Japan is a high-standard country of education, cutting-edge technology, and vibrant culture. It attracts a large number of international students each year who seek to enjoy the country's world-class educational institutions.
But studying in Japan can be expensive. Many students struggle to afford the high fees top universities charge. Fortunately, there are options for you to study in Japan, even if you are on a tight budget.
In this article, you will explore the cheapest universities in Japan that still check off your requirements for quality education. “Cheapest” doesn’t necessarily mean compromised quality. These universities offer quality education at an affordable price. And for obvious reasons, these are great options for students looking to study in Japan without breaking the bank.
Top 5 Cheapest Universities in Japan for International Students
Japan has advanced technology and a high-quality education system. It is an attractive destination for international students. But studying in Japan can be expensive. The tuition fees range from several thousand to several tens of thousands of dollars. But there are cheap universities in Japan that offer affordable education. Remember, our top picks may be cheap in tuition fees but are always high in quality.
|Name of the University||Program type||Tuition fees (USD) Per year||QS World University Ranking|
|Kyushu University||Full-time under/graduate programs||$3995||#135|
|Osaka University||Full-time undergraduate programs||$3995||#68|
|Hiroshima University||Full-time undergraduate programs||$3995||#338|
|Chuo University||Full-time undergraduate programs||$7581 ||#451|
|Waseda University||Full-time undergraduate programs||$5118||#205|
1. Kyushu University
Kyushu University is in the city of Fukuoka in southern Japan. It ranks as one of the top universities in the country! In fact, according to QS World University Rankings, it is in the top 150 global universities.
The university offers natural sciences, engineering, medicine, and humanities degrees. It has strong international ties, with over 1,000 international students from over 80 countries studying at the university.
The tuition fees for international students are around USD 3995 per year. This is quite affordable compared to other universities in Japan.
Kyushu University is also known for its vibrant student life, with a range of clubs, organizations, and cultural events that bring together students from different backgrounds and interests. It is located in a beautiful natural setting, with the beautiful Fukuoka city on one side and the stunning Fukuoka Bay on the other. Kyushu University can be a great choice if you are thinking of studying in Japan.
2. Osaka University
Osaka University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Japan. Located in the city of Osaka, it is also in the global top 70 of QS Top Universities’ rankings!
If you are into biomedicine, neuroscience, and materials science, Osaka university is the right place for you. You may be amazed by the fact that it has a large number of Nobel Prize winners and alumni, including former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe!
The university has an extensive campus, which includes a library, museums, sports facilities, and research centers. It has a strong alumni network with a powerful entrepreneurial spirit.
The tuition fees for international students range from USD 3995 per year. It is an affordable option for those looking to study in Japan.
3. Hiroshima University
Hiroshima University resides in the city of Hiroshima. It is best for research in science, engineering, and medicine. The university offers a range of programs for international students, including a popular Master's degree in Environmental Science.
The university is equipped with state-of-the-art research facilities and has a cutting-edge library system. It also has a spacious campus with modern classrooms, dormitories, and sports facilities. It has an active alumni network that provides career and networking opportunities, as well as mentorship and support.
The tuition fees for international students range from USD 3995 per year. So, it can be a budget-friendly option for you if you’re looking for the cheapest university in Japan for international students.
4. Chuo University
Chuo University is in the city of Tokyo, the dynamic capital city of Japan. It is popular for its strong programs in law, economics, and business. The university offers a range of programs for international students, including its exceptional Master's degree in Law and Economics.
Chuo University is a leader in sustainability. It has a strong commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and promotes environmentally friendly practices.
The university has a beautiful campus, with state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology. It has a rich history and tradition. This university is dedicated to preparing students for success in a rapidly changing world.
The tuition fees for international students are around USD 7581 per year. It is a relatively affordable option for you if you want to study in Japan.
5. Waseda University
Waseda University is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Japan. The university has a strong reputation in law, economics, and business.
The university has a beautiful campus located in the heart of Tokyo, surrounded by cultural landmarks, shopping centers, and restaurants. Waseda has a strong international presence with partnerships and exchanges programs with over 400 universities around the world.
The tuition fees for international students range from USD 5118 per year. It is also an affordable option if you are looking to study in Japan.
Cheapest University in Japan for International Students - General Requirements
- High School Diploma or equivalent (for Bachelor’s): You must have completed high school education or its equivalent. You must present the original certificates or transcripts for verification.
- Bachelor’s Degree or international equivalent (for Master’s).
- Proof of English Proficiency: You must have a good command of English. You should provide evidence through an English proficiency test, such as TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC.
- Passport: You'll need a valid passport for visa application. You must submit it to the university along with other application documents.
- Application fee: For processing the application, you must pay a non-refundable application fee.
- Financial Proof: You must provide proof of sufficient financial support. It is to cover their tuition fees, living expenses, and other costs associated with studying in Japan.
- Application forms: You must complete and submit the appropriate application forms. You should provide all required documents - personal statements, letters of recommendation, and transcripts.
- Interview: Some universities may need to take part in an interview. It can be either in person or online. This interview is to assess their English language skills, motivation, and other factors.
- Health check-up: You may undergo a health check-up and submit a certificate of good health. It should be done before admission to the university.
- Insurance: You must have comprehensive medical insurance coverage for the duration of your stay in Japan.
- Student visa: Once admitted, you must apply for a student visa from the Japanese embassy. You can consulate in your home country.
Scholarships in Japan for International Students
Here are the top 10 scholarships that you can get in Japan. These are all for international students and mostly cover the tuition for graduate or postgraduate levels (around USD 1500). Let’s take a look:
1. Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship
The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology offers this scholarship to international students who wish to study at Japanese universities.
The Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship depends on the type of scholarship and the duration of the study. The amount of the scholarship is as follows:
- Research Student Scholarship: USD 1,090 per month,
- The Undergraduate Scholarship: USD 885 per month.
- The Teacher Training Student Scholarship is USD 1,090 per month.
2. Asian Development Bank-Japan Scholarship Program
This scholarship is for students from developing Asian countries who wish to pursue graduate studies in Japan. The amount of the Asian Development Bank-Japan Scholarship Program varies by program and country.
Generally, the scholarship covers tuition fees, a monthly allowance, airfare, and health insurance. The exact amount will be specified in the scholarship offer letter.
3. Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is for international students who wish to study at a Japanese university for one year. Research students are not eligible for this scholarship.
The amount of the Rotary Yoneyama Memorial scholarship is as follows:
- Undergraduates- USD 755 per month
- Master’s students- USD 1,057 per month
- Doctoral students- USD 1,057 per month
4. JASSO Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan
This scholarship is for international students who wish to study in Japan for a short-term period, such as a summer or winter program.
The Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) offers this scholarship to support international students who wish to study in Japan for a short period of time.
The scholarship provides
- financial support for tuition
- living expenses
- travel costs for eligible students.
Eligibility for the scholarship typically includes being a degree-seeking student enrolled at a foreign university, and having a strong academic record.
The JASSO Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan is USD 603 per month.
5. The Japanese Association for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship
This scholarship is for international researchers who wish to conduct research in Japan. The amount of this scholarship varies depending on several factors:
- The researcher's rank
- Field of study
- Duration of stay in Japan.
On average, the monthly stipend ranges from-
- Postdoctoral researchers USD 1,132 to USD 1,886
- Doctoral students USD 1,056 to USD 1,282.
In addition to the monthly stipend, JSPS provides a travel allowance and health insurance coverage for fellows and scholars. These are-
- The travel allowance is USD 1,509 to USD 2,262.
- The health insurance coverage covers medical expenses incurred while in Japan.
6. The Tama Art University International Student Scholarship
The Tama Art University International Student Scholarship is an award given to international students who are seeking a higher education in the field of art and design. It is to provide financial assistance to international students who can’t afford to pursue higher education in the field of art and design.
The scholarship amount depends on the academic performance and financial needs of the student:
On average, the scholarship amount is around USD 755 to USD 1,510 per year.
7. The University of Tokyo Scholarships
The University of Tokyo offers scholarships to international students who wish to pursue undergraduate or graduate studies in Japan. The University of Tokyo offers several scholarships for international students, including
- UTokyo Fellowship: This scholarship is for outstanding international students who wish to pursue a Master's or Doctoral degree at the University of Tokyo. The scholarship amount is- Master's students: USD 1,086 per month
Doctoral students: USD 1094 per month
- MEXT Scholarship: This scholarship is on offer by the Japanese government and aims at promoting internationalization in higher education.
The scholarship amount is USD 1117 per month.
- UTokyo Global Leadership Program Scholarship: This scholarship is for international students who have demonstrated strong leadership skills and have a strong motivation to study at the University of Tokyo.
The scholarship amount is USD 1509 per year.
- UTokyo RISE Program Scholarship: This scholarship is for international students who wish to study at the University of Tokyo and engage in research activities in collaboration with a Japanese research organization.
The scholarship amount is USD 1509 per year.
8. The Kyoto University of Art and Design International Student Scholarship
The Kyoto University of Art and Design offers a limited number of International Student Scholarships to students from outside of Japan. This scholarship is for those who got accepted to study fine arts or design at the university.
The scholarship amount varies, but it covers a portion of the tuition fees and living expenses. However, the exact amount of the scholarship is not publicly available. It depends on the university's authority.
9. The Sophia University International Student Scholarships
Sophia University in Tokyo offers scholarships to international students who wish to study at the university. This university offers several international student scholarships to help support and encourage international students to study at the university.
Some of the Sophia Global Scholarships include options for
- Undergraduate Studies: This scholarship offers a tuition fee waiver and a stipend of $905 per academic year to cover living expenses.
- Master’s Studies: This scholarship amount is $1132 per academic year.
- Doctoral Studies: This scholarship offers a tuition fee waiver and a stipend of $1358 per academic year to cover living expenses.
As well as the Sophia Global Scholarship, which offers a tuition fee waiver and a stipend to cover living expenses. The scholarship amount is $905 per academic year.
10 Benefits of Choosing a University in Japan for An Affordable Higher Education
Out of all the other countries, why’d you choose Japan for higher studies? Let us tell you the secret:
1. High-Quality Education
Japanese universities have a strong reputation on a global scale. They provide high-quality education and research opportunities. Japanese universities focus on innovation and cutting-edge technology.
Japan's education system is famous for its high standards. One of the key features is its focus on moral education. This is such an integral part of academic standards here that these principles are woven into the curriculum. It emphasizes hard work, respect for authority, and cooperation with others.
The education system also emphasizes preparing students for the future. It provides students with a well-rounded education, both academic and moral development.
Japan has a long history of high-quality education. The Japanese education system ranks among the top in the world.
Here is a list of the universities in Japan that ranked within 100 in the QS World University Ranking 2023:
|University||QS World Ranking |
|The University of Tokyo||#23|
|Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech)||#55|
2. Affordable Tuition
Japan can be on your bucket list if you are looking for affordable options for an excellent education. Many of Japan's national universities offer relatively lower tuition fees. Some charge as little as USD 400 per year, such as colleges under the National Institute of Technology. These institutions are well-regarded and offer a wide range of academic programs.
There are also a number of public universities in Japan that offer affordable tuition fees. These institutions may charge around USD 1500 per year. This still provides quality education at a fraction of the cost of other international universities. Some of your options include world-class institutions such as
- Tohoku University, Sendai
- Nagoya University, Nagoya
- Osaka University, Osaka
- Kyoto University, Kyoto
- Hokkaido University, Sapporo
- Kyushu University, Fukuoka
- Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo
- University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba
- Hiroshima University, Hiroshima
- Chiba University, Chiba.
The tuition fees are approximately USD 3700 to USD 7500 per year. The fees mostly depend on the field of study, the type of program, and the university itself.
But if you compare this to the tuition fees in other countries, you’ll find the difference startling. As an international student, you may need to spend more than USD 10,000 a year for a degree in Canada, the UK, or Australia. So, compared to other countries, Japan offers affordable tuition fees.
3. Scholarship Availability
Alongside affordable tuition fees, there are a number of scholarships available for international students in Japan, including government-sponsored scholarships. These can help offset the cost of tuition and other expenses. Keep reading to learn about scholarship opportunities later in this article!
4. Part-Time Work Opportunities
You can also work part-time in Japan to help offset some of your expenses as an international student. Many universities have on-campus jobs available for students, such as tutoring or working in the library. To access part-time work opportunities, you need to get a work permit from immigration authorities.
5. Affordable but High Standards of Living
You can take other cost-saving measures in Japan to help keep your bank balance happy. Affordable student housing, eating filling and delicious meals at the low-cost eateries peppered across the country, and using the country’s efficient public transportation instead of taxis, all contribute to keeping your wallet fuller.
6. Return on Investment
Return on Investment (ROI) in studying in Japan depends on various factors. These include the type of program, cost of tuition and living expenses, and future job prospects. As you can probably tell from the previous sections, the ROI of studying in Japan is pretty high.
You access a top-ranked education system and exposure to new cultures and languages. Also, there's an opportunity to network with international professionals.
A Japanese degree can increase your competitiveness in the job market. You can have better career opportunities, higher salaries, and increased earning potential. This makes the investment in a degree in Japan one that pays back for itself.
It's important to consider the long-term benefits of studying in Japan. This includes personal and professional growth, as well as potential financial gains.
7. Global Network
Many Japanese universities have a strong network of international partnerships. Japan gives opportunities to interact with students and researchers from around the world. So you can build a global network here easily.
Japan is also home to several major tech companies. Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Sharp are a few of them. These have a strong global presence and contribute to the growth of the global network.
The country is also home to several international organizations. The United Nations University and the World Health Organization are connected to this global network.
8. Career Opportunities
A degree from a Japanese university can open up career opportunities for international students, particularly in fields related to technology and innovation. You can consider these as fields professionally with the right Japanese degree:
Technology and Engineering: Japan is a great place for international students with a background in engineering, IT, and electronics to start their careers.
Business and Management: Japan offers a variety of opportunities in finance, marketing, and business management for international students. This country has a thriving economy and numerous multinational companies.
English Language: International students with native-level English proficiency can find teaching opportunities in Japan. You can work either as a language teacher in schools or as a private tutor.
Research and Development: Japan is a hub for scientific and technological research and development. There are numerous opportunities for international students with a background in science, medicine, and engineering.
Creative Industries: The Japanese entertainment industry, including video games, anime, and manga, is one of the largest in the world. It provides international students with opportunities in animation, graphic design, and game development.
Tourism and Hospitality: Japan has a thriving tourism industry. It has a rich cultural heritage and diverse tourist attractions. Japan provides opportunities for international students in hospitality, tour guiding, and travel management.
Healthcare: Japan has a growing demand for international healthcare professionals. As a result, it has a well-established healthcare system. If you have language skills in English and other foreign languages alongside the necessary qualifications, you can definitely go for it.
9. Close to Home for Asians Looking to Study Abroad
Japan is a country that is close to home for many Asians. It is near and has cultural ties with other Asian countries. It is in the East Asia region and shares maritime borders with Russia, China, and South Korea.
Japan has a rich and unique culture that is influenced by its Asian neighbors. From traditional arts and customs to modern pop culture, Japan has always been a hub of cultural exchange in Asia. This has allowed for a strong sense of community and connection between Japan and its Asian neighbors.
That’s why students from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Nepal, and Vietnam are very interested in studying in Japan. Studying abroad is a big decision and often the anxiety of going very far away from home and everything familiar is what holds students back from taking the leap. Since Japan is closer and in some cases more familiar to students in Asia, they feel more comfortable with the distance and environment than jumping continents altogether.
About 15,000 students went to Japan from Nepal in 2019 and about 40,000 students went to Japan from Vietnam. This shows that studying in Japan is much more popular among South and Southeast Asians. Alongside the stellar education standards even at the cheapest university in Japan for international students, Japan is closer to home for many outbound students from Asia.
10. Diverse Cultural Experience
Japan offers a rich and diverse culture. It allows you to experience unique customs and traditions. You can learn about the history and language of Japan during your time in the country.
Japan blends together the traditional and the modern. Visitors to Japan can experience the country's unique culture through various activities. You can experience-
- Historical sites such as temples, shrines, and castles
- Traditional arts such as Kabuki theater, Noh drama, and classical music
- Seasonal events such as the cherry blossom viewing in spring, the moon viewing in autumn, and the snow festival in winter
- Traditional Japanese cuisines such as sushi, ramen, and tempura
- Traditional activities such as tea ceremony, calligraphy, and ikebana (flower arrangement)
- The vibrant fashion, technology, and entertainment scenes in cities like Tokyo.
All these experiences offer a glimpse into Japan's diverse and unique cultural heritage.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is the University of Tokyo cheap?
The University of Tokyo is considered one of the top universities in Japan. While it is a public university, It is not considered cheap relative to other universities. Tuition fees vary depending on the program. But the cost of attendance can be quite high, especially for international students. The costs of living in Tokyo are also among the highest in the world.
Is IELTS required to study in Japan from Bangladesh?
IELTS is not mandatory for Bangladeshi students to study in Japan. However, some universities may still require proof of English language proficiency. It is best to check with the specific university you plan to attend for their specific admission requirements.
Is Japan cheap to study abroad from India?
Tuition fees are changeable and updated by the universities every year. Also, the idea of cheap or expensive is totally subjective. It varies from person to person. But there are affordable options to study in Japan from India. You can go to Kyushu University, Osaka University, or Chuo University. Their tuition fees are affordable for international students. Also, There are scholarships and financial aid programs available to help offset the costs for international students.
Our Concluding Thoughts
Japan is a great destination for international students who want to study abroad but are on a tight budget. The country is home to a number of universities that offer quality education at affordable prices.
As the idea of being something affordable is subjective. So, if you are still struggling to find out the best choice for you, follow a few tips below that will help you to cut extra expenses:
- You can start by researching various universities in Japan and comparing their fees, scholarships, and living expenses.
- You can look for scholarships for international students. It can help reduce the cost of tuition and other expenses.
- You can attend a public university. Public universities in Japan are generally more affordable than private universities. They offer a wide range of programs for international students.
- The cost of living in Japan can be high, so make sure to consider the cost of housing, food, and other essentials when choosing a university.
- You should apply for student visas. It will allow you to work part-time while studying. It can help reduce the cost of living expenses.
- Choose regional areas in Japan that tend to be cheaper than major cities. So, consider studying in a regional area if you're looking to save money.
- Living with a host family can be a cost-effective option, as it provides students with a place to live, food, and cultural immersion.
- You can find part-time work as an option. It can help cover living expenses and provide additional income.
- Shop smartly. Look for deals, coupons, and discounts to save money on food, clothing, and other essentials.
- Plan ahead of time. By saving money in advance and budgeting wisely, you can afford tuition and living expenses. This can help you avoid financial stress and stay focused on your studies.
We hope this breakdown has simplified your search for the cheapest university in Japan for international students!