10 Best Japanese Universities That are International Student Friendly

Foreigner friendly universities in Japan

Best Japanese Universities That are International Student Friendly

Many young foreigners come to Japan with the sole purpose and goal to study at a Japanese university.

This is because there are many merits to studying at a Japanese university such as learning Japanese-style business manners while getting to experience a unique culture firsthand.

However, there are many universities in Japan to choose from. Some people may have a specific university they want to apply to. But for those who have no idea where they want to apply to, it might be difficult to find a lot of information regarding Japanese universities.

In this article, I will show you a little about the situation of international students in Japan as well as introduce to you 10 of the best Japanese universities that are international student-friendly.

The Situation of International Students in Japan

walking around university campus

First, let me explain the overview of the situation of international students in Japan.

Number of international students in Japan

According to research made by the Japan Student Services Organization, the number of international students in Japan has been increasing at a quite fast pace. The total number of international students in Japan (as of 2019) was around 312,000, which is more than triple that of 20 years ago.

Where do these international students come from?

Most of these international students come from Asian countries such as China and Vietnam. Asian international students compose 94% of all international students in Japan. This is followed by foreigners from Europe (2.8%), and then, North America (0.7%).

Where are international students studying at?

The prefecture where most international students study is, as you may guess, Tokyo with over 100,000 students. This is followed by Osaka (around 24,000 students) and Fukuoka (around 19,000 students).

What majors are popular?

The majors that are most popular among international students are “Humanities” consisting of 36%, followed by “Social science” (29%) and “Engineering” (15%).

What kind of programs are there for international students?

studying at university

There are several ways that you can get into a Japanese university. One way is utilizing Japanese Government Scholarships. Another way (the more common way) is to apply as a private expense international student.

Major Japanese universities will mostly have a certain amount of spots reserved especially for foreign students.

Depending on the university, the requisites and required documents for applying vary, and even the entrance exams can be very different. I will explain this later on.

Also, there are some universities that have “English-taught Degree Programs” where classes are all taught in English rather than Japanese.

10 Best Japanese Universities that are International Student Friendly

From here, let me introduce to you 10 of the best universities in Japan that are international student-friendly. This means that these universities have either a high number of spots reserved for international students or they have a high percentage of international students compared to Japanese nationals.

All of the following universities have some kind of special program that make the integration process easier for international students to the new environment. I hope there’s a university that interests you.

1. Waseda University

Waseda University
Waseda University website

The first Japanese university on this list that is international students friendly is Waseda university (早稲田大学).

Waseda university is one of the most prestigious private universities in all of Japan and is, in fact, the university that has most international students enrolled.

In March of 2014, near Nakano station in Tokyo, this university opened a large dormitory specially for international students.

▶Official Website: https://www.waseda.jp/top/en/

2. Japan University of Economics

Japan University of Economics
Japan University of Economics website

Japan University of Economics (日本経済大学) is also a highly popular university among foreigners, being the 3rd most enrolled Japanese university by international students.

This university has its main campus in Fukuoka, but they also have campuses in Tokyo and Kobe. All these three campuses are enabling a relatively large amount of international students to get in.

International students from over 20 different countries study here in order to, later on, get a job at either Japanese or international companies.

▶Official Website: https://www.jue.ac.jp/en/

3. University of Tokyo

University of Tokyo
University of Tokyo website

University of Tokyo (東京大学) is arguably the most prestigious university in Japan.

Although it is one of the most difficult universities to get in, it is also one of the universities that have the most international students.
Every year, people from over 100 countries are accepted to this university.

About 10% of all undergraduates and about 20% of graduate students here are international students.

In 2012, a program called “PEAK” was created which allows students to get school credits by taking classes in English.

▶Official Website: https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/en/

4. Kyoto University

Kyoto University
Kyoto University website

Kyoto University (京都大学) is, along with the University of Tokyo, one of the two most prestigious universities in all of Japan. Not only a top-class university in Japan but also in the world.

Just like the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University is also a national university and is the 4th university with the most international students enrolled.

This university has a long history, being established in 1897, and it has over 2,500 international students from over 100 countries.

▶Official Website: https://www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en

5. Meiji University

Meiji University
Meiji University website

Meiji University (明治大学) is a private university located in Tokyo. It has four campuses which are located in Surugadai, Izumi, Ikuta, and Nakano.

Meiji University has a “School of Global Japanese Studies” which is an English track program that started in 2011. This has encouraged many international students to apply to this university.

The Nakano campus is where the “School of Global Japanese Studies” is located, which has caused this area to become a popular area to live among foreigners.

▶Official Website: https://www.meiji.ac.jp/cip/english/

6. Sophia University

Sophia University
Sophia University website

Sophia University (上智大学) is a private university located in Yotsuya, Tokyo.

Just like Meiji University, Sophia University not only has spots available for international students, but they also have “English-taught Degree Programs” where classes are all taught in English rather than Japanese.

However, this university has had this program for many years now, so they have a more extensive variety of faculties such as liberal arts, science and technology, and program for sustainable futures.

This is one of the universities that started the globalization of Japanese universities, creating global networks to allow students and researchers from other countries to Japan as well as allowing Japanese students and researchers to go abroad.

▶Official Website: https://www.sophia.ac.jp/eng/

7. Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University website

Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (立命館アジア太平洋大学) is a university located in Beppu, Oita prefecture.

This university is known to be the Japanese university having the highest ratio of international students. About half of all students are of foreign nationality.

Also known as APU, this university opened in the year 2000 and it has grown to become one of the most multicultural universities in all of Japan. Throughout the years, they’ve received students from over 150 countries.

This uniquely international environment allows students to have a more intercultural experience that is an extra plus side for people who are aiming to become global leaders in different fields.

▶Official Website: https://en.apu.ac.jp/home/

8. University of Tsukuba

University of Tsukuba
University of Tsukuba website

The University of Tsukuba (筑波大学) is another Japanese university that has put emphasis on creating an intercultural environment within its campus since many years ago.

This national university has over 2,000 international students which consists of just over 10% of all students.

The university has 2 campuses; one in Tsukuba, Ibaraki prefecture, and the other one in Tokyo. They also have related facilities within Japan and also overseas.

They offer degree programs not only in Japanese but also in English. Some of the English degree programs are International Social Science, International Medical Schience, and Life and Environmental Science.

▶Official Website: https://www.tsukuba.ac.jp/en/

9. Osaka University of Tourism

Osaka University of Tourism
Osaka University of Tourism website

Next, we have the Osaka University of Tourism 大阪観光大学). This is another university in Japan that has a high ratio of international students, with a 39%.

This university is relatively new, opening its doors for the first time in the year 2000 in Sennan Gun, Osaka.

Being a smaller university compared to the others on this list makes it easier for students and teachers to have a closer relationship, making the 4-year experience a much richer one.

Even though it has the word “Tourism” in its name, it doesn’t necessarily focus only on the tourism aspect. Many graduates advance to non-tourism-related jobs such as commerce, real estate, and education.

▶Official Website: https://www.tourism.ac.jp/en/

10. Kobe International University

Kobe international University
Kobe international University website

Lastly, on this list, we have Kobe International University (神戸国際大学). This is also a university that is international student-dense, having over 24% of its students being from abroad.

Also known as KIU, this university offers a relatively large amount of spots for international students. For undergraduates, they have a faculty of economics and a faculty of rehabilitation.

An attractive thing about this university is that they also offer “pre-sessional courses” and a “Japanese language training program” to help international students integrate into the university.

▶Official Website: https://www.kobe-kiu.ac.jp/en/

I hope you enjoyed this article.

The information I provided in this article is pretty general, so if you want to know more details about each of these universities, please go check their official website for more info.

Each of these universities has something that makes them special. Hopefully, you will be able to find the perfect university for you.

For more information regarding studying or living in Japan, be sure to check out our other articles!

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Written by

Born and raised in Costa Rica, I started living in Tokyo from college. I love traveling within Japan & around the world. Since I wasn’t born in Japan, I know the cultural impact that you can get when visiting Japan for the first time and what you might be worried about before your trip. And I’ve lived long enough to somewhat understand the nuances of the Japanese culture that make this country such an attractive place to visit. Hopefully I can provide to you both the information you’re looking for and the information you didn’t know you needed to know.