Tokyo Institute of Technology is heralded as one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. Specialising in science and technology, Tokyo Tech has over 130 years of history and counting. Science, technology, and innovation has been one of the reasons Japan experienced its post-war economic miracle, and it goes without saying Tokyo Tech played an important role in that. Now, moving into the 21st century, Tokyo Tech is leading the foray into research which will benefit society as a whole.
After Japan opened its borders to the rest of the world, it was imperative that Japan cultivate the human capital necessary to handle and develop technology for the future. The Japanese government started actively pushing for technical education – education which was already common in Western civilisation by then. Early efforts to establish a technical school fell through after three years of operation. However, the central principle behind the technical school – an emphasis on practical application – struck a chord with with the Ministry of Education. As a result, in 1881, the Tokyo Vocational School (later the Tokyo Institute of Technology) was first established.
Now, moving into the 21st century, Japan faces a different set of problems than it did 100 years before. Questions regarding energy problems, resource allocation, climate change, and Artificial Intelligence are becoming more prevalent. Tokyo Tech hopes to create a future where we can all be proud of what we have created.
Located in Ookayama, Tokyo Tech is only a short train ride away from heavyweight cultural icons, Shinjuku and Shibuya, some of the largest and most influential cities in the world. Tokyo is also home to 51 Fortune 500 companies, making it an economic and technological hub. Japan has always been a pioneer in technology, with many large car, home appliance, and electronic manufacturing companies rising out of post-war Japan’s economic miracle.
According to the Times Higher Education ranking, Tokyo Tech is ranked 4th in Japan, and ranked 20th internationally in Engineering. With its long history and pedigree, Tokyo Tech graduates have excellent prospects after graduation. The New York Times ranks Tokyo Tech 14th in the world for employability.
When Tokyo Tech was first founded as the Tokyo Vocational School, it was located in Taito City, by the Sumida River. In the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake, several of its buildings were damaged heavily. Tokyo Tech decided to relocate to Ookayama, and construction was finally completed in 1934.
Completed in 2011, the Institute Library was completed in February 2011. Its unique triangular shape has lead many to affectionately refer to it as the “cheesecake”. It also features an open-plan underground space, giving the library a large, spacious feeling — which is unlike most libraries. The open-plan space also allows for a larger total floor space, which adds up to 8,600m2. The library was selected by MEXT to be a National Center for Overseas Periodicals. This gives students at Tokyo Tech access to an unrivalled selection of resource material. Around 660,000 volumes are available for students to use.
On the upper floors, students have access to study areas, designed in similar vein to the open-plan space in the basement floors. Large glass windows give the study rooms enough natural sunlight, which directly saves cost on energy consumption. They also offer panoramic views of campus, offering students a nice quiet break.
Museum and Centennial Hall Building
Local residents might recall when the Hall was first completed — its distinct, sharp edges and mix of metal and concrete set in contrast against the wooden Ookayama Station. Referred to as Gundam, a reference to a famous anime about humanoid robot weapons, this building has stood in the face of an ever-changing Ookayama landscape, and now is not only a symbol of Tokyo Tech, but also of Ookayama.
The first floor is known as the T-POT. Designed as both an event venue space and a study space, there is a detailed plastic model of the Main Building next to a rack of information pamphlets. The 6 exhibition rooms on B1 and the 2nd floor have been set aside for permanent exhibitions on ceramics and glassware. These works of art have been made by famous Tokyo Tech graduates Shoji Hamada, Keisuke Serizawa, and Tatsuzo Shimaoka among others. There are 4 more exhibitions spaces on the 2nd floor – Centennial Hall, Evolving Earth, Electrical – Optical Communication, Tokyo Vocational School. Each space is dedicated to another facet of Tokyo Tech’s expertise and history. Finally on the top floor, you can find The Lounge, which offers grand views of Tokyo, and on clear days, a view of Mt. Fuji.
Environmental Energy Innovation Building (EEI)
A display of what is possible, and as a promise for a better future, Tokyo Tech unveiled the EEI in 2012. This building is equipped with cutting edge green technology which helps maintain its carbon emissions at almost 40% of a normal Tokyo Tech research building. Adorning the walls are 4570 solar panels producing a total of 650kW, which is used to power the building.
The EEI Building also uses technology to harness the power of wasteful energy. Many of these intricate operations are monitored closely by tiny sensors and computers, which use algorithms to calculate the parameters necessary to maintain optimal efficiency at all times.In 2013, 3 buildings (Main Bldg., West Bldg. 1 and the Auditorium) on Ookayama’s campus were conferred the status of Registered Tangible Cultural Properties by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. Their recognition by the government cements Tokyo Tech’s rich history, lasting pedigree, and is also a testament to their lasting contributions to Japan.
All newly enrolled students have the option to stay in student dormitories. There are 3 options available for students who wish to enroll into Tokyo Tech. However, students are not guaranteed accommodation.
- Komaba International House
- Address: 4 Chome-6 -２９ Komaba, Meguro City, Tokyo 153-0041, Japan
- Monthly Rent: ¥29,000 per month
- Travel time to campus: 45 mins
- Shofu Dormitory
- Address: 21-13 Matsukazedai, Aoba-ku, Yokohama
- Monthly Rent: ¥20,900 per month
- Travel time to campus: 45 mins
- Umegaoka Dormitory
- Address: 17-2 Umegaoka, Aoba-ku, Yokohama
- Monthly Rent: ¥20,900 per month
- Travel time to campus: 45 mins
In the event students do not get the accommodation they applied for, they can contact the school’s Housing Support webpage, where they can find alternative housing solutions.
Degrees Taught in English
Tokyo Tech offers one English program at the undergraduate level, The Global Scientists and Engineer Program. Started in 2016, this program is targeted at students who have little or no proficiency in Japanese. Under the GSEP program, students will be enrolled into the Department of Science and Engineering. This interdisciplinary program approaches core courses slightly different from other universities — many of the modules will be team-taught, project-based learning structure that focuses more on interdisciplinary education on a wide variety of subjects. Students who are already confident that they wish to pursue only one specific field are discouraged from applying to this program.
Tokyo Tech offers a large number of English programs for those who wish to pursue a postgraduate degree. Many of these degree programs do not require applicants to have any Japanese background. There are seven programs currently available for students to choose from:
- International Graduate Program in Science for Innovative Leaders
- Super Smart Society Engineering Program
- Program for Highly-skilled Professionals for a Super Smart Society Supported by Advanced Materials and Chemical Technology
- International Graduate Program on Applied Artificial Intelligence and Cyber-Intelligence
- Graduate Program to Foster Global Ecosystems
- Postgraduate Program for Environmental Designers Contributing to Resilient Cities
- Global Engineering Program for Inclusive Society and Sustainable Environment
Tokyo Tech offers two types of postgraduate programs, Integrated Doctoral Education Programs (IDP) and Master’s Programs. IDP is a combined postgraduate degree program where the master’s program and the doctoral program is combined into one continuous course of study. Students who display outstanding results during either period of study will be eligible to reduce their period of study in that respective period, meaning to say students will be able to graduate with both master’s and the Doctoral program in the minimum three years.
Japanese Language Programs
Tokyo Tech offers both regular Japanese language courses and Intensive Japanese language courses. Under the regular Japanese language courses, there are three levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each level has two courses, one at a higher level than the other. In addition to this, there are optional topic specific courses that students can take.
Beginner classes are held twice a week. At the beginner level, students will be introduced to basic grammar, vocabulary, and Japanese that would be used on a day to day basis. Students will also be introduced to Japanese customs and culture. Speech practice will be of importance, as students learn how to formulate thoughts and express themselves in Japanese.
Students in the intermediate level are expected to have completed the beginner level before taking this class. Students will continue studying, however, with a focus on task-oriented exercises.
Intensive Japanese was designed as a preparatory course for graduate students who are going to study in Tokyo Tech’s graduate schools. These courses are conducted between April and late July, before students start their programs at Tokyo Tech.
Students enrolled in Tokyo Tech have access to both government funded scholarships and private scholarships. Under government funded scholarships, Tokyo Tech provides for both the MEXT scholarship program as well as the JASSO scholarship.
Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students (JASSO)
When applying for this privately funded scholarships which require an university recommendation, students are required to submit an “Application for the Privately funded Scholarships” form, which will be available twice a year in March/April and September/October. Depending on whether you are a spring entry or an autumn entry, your cycle for application will be slightly different.
- Announcement for the Spring entry students will begin in late January 2019
- New students entering in April usually apply during the first week of April
- Results typically come out mid-April onwards, and scholarships typically last one year
- Announcement for the Autumn entry students will begin in Mid July 2019
- New students entering in September usually apply during the first week of October
- Results typically come out mid-October onwards, and scholarships typically last one year
For scholarships which do not require university recommendations, students can directly apply after checking the application documents and requirements pasted on the bulletin boards and application forms are available at the Student Support Division in Ookayama Campus. This information can also be found online, however it is only available for current students.
It has everything from an expansive roster of majors, and a beautiful campus overlooking the buildings of Tokyo, to state-of-the-art facilities to empower any vein of research. Without a doubt, the Tokyo Institute of Technology should be at the top of your application list if you are interested in beginning or advancing your path in the sciences.