Japan is one of the most innovative and economically stable countries in the world. Its technological advancements, safe environment, excellent education system, affordable tuition fees, and low cost of living are just a few reasons why hundreds and thousands of international students flock to Japan each year to pursue their studies.

In this article, we have listed some of the best subjects to study in Japan along with some helpful information explaining why we consider them to be the country’s areas of strength and the advantages you will be getting as an international student by taking these subjects. Also included are the top Japanese universities offering the best programs in each subject.

Top Courses to Study in Japan

1. Data Science

Japan has long been a global superpower in technology and innovation. It is one of the countries with the highest spending in technological research and development to address the country’s most pressing issues and to make people’s daily lives easier. Among the most well-known technological advancements in Japan are its high-speed railway systems and the use of artificial intelligence and robotics to perform a wide range of tasks for different industries. These advancements would not be possible without the presence and proper handling of data.

Data science is one of the best subjects to study in Japan. Here, you get to study extracting, analyzing, and generating relevant insights from unstructured data. Several Japanese universities are known for their excellent programs in the field. With the exponential increase of available data in different industries, the Japanese government is conducting several measures to enhance data science education and research in its universities to provide its students with essential knowledge and skills to make them industry-ready and internationally competitive.

Here are some of the top universities to study data science in Japan: the University of Tokyo, Tohoku University, Hiroshima University, the University of Tsukuba, and Kyoto University.

2. Business

Considered the world’s third-largest economy, Japan’s market holds high standards for quality in all types of goods and services. Most foreigners used to find it challenging to start a business or penetrate the Japanese market because of the language barrier and conservative business etiquette. However, due to several government efforts to grow and improve the startup ecosystem, there are now more than 10,000 startups operating successfully in the country as well as an influx of foreign investors, making it an exciting place to start a business and pursue a business degree.

Studying business in Japan will give you a front seat in how innovative business ideas are formed and how business processes are executed in different organizations, from small and medium companies to multinational corporations. Business education in Japan is practice-oriented and exposes its students to real-world experiences in the professional setting through several industry projects, internships, group presentations, and other activities that would help sharpen their creativity, critical thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills. Students also gain an appreciation for Japanese business culture and values which are grounded on trust, respect, and professionalism.

Some of the best universities for business studies in the country are Waseda UniversityKeio UniversityKobe UniversityKyoto University, and Nagoya University of Commerce and Business Administration.

3. Pharmaceutical Sciences

Japan is one of the biggest pharmaceutical markets in the world and is projected to continue growing in the coming years. This is why pharmaceutical sciences is one of the best subjects to study in Japan. There are over 100 pharmaceutical companies in the country, as well as numerous research institutions dedicated to conducting studies and developing new medications to treat different kinds of diseases and establishing methodologies in the study of drug development.

Degrees in pharmaceutical sciences in Japan provide integration of expertise in chemistry, biology, physics, and information technology to gain a strong understanding of the different systems, mechanisms, and processes in the human body and the bodily responses and possible side effects after drug ingestion. Students also acquire international exposure through overseas training and exchange programs for them to acquire skills that would make them competitive professionals in the global pharmaceutical labor market.

Some of the leading universities in Japan that are known for offering world-class education in pharmaceutical studies are the University of TokyoOsaka University, Hokkaido University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology.

4. Architecture

Japanese architecture is characterized by sleek designs, minimalism, and functionality. A common feature in traditional Japanese structures is the use of wood and natural light to signify a close connection with nature. Over time, innovations were made by contemporary Japanese architects such as integrating different materials and technologies into traditional designs while maintaining the distinct Japanese qualities of their structures. Studying architecture in Japan will allow you to see and appreciate the beautiful coexistence of traditional and contemporary structures, from wooden houses and temples to modern buildings and tall skyscrapers.

Architecture degrees in Japan aim to impart a strong knowledge of the theories and techniques in the subject and an awareness of different urban and environmental issues for students to analyze, discuss, and come up with creative and sustainable solutions.

Among the best universities for architecture are the University of AizuNagoya UniversityKyushu University, and the University of Tsukuba.

5. Environmental Science

Despite the country’s rapid industrialization that began in the late 1860s, Japan remains one of the 20 most environmentally-friendly countries in the world according to the latest Environmental Performance Index. The Japanese government has been making significant efforts and policies to address the most urgent environmental issues in the country such as waste management and air pollution. Several regulations have also been set up to promote a greener and more sustainable lifestyle for its citizens.

Environmental science students in Japanese universities are equipped with scientific and technological knowledge to analyze, discuss, and develop alternative solutions to tackling different concerns and preventing the emergence of other issues.

Environmental science is a top subject to study in the country. Some of Japan’s leading universities in environmental science are Hokkaido University, Kyoto University, and Nagoya University


We hope that you found this article on the best subjects to study in Japan informative and helpful. You can check out these open courses to discover more program opportunities available for aspiring international students. Plus, make sure to access our complete guide to Studying in Japan for valuable tips to prepare you for an enriching academic experience!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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