Study Abroad in Japan

Japan is a great place to study abroad. Japanese students are relaxed during their college years, and foreigners get to enjoy the safety and health that the country is known for.

Blake_in_roppongiStudying abroad in Japan is ideal for college students, but there are full-time language schools where you can live the student life at any age. 

This little guide will cover what to do if you're a:

  • College student
  • Adult
  • Looking for information about the Monbusho scholarship

Let's get started!

College Students

Visit your school's Study Abroad office. Their programs and assistance will be the easiest and most affordable way for you to spend some time living in Japan.

Your college may have an exchange student agreement with a Japanese university, which improves your chances of admission, makes it easier to get credit for classes taken abroad, and may even lower the price or give you an automatic scholarship. Exchange programs are highly recommended.

If your school doesn't offer any programs here in Japan, here are a handful that will accept you and may not be that expensive:

Oita University
J.F. Oberlin University (Tokyo) (aka Obirin University)
Nanzan University via IES (Nagoya)
Iwate University
Meikai University via IES (Tokyo)
Sophia University via CIEE (Tokyo) (aka Jochi University)


There are full-time language schools out there, but the Yamasa Institute in Aichi is the old standby. You'll have to pay your own way, but this is about as close as you can get to a study abroad once you're out of school. 

What about the Monbusho scholarship?

Yes, the Japanese government offers scholarships to students studying in Japan. Problem is, these are extremely competitive, highly specialized, and require a high level of Japanese proficiency.

If you're a very solid student, have a unique specialization that's a known business in Japan for which you could go to grad school (could be anything from electrical engineering to fashion) and read and write Japanese very well, then check into the scholarship's page on the Japanese Consulate at Chicago.

Be warned: scholarship students have to jump through a ton of bureaucratic hoops and live on a shoestring budget, so you should be really committed to the cause before applying.

If you're serious about the scholarship hunt, you may also check with the independent organization JASSO for some more leads.

What else?

If you head to Japan to study, don't forget to live it up. Read our Japan Tour Guide for some ideas.