Why study in Japan?
There are many reasons to study in Japan. The first and foremost is the cultural experience. Japan has one foot firmly rooted in East Asian culture but they also have a strong influence of Western and American culture. However on top of that you have a truly unique Japanese culture that don’t resemble anything else. Japanese pop culture attracts loads of young people around the world. Many students learnt their first Hiragana characters while reading Japanese Manga and first got exposed to the spoken language when watching Anime. J-pop, Cosplay, and Japanese fashion all have a strong appeal as do the more traditional culture with Samurais, temples and ancient stories.

The Japanese Education System
Japan has one of the most highly educated and skilled populations in the world. This is one of the key factors for the country’s post-war economic takeoff and rapid growth.

There are private and public schools at all levels from kindergarten to university. Public schools charge very affordable fees and are popular choices for compulsory education up to lower secondary levels (junior high school). From upper secondary level education, a private school can be an investment for the fierce competition for university entry. Job opportunities are closely linked to your university degree.

When and how to apply?

University application

Most universities in Japan recruit twice a year, for the spring semester starting in April, and the autumn semester in September. There is not a unified admission platform for students to apply centrally. Each university sets its own schedule, so the application deadline can be different from school to school, usually 6 months before the start of the semester. Nowadays many universities open their applications online and you can find their application deadlines on their website.

Here is an example of the application schedule and procedures for Japanese universities:

ScheduleSpring SemesterAutumn Semester
Submit the initial application online and pay the application feeNovemberMarch
Post additional application documents to schoolDecemberApril
Notice of admissionFebruaryJune
Tuition payment and visa application:February – MarchJuly – August
School startAprilSeptember


The documents you need to submit with your application are usually:

  • Application form
  • Personal statement
  • Official transcript from high school and/or university
  • Graduation certificate
  • Valid standardized test scores (SAT/ACT/TOEFL/IELTS/EJU)
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Passport photocopy

Japanese language school application

Japanese Language Schools have a quarter system where each quarter is ten weeks long. The main start dates are April and October, but many language schools also have start dates in January and July. Some schools have short term courses start every month and more Westernized schools like GenkiJacs have start dates every Monday for non-beginner students.

Short term courses can be a couple of weeks up to 3 months long, without a student visa. For long term courses (20+ weeks) you need to start your application 6 months in advance to most language schools due to the visa application that is done through the school.

Here is an example of the application schedule and procedures for Japanese Language Schools:

Course startAprilJulyOctoberJanuary
Application document preparationAugust – OctoberDecember – FebruaryFebruary – AprilJune – August
Deadline for submission & application fee paymentEnd of NovemberMiddle of MarchBeginning of JuneMiddle of September
Notice of ResultEnd of FebruaryEnd of MayEnd of AugustEnd of November
Tuition fee payment and final visa applicationMarchJuneSeptemberDecember


Example of application documents needed:

  • Application form ( School prescribed )
  • Personal record ( School prescribed )
  • Letter of financial support ( School prescribed )
  • Diploma / degree copy of the highest level education
  • Passport copy ( Photo page and all Japan entry stamp pages if applicable )
  • Photos <6 – 8 photos> Size : 4cm X 3cm ( Passport photo size )
  • Guarantor’s bank balance certificate ( Amount should be enough for your total cost )
  • Guarantor’s employment and income certificate
  • Relationship certificate between you and your guarantor