Study in Japan

If you want to study in the Asian continent and enjoy a culture that is dedicated to discipline as it is to innovation, then Japan is the place for you. Also known as the homeland of the bullet train, Nintendo Wii, Ramen noodles in a pot and of course karaoke; you’ll be pleased to know Japan wants you too. The Japanese government is making an attempt to attract more international students and they have a set target of having 300,000 foreign students in the country by 2020. With this, more and more universities are focusing on making life easier for foreign students. You would note that though the visa application process may seem a little stern, it is not difficult for students to get visa here.

For foreign and international students, there is introduction of more courses taught partly or entirely in English. Apart from this, the Japanese institutes are making an attempt at hiring special staff to support international students. Students coming from international waters are also permitted to start courses in September (instead of April, which is when Japan’s academic year usually starts). Also, there is hiring of more technical staff from outside Japan. There is also a drastic rise in exchange programs with universities in other countries.

Scholarships and Grants in the Japan

The Japanese government is aware that students find Japan to be a more expensive country as compared to other Asian countries. Hence an attempt to offer additional financial support for foreign students is being offered. You will note that many university scholarships and grants are available through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). With more than 780 universities in the country, mostly private ones, there are also private schemes available along with grants.

Admission to Universities in Japan

Rather than just having a good GPA (grade point average) or other assessment grades, students applying to universities in Japan have to take entrance examinations. The ‘Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)’ is the standardized test for foreign students. It has been especially designed to test basic academic skill in areas of science, mathematics and ‘Japan and the world’. More than 95% of national universities, 65% of public universities and 44% of private institutions make the EJU mandatory for entrance.

Specialist courses require you to take entrance exam, especially in the fields of Law, management, etc. The universities may conduct the test online or even at localized centers across Asia. In some cases, global scores like GMAT and GRE etc. could be accepted too. For details see International Tests

Student Visa Requirements for Japan

Status of Residence and Period of Stay

Keep in mind that the foreign student visa is based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (“Immigration Control Act”), which stipulates the procedures related to entry and residence in Japan. It establishes 30 statuses of residence based on which, the relevant foreign national would be granted visa. Foreign students studying at any of the below mentioned educational institutions are eligible for a College Student residence status. This doesn’t include cases where students study at a night school or through correspondence courses exclusively-

(1) Students studying at universities (undergraduate and graduate), junior colleges, special training colleges (post secondary courses only), preparatory educational institutions, colleges of technology.

(2) High school students and advanced and general courses (excludes post secondary courses) at special training colleges or equivalent educational institutions.

There are 2 ways through which the visa can be acquired.

(1) The foreign student can file an application for a visa directly to an overseas Japanese embassy or consulate.

(2) An employee of the educational institution where admission is granted makes an application to the relevant immigration office, etc. for a Certificate of Eligibility for Residence Status (“Certificate of Eligibility”) on the student’s behalf. When the Certificate of Eligibility is granted, you can take the same to a Japanese embassy or consulate and file an application for a visa.

The documents necessary for filing an application for a Certificate of Eligibility are provided on the Immigration Bureau of Japan website

On arriving in Japan, a students passport would be checked along with valid visa affixed, Certificate of Eligibility (if one has obtained a certificate) and ED card (embarkation and disembarkation card. The passport and visa should be valid, the period of stay requested conforms to the period as established by law and the student doesn’t qualify under the denial of disembarkation grounds.

The immigration inspection for checks for Certificate of Eligibility and once approved a seal of verification for disembarkation is affixed on the passport, either as a sticker or stamp. The disembarkation permit seal contains all the information such as the status of residence, period of stay and date of expiration.

Any foreign student granted long-term residency status in his or her disembarkation permission (hereinafter referred to as a “mid- to long-term resident”) will be issued a Resident Card. Some students may be allowed to work art time based on the residency tenure they have ben granted. All other foreign students in Japan with the status of residence of College Student or Pre-college Student, but with a desire to work part time must seek application for permission to engage in activity other than what is permitted  for Status of Residence Previously Granted and receive approval in advance.

Keep in mind that even with Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted by the Status Residence Previously Granted, there are restrictions placed on the amount and type of work you may do. For example, some adult entertainment business (e.g. Pachinko parlor clerk, host/hostess of bars and cabarets, etc.) are prohibited.


If you are interested in studying management in Japan, then you should know that there are 2 main kinds of schools here for higher education. These include specialized schools and universities. While specialized schools give you effective management training in two years, universities have a more general educational goal and the first degree is awarded after four years of study. Most foreign nationals prefer studying at universities. But you might need to spend a year or two in a private preparatory class for passing the competitive entrance examination at the university. There are three types of management universities here that include national universities (kokuritsu), So you can pick from amongst the three. Remember that the management courses in the bigger cities tend to be more expensive.

By doing business administration and management courses, one has the option of getting many jobs. These include corporate jobs, teaching jobs, working with start-ups and even the opportunity of starting off your own business.

Top universities include-
  • Keio University - Keio Business School
  • Kyoto University - Graduate School of Economics
  • Wasada University - Wasada Business School
  • Kobe University - Graduate School of Business
  • Meiji University - Graduate School of Global Business


One of the most intriguing aspects of the Japanese architecture is that despite being located in a zone that is prone to earthquakes, Tsunamis, typhoons, etc. their architecture sustains and stands tall. Be it their oriental classic pieces or even the contemporary designs, Japanese architecture is something that is a shining example of merging modernity with tradition. This is the reason that architecture continues to be one of the most popular subjects to study here with foreign nationals. Architecture here is not only about planning, designing and constructing buildings but also focuses on social values and individuality in their lifestyle. Japan is also one of the most populated countries in the world, spread across a small area. Hence the concept of construction here is precision, making room out of the smallest areas.

The idea is to create students and practicing architects to foster spatial designers - Students who can visualize and design living spaces comprehensively. The courses offered here are extensive and comprise of some aspects of interior and furniture design too. The teaching staff too comprises of active architects and students are taken across to studios to gain practical work experience. Course options include Master of Science in Architecture, or a Master in Architectural Engineering, or a MSc Landscape & Well-being, or a MS in Facilities Management.

Top universities include-

  • University of Tokyo
  • Sophia University
  • Hokkaido University

Business Administration

There is no doubt that with the globalization concept of recent times there has been a sync of both competition and co-operation among economic entities and activities. Japan is a nation that is not only one of the most modern and growing economies in Asia, but is a great center for learning too. With more inflow of foreign students, and a growing awareness about taking local business to a global scale, there are many new institutes coming up for business economics and management to accommodate global developments. These are mostly postgraduate programs to learn economic and management theories of the global economy. But there are also many courses available on the graduate level here.

The Masters of Business Administration program along with a range of other business degrees focus on the globalization of economy and management. Students are educated to make the most of human resources and to cultivate a universal work culture that suits international corporations. Passing out after doing a business or administration degree, one can get a job with the government, international organizations, research institutes, and excellent business enterprises. The postgraduate courses are usually 2 years long while the graduate ones tend to be around 3-4 years. Both practical and theoretical knowledge is essential here and students are offered internships and part-time job options, even when they are studying. To qualify for the same, there are some private universities that accept standard scores like GMAT, while there are some that have unique entrance exams too.

Top universities include-
  • Nagoya University - Master Economics and Business Administration
  • Kyushu University - LL.M. International Economic and Business Law (IEBL)
  • Osaka University- MBA Business and Management
  • Kyoto University -MBA International Project Management Course
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