Kyoto University is located in Kyoto city, the capital of Kyoto Prefecture. Kyoto is best known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for more than a thousand years. Kyoto is considered by many to be the center of cultural activities in Japan.

Kyoto Imperial University was established in June 1897. In the same year of the university’s establishment, the College of Science and Technology was founded.

After World War II Kyoto Imperial University was renamed Kyoto University in October 1947. In May 1949 the National School Establishment Law was enacted and the university was reorganized as a four-year university instead of a three-year university. In April 1953 the Kyoto University graduate school system was founded to provide a more systematic postgraduate education in the Graduate Schools of Letters, Education, Law, Economics, Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Engineering, and Agriculture.

As of 2017, the university has ten Faculties, eighteen Graduate Schools, thirteen Research Institutes, and twenty-two Research and Educational Centres. Since 2004, Kyoto University has been incorporated as a national university corporation.

Kyoto University Ranking

Living up to its status as one of the National Seven Universities, Kyoto University comes in 1st among Japanese university alongside the University of Tokyo according to Times Higher Education’s Japan University Rankings 2018, .

The top-class infrastructure, globally-famed faculty members, and resources at Kyoto University combined together forms an environment which is very beneficial to absorb the knowledge, learn new skills, and put the new skills to test by applying them for the development of the society.

Hear what the students have to say on the Kyoto University Community Page!

The Kyoto University clocktower is a famous part of campus.

Campuses and Facilities

Kyoto University has three campuses- Yoshida Campus, Katsura Campus, and Uji Campus. Yoshida Campus has been at the core of the university’s activities since its establishment. The Clock Tower Centennial Hall has become the symbol of the university. It can be said that Yoshida Campus truly represents the history of Kyoto University in tangible form.

Uji Campus was formerly owned by the Imperial Japanese Army and came into the possession of Kyoto University in 1949. The campus is now home to a collection of research institutes, centers, and large-scale testing facilities devoted to natural science and energy-related fields. Although Uji campus hosts many state-of-the-art laboratories engaged in the development of cutting-edge science and technology, it is rich in greenery and enjoys a tranquil suburban setting.

The university’s third campus, Katsura Campus, consists of four Clusters. Katsura Campus, a.k.a. “Techno-science Hill,” is a place where technology and various sciences merge in exciting new ways. This innovative base for exploring new fields of knowledge opened in October 2003.

Kyoto University has many sakura trees on campus.

Student Accommodations

Kyoto University has five accommodation facilities available for international students, located in the Shugakuin, Yoshida, Uji, Ohbaku and Misasagi areas of Kyoto. Among the international houses, Yoshida International House and Uji International House are on-campus facilities. Rest others are located at off-campus sites. The maximum duration of stay at the International houses is one year, after which students have to move out to apartments.

International students at Kyoto University.

The Kyoto University Museum manages and develops the university’s valuable museum collection and research resource archives. The museum collection currently houses 2.6 million specimens, which are relevant to a wide spectrum of fields from the humanities, to the natural sciences, to engineering. As valuable research and educational resource, the collection is frequently used by researchers both at the museum and from around the world.

Student Lounge Kizuna (“Kizuna” means bonds in Japanese) opened in the spring of 2002 on the main campus as a place for students to create bonds of friendship reaching farther than just international borders. The Kizuna Lounge welcomes all members of the community, including staff, faculty, and researchers, as well as students, to spend time together and join or organize cross-cultural activities. The facility features a Reading Room, stocked with language learning materials, and a Salon, available for studying, language exchange, and other activities.

Degrees Taught in English

Being a part of the Top Global University project launched by the Japanese Government, Kyoto University promises to deliver its top-notch education in the form of English taught courses as well to attract an international population of students and to develop a world-wide base of talented professionals from its campus.

Undergraduate Degree

Unfortunately, the university only has one undergraduate degree taught in English as of 2019 ー the International Course Program of Civil Engineering. A maximum of 30 international students can take part in this course. Beginning in April, at the same time as the regular Japanese courses, It is a four-year bachelor course like all other undergraduate engineering courses in Japan.


Graduate Degrees Taught in English

At the graduate level, Kyoto University shows its strengths, offering numerous English-taught programs in various fields such as:

There are a total of 13 English-taught graduate programs under these fields. All 13 of these schools guarantee to deliver a world-class education in order to transform the students into global citizens who have the power to knowledge to change the world. All the aforementioned faculties (except for Management course) also offer English taught Doctoral Courses. The quality of education and research at Kyoto University has been proved by the fact that it has produced 10 Nobel Laureates, which is the most amongst all Asian universities.

The most famous courses at Kyoto University are the Engineering courses, especially Civil Engineering, and Medicine courses. These courses have produced a ton of successful individuals. The products of research done under these courses have undoubtedly contributed towards the growth and development of society.

Summer at Kyoto University

(Source: https://www.japanvisitor.com/kyoto/kyoto-university)

Japanese Language Programs

The Education Centre for Japanese Language and Culture of the Institute for Liberal Arts and Sciences (ILAS) of Kyoto University offers two types of Japanese language classes: Japanese language classes in the Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum, and Japanese language support classes not included in the regular curriculum.

The Japanese language classes included the Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum have been divided into five levels: Elementary I, Elementary II, Intermediate I, Intermediate II and Advanced levels. The Japanese language support classes not included in the Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum consist of Introduction to Japanese I/II, Intermediate Japanese Course I/II, Advanced Japanese Course, and Business Japanese I/II.

Elementary Japanese I/II and Intermediate Japanese I/II are worth 8 credits each, having 4 classes/week, each class lasting for an hour and a half.  Advanced Japanese Classes are worth 2 credits, having 1 class/week for an hour and a half.

Kyoto University also offers an intensive course designed for MEXT-sponsored Research Students and Teacher Training Students going to attend graduate school in either Kyoto or Shiga prefecture. To enroll, applicants must ask their academic adviser to submit a request to MEXT prior to arrival in Japan. Students will be affiliated with ILAS for the duration of this program, which must be completed before admission to a Kyoto University graduate school. The course comprises an average of nine classes per week and runs for 16 weeks. It is offered at five levels, with a placement test given at the beginning of each semester.


Kyoto University clocktower from the north.
Credit to: Katsura Roen

University Scholarships

Getting a scholarship is very important and often very relieving as it removes the burden of financial worries from the shoulders of the students. Kyoto University tries to facilitate its students in every possible way, especially by offering extensive support to international students in order to reduce their financial worries. At the undergraduate level, Kyoto University offers scholarships to students with outstanding academic merit. It also nominates students for multiple other private scholarships which range from partial to full tuition coverage and also award stipends of varying amounts. Besides these, Kyoto University nominates students for MEXT Scholarship and Japan Student Services Organisation (JASSO) Scholarships. Outstanding international students get recommended by the university to receive these scholarships.

On top of that, enrolled graduate students are eligible to be employed as Research Assistants (RA) and Teaching Assistants (TA) which pays quite handsomely.

Find more scholarships on SchooLynk


Kyoto University is a world-class institute for higher studies, research, and development. The name of Kyoto University is connected with 10 Nobel Laureates, 2 Field Medallists, 1 Gauss Prize Winner, a several Japan Prize winners, and a lot many international award winners.

The motto, “Freedom of academic culture,” has pushed the university to achieve excellence and honor. It is a matter of pride to study at Kyoto University, one of the best universities in the world, and certainly one of the best in Japan.