Don’t give up searching for a scholarship to help you study in Japan! Discover the 20 most popular scholarships that help international students below! 

Interested in learning about full scholarships offered by Japanese Universities? Click the link here!

Studying abroad can be an expensive endeavor, but luckily there is a wealth of scholarships for international students to apply for when studying abroad in Japan. Researching all of the available scholarships without a proper search tool is a maddening task, so we’ve narrowed the list down to the 20 best scholarships that may be most applicable and desirable for international students. All scholarships are sourced from the 2021 JASSO Scholarship file.

Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarships

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) of the Japanese Government offers seven scholarships under this category. These scholarships are one of the most popular scholarships for international students as they cover undergraduate and graduate studies, and even offer Japanese language training for students who have little or no knowledge of the Japanese language. Here are some of the most important details of the two largest MEXT scholarships:

1. MEXT Undergraduate Student Scholarship

  • Age: 17-21 years old
  • Grade: Undergraduate
  • Subjects: a wide range of subjects in the fields of Social Science and Humanities (e.g., Law, Economics), as well as Natural Sciences (e.g., Biology, Physics)
  • Stipend: Monthly stipend of ¥117,00, although this amount might vary according to the location the student ends up studying at.
  • Japanese language training: one year
  • Duration: Up to five years, or six to seven for subjects such as Dentistry or Medicine.

Read the How to fill out the MEXT Scholarship Application Form and apply!

2. MEXT Research Student (Graduate School Student and Research Student) Scholarship

  • Age: Under 35 years old
  • Grade: Graduate (Research, Masters, and Doctoral)
  • Subjects: a field of study that is the same, or related to, the field studies at their previous university.
  • Stipend: Monthly stipend the amount of which will depend on their grade:
    • Non-degree (research student): ¥143,000
    • Master’s: ¥144,000
    • Doctoral: ¥145,000
    • Japanese language training: ¥143,000
  • Duration: period to complete regular course (for degree students); two years maximum (Research students) before conversion to regular degree courses
  • Read the How to apply for the 2020 MEXT Scholarship (Research Students) and apply today!

JASSO Scholarship

3. The Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students

Offered by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), this is a scholarship for international students who are currently studying in Japan. A range of Japanese educational institutions, e.g., Japanese universities, specialized training colleges, or university preparatory courses are approved by Monbukagakusho and sent notices when the scholarship becomes available. While the amount offered is not as large as other scholarships on this list, students can sometimes apply for this scholarship in addition to other scholarships. Some of this scholarship’s details are as follows:

  • Stipend: Monthly stipend of ¥48,000
  • Grade: a range of Japanese educational institutions, e.g., Japanese universities, specialized training colleges, or university preparatory courses approved by MEXT.
  • Duration: One year (From April to March of the next year)
  • Application period: Late March to May. Applications are submitted through schools, and therefore the application period will vary depending on the school’s schedule.

Visit the Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students – JASSO to learn more!

4. Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan)

Another financial funding program provided by JASSO is the Student Exchange Support Program for short-term international exchange students. It is recommended that you apply for this JASSO scholarship at the time of submitting your application to the Japanese host school.

  • Stipend: Monthly stipend of ¥80,000
  • Grade: Junior College, College of Technology, Undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral Students
  • Duration: 8 days to 12 months

Check out Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan) – JASSO!

Japanese Scholarships by Local Governments and Local International Associations

These scholarships are very localized – i.e., only available to students studying in certain cities or prefectures. Some of them also require residency in select cities. Nevertheless, this section of the scholarships list may still be relevant especially for international students intending to study outside of Tokyo. Here are a couple of scholarships of interest:

5. Mie Prefectural Scholarship for Foreign Students

  • Offered by the Mie International Exchange Foundation
  • Age: Under 40
  • Grade: Junior College, Undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral Students
  • Scholarship coverage: Tuition Fee up to ¥600,000 per year
  • Duration: up to the completion of degree
  • Only for students intending to or studying in Mie Prefecture

Get the contact information from Mie Prefectural Scholarship for Foreign Students (Mie International Exchange Foundation)!

6. Future Development Scholarship for International Students (Fukuoka City)

  • Age: not mentioned
  • Grade: Undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral
  • Stipend: ¥300,000 – ¥500,000 per year, depending on the individual applying.
  • Duration: dependent on the individual’s needs

Find out more at International Student Scholarships|Fukuoka City International Foundation!

Japanese Scholarships from Private Foundations

The entire list of scholarships offered under this category varies greatly in terms of stipend, duration, subjects allowed, conditions for post-graduation, and citizenship requirements.

Students looking to apply for scholarships on this list should look closely at the application requirements, and also at the conditions stipulated by the scholarship. Many of them are scholarships to support graduate students. For this section, we’ve selected the scholarships that cover the broadest possible range of students. Each one has a minimum of two-year coverage unless otherwise stated.

7. ITO Foundation for International Education Exchange Scholarships for Foreign Students

  • Age: Preferably under 30
  • Grade: Master’s (Year 1)
  • Stipend: ¥180,000 per month

Find out more at Ito Foundation For International Education Exchange!

8. Kashiyama Scholarship Foundation

  • Age: Under 30 (Master’s); Under 35 (Doctoral)
  • Grade: Master’s (Year 1) or Doctoral (Year 2)
  • Stipend: ¥120,000 per month

Unfortunately, the Kashiyama Scholarship Foundation 財団法人樫山奨学財団 only has a Japanese website. Please try using the translate option o your web browser or contact us for the support!

9. Kato Asao International Scholarship Foundation

  • Age: Under 30 (Undergraduate and Master’s); Under 35 (Doctoral)
  • Grade: Undergraduate (Year 3-4); Master’s (Year 1-2); Doctoral (Year 1-3, or Year 1-4 for 4-year programs such as medicine)
  • Stipend: dependent on grade
    • Undergraduate: ¥120,000 per month
    • Master’s: ¥130,000 per month
    • Doctoral: ¥150,000 per month

Applications for this scholarship are accepted through its partner universities. Here is an example of the 2020 Kato Asao International Scholarship Application for Kobe University!

10. International Kyowa Scholarship Foundation

  • Grade: Technical Colleges and Professional Training students, in addition to Undergraduate to Doctoral students
  • Stipend: ¥120,000 per month

Applications for this scholarship are accepted through its partner universities. Here is an example of Scholarship for Privately Financed Students in Saitama University: International Kyowa Scholarship Foundation (2021FY)!

11. Kobayashi International Scholarship Foundation – General Scholarship

  • Age: 35 or under
  • Grade: Undergraduate (Year 3 – 4); Master’s; Doctoral
  • Stipend: dependent on grade
    • Undergraduate: ¥150,000 per month
    • Master’s and Doctoral: ¥180,000 per month
  • Duration: dependent on grade
    • Undergraduate: 2 years
    • Masters: 2 years
    • Doctoral: 3 years

12. Sato Yo International Scholarship Foundation

  • Grade: Undergraduate to Doctoral
  • Stipend: dependent on grade
    • Undergraduate: ¥150,000 per month
    • Master’s and Doctoral: ¥180,000 per month

Find out more at Scholarship for Self-Supporting Students | Sato Yo International scholarship foundation!

13. Tokyu Foundation for Foreign Students

  • Age: Under 30 (Master’s); Under 35 (Doctoral)
  • Grade: Master’s and Doctoral
  • Stipend: ¥180,000 per month

Unfortunately, the 東急財団 | The Tokyu Foundation only has a Japanese website. Please try using the translate option o your web browser or contact us for the support!

14. Tokio Marine Kagami Memorial Foundation – Scholarship for ASEAN students*

  • Age: 30 or under (Master’s Year 1 – 2); 35 or under (Doctoral Year 1 – 3)
  • Grade: Master’s Year (1 – 2); Doctoral Year (1 – 3)
  • Stipend: ¥180,000 per month
  • Duration: until completion of degree

Check out the guideline offered by the University of Tokyo for the Tokyo Marine Kagami Memorial Foundation!

15. Japan Educational Exchanges and Services – Mitsubishi Corporation International Scholarship (JEES Sponsor-Crowned Scholarship)*

  • Grade: Undergraduate (Year 3 – 4); Master’s; Doctoral
  • Stipend: grade dependent
    • Undergraduate: ¥100,000 per month
    • Master’s and Doctoral: ¥150,000 per month
  • Duration: until completion of degree

Learn more about the JEES by visiting its online guidebook!

16. NOMURA Foundation

  • Age: under 35
  • Grade: Master’s and Doctoral
  • Stipend: ¥200,000 per month

Find out more about the scholarship at the Nomura Foundation website!

17. Honjo International Scholarship Foundation

  • Age: 30 or under (Master’s); 35 or under (Doctoral)
  • Grade: Master’s and Doctoral
  • Stipend: grade- and duration-dependent
    • Master’s: ¥200,000 per month
    • Doctoral (3 years): ¥180,000 per month
    • Doctoral (4 – 5 years): ¥150,000 per month

Find out more at Honjo International Scholarship Foundation!

18. Rohm Music Foundation

  • Grade: High school to Doctoral
  • Designated field of study: Music
  • Stipend: ¥300,000 per month
  • Duration: 1 year or up to the completion of degree

Learn more at Development of Music Culture | Rohm Music Foundation!

19. Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation Inc.

  • Age: Under 35 at the commencement of payment
  • Grade: Undergraduate to Doctoral
  • Stipend: grade dependent
    • Master’s: ¥100,000 per month
    • Doctoral: ¥140,000 per month

Find out more about the scholarships at Scholarships | Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation!

Scholarships to Study in Japan for Applicants Residing Abroad

Many scholarships from private and local foundations for studying in Japan require international students to be already based in Japan at the time of applying.

However, there are some scholarships from private foundations available to students who are intending to study in Japan but have yet to move there.

20. INOAC International Education and Scholarship Foundation

  • Designated Countries: Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Stipend: ¥170,000 per month + travel expenses

Make sure to check for scholarships in your home country, as there are undoubtedly many options available to you there as well.

Find out more about this foundation at INOAC International Education and Scholarship Foundation!

That’s Not the End!

Hope you have enjoyed the list of the 20 best scholarships to study in Japan!

If you are specifically looking for more full scholarships offered by the Japanese Universities themselves, check out this article that we have also written below.

The Top 5 (and only) Full Scholarships offered by Japanese Universities

There are always more scholarships out there. Use the SchooLynk Scholarship Search tool to find Japanese scholarships perfect for you today.