Located in Asia, Japan is home to more than 126 million people. Japan possesses the 3rd largest exponentially growing economy in the world and is globally considered a hub for innovation. It is also a top study destination for international students thanks to its world-class educational system and several well-accredited and top-notch institutes providing exceptional education across various fields. Lastly, Japan is a relatively safe country with a low criminal activity level; this encourages students to study and live in this haven.

The official language is Japanese which is used as a means of communication by almost the entire nation. However, international students can avail more opportunities by knowing the Japanese or English language. If you are looking for an exciting study abroad destination, opt for Japan, and be ready to immerse in the rich culture this country has to offer to its international students!

If you’re planning to study here, make sure to read more as we tackle the different language tests in Japan!

Language Proficiency Tests Needed in Japan

International students who wish to study in Japan must submit their Japanese proficiency test scores to get accepted into various institutes. English proficiency tests are also required by several universities to determine their competencies in communicating in English. Each test has its own grading system. Students who score above the minimum requirement have higher chances to secure admission to their desired educational institute.

Japanese Language Tests for International Students

The following two Japanese language tests are accepted across the nations and test the current language skills of the applicants.

1. Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

The JLPT test is a Japanese language test for people with native languages other than Japanese. It has various levels ranging from N5 (beginner) to N1 (advanced) which students can opt for depending on their command of the language. This test measures grammar, vocabulary, fluency, etc., to accurately determine the language skill set of the applicant. JLPT can be taken twice a year, usually scheduled in July and December in Japan and in other countries. 

All the levels from N5 to N1 are 180 points each with a passing percentage requirement of 55% which is equivalent to 100 points. However, this score is not standardized and each institute may accept a lower or higher score. Hence, it is best to research and see the requirements of the desired universities.

JLPT is accepted nationwide including prominent universities such as the University of TokyoTokyo Institute of Technology, and Kyushu University.

2. Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)

The EJU is also another Japanese language proficiency test administered twice a year usually scheduled in June and November. EJU is conducted under the supervision of the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). This test is divided into two sections: academic and language. The academic section of EJU determines the skills and abilities in subjects such as mathematics, science, general knowledge (Japan and around the world), English, etc., whereas the language section tests the students holistically in comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, writing, etc.

As mentioned above, the test assesses students in a total of 5 areas comprising academic and language sections. Students are scored on a range of 0 to 200 in each section with a passing score of 80 points each. However, this score is not standardized. Each institute may accept a lower or higher score, hence, it is best to research and see the requirements of the desired universities.

EJU is accepted by all the major educational institutes including Tokyo University of Agriculture and TechnologyHokkaido University, and Osaka University.

English Language Tests for International Students

Japan accepts various English tests as proof of language skills from international students.

1. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is one of the most common English Language proficiency tests which tests students across four sections: speaking, listening, speaking, and writing. IELTS is conducted all year round to make it easier and more accessible to students. Students are expected to score a minimum of 6 on each section and an overall band of at least 6.5. However, institutes may accept a lower or higher score depending on their requirements.

IELTS is accepted by all the major educational institutes such as Kyoto UniversityOsaka University, and Sophia University.

2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL is another accredited English language proficiency test conducted by the well-renowned Educational Testing Service (ETS). This test is especially for those international students with a native language besides English. TOEFL proficiency exam tests students across four sections: speaking, listening, speaking, and writing. Each has a score of 30 points, making the combined total of 120 points. The minimum requirement of scores in Japan is 80-90 points depending on the institute and the level of education applied for.

TOEFL is accepted by almost all universities nationwide such as Hiroshima UniversitySophia University, and Tohoku University.

3. Duolingo

Duolingo is an English Language test that can be taken from the comfort of one’s home. Some universities in Japan accept this test as a substitute for IELTS and TOEFL. Duolingo determines the student’s skills across four sections: speaking, listening, speaking, and writing with scores ranging from 10-160. Universities usually require a score of above 90 for international students.

Duolingo is accepted by universities such as the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. This language test might be optional in some universities, so make sure to research if they accept this examination.


Japan is amongst the most preferred destinations for higher studies within the international students’ community due to the presence of vast opportunities. To acquire admission in Japan, students must show proof of language proficiency in Japanese and English.


We hope the information we’ve provided on the language tests needed in Japan for international students has been helpful. Check out these Available Programs in Japan to explore the abundant possibilities that await at the Land of the Rising Sun. You can also visit our Study in Japan page for further details!

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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