Japan is one of the new hot educational destinations for students from around the world. With an aging population, the Japanese government is keen on attracting international students to the country. Given the decline in its youth population, the government has launched programs to boost the number of international students in the country to 300,000.

These efforts by the government and some other changes in their policies have made it easier for international students to study, find a job and get a visa in Japan. With one of the biggest markets of highly skilled labour and a technology-driven economy, it’s no surprise that the world’s attention has turned to Japan for higher education.

International students aspiring to study in any of the universities in Japan need to take English language proficiency tests to be eligible for admission. Generally, Japanese universities accept TOEFL, TEPS, and IELTS scores for admission purposes.

Japanese Universities and Their Required IELTS Scores

University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is the first of the nine imperial universities established between 1886 and 1939 and also perhaps the most prestigious one to be established in the country. Founded in the year 1877 under the Empire of Japan, the University of Tokyo is a research-based institution that has produced 17 prime ministers and an impressive 16 Nobel laureates along with a field medalist for the country. It offers different graduate and undergraduate programmes across its 15 schools and was ranked 24th best university in the world by QS World Universities Rankings.

International students aspiring to study at the university need to submit their TOEFL or IELTS scores to be eligible prospective students. This university in Japan requires students to have at least 6.5 or above to attend the university.

  • Required IELTS score- 6.5 or above

Kyoto University

Another very renowned university on this list, Kyoto University is the second oldest imperial university which was established in 1897. In the year 2015, the institution was ranked 38th best university in the world.

Kyoto offers courses across 3 campuses and 19 schools. It has over 20,000 students and as of 2018, had a total international student population of 2474 from 110 countries. Its top 5 graduate schools that accept the most number of international students are engineering, agriculture, economics, integrated human studies, and informatics. Students from non- English speaking countries are supposed to submit their TOEFL or IELTS score to prove their proficiency in English.

  • Required IELTS score- 5.5 or above

Tohoku University

Based in the city of Sendai, Miyagi, Tohoku University is the yet another imperial university of Japan founded in the year 1907. It operates through its 4 campuses in the same city and has more than 1300 international students. It offers various courses in its 15 graduate schools; school of arts and letters, education, law, medicine, engineering, science, dentistry, pharmaceutical sciences, agricultural sciences, life sciences, information sciences, international cultural studies, environmental studies, and educational information research division.

Tohoku University requires students from non-English speaking countries to take TOEFL or IELTS to be eligible for admission for its English-based programmes. This Japanese university has an IELTS Band Requirement of 6. Students with graduate degrees or high school certification from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the USA, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Singapore are exempted from submitting these English proficiency tests.

  • Required IELTS score- 6 or above

Osaka University

Based in the Osaka prefecture, Osaka University has three campuses housing different faculties such as human science, medicine, dentistry, engineering, information science and technology, law, economics, engineering, and foreign studies, etc. There are a total of 11 departments for undergraduate and 16 departments for graduate courses.

Although Osaka University was founded in the year 1921, its roots go back to Kaitokudo, a merchant academy established back in 1724. Currently, the institution offers an English-based chemistry-biology and a human science international degree at the undergraduate level. The graduate school has a biotechnology global human resource development program, naval architecture and ocean engineering, and quantum engineering and design course which are delivered in English. As of 2019, the strength of international students at the university was 1900.

  • Required IELTS score- 6.5 or above

Nagoya University

Nagoya University is the last of the colleges built during the imperial era. Built-in 1939, the institution was ranked 10th best in Asia by QS World University Rankings. The university is known for its selectivity during admissions, hence making it one of the toughest institutions to get into.

It offers an array of courses spread across the departments of law, economics, agriculture, medicine, mathematics, engineering, arts and sciences, and environmental studies, etc.

International students applying to the university are required to submit their TOEFL or IELTS scores for admission.

  • Required IELTS score- 6.0 or above

Hokkaido University

Hokkaido is a national university based in the fifth largest city of Japan, Sapporo. The university sprouted from the then called Sapporo Agricultural College in 1876, and finally got recognized as a university in 1918. The university operates at its two campuses in Sapporo and Hakodate, both known for their abundance of green space. Apart from these two locations, the institution also has 8 satellite offices; each one of them in a different country.

This university in Japan has an IELTS requirement of 6.0 or above. If you meet that requirement, international students can apply for its English-based courses at the undergraduate as well as postgraduate levels. More than 18,000 students attend its 12 undergraduate and 22 graduate schools to study subjects such as economics, law, agriculture, sciences, engineering, education, and fisheries, etc.

International students from non-English speaking nations are required to submit their TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC for admission purposes. These scores should be from the exams taken within the two years prior to the date of application.

  • Required IELTS score- 6.0 or above

Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech.)

Tokyo Tech. is Japan’s largest university dedicated to the development and research in the field of science and technology. The university has been in existence since 1881 and was ranked 20th in the world in the field of science and technology. It operates at three locations;  Ookayama, Tamachi, and Suzukakedai.

The university has 6 major schools with 40 sub-departments and research centers which have produced people 2 former Prime Ministers of the country and a couple of Nobel Laureates.

International students who are not native English speakers and have not received a degree in any subject which was taught in English are supposed to submit their English proficiency scores of TOEFL, TOEIC, or IELTS.

  • Required IELTS score- 6.5 or above


Given the changing demographics of Japan, the Japanese government is pushing hard to implement policies that would help create a balanced demographic structure for the economy. And luring international students to its existing world-class universities is one of the ways in which it is trying to create a balance. A number of courses in these universities were once only delivered in the Japanese language, but now with the new intent of creating a global atmosphere at these institutions, the number of English-based courses has increased, hence opening doors for international students.


I hope that this article on universities in Japan and their IELTS Band Requirements was helpful! If you are interested in studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students!