When deciding on which university to attend for undergraduate education, the financial cost seems to be the inevitable elephant in the room. Sure, studying in Japan would be exciting and rewarding, but wouldn’t it be too expensive?

Not really! According to a 2019 Times Higher Education article, Japanese college tuition is relatively low, especially in comparison to those of universities in the US and UK. However, low tuition does not NECESSARILY reflect the financial cost of attending a Japanese university for its entirety. In addition to tuition, there is accommodation and the one-time admission fee to keep in mind as well, which will be the three areas discussed in the list below. As a side note, the fees for Accommodations listed below reflect those of international dormitories offered by each university, which could easily be substituted with other universities affiliated or even unaffiliated housing options.

Without further ado, here is a rundown of Japan’s top universities (national and private) with their respective financial costs.

1. The University of Tokyo (National University)

University of Tokyo Campus

Ranked as one of the top (if not, THE top) universities in Japan, the University of Tokyo is the nation’s oldest and largest national university. Known internationally for its excellent research, the University of Tokyo offers various programs for foreign exchange students, such as the Bachelor of Arts program PEAK (Programs in English at Komaba) and the Bachelors of Science program GSC (Global Science Center).

Cost Rundown:

Tuition: JPY 535,800 per year

Admission fee: JPY 282,000

Accommodation: JPY 40,000 per month

2. Kyoto University (National University)

Kyoto University

Located in one of Japan’s most historic and culturally rich cities, Kyoto University offers both the academic prestige and cultural experience for international students. Being in such a globally well-known tourist site, one may imagine the cost to be as grand as its location. However, its tuition and admission fees are identical to that of most other national universities. Its English-based programs include the liberal arts undergraduate degree program and the Undergraduate International Course Program of Civil Engineering.

Cost Rundown:

Tuition: JPY 535,800 per year

Admission fee: JPY 282,000

Accommodation: various international dormitories are offered, ranging from JPY 18,600 (water, internet access, bedding, electricity, and gas included) to JPY 38,300 per month. For more information:
https://kuiso.oc.kyoto-u.ac.jp/housing/kuih/en

3. Osaka University (National University)

Osaka University Minoh Campus West Entrance Source: https://www.pdfkitapciniz.com/tag/universitysign

Located in an internationally renowned hot spot for trade and commerce, the University of Osaka is for those adventurous students who seek a unique learning environment. The International College oversees the university’s two English-degree programs: the Human Sciences International Undergraduate Degree Program and the International Undergraduate Program in Science.

Cost Rundown:

Tuition: JPY 535,800 per year

Admission fee: JPY 282,000

Accommodation: various international dormitories are offered, ranging from JPY 5,900 (Toyonaka Campus) to JPY 16,000 per month. For more information:
https://iss-intl.osaka-u.ac.jp/supportoffice/eng/housing/types/university/

4. Kyushu University (National University)

Kyushu University Campus

With particular prestige in the fields of medicine and innovative science, Kyushu University is regarded highly not only in Japan, but in all of Asia. The modern architecture of its recently renovated campuses reflects the university’s creative innovations. Kyushu University offers an English-based undergraduate degree program in the School of Engineering and the School of Bioresource and Bio environment.

Cost Rundown

Tuition: JPY 535,800 per year (Students of the international undergraduate program who do not have Japanese citizenship are also entitled to a reduction of half the first-year tuition fee)

Admission fee: JPY 282,000

Accommodation: various international dormitories are offered, ranging from JPY 4,700 to JPY 24,000 per month. For more information:
http://www.isc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/supportcenter/en/housing-2

5. Waseda University (Private)

A picture of the famous Okuma Statue and Okuma Auditorium
Waseda University, Waseda Campus

Based in central Tokyo, Waseda University provides a lively environment for international students with a diverse range of restaurants and shops just a hand’s reach away. It is known for its lively student body and countless club activities, contributing to a vibrant student life. With English-based degree programs under seven different undergraduate schools, the Waseda University provides specialized and plentiful options for international students.

The Cost Rundown

Tuition: varies by department, ranging from JPY 999,000 to JPY 1,446,000 per year. For more information:
https://www.waseda.jp/inst/admission/assets/uploads/2019/11/TuitionFees-for-undergraduate.pdf

Admission fee: JPY 200,000

Monthly Accommodation: JPY 53,000 for WISH (Waseda International Student House). For more information on WISH:
https://www.waseda.jp/inst/rlc/en/wish/concept/

For more information on other housing options:
https://wasedalife.com/feature/

6. Keio University (Private)

Keio University Campus

As the first private institute of higher education in Japan, the Keio University exhibits both historical magnificence and innovative modernity. It offers two English-based degree undergraduate programs, the PEARL (Programme in Economics for Alliance, Research, and Leadership) and the GIGA (Global Information and Governance Academic), with other selections of courses taught in English.

The Cost Rundown

Tuition: JPY 1,128,250 for PEARL and JPY 1,391,250 for GIGA per year

Admission Fee: JPY 200,000

Accommodation: Monthly rent ranging from JPY 63,500 to JPY 75,700, plus annual maintenance fee of JPY 20,000. For more information:
https://www.keio.ac.jp/en/assets/download/student-life/housing/housing-fees.pdf

7. Sophia University (Private)

A view of the university's campus and logo
Sophia University Campus

Located in the Heart of Tokyo, Sophia University is the pioneer of international programs in Japan. The cross-cultural environment brings both homely nostalgia and exotic excitement to the university campus. The Sophia University offers a wide range of options for majors and courses, hosted by the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Sophia Programs for Sustainable Futures.

Cost Rundown

Tuition: JPY 1,290,650 per year

Admission Fee: JPY 200,000

Accommodation: Ranging from JPY 45,000 to JPY 95,000 per month (including utilities cost). For more information:
https://www.sophia.ac.jp/eng/studentlife/housinginfo/sophiadormitories/index.html

In conclusion…

In general, tuition fees for Japanese universities are fairly low in a global context… Banzai! While this article covered the three main financial costs of undergraduate education, there are possible fees for transportation, utilities, food, and socialization to keep in mind as well. Under a similar light, the above universities all offer scholarships and financial aid for international students, which could potentially cover the above-mentioned fees for its entirety! So before waving sayonara at the chance to study in Japan, you may want to consider the various financial options for attending and their pleasantly surprising feasibility!