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Best universities in Japan 2022

Find the top universities in Japan using Times Higher Education’s rankings data

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March 24 2022
Tohoku University, Japan, Rankings, University

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Top 10 universities in Japan 2022

Scroll down to view universities in the top 150

Rank University name Prefecture
1 Tohoku University Miyagi
2 The University of Tokyo Tokyo
=3 Osaka University Osaka
=3 Tokyo Institute of Technology Tokyo
5 Kyoto University Kyoto
6 Hokkaido University Hokkaido
7 Kyushu University Fukuoka
8 Nagoya University Aichi
9 University of Tsukuba Ibaraki
10 Hiroshima University Hiroshima

Tohoku University has taken first place in the 2022 Times Higher Education Japan University Rankings.

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The rankings, now in their sixth year, were produced in partnership with Japanese education company Benesse.

The Japan University Rankings are calculated based on four broad “pillars” (resources, engagement, outcomes and environment) covering 16 performance indicators. They differ from the THE World University Rankings in that they are more focused on what institutions offer students rather than on research data. Click here to read the full methodology for the Japan rankings.

Japan is a country that successfully maintains ancient traditions alongside its identity as a nation of technological innovation. This contrast can also be seen in the country’s higher education institutions as they develop their research output and international outreach while preserving Japan’s culture and values.

Top five universities in Japan

5. Kyoto University

Kyoto University is spread across three campuses in Yoshida, Uji and Katsura. It is one of Japan’s oldest universities and is consistently ranked highly in Asia.

Kyoto University has about 22,000 students, 10 faculties, 18 graduate schools, 13 research institutes and 21 research and educational centres.

The university was initially made up of colleges in law, medicine, letters, and science and engineering. Within two years, the university opened a library and a hospital. Later, it established departments of economics, agriculture and humanities, and the first graduate school was launched in the mid-20th century.

The institution has produced a number of successful researchers, including 11 Nobel prizewinners, two Fields medallists and one Gauss Prize winner.

=3. Tokyo Institute of Technology

The Tokyo Institute of Technology is a national research university located in the Greater Tokyo area. 

It is the country’s largest higher education institution dedicated to science and technology. The university is organised into six schools within which there are more than 40 departments and research centres. 

Nobel Prize laureate Hideki Shirakawa, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2000, attended the university.

=3. Osaka University

Osaka University has jumped two places from last year to take joint third position. 

Founded in 1931, the university has become one of Japan’s leading universities. It is organised into 11 faculties for undergraduate programmes, and 16 graduate schools. 

The university also has six research institutes, four libraries and two university hospitals. 

Osaka is considered one of the most selective universities in Japan, with one of the most difficult entry exams. 


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2. The University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo was the first national university in Japan when it was established in 1877.

It provides courses across the academic spectrum and has 10 faculties, 15 graduate schools, 11 affiliated research institutes (including the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology), 13 university-wide centres, three main libraries and three institutes for advanced study. 

Students are taught at three main campuses in Hongo, Komaba and Kashiwa, but there are facilities associated with the university throughout Japan. The university has a slightly unusual course structure in that students follow a liberal arts programme at one campus during their first two years before transferring to another campus to study their chosen major.

The campuses are in close proximity to many of Tokyo’s cultural attractions including Yanesen, a district of temples, and Ueno Park, with its museums and cherry blossoms. The campuses also have good transport links to the centre of the capital.

1. Tohoku University

Many of Tohoku University’s facilities are built around and within the ancient war grounds of the city of Sendai.

In 1913, Tohoku became the first university in Japan to admit female students after the appointment in 1911 of its first president, Masataro Sawayanagi. Tohoku University was also the first university in Japan to admit international students. 

In 2009, Tohoku was one of 13 universities selected by the Japanese government to contribute to providing higher education at an international level, and the university introduced a series of degree programmes that are predominantly taught in English.


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The best universities in Japan 2022: the top 150

Click each institution to view its full profile

Rank University name Prefecture
1 Tohoku University Miyagi
2 The University of Tokyo Tokyo
=3 Osaka University Osaka
=3 Tokyo Institute of Technology Tokyo
5 Kyoto University Kyoto
6 Hokkaido University Hokkaido
7 Kyushu University Fukuoka
8 Nagoya University Aichi
9 University of Tsukuba Ibaraki
10 Hiroshima University Hiroshima
11 Keio University Tokyo
12 International Christian University Tokyo
13 Waseda University Tokyo
14 Kobe University Hyogo
15 Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Tokyo
16 Hitotsubashi University Tokyo
17 Akita International University Akita
18 The University of Aizu Fukushima
19 Kanazawa University Ishikawa
20 Sophia University Tokyo
=21 Chiba University Chiba
=21 Okayama University Okayama
23 Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology Tokyo
24 Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU) Oita
25 Ochanomizu University Tokyo
26 Yokohama National University Kanagawa
27 Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Tokyo
28 Shibaura Institute of Technology Tokyo Tokyo
29 Tokyo University of Science Tokyo
30 Nagasaki University Nagasaki
=31 Kumamoto University Kumamoto
=31 Nagaoka University of Technology Niigata
=31 Ritsumeikan University Kyoto
34 Yokohama City University Kanagawa
35 Kyoto Institute of Technology Kyoto
36 Toyohashi University of Technology (TUT) Aichi
=37 The University of Electro-Communications Tokyo
=37 Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) Fukuoka
39 Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology Tokyo
40 Tokyo Metropolitan University Tokyo
=41 Doshisha University Kyoto
=41 Meiji University Tokyo
43 Kanda University of International Studies Chiba
=44 Kwansei Gakuin University Hyogo
=44 Rikkyo University Tokyo
46 Fukuoka Women’s University Fukuoka
47 Shinshu University Nagano
=48 Aoyama Gakuin University Tokyo
=48 Chuo University Tokyo
=50 Niigata University Niigata
=50 Osaka City University Osaka
52 Nagoya Institute of Technology Aichi
53 Gakushuin University Tokyo
54 Toyota Technological Institute Aichi
55 Akita University Akita
56 Yamaguchi University Yamaguchi
57 University of Fukui Fukui
58 St Luke’s International University Tokyo
59 Nanzan University Aichi
60 Tsuda University Tokyo
61 Nagoya City University Aichi
62 Kobe City University of Foreign Studies Hyogo
63 Kansai Gaidai University Osaka
64 Utsunomiya University Tochigi
65 Yamagata University Yamagata
66 Hosei University Tokyo
67 Tottori University Tottori
68 Osaka Prefecture University Osaka
=69 Kansai University Osaka
=69 Soka University Tokyo
71 Kindai University Osaka
72 Gunma University Gunma
=73 Hirosaki University Aomori
=73 Toyo University Tokyo
75 Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Hokkaido
76 Juntendo University Tokyo
77 Saitama University Saitama
=78 Future University Hakodate Hokkaido
=78 Kagoshima University Kagoshima
80 Saga University Saga
81 Gifu University Gifu
82 Kyoto University of Foreign Studies Kyoto
=83 Dokkyo University Saitama
=83 Musashi University Tokyo
=83 Nagoya University of Foreign Studies Aichi
=83 Nara Women’s University Nara
87 University of Toyama Toyama
88 Mie University Mie
89 Shizuoka University Shizuoka
90 Shimane University Shimane
91 The University of Kitakyushu Fukuoka
92 University of Hyogo Hyogo
93 Iwate University Iwate
=94 Ehime University Ehime
=94 University of Shizuoka Shizuoka
96 Shiga University of Medical Science Shiga
97 Tokushima University Tokushima
98 Kagawa University Kagawa
99 University of Yamanashi Yamanashi
100 Aichi Prefectural University Aichi
101-110 Hamamatsu University School of Medicine Shizuoka
101-110 Ibaraki University Ibaraki
101-110 J. F. Oberlin University Tokyo
101-110 Kochi University of Technology Kochi
101-110 Kyoto Sangyo University Kyoto
101-110 Meiji Gakuin University Tokyo
101-110 University of Miyazaki Miyazaki
101-110 Nagoya University of Commerce & Business Aichi
101-110 University of Niigata Prefecture Niigata
101-110 Ryukoku University Kyoto
111-120 Akita Prefectural University Akita
111-120 Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts Kyoto
111-120 Kochi University Kochi
111-120 Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine Kyoto
111-120 Muroran Institute of Technology Hokkaido
111-120 Nippon Medical School Tokyo
111-120 Otaru University of Commerce Hokkaido
111-120 Reitaku University Chiba
111-120 University of the Ryukyus Okinawa
111-120 Sapporo Medical University Hokkaido
111-120 Showa Women’s University Tokyo
111-120 Tokyo International University Saitama
121-130 Aichi Medical University Aichi
121-130 Chukyo University Aichi
121-130 Fukushima Medical University Fukushima
121-130 Jikei University School of Medicine Tokyo
121-130 Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) Ishikawa
121-130 University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan Fukuoka
121-130 Oita University Oita
121-130 Seinan Gakuin University Fukuoka
131-140 Fukushima University Fukushima
131-140 Hyogo College of Medicine Hyogo
131-140 Kitasato University Tokyo
131-140 Kogakuin University Tokyo
131-140 Miyazaki International College Miyazaki
131-140 Musashino University Tokyo
131-140 Nara Medical University Nara
131-140 Teikyo University Tokyo
131-140 Tokai University Kanagawa
131-140 Tsuru University Yamanashi
141-150 Fukuoka University Fukuoka
141-150 Kanagawa University Kanagawa
141-150 Kitami Institute of Technology Hokkaido
141-150 Meijo University Aichi
141-150 Nihon University Tokyo
141-150 Prefectural University of Hiroshima Hiroshima
141-150 Tokyo City University Tokyo
141-150 Tokyo Medical University Tokyo
141-150 Tokyo Woman’s Christian University Tokyo
141-150 Wakayama University Wakayama

See the full Japan University Rankings here


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