8 Cheap Universities in Japan for International Students

Japan has been one of the most influential and most and powerful countries in many aspects of the country’s development such as economy, wealth, industry, and technology. This is the reason why many students around the globe wanted to experience progressive learning and high-quality education that Japan may have to offer.

Since the country has been doing well in other parameters, international students believe that good opportunities will come their way if they take their chance of studying there. However, some people lose confidence in trying to apply for any university because they think that living in a fully-developed and successful country would be expensive. That’s why, if you were one of those students who dream of being able to get accepted in any Japanese university within your budget, here is some information about the universities in Japan with the cheapest tuition fees.

Cost of Studying in Japan

Far from the assumptions of other students, living in Japan is relatively cheaper than most industrially developed countries. From their living expenses up to the universities’ tuition fees, one can survive their whole educational stay in the country if they would be wise in spending your allowance.

On average, the tuition fees in Japan range from 540,000 yen up to 750,000 yen or 5,100 USD up to 7,100 USD annually depending on the type of university you will be enrolling in. National, public, and private are the types of universities in Japan. If you are looking for cheap universities in Japan, you should look into national universities and not private. On living expenses, only housing rents san be pricy in Japan especially if you live in an apartment near a city. On average monthly rent costs 138,000 yen up to 160,000 yen or 1,300 USD up to 1,515 USD along with monthly food expenses amounting approximately to 158,000 yen or 1500 dollars.

Are Universities Free in Japan?

As of now only, preschool, primary, and secondary education are free in Japan for its citizens and their government is still working on the policy about making higher education free for the Japanese. As a country whose power and influence depend on intellectual people managing the issues and policies, Japan has been investing in giving its citizens the free education they deserve that will lead the country to continue prospering.

For international students, tuition fees must still be paid because the student visa they will be receiving from Japan does not cover free education from the country. With this said, the tuition fees in the universities of Japan were consistent no matter what university you will choose.

What are the languages of instruction for universities in Japan?

Universities in Japan either have Japanese or English as the language of instruction of their courses. A bunch of international students resides in the country that’s why English courses have been updated to match the number of foreign students at each university.

Some universities such as the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Hokkaido University offer separate brochures for degrees taught in English to cater to international students who do not speak Japanese well. However, some subjects for foreign students about learning basic Japanese are free to attend.

Cheapest Universities in Japan

1. University of Tsukuba

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 356,400 JPY – 535,800 JPY ($3,383 USD – $5,086)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 535,800 JPY – 817,800 JPY ($5,086 USD – $7,762)
  • Tuition Fee Link

In contrast with universities having specialization in specific sciences, the University of Tsukuba wants to be specialized in general and applied sciences in participation with educational and research organizations. The university wanted to focus on reliving and sharing the Japanese culture to all of its students so they try to contribute as much as they can to the cultural society. This is the reason why the university offers a generalized degree for the students to enjoy and absorb the culture of Japan. With the tuition fee of around $4,500, University of Tsukuba is considered the cheapest university in Japan.

2. Tokyo Institute of Technology

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 535,800 JPY – 635,400 JPY ($5,076 USD – $6,020)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 535,800 JPY – 665,400 JPY ($5,076 USD – $6,302)
  • Tuition Fee Link

As the top national university for science and technology, The Tokyo Institute of Technology’s role in their country is vital to its development and progress in terms of economy, industry, and power. This is the reason why the university is looking for human assets that will help them fulfill their role in society.

As of now, more than 1,700 international students are currently enrolled in the university and they plan to accept more international students that are willing to be a part of their research and studies on science and technology. If you are one curious and adventurous student who wants to make discoveries and prove theories, enroll at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

3. The University of Tokyo

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 535,800 JPY – 817,800 JPY ($5,076 USD – $7,748)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 520,800 JPY – 1,086,000 JPY ($4,934 USD – $10,287)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Japan has been known for its strength in educational and research excellence and one proof of this lies in the University of Tokyo. This affordable university in Japan focuses on and actively engages in research activities with other countries. This was turned into a program and the researcher exchange program was established with its neighboring countries such as China, South Korea, and other ASEAN countries.

Currently, more than 4,267 international students reside in the university focusing on different fields of studies out of the total 28,599 students. Aside from being inside the capital of Japan, many laboratories and modern facilities are also accessible for all students of the University of Tokyo.

4. Hokkaido University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 535,800 JPY ($5,076 USD)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 535,800 JPY – 804,000 JPY ($5,076 USD – $7,614)
  • Tuition Fee Link

As the leading university that promotes research and education for the realization of a sustainable society, Hokkaido University has run several projects that address global issues for the next decade. This is the major reason why Hokkaido University began collaborating with countries having the same goal as them. Through these projects, they have earned agreements from countries such as Russia and other ASEAN countries.

Currently, there are more than 2200 international students enrolled in the university and they plan to expand this to cater to more international students who are interested in sustaining the environment.

5. Ritsumeikan University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 631,900 JPY – 1,766,200 JPY ($5,994 USD – $16,752)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 1,350,000 JPY – 2,500,000 JPY ($12,804 USD – $23,707)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Next on our list of cheapest universities in Japan is Ritsumeikan University, a university with three main campuses found in Kyoto, Shiga, and Osaka. Each campus is unique from the other and focuses on certain specializations so check out each of their websites and choose which campus would suit the program you like to enroll. Also, these three different campuses helped to extend the reach of the name of their university to students around the globe who wanted to pursue an education at Ritsumeikan. As of now, the campuses have accepted more than 2400 international students and adapted 12 full-English based programs for these wonderful students.

6. Hiroshima University

Hiroshima University is one of the few affordable universities in Japan which have long-term plans or vision pledging to the global society about the implementation of SPLENDOR (Sustainable Peace Leader Enhancement by Nurturing Development of Research). This vision aims to change the surrounding environment and principles of the universities to be able to achieve sustainable development as they address the needs of all their students, including international students. Currently, there are over 2100 international students enrolled in the university and most of them are in the field of research.

7. Kobe University

  • Tuition Fee for Undergraduate Programs: 834,800 JPY ($7,886 USD)
  • Tuition Fee for Graduate Programs: 847,800 JPY ($8,007 USD)
  • Tuition Fee Link

Studying at Kobe University gives you more than the education and experience in the respective fields that you are already receiving. In this university, you are allowed to have a voice and make changes to the university’s system for the welfare of students. It is the most pro-student university in Japan as they heed the calls for a change of the students and considers every aspect of their actions to its effect on the students.

8. Waseda University

The final candidate in our list of affordable universities in Japan is Waseda University, which also has one of the most updated facilities. World-class laboratories and facilities are the proud assets of Waseda University. Being a private university, well-maintained buildings, facilities, and even restrooms will be their brand aside from providing good and high-quality education for their students, international or domestic.


I hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Japan was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Cheap Universities Category!