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The cost of studying at a university in Japan

This guide outlines fees, accommodation, and other costs, as well as detailing financial assistance options if you are planning to study in Japan

    June 11 2019
    The cost of studying at a university in Japan


    How much does it cost to study in Japan? If you are interested in studying in Japan, then one of the most important things to consider is how much everything is going to cost. This essential guide breaks down the cost of every aspect of university life to ensure that you have everything covered.  

    Note that prices are correct at the time of publication and may vary from those shown here. 

    Tuition fees

    Tuition fees in Japan are actually relatively affordable, especially when compared with those in the US and the UK. Fees for international students are fairly low and there are a number of scholarships that students can apply to for financial assistance.

    For example, fees at the high ranking University of Tokyo start at 485,900 yen (£3,520) for undergraduates. There is also a 248,500 yen (£1,800) admission fee. However, do not assume that the more elite universities will charge higher tuition fees as some lesser-known institutions are known to charge higher. Another prestigious university, Kyoto University charges a much higher fee of 535,800 yen (£3,900), but it would be rare for fees to exceed this.

    On top of tuition fees, students will also have to pay an admission fee which will usually be around 282,000 yen (£2,000).  

    Tuition fees will vary between different universities so be sure to check the rates at the particular universities you are interested in. 

    Accommodation costs

    Most universities will offer dormitories for students who enrol at the university. Applications are considered twice a year, and while accommodation is not always located on campus it is usually within two or three train stops of the campus. However, it is important to remember that not all students can be accommodated in these halls, so make sure you are aware of the other options available.  

    Student accommodation provided by the university costs approximately 11,900 yen (£87) a month for a single room, with water and electricity bills included. The prices will then go up for a double room or a family room. 

    The average rental fee for private accommodation is 58,500 yen a month (£424). This is the rough cost for an apartment in Tokyo, however this can vary across the country depending on what average housing costs are in each city. This cost will usually include service charges too.

    If you end up staying in private accommodation then chances are your utilities bills will not be included in your monthly rent. The average cost of utilities is about 10,000 yen a month (£72): about 4,000 yen for electricity, 3,000 yen for gas and 2,000 yen for water. 

    Flat sharing is not as common in Japan as it is in Western countries, so it may be that you end up shouldering the full rental cost yourself. 

    Foreigners in Japan: student stories

    Other essential student costs

    One of your other biggest expenses while studying in Japan will be transport. It is well known that public transport in Japan is modern and efficient but is also quite highly priced. A JR Rail pass can be bought for seven, 14 or 21 days. The JR Rail pass could set you back 58,118.30 yen (£428) for 21 days but offers unlimited travel on all JR national trains in Japan, including Shinkansen bullet trains and Narita Express. 

    If you are in a larger city that has a good metro system, such as Tokyo or Osaka, then you may end up using this as your main form of transport. Tickets are around 100-200 yen (£0.73) for a single ride.

    Buses in Japan are also fairly cheap and are sometimes the better option for getting around the city as they are more likely to travel all over. Some bus tickets are covered under the JR Rail pass, otherwise you can pick up a ticket when you get on the bus and pay as you get off. You could also purchase a three, five or seven-day bus pass depending on how often you use the bus.


    Japan is known for its delicious cheap eats and street food, so make sure you take full advantage. A meal out will cost on average 1000 yen (£7.24) but of course there are more premium options if you are willing to spend the money. 

    A gym membership in Japan is a slightly pricier expense. It tends to cost approximately 600 yen a day, but you can pay monthly if you prefer. A monthly membership could come to something like 6,500 yen a month, which is roughly £47.

    The average cinema ticket in Japan starts at 1,800 yen (£13), but there are opportunities to buy discounted tickets on certain days of the month and around some festivals. 

    What financial support is available?

    The Japanese government is focused on encouraging more international students to study in the country and as a result have established a number of scholarships to provide financial support for international students.

    One such scholarship is the Japanese Government Scholarship; this requires students to provide a recommendation from their university or local Japanese embassy. These scholarships are available for students that are studying across the university spectrum.

    Another government initiative is the Global 30 Project, which provides students with more options to study in English and offers financial support and visa advice.

    There are also a number of websites that can provide more information about the scholarships that are available, such as Japan Study Support and JASSO’s Gateway to Study in Japan website.

    It is also worth finding out what financial support individual universities offer and how you can apply for it.

    Read more in this series

    The cost of studying at a university in China



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