Interested in studying at Waseda University? Luckily, Waseda has many resources to support international students, including university-owned dormitories and housing support. One of the primary types of housing that international university students choose is dormitory-style living. While there are many other choices, dormitories are generally very convenient for incoming students. Waseda has dormitories that are exclusively for international students, so it can be easy to find a sense of community. Furthermore, dormitory arrangements are established before coming to Japan, which is convenient for students who do not want to worry about navigating the confusing world of real estate upon arrival. Despite the ease of dormitory living, it is still a foreign process that can be different from what you are familiar with in your home country. To answer some of these burning questions regarding the types of housing options that Waseda provides for its students, read on!

Generally, what sorts of residential options are available for Waseda students?

Firstly, it is important to reconfirm the difference between international Waseda undergraduate students and exchange students. International undergraduate students are students who have been admitted directly into Waseda University. These students are enrolled in a department at Waseda, and will most likely attend Waseda for four years. While also coming from abroad, these students are not concurrently enrolled in another university at the time they are studying at Waseda.

Meanwhile, exchange students are already enrolled in another university in their respective countries. While also students of Waseda who are enrolled in specific departments, these students are attending Waseda through a program. Although many students are attending through contractual agreements between their home university and Waseda, some students have independently found study abroad programs to sponsor their time abroad. Generally, exchange students will be studying for either one semester (around six months) or one school year. Exchange students will return to their primary universities upon return to their home countries.

It is important to know which of these two groups you would fall into, as Waseda University provides different residential options for both types of students. Incoming Waseda undergraduate students, both international and locally Japanese, are given a selection of Waseda owned student dormitories, as well as Waseda University affiliated dormitories. Meanwhile, Waseda exchange students have a separate selection of Waseda owned buildings. Exchange students can also choose to live in a Japanese homestay — Waseda assists with this process as well. There are other options as well for students, including independent apartments and share houses that are not affiliated with Waseda. Today we will be focusing on dormitory-style living.

How do you apply to live in a dormitory? How are dormitory residents selected?

After admittance into Waseda University, students are sent an email with a link to fill out an online housing questionnaire. This email is sent around six months before your arrival in Japan. The period to fill out this survey is very short; after the email is sent, students have only a few days to submit the survey before it is closed. Please be careful, because this questionnaire serves as an interest check. Failure to fill out the questionnaire means that Waseda will not consider you interested in living in a dormitory! It would be a good idea to fill out the questionnaire as soon as you receive it to make sure you don’t forget to submit it in time. 

There are around fifteen questions in the questionnaire, so it doesn’t take long to complete. The contents of the questionnaire are very general, including inquiries about:

  • Interest in either Waseda dormitories or homestay
  • Maximum rental payment
  • Accommodation style, such as a single or double room
  • Interest in off-campus partners as a backup, in the case that Waseda is unable to place you in its housing
  • General lifestyle facts
    • Sleeping habits
    • English level
    • Tobacco and alcohol usage

It is important to know some of the stipulations involved when filling out the survey. By submitting your interest, you are agreeing to be placed in a contract with one of Waseda’s student dormitories should you be chosen for housing. Selection for dormitory accommodations are also determined by a lottery system. This means that, based on the number of interested students, Waseda will choose the dormitory building, room style, and roommate based on a lottery. While a student’s preferences as indicated on the housing questionnaire are taken into consideration, ultimately the ability to get a dormitory room through Waseda is luck-based.

Due to this system, Waseda has a couple of options for students who are unable to be placed in a dormitory. If you state your interest in seeking housing off-campus partners in the questionnaire, Waseda will help you get into contact with such options. More about Waseda’s housing support can be seen here.

A few months after filling out the survey, Waseda will inform you of your housing acceptance. Congratulations! At this time, you will be told the building and room number you will be living in while in Japan. You will also be sent a contract from your building that establishes the dormitory rules, rental agreement, and costs. There will also be a contract that you should sign and bring with you upon moving in.

What are the options for international undergraduate students?

Waseda International Student House (WISH)

Basics

  • Waseda-owned dormitory
  • 11 floor building located in Nakano, Tokyo
  • Floors are split between male and female
  • Capacity of 872 students
  • Contract period of 2 years (1.5 if entering in September)
  • Significant communal space, as the 1st and 2nd floors are communal facilities
  • Shared kitchens on each floor
  • Single bedrooms, with four rooms per unit

WISH is an excellent choice for international students seeking a community among other international Waseda students. The large communal areas makes it easy for students to meet one another and hang out. WISH also holds many bonding events for its residents — approximately two per month! A comprehensive list can be found here.

Higashi-Fushimi Student Dormitory

Basics

  • Waseda-owned dormitory
  • Small men’s dormitory of 40 residents
  • Located in Nishitokyo, Tokyo
  • Houses both first year undergraduate and graduate students
  • Offers single (20 rooms) and twin (10 rooms) options

Higashi-Fushimi is a great idea for male students who want quieter living away from the bustle and noise of central Tokyo. As it is a smaller building, it is ideal for students who hope to create deep and close bonds with the other residents.

Waseda University Affiliated Dormitories

If you aren’t interested in living in WISH, one good place to start looking for dormitories is with Waseda University International Dormitories (WID). There are many WID dormitories in various parts of Tokyo. These dormitories are also available for Japanese students! As many of your housemates will be Japanese, WID is a good option for those seeking to make many Japanese friends. Due to the nature of these dormitories, please note that they are not as simple to navigate for international students as other options. Many resources will be available only in Japanese. Each dormitory has its own structure and rules. More information on these dormitories can be found here

For more information on living options for Waseda’s international students, please check Waseda’s Residence Life Center’s page for incoming Waseda international student housing here

What are the options for Waseda exchange students?

Waseda University Student House (Soudairyou)

Basics

  • Waseda-owned dormitory
  • South Wing (36 rooms) and North Wing (14 rooms)
  • Located in Nishiwaseda, Tokyo
  • 7 minute walk from Waseda University main campus
  • Single rooms only
  • Toilet and washroom is included in the dorm room
  • Communal showers

Waseda University Student House is good for students who are seeking a smaller residence that is still very close to campus. The community at these dorms is much more close knit, as there are fewer residents. It also features the largest floor plan among the other exchange student dormitories.

Waseda Hoshien

Basics

  • Waseda-owned dormitory
  • Located in Nishiwaseda, Tokyo
  • 5 minute walk from Waseda main campus
  • 3 buildings: Building 1, Building 3, and Building 5
  • Floors are separated by gender
  • Single rooms only
  • Communal showers
  • Shared toilet, although the rooms in Building 3 have private toilets

Waseda Hoshien is the closest student dormitory. It is a good option for students who want to be extremely close to Waseda’s main campus. It has a large open communal area, where residents from the other exchange student dormitories often gather. This is the only area among the three exchange student dormitories where visitors are allowed. If you would like to meet other exchange students not specifically from your own dorm, Waseda Houshien is a good choice.

Nishi-Waseda International Student Dormitory

Basics

  • 5 floors
  • Located in Nishiwaseda, Tokyo
  • 11 minute walk from Waseda University main campus
  • Co-ed living
  • Communal kitchens on each floor
  • Single (54 rooms) and twin (49 rooms) options
  • Private modular bathroom with a shower and toilet
  • Largest student dormitory in number of residents (162)

Nishi-Waseda International Student Dormitory is another large international exchange student dormitory. This dormitory is best for students who value privacy and would like a private bathroom. The kitchen space doubles as a living space, as there is lots of seating available.

For more information, please check Waseda’s Residence Life Center’s page for exchange student housing here.

Personal Experience: My thoughts on living in an exchange student dormitory (Nishi-Waseda)

I am currently living in Nishi-Waseda International Student Dormitory, often referred to as simply Nishi-Waseda. I have been living here for around three months so far in a single room. Overall, I’ve had a very positive experience.

The facilities here are nice; many kitchen utensils are provided, and cleaning in the common areas is done regularly. There is also an air conditioner in each room (in Japan, an air conditioner is used to regulate heat as well as A/C), as well as a decently sized refrigerator and freezer complex. The air conditioner in everyone’s rooms was replaced over the past month, so they are all new. Linens are also provided with a fee. However, I recommend buying or bringing your own pillow — the pillow that’s provided is a small beanbag pillow filled with rice that isn’t very comfortable. I think the best part of living in Nishi-Waseda as opposed to the other dormitories is the private modular bathroom. It’s been incredibly convenient not to need to leave my room to shower.

Living among the other exchange students has also been great. It has been very helpful to have information and support available in English. The community among the other exchange students has also been a reminder of what I am used to in America, while still maintaining the sense that I am living abroad. Also, living in a dormitory has been a good introduction to Japanese life. Shoes are to be removed in the foyer, and are not used in the building. We each have a shoe cubby, and were provided rubber indoor slippers upon our arrival. Rent is paid monthly via an automatic deduction from a Japanese bank account (other dorms, such as Hoshien, take monthly rent in cash). Furthermore, the size of the rooms are reminiscent of Japan’s typically smaller floor plans. This is due to the small amount of space to fit so many people in Tokyo. I found this to be a bit of an adjustment at first. Although the space is small, it is far from unlivable and I’m now used to it.

Nishi-Waseda is in a residential area, and is very quiet considering the dorm’s location in the heart of the city. I have also found it very easy to explore Tokyo from here. There are many large train stations that are only around a 10 minute walk away, such as Takadanobaba and Waseda stations. These stations can take you all over Tokyo. Such a close proximity to the bustle of Tokyo has been invaluable for my experience here.

How are Waseda University’s housing options?

Waseda University is renowned as a school with exceptional resources available for international students. Waseda’s Residence Life Center provided an orientation in both English and Japanese to help students adjust to life. Overall, I highly recommend Waseda’s dormitory system. The community and support that I have found here have been an invaluable addition to my experience in Japan so far.