• 86 National Universities
  • 93 Public Universities
  • 607 Private Universities


Download NACAC’s Guide to Applying to Japan


  • Most program start in April.
  • Back in 2004, only 3 universities offered programs in English. Now many more–28 Universities. The number of foreign students at Japan’s universities rose 12 percent to 267,042 last year, suggesting a target of 300,000 international students by 2020 will be met.
  • Note: Some programs exclude Japanese Citizens. There is a lack of clarity what to do with dual-Citizens.
  • For students LIVING in Japan, they must be 18 before you start classes. No exceptions. But for students outside of Japan, age is not a consideration.
  • Students can work 28 hours a week as students. It is becoming easier to stay and work after graduation.

How to apply to Japanese Universities

  • No centralized system and application; no centralized due date. No documents will be accepted if late.
  • Application brochures (details: paperclips and red pens). Read whole application brochure entirely–15 to 50 pages. They are very specific, from use red pens or do not staple, glossy photos.
  • Application periods (up to four…more about this with other warnings), from October to May. Some may allow you to apply to multiple rounds. Depends on the universities.
  • School documents need to certified by school stamp including
    • Certificate of expected graduation (legal name and birthdate)
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Transcript
  • Testing. Most universities will require/accept
    • SAT or ACT
    • SAT subject tests
    • Ap scores
    • IB predicted grades. 49% of Japanese overseas applications were IB compared to 18% in the USA and 12% in Britain. Domestic Japanese 23% entered universities in Japan compared to 32% in US and 17% in Britain.
    • TOEFL (minimum requirement)–one university even requires it of every student, even native speakers.
  • On Campus Interviews may be required
  • Hefty deposit payments and incompatible deadlines for payment (first semester tuition–up to $8,000). Here is information on scholarships.
  • Information for current student: Japan Study Support

Background reading

Webinar with CIALFO on applying to Japan

Applying to Japan (International Programs) from Cialfo on Vimeo.

Check out UNESCO’s interactive map