Japan is one of the most attractive Asian countries for international students. Aside from its diverse cultural beauty, the educational systems in Japan are highly competitive and internationally renowned. Japan has the highest number of Nobel Prize winners in Asia.

Affordability in education is also one of the key benefits of studying bachelor’s in Japan. Low crime rates and advanced medical systems are the most sought-after benefits in the country. The safe environment and advanced medical systems make for a very conducive environment for learning and living.

Japanese universities are globally renowned in the fields of science, technology, and medicine. Japan has produced cutting-edge technologies and discoveries in the medical field that have been used all over the world. Aside from the globally competitive education systems in Japan, the country is also home to a rich culture and historic landmarks. Most international students choose to study in Japan because of their interest in learning Japanese Society, Language, and Culture.

Living costs in Japan are also relatively cheaper compared to most countries with the same high-quality education.

Some of the best universities in Japan are public universities including The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Osaka University, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Tohoku University. In this article, you will see the processes and requirements for obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Japan.

Bachelor’s Degree Admission Requirements

Requirements for submitting applications for a bachelor’s degree in Japan will vary depending on the institution. Completion of a university application form and submission of required academic certificates are standard requirements.

The Examination for Japanese University Admissions for International Students (EJU) might be required for international students who want to apply for a bachelor’s degree in Japan. This exam is required by most Japanese universities including prestigious state institutions like Kyoto University.

The EJU test will cover basic knowledge of the Japanese Language, Science, Mathematics, and other subjects.

Check Also: Undergraduate Programs for International Students

Language Proficiency Tests Needed for Undergraduate Studies

Some courses are taught in English in some of Japan’s most respectable institutions. For courses taught in English, the applicant for a bachelor’s degree in Japan needs to have a minimum overall score of 5.5 with IELTS. Japanese institutions also accept the TOEFL English proficiency exam.

If you are enrolling in an English-taught course program, the requirement to take the EJU before admissions will be waived. The University of Tokyo, for example, will only require international applicants interested in enrolling in English-taught courses to submit official test results for academic knowledge.

International applicants for a bachelor’s degree in Japan will be required to take the Japan Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) depending on their course or program.

Applicants are encouraged to seek out appropriate degree programs and their specific language requirements based on their ability to prepare for these tests and their existing knowledge of the Japanese language.

Bachelor’s Degree Application Process

There are plenty of resources available regarding the step-by-step guide for the undergraduate application process in Japan.

For example, the University of Tokyo has a comprehensive guide on requirements and important dates available on its website. Kyoto University has a similar guide on its website where international applicants can find requirements depending on the course they want to take.

Step 1. Familiarize and Prepare for Required Exams

Most Japanese universities honor internationally accepted exams and educational certifications such as the SAT, International Baccalaureate Diploma, and the ACT. With this said, this may only serve as proof of the required 12-year full-time schooling before enrollment. As mentioned above, there might be required Japanese proficiency exams or nationally recognized entrance exams required even for international students.

Even if your intended degree program is taught in English, there still might be entrance exams you need to pass. Entrance exams are often required especially for highly competitive degrees.

There are specific programs for international students that include a preparatory course designed to teach the Japanese language and culture. Kyoto University has a program with a similar design called Kyoto University International Undergraduate Program. If undergoing preparatory courses before your undergraduate study, international students are likely not required to submit a Japanese proficiency exam.

It is best to inquire directly from the university you intend to apply to obtain the exact requirements and exams needed.

Step 2. Apply for Admissions and Submit Documents

Requirements for admissions will entail submission of English proficiency exams that certify your knowledge of the English language. As mentioned above, if the course you intend to take is in Japanese, you might be required to take the EJU.

Submission of documents and academic certifications that prove the student has completed 12 years of full-time schooling will also be required for applicants who want to study for a bachelor’s degree in Japan. Japanese universities use online application systems to track all applications. Application portals are where you submit required documents as well.

Step 3. Secure a Student Visa

Much like most countries, Japan requires international students coming to the country to secure a student visa before enrollment. A student visa is one of the major requirements to be able to study in Japan, the validity of a visa usually ranges from a period of 3 months up to 4 years and 3 months.

It is important to note that you need to secure a Certificate of Eligibility or COE before you can process the visa application yourself. The Certificate of Eligibility will be secured when the university you have been accepted into submits a visa application on your behalf to the Immigration Bureau in Japan. Once the visa application is approved and the COE is given to you, this is the time you may go to the Japanese embassy in your country to process your student visa.

The COE is a crucial requirement when securing a student visa. You may also be required to show proof of financing ability to secure a COE.

Here are some of the required documents when processing a student visa:  a valid passport, Certificate of Eligibility, completely filled-out visa application form, passport picture, and other supporting documents.

Step 4. Enroll and Prepare to Move to Japan

Once you have secured a visa, it is now time to enroll and move to Japan. International students living in Japan for more than three months will need to secure a residence card. The residence card will be given to you upon landing at any of Japan’s major airports. This will then be registered officially by the appropriate municipal office once you have found a place to live. Finally, you can start your journey of studying and obtaining a bachelor’s degree at your preferred university in Japan.


We hope that this article was helpful. If you’re looking to study in Japan, make sure to check out the Available Programs in Japan for International Students and the various educational opportunities available on the Study in Japan for international students.

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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