Studying and living in Japan can truly be an experience for international students. Japan offers top-notch education, immersion, and promising career opportunities. Currently, more than 300,000 students have selected Japan as their educational hub. It’s no wonder why this country is highly regarded for its exceptional academic institutions, cutting-edge research, and global university rankings.

Japanese universities encourage exchanges, warmly supporting students throughout the application process and creating partnerships with universities worldwide. This article discusses several aspects of studying in Japan for students, including tuition fees, accommodation costs, and other day-to-day expenses.

Costs of Studying in Japan

Academic Costs / Tuition Fees

Considering the high living expenses and university tuition in countries such as the US and the UK, studying in Japan is quite affordable. The admission and tuition fees for the year may vary based on which degree level, type of institution, and program you plan to pursue. According to the Japan Student Services Organization, national graduate schools cost around ¥820,000, the same as national universities (undergraduates). Studying at a public graduate school costs ¥900,000, while public undergraduate programs cost ¥930,000.

University Name Tuition Fee (annual academic cost)
Nanzan University ¥750,000
Tokyo International University  around ¥750,000
Kansai Gaidai University ¥800,000
University of Tokyo ¥535,800
Osaka University ¥535,800

 Other Student Costs

Apart from tuition fees, international students must account for other costs when calculating their expenses for studying abroad. These include healthcare, phone contracts, study materials like textbooks, accommodation, and food costs. When applying to any Japanese university, such as the University of Tokyo, students incur an admission fee of nearly ¥282,000. Some universities, like Kansa Gadai University, also charge Disaster and Accident Insurance fees of about ¥1,750.

Students must also pay examination fees, which vary across degree levels. For instance, the examination fee for undergraduate students ranges from ¥4,000 to ¥13,000 at the University of Tokyo, while research students must pay ¥9,800.

Costs of Living in Japan

Some Japanese cities, such as Tokyo and Kanto, are more expensive than others, like Chubu and Chugoku. The Japanese Student Services organization estimates the average monthly cost of living in Tokyo to be ¥108,000. This includes transportation, utilities, housing, entertainment, and insurance costs. Accommodation costs range from ¥38,000 to ¥50,000 in Tokyo. Apart from housing, food expenses can amount to ¥28,000, while utilities cost around ¥7,000.

1. Tokyo

As one of the largest cities in Japan, the cost of living in Tokyo is quite high. In fact, Tokyo is among the costliest cities to live in as an international student. The rent can be as high as ¥50,000. Apart from tuition fees, international students will incur monthly living expenses of approximately ¥138,000, which includes an average rent of ¥59,000.

A good example of the overall expenses students are likely to incur while completing their studies in the city is to check the cost of studying at the University of Tokyo. The expenses are explained in detail so students can get an overview of what to expect if they plan to study in Tokyo.

2. Osaka

Compared to Tokyo, Osaka is a city that offers a much more affordable lifestyle for students. The monthly cost of living in Osaka for an individual range from ¥122,000 to ¥141,000. This includes ¥9,870 for commuting, ¥45,000 for food, and ¥56,000 for accommodation. Moreover, daily necessities in Osaka may cost around ¥100,000 per month. However, this may vary depending on one’s lifestyle.

3. Kyoto

Kyoto is a favored choice among students because of its cultural heritage. The living expenses in Kyoto are comparatively lower than in Tokyo, at approximately ¥89,000 per month. In this, you can expect to spend around ¥30,000 on food, ¥15,000 on utilities, and ¥10,000 – ¥20,000 for utilities and entertainment. Single-room apartment rents in Kyoto range from ¥25,000 to ¥30,000 monthly, while single rooms with private baths cost around ¥45,000 monthly.

If you are planning to study in Kyoto, consider applying to the University of Kyoto. It is a good institution that provides low-cost tuition and affordable living.

4. Nagoya

Nagoya, the fourth-largest city in Japan, is a major port and transportation hub. International students in this industrial center should expect to pay around ¥35,000 rent for a single apartment. Food would cost about ¥30,000 to ¥50,000, while travel, medical, and books are estimated to cost around ¥10,000 to ¥30,000.

5. Sendai

Another city where international students can study is in Sendai. Living in Sendai for overseas learners can cost around ¥80,000 to ¥150,000 per month. This is more affordable than other metropolitan cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. The rent for private apartments in Sendai can range from ¥30,000 to ¥200,000, depending on whether you choose a studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom apartment. The utilities can add up to ¥12,000 yen for a single student. Also, you can expect to spend around ¥25,000 for food, and ¥15,000 for transportation.

Ways to Minimize Academic and Living Costs in Japan

1. Scholarships for International Students

Scholarships and fee exemptions can reduce costs significantly for international students. For instance, the MEXT scholarship provides tuition support for international students studying in higher education institutes. The Young Leaders Program supports students specifically from Asian countries.

The Rotary Yoneyama Scholarship provided by the Rotary Club of Tokyo specifically supports graduate students with tuition fees and living expenses. The scholarship covers tuition fees for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students, catering to any expenses associated with students’ arrival in Japan.

International students can also alleviate the financial burden through the JASSO scholarships. This includes the Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for privately financed international students, which offers ¥48,000 to undergraduate students monthly.


Studying in Japan is quite affordable compared to other popular study-abroad destinations. Students can reduce financial burdens by picking a low-cost university, finding affordable accommodation, and applying for appropriate scholarships.


We hope you make use of this article once you decide to study in Japan. If you would like to know the academic and living expenses of different countries, go visit our Cost of Studying and Living by Country page to compare and contrast the countries of your choice! Also, go over our list of Available Programs for International Students! You can choose from plenty of courses in different fields of study.

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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