What you should know before studying abroad in Japan

Japan offers many options for students who wish to spend some time studying abroad. The beautiful country boasts an interesting combination of technology and nature, so you can experience the best of both worlds while you’re there, and the friendly locals will be happy to welcome you, whether you choose to study in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto, or anywhere in between.

As you do your research into studying abroad in Japan, you’ll realize that there are hundreds of universities that you can choose from and many considerations before jetting off, including

  • How much it costs to study in Japan
  • How you can save money when you’re studying in Japan
  • What to do when you get to Japan and
  • How to apply for overseas study in Japan

How much does it cost to study abroad in Japan?

On average, you might find that a semester’s tuition through direct enrollment could be anywhere from $2,400 to $14,000 USD.1 However, tuition costs for studying abroad in Japan will depend on where you choose to attend school. Costs can vary based on whether you’re going to a public or private university in a rural area or in a city, and whether you’ll be living on campus or not.

You might, for example, be able to enjoy lower costs if you attend a public university, or if you attend your home university’s sister school in Japan, if one is available.

In addition to tuition and fees, however, you also have to budget for general living expenses and health insurance, and Japan is known for being on the expensive end. Once again, however, you might be able to spend less on things like rent and food by opting to live and study in the countryside rather than in a major city.

While you might pay more than $4,000 USD to rent a place in Tokyo for a semester, you might be able to find a place to live in the countryside for half that amount.1

Tip: Use the OFX currency trends page to quickly and easily gauge how far your money will go once it’s converted into the Japanese yen.

How to save money as a student in Japan

How to save money while studying internationally in Japan

To save money while living and studying in Japan, you can take simple steps, such as using public transportation options, finding affordable restaurants when dining out, and cooking most of your meals at home. Plus, there are many opportunities to have fun with friends for free, so check local event calendars for exciting things to do that won’t break the bank.

Also, to help reduce your costs of going to school, you can seek out financial aid options, such as scholarships. Organizations that aim to support students who wish to study abroad might offer scholarships, and you can find them by doing some research online. However, you can also ask your school’s financial aid office for some guidance as well.

And when you need to pay your tuition and fees, opting to have your money transferred with the help of OFX (an international money transfer service) can help reduce costs dramatically. As an example, you could save up to 70%* on your international money transfer by transferring your money with OFX rather than with your bank. Such an easy way to save some cash that you can spend elsewhere!

Things to do while studying abroad in Japan

The big cities always have something exciting going on, and the high-speed rails make it easy and affordable to quickly travel to various areas in order to explore new places.

Visit breathtaking Mount Fuji, check out the unique Cat Island or the Sagano Bamboo Forest, and spend your days walking through museums and temples. And if you’re there in the spring, take advantage of the fact that you get to experience the famous cherry blossom festival.

Speaking of festivals, these are held throughout the country, and they’re an enjoyable way to meet new people, indulge in tasty food, and really dive into the unique culture. These events are typically done seasonally, and some of them are hosted by shrines or temples, so definitely consider checking them out if you can.

What you should know about studying abroad in Japan

How to apply for overseas study in Japan

First, you’ll need to determine how long you’ll be studying in Japan, as this will affect the type of visa that you’ll need.

Determine the length of your stay

If you are planning on only going for a short period of up to 90 days, for example, you might be able to stay in the country on a visa waiver. Basically, a sticker would be placed in your passport in order to indicate that you are allowed to remain in Japan for no longer than 90 days.

On the other hand, citizens studying abroad in Japan from certain countries, and those who are planning on staying for longer than 90 days and less than 20 weeks, might be able to extend their stay with the Ministry of Justice in Japan.

For longer term stays of 20 weeks or longer, you would need to apply for a student visa. Submit your application to the school of your choice, and they may help with your visa as well. Just be sure to apply well in advance, such as at least five months prior to the start of your first course, to ensure everything can get done on time.

Submit the appropriate documentation

In addition to the university’s application, you might need to submit several other documents to the school, such as a personal history form, your medical history, transcripts and diplomas, a copy of your passport, and additional paperwork that proves you can cover the costs of your studies and living expenses in Japan.

Ultimately, what you need to submit will depend on the school that you’re applying to, so follow their directions carefully.

Apply for a student visa

After your application has been accepted, you’ll receive a Certificate of Enrollment, also known as a CoE. At this point, you could also apply for your student visa at the Japanese Embassy in your home country.

They’ll tell you what documents you need to submit, such as the visa application, your passport and passport photo, and the CoE. Once everything is approved, you’ll have your visa, and you’ll be ready to make plans to travel to Japan.

Japan: A beautiful country for international students

Once you’ve taken the steps towards studying abroad in Japan, you’ll be able to embark on a whole new journey that you’ll never forget. Because this is such an extraordinary country, with so much to offer its students, you can completely immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a new language, and meet incredible people who might become lifelong friends.

*Average savings based on published rates of ANZ, Westpac, NAB and CBA on a single transfer of AUD$10,000 to USD between 6.9.18 and 8.10.18 excluding weekends. Transaction costs excluded. Quoted savings are not indicative of future savings.


1. https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/cost-study-abroad-japan

2. https://www.goabroad.com/study-abroad/search/japan/study-abroad-1

3. https://www.gooverseas.com/study-abroad/japan

4. https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/know-before-study-abroad-japan

5. https://www.dreamstudiesabroad.com/articles/student-visa-japan

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