Study in Japan Featured

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Study in Japan

Why Study in Japan?

As the third-largest economy in the world, it’s easy to understand why Japan is such a popular destination for studying abroad. According to statistics from the Japan Student Services Organization, Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, approximately 140,000 students from more than 170 countries and regions of the world are studying at higher educational institutions in Japan. This is not surprising. Japan is known for its innovation and state-of-the-art technology, making its colleges and universities an attraction for students interested in business, medicine, science, and technology. On top of this, Japan is known for its fascinating culture, from its historic tradition to a trendy pop culture that has spawned legions of anime and manga fans worldwide. To boot, it has delicious cuisine — not only Japanese, but international dishes as well. In fact, the Michelin Guide lists Tokyo as the No. 1 food destination in the world, with more Michelin-star restaurants than any other city on the planet. Combine all of this with a low crime rate, a safe and extremely efficient public transportation system, and a well- established health insurance system, and Japan provides the peace of mind that most international students – and their parents – look for when studying abroad. Students can do short-term study programs of several months to a year at Japanese language institutes or university student exchange programs, or they can enter Japanese colleges or universities for two to six years, depending on the degree level and institution.

Japanese Language Schools

There are approximately 500 Japanese language schools with 84,000 students enrolled to simply learn the language or in preparation for entering a Japanese university.

Japanese Higher Education System

Higher education in Japan begins after completing 12 years of education: six years of elementary school, three years of lower secondary school (junior high), and three years of upper secondary (high) school. There are approximately 4,000 institutions of higher learning in Japan, and international students can be admitted to five types that may be categorized as national, local public, or private:

  1. Professional training colleges offering postsecondary courses of specialized training
  2. Colleges of technology
  3. Junior colleges
  4. Universities offering undergraduate programs
  5. Graduate schools

Academic Calendar

Most Japanese higher educational institutions have adopted the semester system, with academic years running from April to March of the following year.

Why attend a professional training college?

While four-year colleges or universities offer relevant knowledge in a variety of subjects, vocational or trade schools offer hands-on work skills for a specific trade, allowing students to emerge well-prepared for the workforce. The following pages feature options for international students interested in studying the Japanese language or subjects from design to visual arts, game production, animation, tourism, and business in Japan.


The complete article can be found in Issue #280 of the Tokyo Journal.

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