How to Study in Japan for Free

If you want to live in Japan for a while, either because you fall in love with its culture, gastronomy, people, language or the beautiful landscapes of this country, surely you have ever considered the possibility of studying in Japan, this being one of the best options to live in Japan peacefully, enhance your learning, increase your growth opportunities in every way and at the same time, explore the exciting culture of the land of the rising sun. 

However, if you consider that living and studying in Japan could only be a fantasy, or you have reasons not to dare to try it (language barrier, lack of money, visas and regular stay authorizations, etc…), before the excuses, it is much better that you inform yourself about all the alternatives to live and study in the Japanese nation .

There are many options such as: obtaining student/researcher scholarships, taking a course to learn the Japanese language directly in this country or even pursuing a university-level degree or specialization, and believe us, they are not as limited as it seems at first.

Are you ready to embark on the adventure of studying in one of the Asian countries that most attracts young people from all over the world? Below we will review all the central details you should know about studying in Japan.

Why studying in Japan is a good option

Regardless of the country of your choice, studying abroad expands all horizons to raise your personal, academic, professional, social growth, etc., it will open doors in your life and add value to your resume and cover letter.

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However, when it comes to studying in a country like Japan, the list of reasons why it is a good option for many is even more powerful. 

Each person has their own set of main reasons for deciding that studying in Japan is an ideal option. 

Objectively speaking, there are many reasons why Japan is an enriching country in terms of opportunities for foreign students and is one of the places in the world that moves the most masses of fans. 

The central motif, without a doubt, is the impressive Japanese culture, both current and traditional. 

It is _ _ _ the reason that makes this country so attractive and full of growth opportunities that it is very difficult to find anywhere else. 

General requirements to study in Japan

The main requirement that anyone who wants to study in Japan must meet is to obtain a student visa , a document that will allow them to study in this incredible country for a period equal to or greater than 6 months. 

The requirements to obtain a visa to study in Japan may be subject to your country of origin, so you must inform yourself in advance; however, generally to make the request it will be necessary to submit: 

  • Passport in order
  • Passport-size photograph 
  • Certificate of eligibility to pursue a university degree, Japanese course, specialization, scholarship, etc… 
  • Proof or economic guarantee that shows that you have funds to support yourself during your study stay in Japan (if you are a minor or do not currently work, they will request a certificate showing that a family member or representative can support you financially during your time as a student in Japan). Japan)

Study Japanese language in Japan 

Another of the safest options to obtain a student permit in Japan is to study to learn to speak this marvelous language and get to know in depth other very interesting aspects of the culture of this country. 

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These are some language academies and universities that will have no problem opening their doors to foreigners: 

  • Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS): Located in Kyoto, it has one-year programs for both exchange students and direct-entry students. There are nine Japanese language courses and specific classes in composition, kanji, grammar, culture, history, literature, politics, economics, or calligraphy and tea ceremony. 
  • Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS): As its name suggests, this university is located in Tokyo and has a program specifically aimed at those interested in perfecting their Japanese language skills, whether they are individual students or future students of Japanese universities, researchers, etc. The Japanese language program for foreigners specifically has seven levels of difficulty. 
  • Kansai University: This university institution is located in Osaka and is known for its Japanese Language and Culture Course (JLC). This course can be combined with Japanese Studies and Global Studies (both classes are in English) and has six different levels of Japanese ranging from beginner to upper-intermediate.
  • Osaka International University: It has a faculty of Japanese studies for international students in Osaka, to whom it offers intensive programs to learn Japanese and Japanese culture for a year. 

    Classes include in-depth teaching of vocabulary, grammar, speaking, listening, communication, writing, kanji, etc. It also has classes on traditional arts and Japanese culture and society, so if you’re passionate about Japanese life, this could be a great place to get the most out of your culture. 
  • Kobe International University (KIU): is a university located in Kobe with the possibility of access to one-year or year-and-a-half programs to learn the Japanese language or take specific classes in vocabulary, grammar, kanji, Japanology or even Japanese studies complete.
  • University of Fukuoka: The Faculty of Japanese Language and Culture of this university located on the island of Kyushu, opens the doors to a varied curriculum to learn the Japanese language in order to help international students successfully continue their studies in Japan. 
  • Mejiro University: it is a university institution located in Tokyo, it offers programs of up to one year and two years of duration aimed at students with future plans to continue studying at a Japanese university or institution. 
  • SOKA University: it is a university located in Tokyo, recognized for its intensive programs to immerse yourself in the Japanese language, especially focused on teaching Japanese to students who want to study a career at the university, in fact the curriculum is organized to prepare students for entrance exams to this same institution. 
  • Kanda University of International Studies: is a study center located in Chiba. It offers a Japanese Language and Culture program with an extension of levels where very diverse free-choice classes are offered. 
  • Nagoya Gakuin University: The Institute of Japanese Studies (IJS) at this Nagoya university offers intensive one-year courses. In addition to Japanese language classes, they also offer Japanese business management classes, for example.

Study a university degree in Japan

If you want to throw yourself fully into the Japanese adventure and prolong your stay in this country to the maximum, studying a university degree may be the best thing for you. 

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This is the list of some universities known for their good reception to students of international origin: 

  • University of Tokyo: It is one of the leading research universities in Japan. In addition, its programs have direct contact with almost all academic disciplines, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 
  • Kyoto University: It is the second oldest university in Japan, occupying a very high position in the ranking of the best universities in the Japanese nation. It stands out highly for its undergraduate and postgraduate programs in the areas of Engineering, Humanities and Law. 
  • Osaka University: Since its foundation in 1838, Osaka University is a public research university located in Japan with three campuses where they reside, study, and do other academic activities. Currently, the acceptance rate is positioned at 41%, which shows a great willingness to train a large number of students year after year. 
  • Keio University: With a ranking of 47.7%, Keio University is one of the oldest private institutions in Japan. As an international student, it is possible to pursue a program at the undergraduate, postgraduate and short-term levels.
  • Tama University: is a private art university located in Tokyo, Japan. Its most notable feature is that it has an acceptance rate that ranges between 80-90%, a very high figure that shows that obtaining admission is not a very complex process compared to other Japanese institutions, despite being one of the schools of most prestigious art in Japan.
  • Tohoku University: It is one of the seven national universities that exist in Japan, popularly recognized for its range of academic programs in undergraduate, postgraduate and special training areas. In fact, they offer highly interesting courses like Economics, Arts, and Engineering for people curious about these areas. 
  • Ritsumeikan University: This university runs many programs from Bachelor’s to Master’s to Ph.D. and special programs. In addition, they also open online programs for all those interested in online education. 
  • Meiji University: is a private university in Japan with campuses located in Tokyo and Kawasaki. Their trainings are highly prestigious as they are taught by world-class award-winning teachers. In addition, this institution greatly encourages academic exchange between international students. 
  • Kyushu University: In addition to being recognized as the fourth oldest university institution in Japan, Kyushu University is also important thanks to its wide offer in a large number of programs starting from undergraduate to postgraduate and special programs, as well as to have an acceptance rate of 42.2%, a fairly fair number compared to other Japanese universities. 
  • Akita International University: is a public university that, as its name indicates, is located in the city of Akita, Japan. A good number of its students come from exchanges and enjoy great offers of programs such as degrees or courses to learn to speak Japanese. 
  • Waseda University: Waseda regularly ranks among the most selective and prestigious universities in the Japanese university rankings, making it a dream university destination for many students since its founding in 1882. 
  • University of Tsukuba: University of Tsukuba ‘s academic strengths are always found in its trainings in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine. It also stands out because most of its former students are pioneers of various innovations in Japan. 

Scholarship options to study in Japan

Fortunately, if you are wondering how to study in Japan , the many scholarship programs that exist for this purpose are an option worth investigating. 

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These are the most important and popular scholarships in the land of the rising sun:

General University Exchange Scholarship Programs

Many universities have good exchange programs with Japanese universities, opening up the possibility of studying, usually for a period of one year, at a Japanese university and only paying the academic fees of your home university.

To access this type of program, just check which Spanish universities or universities in your country of origin have an agreement with another university in Japan. 

Monbusho Scholarship Program

They are a set of scholarships and government grants specially intended for the training of university students and graduates from other countries of the world, especially with the aim of helping specialized training students, students who delve into the Japanese language and Spanish university graduates who want to to study in Japan with greater financial support. 

The scholarship endowment will be 117,000 yen per month (988 euros), and an additional regional allowance of 2,000 or 3,000 yen per month will be added for the fellow who studies or conducts research in specially designated regions.

Monbukagakusho Scholarships for Researchers 

These types of scholarships belong to the Monbusho program and are awarded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the Japanese government to university students with the intention of carrying out research programs in a field of study of their specialization within a Japanese university. 

The Monbukagakusho scholarship is aimed at graduates under the age of 35, has a duration of 2 years (as long as your research should necessarily last) and includes coverage of expenses generated by tuition, a round-trip plane ticket and an allowance monthly. 

Vulcan Scholarship

The Vulcanus program in Japan allows citizens of European Union countries to carry out study internships in Japanese companies in the area of ​​science and engineering. 

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This type of scholarship is subsidized by the host Japanese company and by the EU-Japan Center. The students receive an amount of 1,900,000 yen destined to finance the round trip and the basic expenses to live quietly in Japan. 

Also, keep in mind that the host company will take care of your accommodation during the 12 months. The Japanese language course and seminar are run by the Center for Industrial Cooperation between the EU and Japan.

Candidates are selected based on university academic results, the opinion of their professors, their knowledge of English, degree of motivation, interest in EU-Japan relations and potential adaptability.

JET Program

The JET scholarship program allows foreigners to study and work as an English teacher in schools and institutes and as an international relations coordinator in municipalities and government agencies.

Japan Foundation Scholarships

The Japan Foundation offers scholarships aimed especially at Japanese students in the process of carrying out research work that deserves to be carried out in Japan. 

On the other hand, it is also possible to access scholarships for specialists such as researchers, postgraduate students, librarians, museum curators, etc., who need a good command of the Japanese language to carry out their work or research. It is, therefore, a Japanese language course capable of adjusting to your specific needs. 

ICEX Scholarships

Since 1975, the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism has offered this business internationalization scholarship program, better known as ICEX. 

The grants are offered to university graduates who require theoretical training and practical specialization in internationalization.

The ICEX Scholarship program has a duration of two years, during which the student lucky enough to have been awarded a scholarship will be trained in one of the offices of the Foreign Network of the Secretary of State for Trade, as well as in Spanish companies with international activity or in international institutions.

MIRAI Scholarships

MIRAI is a short-term exchange program sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

The scholarships are aimed at students of political science, economics, international relations, Asian studies, Japanese studies, etc., who during the 10-day duration attend classes at Japanese universities and visit academic institutions, as well as technological and cultural companies. 

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In addition, they enjoy cultural and international exchange.

Frequently asked questions about studying in Japan

There are hundreds of very common doubts and questions about how to study in Japan; however, the questions that people ask most frequently around this topic are usually:

Is it necessary to know Japanese to live and study in Japan? 

Although it is not 100% necessary to have knowledge of Japanese to study in Japan, and in fact, many people go to this country to learn Japanese from scratch, it is possible that some academic centers require previous knowledge to make you eligible.

In addition, if you want to take advantage of the student visa to work in Japan by accessing more stable jobs, you will always enjoy greater advantages if you have at least a minimum knowledge of the language, so it is recommended to study it beforehand. 

Do universities in Japan offer accommodation? 


There are universities and language institutions that offer accommodation to foreign students who have admitted, or at least have residences reserved for students at reduced prices and in locations near the surroundings of the study center.

These residences generally have a cost of approximately 350 euros to change; however, each case is subject to different conditions and the way in which you entered Japan as a student (private course at an academy, university, scholarship, etc.), also influences your accommodation options. 

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Many students have no choice but to end up living in private rooms or apartments outside the study campus and preferably with roommates to split costs efficiently. 

Can you work in Japan as a student? 

In Japan, there is a widespread tendency for young people to combine their studies with part-time jobs, better known as “Arubaito”, so that in many cases foreigners with a student visa have the right to work 28 hours per week and 40 hours during the vacation period . 

The job options you look for should fit your lifestyle as a student, so they usually range from working part-time in factories, hotel receptions, supermarkets, stores, and even teaching Spanish, English, or any other language you want. you dominate You can also opt for the advantages of working remotely and forget about the worry of finding a job quickly. 

Is it possible to access social security for foreign students in Japan?

Foreigners with a student visa in Japan have the right of access to the Social Security of this country, for this, it will be necessary to fill out the corresponding forms to request a health card at the town hall when registering your arrival and home address. 

To have this health card , you must pay a periodic fee that is not usually very expensive for people who are only in student mode. 

Conclusions  about studying in Japan 🇯🇵

Now yes! The time for action has finally come: you now have all the information you need to kick start your plans to study in Japan and not let this wonderful goal full of opportunities remain on the list of unfulfilled goals. 

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As you can see, despite the fact that studying in Japan is not something that happens effortlessly overnight, and in fact, before living this dream, you first have to go through extensive and tedious bureaucratic processes that could be a headache.

If you are really interested in discovering this country from a unique perspective, there are several options at your disposal ready to be explored and many opportunities waiting on the other side that will make the trip worthwhile in every way. 

If you are willing to take on the challenge and embark on the adventure of being a student in Japan, remember that we will be here during the process to answer your questions, so don’t think twice and if you have any additional questions about how to study in Japan, ¡ leave it in the comments! We are happy to help you fulfill your dream of studying abroad.

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