Calculating the costs of tuition for any prospective university student can be daunting. Regardless of the university, researching tuition costs as well as methods of paying can be tricky. Web sites can be outdated, varying costs based on department, common words-of-mouth guesses can all change your projected payment for tuition drastically. In Japan, tuition can vary based on the type of school and department. Many schools as well as the government offer scholarships that can drive down the costs of university tuition. The tuition can be paid initially by an overseas bank account, but schools often request additional papers so it can be automatically deducted from a Japanese bank account later on. This article only covers the direct tuition fees paid to the school, and will not cover living costs or any additional fees students will need to pay as a university student in Japan.

Private and Public Universities

The 37 Japanese universities part of the Top Global University Initiative is a mix between national and private universities, as well as two prefectural universities. Under Japanese law, national universities have the same tuition, regardless of international or domestic program. The tuition itself per year is fixed at 585,800 yen (around 5348 US dollars). There is a separate admission fee in the first year, which is also fixed at 282,000 yen (around 2575 US dollars). Alongside tuition, there are other separate fees such as facility fees, equipment fees, and other maintenance fees that are also paid annually based on major and department. Therefore, the total fee is at least 817,800 yen (around 7466 US dollars). Tuition is paid by semester and is split evenly so each payment is a one-time payment of 267,900 yen. Typically, science and medical students have higher total tuition due to equipment fees for laboratories and experiments.

Waseda University - G30 Scholarship

Private universities vary on tuition fees. Typically, private universities such as Keio University or International Christian University are more expensive than national or public university tuition, such as University of Tokyo, Tohoku University and Osaka University. Most private universities have relatively similar tuition fees, which is around 1.2 million yen to 2 million yen in total annually, based on university and department. The admission fees at most private universities are fixed at 200,000 yen, but tuition (without equipment or any miscellaneous fees) per semester depends on the school. Some schools have different tuition fees per semester, unlike national universities, which split the annual tuition fee by half each semester.

Extra Financial Support

There are several types of scholarships that can drive down the cost of tuition. There are six different types of scholarships available to international students at varying degrees, application processes, and amounts. Based on the type of scholarship, the scholarship can cover all the way to full tuition. Scholarships are transferred to the student’s bank account directly, instead of a deduction from the school tuition. Scholarships can also not only cover tuition, but also various expenses relating to the student’s education. Each scholarship has its own set of regulations and restrictions.


First, there is the MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Technology) Scholarship. Undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students can apply for this scholarship. The application form must be completed before matriculation to the university, and the amount received by each student varies on the university. The length of this scholarship can range from one year to all years the student is at the university. Students can apply through the Japanese embassy or related consulate, or through the host university itself to receive this scholarship. This scholarship comes in the form of a monthly stipend, and in accordance to MEXT regulations, it also waives examination, application, and admission fees as well as travel accommodations from the student’s host country to Japan once a year.

MEXT Scholarship - Japanese University Scholarship


The JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) also offers scholarships to international students through the host university before matriculation under the name of “Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students.” Similarly, undergraduate, graduate, and exchange students can apply for this scholarship. Unlike MEXT, this scholarship is for private-financed international students, so this scholarship is not affiliated with the government. The fixed monthly stipend for this scholarship is 48,000 yen per month and lasts 1 academic year.

There are a variety of local government and associations that provide scholarships to international students. Most of these scholarships are available for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as junior college and technical colleges. The application process varies on the local government and association. For example, students must study in the designated area to receive the scholarship associated with the prefectural or city government. Typically, the scholarship last around a year and the stipend can range from 10,000 to 80,000 yen per month.

Private foundations also offer a wide range of scholarships to international students, often based on country. Most of the scholarships are only for undergraduate and graduate students only and have stricter regulations compared the local governmental scholarships. Some restrictions include age, country, school, fields of study, along with additional requirements. Compared to local governmental scholarships, the monthly stipend is on average, higher, at an estimated 100,000 yen per month.

Japanese University Students

Lastly, there are scholarships to encourage students who live abroad to study in Japan. Both public and private entities offer scholarships to sponsor international students to Japan, mostly for undergraduate and graduate students. Similarly, there is a myriad of regulations that accompany these scholarships, such as age, country, school, fields of study, citizenship, and others. These scholarships also offer around 100,000 yen per month, and in some cases, travelling expenses to and from Japan.

For more scholarship information, here are 20 scholarships for international students.

How to Pay your Tuition Fee

Tuition can be paid through online bank transfers, credit card, or even in cash to the university. Most students pay through online bank transfer from either overseas or domestically using a Japanese bank account. It is possible to arrange automatic bank transfer for Japanese banks so the tuition is directly deducted from the account when tuition is due. The amount and date of the tuition deduction vary from university, but often universities send reminders through both mail and email to remind students when tuition will be deducted from their bank account if the student chooses to use the automatic payment system.

In conclusion, paying tuition may seem tricky but there are many ways to access more information through scholarship and university websites. Most international programs have their scholarship and tuition fee information available in English, as well as more details regarding methods of payment. Once entering, many universities provide further support to international students in terms of scholarships and financial aid. All the right tools for organizing your tuition plan is accessible through the internet or even phone.

You can always find more on SchooLynk Scholarship Search tool to find Japanese scholarships perfect for you today!