Many people dream about traveling to this extraordinary country, but hardly anyone would go there to study. Why, however, give up such an idea? Universities from the world's top, excellent infrastructure and high level of education prove that Japan is a perfect place to study even for gaikoku-jin, or "an outsider" ...

Difference Between Studying in Europe and Japan

We are just about to inform you about the education system, universities and the recruitment process, but first- something more about the specifics of studying in Japan. Many aspects seem to look familiar: on the streets you pass hundreds of sleepy students, in the canteen can can barely find a vacant chair and twice a year you take part in exam session. However, the differences are also present, as Japanese universities are very specific. To put it shortly, they can be described as a "city in a city", in which students have at their disposal basically everything they need: from cafeterias and cafes, through multi-branch stores to the possibility of buying tickets for a concert or cinema.

European students who are used to weekends off and often also Fridays off may be surprised by the number of classes at Japanese universities. In short: there are a lot of them! Classes from Monday to Saturday, from morning to evening? In Japan, no one is surprised by that. So if you see a dozen or so students sleeping at a lecture, this is not necessarily a sign of a good party the night before...

The attitude of Japanese students towards attending lectures is also worth mentioning. In Europe, it has been assumed that they are not obligatory, so not showing up few times does not result in any consequence. In Japan, it is very different: the absence on a lecture result in an immediate expulsion from the university. Sleeping at lectures is not an inappropriate act, because lecturers do not seem to be particularly concerned about this phenomenon.

Higher Education System and Recruitment in Japan

In Japan, there are currently 618 universities, which can be divided into three independent types: 86 state universities, 75 public universities supervised by the authorities of individual prefectures and 457 private universities. The best Japanese universities include:

  • University of Tokyo 
  • University of Kyoto 
  • Hokkaido University (Sapporo)
  • University of Nagoya 
  • Tohoku University (Sendai)
  • Kyushu University (Fukuoka)


A prerequisite for admission to 99.9% of the courses at Japanese universities is proficiency in Japanese. 

How much does an average student spend for living in Japan?

To put it shortly, Japan is expensive and you just have to accept and face it. You will spend the biggest amount on renting a flat and meals (check out our article about cost of living in Japan). If we add the costs of tickets for public transport, books and basic shopping, it will turn out that you need at least $1,700 per month. You can, of course, have a comforable life for much less money - just rent a room in the suburbs, which are much cheaper. However, one should take into account much longer commuting to the university which leads to wasting at least 3 hours a day on the train.

Student Life and Work after Graduation

The vast majority of young Japanese students are studying. Graduating from the most prestigious universities in the country is a pass to make a career. Field of study? It is of second importance here, as employers pay attention only to the name of the university.

Recruitment conducted among students is a multi-staged and complex process: it starts between 2 and 3 year of study and often lasts for several months, during which students can submit their applications, take entrance examinations and take part in numerous interviews.

Student life in Japan? The huge amount of classes at the university, the need to earn a scholarship and a chronic lack of free time mean that Japanese students do not know the charm of student life in the European dimension. Traditional student events, known from European dorms, are not practiced in Japan, as students just do not have time and willingness after many hours of lectures. A popular form of entertainment are trips abroad during breaks between the semesters, but if you athink of a two-week vacation, we would have to correct your imagination right away. Japanese students are the most willing to use "5 European capitals in 5 days" option. Each of us has probably met a Japanese tour, thoroughly following the schedule of sightseeing from A to Z, is that right?