Studying and Living for International Students in Japan

The Japanese education is known worldwide. The percentage of students who opt for higher education, namely Universities and Junior Colleges is very high. 


Accommodations for international students in Japan are diverse. There are accommodations run and managed by Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) and student housing operated by local governments and universities. About 76.8% of students from overseas stay in private accommodation. To get a private housing accommodation, you must contact your school‘s international student office, or you may even get in contact with a real estate agent to look for a place in the area/locality you want to stay in.

Different types of accommodation-

Student Dormitory: These are the least expensive accommodation. To get accommodation in these, you must apply through your universities. 

Private Accommodation: refers to renting a place. The cost varies depending upon the area and facilities. 
Two ways of finding private accommodation-
  • Contact your school: The school office at Japanese universities, specialized/professional training colleges and Japanese-language institutes help students in finding private accommodations/apartments within the school district
  • Real estate agency: You can even get an apartment through real estate agency. They act as mediators for apartment and condominium rentals. Contact your school as they are the ones who sometimes help in finding out a real estate agency.

Living Expenses

Monthly living expenses in Japan for a student from abroad, including tuition on average throughout the whole nation is around 138,000 yen. The least expensive area is the Tohoku region- the northeast Japan wherein the monthly living expense is about 110,000 yen, and the most expensive region is the Kanto region at 151,000 yen. The Kanto region consists of Tokyo, where the average monthly living expense is around 154,000 yen, a 44,000 yen difference from the least expensive Tohoku region.

Academic/Tuition Fees

The Academic/Tuition fees of the higher education institutions vary depending upon the type of institution. The National schools and universities possess the lowest tuition fees. Public universities cost slightly more. Private schools and universities tuition fee vary depending upon the subject chosen, and compared to public schools and universities, on average, law and economics course fees is 1.4 times more, arts courses-liberal arts and fine arts fees are 2.3 times more, and dentistry is the most expensive costing 6.2 times more.

 Institution Tuition Fees  Enrollment Fees  Total 
 National University  535,800  282,000  817,800
 Public Universities  537,960  397,595  935,555
 Private Liberal Arts University  741,945  250,910  1,153,279 (Including Facility & Maintenance Fees)
 Private Science University  1,035,955  265,942  1,491,479 (Including Facility & Maintenance Fees)
 National Graduate Schools  535,800  282,000  817,800
 Local Graduate Schools  535,948  374,913  910,881
 National College of Technology  234,600  84,600  319,200

Japanese Language Institution Tuition Fees-

For 1-year course: Ranges between 415,000 yen to 997,400 yen
For 18-month course: Ranges between 770,000 yen to 1,490,000 yen
For 2-year course: Ranges between 1,000,000 yen to 1,960,000 yen

Working While Studying

Most of the international students go for part-time word in order to help pay their living and tuition fees. Around 76% of international students holding the “College Students” status of residence are working part-time in Japan as per the survey taken by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). These students either work in the food industry, sales or marketing profile, and others. The hourly wage varies according to the locations and type of work, but those working in the food industry are earning around ¥800 to ¥1200 an hour. The international students are permitted to work for 28 hours a week and up to 8 hours a day during long school vacations. If working for 28 hours a week, then they’re getting approximately ¥22,400 to ¥33,600.

Procedure to work part-time: You are required to get a school’s or institution consent and obtain the ‘”Permit/approval to engage in activities outside the scope of your status of residence” from the nearest Regional Immigration Bureau. Upon obtaining these approvals you are allowed to work while studying (Part-time). There is also a limit on your working hours according to your status of residence. Please be within the approved time limit!

Internship: Provides experience to students in the field they want to go for.  At some institutions, “Internships” are a part of curriculum and students are given credits for it. There are many organizations offering internships to students in Japan.

Medical Insurance

International students whose stay in Japan is for more than one year are required to subscribe to the “National Health Insurance”. You need to register for the National Health Insurance at your closest or convenient local city/ward/municipal office and pay the insurance premium.
Once the registration is finished, the insurance premium has to be paid every month. The premium varies according to local councils and one’s income. Generally, the premium is around JPY 20, 000 per year. After you’ve registered with the National Health Insurance, you are required to pay 30% of the full medical bill. While getting any treatment done, you must show your insurance card and receive the discount. 
Many universities offer health insurance for students. Their policies vary depending upon the university. Therefore, contact the foreign student’s office at your university.

Accident Insurance and Individual Compensation Insurance

Accident Insurance includes injuries incurred in everyday living, traffic accidents and during travel. 
Individual Compensation Insurance includes property damage or injuries to other individuals due to your own neglect. With these insurances you can get the medical treatment at a reduced cost. To know more about these insurance policies, contact your university. 


Japan is known for its wide, easily-coordinated and effective transit network.  Student discount for public transportation is available for students.

Student Pass (TsugakuTeiki-ken)

Regular students are eligible to buy a student commuter pass at bus, train and subway station counters. Students are required to show their ID and certificate "Tsugaku Shomeisho,” in order to get the commuter pass. The Tsugaku Shomeisho certificate confirms that you are allowed to travel to and from the university. The Tsugaku Shomeisho can be acquired from the automated document-dispensing machines at various places on campus.
Non-regular students are required to take pre-paid coupon tickets or a commuter pass.

Other Student Discounts

Regular students are eligible to use the student discount certificate for Japan Railways (JR) on trips surpassing 101km one way. Other trains, buses and ferries also accepts the student discount certificate.

Travelling In and Around By Bus 

Japan has a wide-spread network of long-distance buses. You are required to pay the fare to the driver when you get on the bus. There are also change machine near the front of the bus that can change ¥100 and ¥500 coins and ¥1000 notes.

Getting Around by Trams

Many cities in Japan have tram lines mainly, Nagasaki,  Kōchi and Matsuyama on Shikoku, Hakodate on Hokkaidō, and Kumamoto and Kagoshima on Kyūshū,. Fares are paid to the driver.

Getting Around by Bicycles

Bicycles are the most common and easy form of transportation among students in Japan. Bicyclists must abide by the traffic rules, like Staying on the left side of the road, speed should be moderate, and so on.

Travelling In and Around by Automobiles

Students are required to get an International Driving Permit. An International Driving Permit is valid for only 1 year from the issuance date. If pupils are to use a car exceeding that time period, they have to acquire a Japanese driver's license.


You require a guarantor or a contact person when renting an apartment, when applying to higher education institution in Japan, and when working while studying. The guarantor is needed to gain the status of residence upon admittance, and as a financial backer for the remittance of tuition fee. 


You are required to submit the following items-
  • Letter of Guarantee
  • Letter of Pledge
  • Resident Card of Guarantor
  • Letter of employment

Note: Fees amount etc. may vary depending on time of application, programme type and institutes' policies etc. For exact numbers please contact to the programme administrator.

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