,000 yen (※approximately 1840 USD) ~ Tuition fee 400,000 yen (※approcimately 3680 USD) ~
  • IT/Techincal studies; Entrance fee 150,000 yen (※approximately 1280 USD) ~ Tuition fee 500,000 yen (※approcimately 4600 USD) ~

4. Exchange Programme

Being in an exchange programme is another way to study in Japan. Exchange programmes end in half a year of a year and it is shorter than entering in a “university”, “Japanese language school”, or “vocational school”. The good part of it is that it is a lot easier to do than the other ways. For short term exchange programmes some require and some does not require Japanese language skills. (in cases where you do not need Japanese you will be required to have a minimum skill of English) There are scholarships that can be provided for students who come to Japan using short term exchange programmes. For that reason, it is better to search for scholarships when deciding an exchange programme.

The fee for the fees varies depending on the school that student originally goes to and the school that accepts the students accordingly this article will not mention on the fees.

5. Graduate School

The final way is to enter a graduate school in Japan. Tuition fees in Japanese graduate schools are cheaper compared to undergraduate schools and there are various scholarships providing more money to students. Consequently, it is a decent way to study in Japan if you are educated well. In addition, many of the graduate schools can be applied with only English skills and in that sense we can say that it is easier to enter than undergraduate schools. In this case, usually we have foreign students taking the same courses with Japanese students but there schools that have facilities that teach Japanese. you can search on this if the graduate school has this.

The school fee is the same with undergraduate schools if it is public university, but if its a private university it is cheaper. It is even cheaper for doctorate courses. For example, if you are learning social sciences in a private university it will cost around 800,000 yen (※approximately 7360 USD)  and for doctorate courses it will be around 650,000 yen (※approximately 5980 USD). To study sciences it will cost more as same as the undergraduate universities.


How was it? The fees for each ways are written on the table below.

Type of SchoolFee (per year)PeriodRequired Japanese Skills
Undergraduate SchoolPublic University 800,000 yen ~
Private University1,200,000 ~
4 yearsN1 or high score in EJU or high English skills
Japanese Language School700,000 ~1 ~ 2 yearsN5
Vocational School600,000 ~2 ~ 3 yearsN2
Exchange ProgrammeDepends on the programme0.5 ~ 1 yearDepends on the programme
Graduate SchoolSame with undergraduate schools for public universitiesPrivate university graduate programme 800,000 yenPrivate university doctorate programme650,0001.5 times for science courses in private university2 years ~N1 or high English Skills

Japan was not a country that accepted many exchange students but because of the declining birth rates and aging population now more schools want more foreign students. When studying in Japan generally most of the students will study at a “undergraduate school” or “vocational school” after studying at a “Japanese language school” but by getting in a “graduate school” right after leaving your country you can study cheaper in Japan. Considering your own situation please try thinking of the best way for you to study in Japan. →For people who want to compare schools in Japan

→For people who want to learn Japanese cheaply in your country

※The currency rate is based on the rate iin January 2019 (1 yen=0.0092 USD)

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—✂— Japanese —✂—



1. 大学




2. 日本語学校




3. 専門学校




看護・介護: 入学金200,000円(※約1,840米ドル) ~ 年間学費400,000円(※約3,680米ドル) ~

美術・美容: 入学金150,000円(※約1,380米ドル) ~ 年間学費400,000円(※約3,680米ドル) ~

調理・製菓: 入学金200,000円(※約1,840米ドル) ~ 年間学費400,000円(※約3,680米ドル) ~

IT・技術: 入学金150,000円(約1,380米ドル) ~ 年間学費500,000円(※約4,600米ドル) ~

4. 交換留学



5. 大学院





学校の種類金額 (年間)期間必要な日本語力
大学国公立80万円 ~私立120万円 ~4年間N1 or EJU高得点or 英語力
日本語学校70万円1 ~ 2年間N5
専門学校60万円 ~2 ~ 3年間N2
短期留学条件による0.5 ~ 1年間留学資格による
大学院国公立は大学と同じ私立修士 80万円 ~私立博士 65万円 ~私立理系は約1.5倍2年間 ~N1 or 英語力





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