The University of Tokyo, known otherwise affectionately as Todai, is one of Japan’s most renowned universities. It has three main campuses – Hongo, Komaba, and the newest – Kashiwa Campus. Each of the campuses has a different academic focus, and Todai’s Kashiwa Campus aims to be a global leader in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary fields that can solve the challenges of the future. For example, located on the Kashiwa Campus are institutions such as the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences (GSFS), the Institute for Solid State Physics (ISP), and the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research (ICRR).
Another big academic difference from the Hongo and Komaba campuses is that the Kashiwa Campus is home to mostly graduate and research students, and researchers, due to the type of institutions and departments housed on the campus. Furthermore, the Kashiwa Campus has a very strong international outlook and hosts many short and long-term foreign researchers, in addition to its diverse student body.
Living in Kashiwa
While the Hongo and Komaba campuses are located closer to central Tokyo, the Kashiwa Campus is located in Chiba Prefecture, Kashiwa City; approximately 30km northeast of Tokyo. Certainly, while the area in which the Kashiwa Campus is located in is not as bustling or exciting as central Tokyo, there are many wonderful aspects to living around Kashiwa City.
Firstly, Kashiwa Campus is also only a 20-minute bus ride away from the center of Kashiwa City – one of the biggest cities in Chiba Prefecture. For many students, Kashiwa City is just like a smaller, less crowded Tokyo. It has all the food, attractions, and entertainment Tokyo can offer, only at a smaller scale. For the more adventurous, as many Kashiwa Campus students have done before and can, therefore, vouch for, cycling to Kashiwa City from Kashiwa Campus is also possible and takes only approximately 40 minutes. Not only is cycling cheaper and more fun, but it is also an excellent opportunity to explore the sprawling geography of the Kashiwa area, and admire the peaceful scenery.
Secondly, the Kashiwa Campus is well-connected with other parts of Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture with the express train: Tsukuba Express. The Tsukuba Express can get one from Kashiwanoha-Campus Station (the station closest to Kashiwa Campus) to Tokyo in approximately 30 minutes!
For those who appreciate the quieter life and abundant nature, however, Kashiwa Campus has those in spades. In fact, the Kashiwa Campus is located just next to the beautiful Kashiwanoha Park – a wonderfully conducive location for morning runs, picnics, or weekend music programs. All one has to do is walk the few steps to cross the traffic junction separating Kashiwa Campus from Kashiwanoha Park. Also nearby are picturesque cafes and bookstores (the Kashiwanoha T-SITE) that many students study in, or hang out at, during the weekends.
While the idea of living in a more ‘rural’ neighborhood (‘inaka‘ as some may call it) might seem daunting to some international students, one might never know what kind of great academic and living experience they can gain from trying somewhere new!