9 Cheapest Universities in Japan for International Students

Japan is reputed for being one of the most developed nations in the world. In its most authentic definition, the country is known for its seamless combination of the vibrant and rich Japanese culture that goes hand in hand with the technological advancements of a truly modern country.

Identified as the home of the futuristic bullet train, instant noodles, Nintendo Wii, and Karaoke, Japan is a country that has contributed so much to the world in so many different ways. The nation has long since established its status as a global economic, transport, and educational hub.

Therefore, when considering the rich blend of tradition, modern facilities, and a world-class reputation, it comes as no surprise that the country has a striking reputation for education seeing as the country works alongside industries with cutting-edge research, technology, and commerce.

Its striking location makes it a country that has easy travel networks to other Asian countries. in Asia Graduates from Japanese universities almost always have constant access to these opportunities and are guaranteed to gain employment after their studies, which makes it a very tempting study destination.

Japan is further reputed for being among the safest and welcoming countries in the Asian continent.

An added bonus is the fact that the Japanese government has a target of increasing the number of international students at Japanese universities by up to 300,000 in 2020. Although studying at a university in Japan comes at no cheap cost, we have written this article to bring to you a series of universities in the country that offer some of the cheapest tuition fee rates while providing quality education. Feel free to have a look at some of the links and gain some ideas about studying in this iconic country!

Do I have to earn another language to study at a university in Japan?

The main language of instruction at nearly all institutions of higher education in Japan is Japanese, which is a relatively easy language to learn. However, an increasing number of courses offer their teaching and administration in Japanese.

In the case of undergraduate courses, almost 60 courses were taught in English in the academic year of 2016/2017 and the number is growing with each year to increase the accommodation of foreign students.


How cheap is studying in Japan?

In Japan, it is well known for its higher costs of studying and living. Tuition fees tend to range from US$12,000 to 18,000 on an annual basis although this can vary drastically.

Additionally, the costs vary from living costs can range from around $100 to $500 depending on whether it’s private or university accommodation (which also includes bills and other facilities). However, there are many cheap universities in Japan.

There’s a way that you can even study in Japan free of charge. It does take a lot of planning, but it is definitely doable. If you are interested, check out How to Study in Japan for Free (10 Steps).


Is it difficult to gain admission to a university in Japan?

Japan attracts the best and brightest students in the world and has a reputation for having stringent admissions. However, a good academic track record will definitely give you an advantage! Furthermore, ensure that you are thorough with the student visa process and try to start early so you can sort it out soon.

Applying to universities in Japan can seem very daunting. To familiarize yourself with the general application procedure, check Applying to Japanese Universities for International Students.


Affordable Universities in Countries Near Japan

There are many affordable options in countries near Japan as well. Here are some options:


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Cheap Universities in Japan

1. Aichi University

Established in 1946, the Aichi University is a historic private institution of higher education based in the Aichi prefecture. With a population of over 12,000 students, the university operates additional campuses in Nagoya and Toyohashi.

Identified as a liberal arts institution, the university consists of seven major faculties, six postgraduate departments, a junior college, and a law school. Students enjoy the university’s striking international atmosphere that runs multiple transition programs and Japanese culture via the International Exchange Center.

Additionally, the university manages partnerships with over 40 different universities in the world and annually takes part in international exchanges that bring over 200 foreign students into the university.

The undergraduate students have access to over 50 different courses and majors and this cheap university in Japan strives to ensure the academic experience is a holistic one, consisting of ample research, critical thinking, and applied learning. In addition, the university also has an alumni network of over 150,000 across the world and further has a post-study employment rate of 98.5%.


2. Osaka University

Osaka University, locally known as Handai, is an elite public research university based in the Osaka prefecture of Central Japan. Considered to be one of the National Sevens of Japan, it is among the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the country.

The university has also been ranked among the top 100 universities in the world (based on the QS rankings). Currently, the university has a student population of over 28,000. The academic organization of the university is separated into 11 undergraduate faculties and around 16 graduate schools.

With its high research profile status, it further operates over 20 research institutes focused on intensive and cutting-edge research as well as overseeing four overseas centers. The primary language of instruction is Japanese but the university offers comprehensive Japanese language training programs as well as providing an All-English undergraduate program.

It fosters international collaborations with multiple universities across the world. Admission is competitive and is considered to be among the most selective universities in the country. However, it also offers some of the cheapest tuition fees in Japan as well so it is very well worth considering applying here.


3. Kyushu University

The next university on our list of cheap universities in Japan is Kyushu University. Based in the city of Fukuoka in Kyushu, Kyushu University is a prestigious Japanese national university that is considered to be among the oldest institutions of higher education.

Currently, the university has a student population of over 20,000, of which approximately 2500 students come from foreign countries. It provides education through multiple undergraduate schools with disciplines that range from law and medicine to engineering and design. It further maintains a diverse graduate faculty that accommodates up to 7500 students.

The university was part of the Global 30 university program due to its high international focus. Additionally, it is considered to be one of the highest contributors of research in the country and operates research facilities that focus on medicine, applied mechanics, architecture/infrastructure, and applied mathematics.

With its diverse strengths, it comes as no surprise that the university has been ranked consistently among the top 10 universities in the country as well as one of the top 500 universities in the world.


4. Tohoku University

Based in the city of Sendai in the Miyagi prefecture, Tohuku University is a Japanese university that is a member of the National Seven. With over 20,000 students enrolled, the university is also one of the most reputed in the country as well as the world.

It has been ranked among the top 10 universities in the country for a range of factors including academics, research, and employment. It is also among the top 200 universities in the world.

Academically, the university consists of 10 undergraduate faculties and 15 graduate schools. It conducts innovative research in several areas including electrical communication, cancer research, materials sciences, and other fields of natural sciences.

The university has a target of increasing its international presence and participates in several exchange programs in collaboration with other universities in the world. Currently, over 1400 international students study at the university.


5. Kyoto University

Established in the late 19th century, Kyoto University is another member of Japan’s National Seven universities. Also more commonly referred to as Kyodai, the university is among the oldest institutions in the country and offers high standards of academics and research at considerably low tuition as well.

Currently, the university has a student enrolment of over 23,000 who have access to well over 100 different courses and degrees of study. Undergraduate and graduate programs are offered through 20 faculties of study that offer a comprehensive range of courses.

The university believes in providing education in which students can immediately apply their knowledge upon learning it. To this end, the research faculties at this cheap university in Japan are among the most advanced in the country and include nominal examples such as the Yukawa Institute of Theoretical Physics and the Kosobe Conservatory.

Additionally, the university is connected to 11 alumni/faculty who have received the Nobel Prize as well as several Field Medalists.


6. Keio University

The Keio University is a private institution of higher education based in the city of Minato within the Tokyo district. Its history dates back to the mid 19th century, making it the oldest facility for modern higher education in the country. The university operates through 10 major faculties of study that span across many different disciplines. It has a student enrolment of over 35,000 (which again places it as one of the largest universities in the country).

It also operates more than 300 International exchange programs in collaboration with other top universities in the world, including Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, and ENS Paris.

Furthermore, it is one of the only few universities in the country that also offer double degree programs in partnership with overseas universities. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that you will be studying at an elite university with one of the most prominent alumni networks that happen to include the highest number of CEOs of top companies.


7. Kansai University

Located in the city of Suita in Osaka, the Kansai University is a private university that was founded in 1886. Considered as one of the leading private institutions in the country, the university operates additional campuses in locations such as Takatsuki and Sakai. Currently, it has a student enrolment of 31,000 including over 1000 students from international backgrounds.

Kansai has been ranked among the top 20 universities in Japan based on its academic education and is also ranked within the top 1000 universities in the world. It strives to commit to international excellence and fosters partnerships with over 133 universities in 36 countries.

In addition to its relatively cheap tuition fees, the university is considerably less competitive in terms of admissions and has a 20% selectivity rate.


8. Nagoya University

Another member of the Imperial universities of Japan, the Nagoya University is a Japanese national university that was founded in 1939 and is a further member of the National Sevens. Despite its relatively recent addition to the higher education system, the university has a reputation for being the 3rd highest ranked in the country, in terms of education and research potential.

It currently has over 17,000 students enrolled in a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It also fosters a strong international perspective and has committed to over 200 international exchange programs with overseas universities.

This cheap university in Japan, therefore, has a high international student ratio and provides a smooth and seamless transition for these students into the Japanese culture and experience.


9. Tokyo City University

Founded in 1949, the Tokyo City University (TCU) is a private institution of higher education that provides studies and research with a focus on information sciences, engineering, technology, and environmental studies. Operating through four main campuses, the university has 8000 students who follow different degrees and courses of study.

Originally founded as the Musashi Institute of Technology, it was rebranded into Tokyo City University and it currently consists of 5 faculties and 6 academic departments. The university is considered to be one of the finest institutions for pursuing studies in Engineering.


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