Japan- An Emerging Global Ed Destination

Global Ed

Japan – a country synonymous with efficiency and quality, known for making everything faster, smaller and better is fast emerging as a great global ed destination. Home to about 140,000 international students from more than 170 countries and regions, Japan has put in a great effort to put itself in the global ed map. It has introduced  more programmes taught in English, and also provided for more scholarship programmes from the university, and public and private organizations.

But, that’s not all.

There are many other reasons why Japan is emerging as a global education destination. Here’s a look at the few

Excellent higher education system

The OECD ranks Japan among the countries with excellent higher education system and ranks Japanese school students as number one in mathematics. Its education system is applauded by OECD for the following  a holistic curriculum that involves the contribution of teachers, students, parents and the community in general. Furthermore, Japan is constantly trying to improve upon its education system by establishing a regular cycle where its curriculum is revised every 10 years.

With such commitment to bettering the education system, it comes as no surprise that 49% of high school graduates enter university. Japan also boasts of a higher number of Nobel Prizes winners in Asia, with a total of 28 Nobel Laureates. According to the Global Innovation Index 2019 , the country ranks as the 15th most innovative.

If you’re thinking of getting a global ed, you should look at Japan as one of your options.

Universities in Japan

There are approximately 780 universities in Japan, out of which a total of 41 Japanese universities are featured in the Top 1000 QS World University Rankings® 2021. Among the featured universities, the top 10 Japanese universities featured are in the top 200.

In a more specific region-wise ranking, QS Asia University Rankings 2020, a total of 81 Japan universities are featured with 11 universities being among the top 50 universities in Asia.

University QS Rankings 2021 QS Asia University Rankings 2020
The University of Tokyo 24 13
Kyoto University 38 15
Tokyo Institute of Technology 56 17
Osaka University 72 22
Tohoku University 79 23
Nagoya University 110 28
Kyushu University 124 29
Hokkaido University 139 30
Waseda University 189 38
Keio University 191 41

One of the emerging trends that in Japan is the emergence of Liberal Arts as a choice of study. The International College of Liberal Arts (iCLA) at Yamanashi Gakuin University is a case in point. It is among the popular Liberal Arts institutes, where the instruction medium is English. Like many other liberal arts institutions, iCLA offers an an American style education, that offers a four-year degree program. It presents a rich and immersive multicultural environment with over 50% of its students and 60% of its faculty members coming from across the world. If you are thinking about getting a Liberal Arts Degree, Japan is a destination you can consider.

In Japan, there are five types of higher education institutions where international students can get admitted. There degrees and duration under these differs accordingly. The five categories are-

  • Colleges of technology
  • Professional training colleges (post secondary course of specialized training colleges),
  • Junior colleges,
  • Universities (undergraduate)
  • Graduate schools.

The different types of degrees that can be acquired under each of the categories and the duration are explained in this chart prepared by the Japan Student Services Organisation – JASSO.

The academic sessions of these higher education institutions usually set from April – March of the following year. However, few institutions also start their academic year in autumn.

A peaceful country to live & study in

The Global Peace Index 2019 placed Japan as the 9th most peaceful country in the world which makes it an ideal place to study in given its quality education system. In addition to that, the QS Best Student Cities 2019 has featured three Japan cities as the best student cities, i.e.

  • Tokyo: Rank 2
  • Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe: Rank 18
  • Nagoya: Rank 95

International students can opt to stay in accommodation that are provided by local government and respective universities. Students can also opt to stay in private house or apartments. Information regarding accommodation can be acquired from the respective institute’s international student office. The estimated cost is-

  • Dormitories: JPY 28,000 (approx. INR 19,800)
  • Apartments: JPY 30,000 – JPY 40,000 (approx. INR 21,000 – 28,000)

Excluding the academic fees, the average national (monthly) living expense for an international student in Japan is estimated at JPY 89,000 (approx. INR 63,000).

Here’s a look at the cost breakup as estimated by JASSO

Living beyond the four walls of the classroom

In a lifestyle survey, 59.5% of international students responded that they chose Japan because they were interested in Japanese society and wanted to live in Japan. It is true that studying in Japan offers students the opportunity to explore the ancient civilization, a nation that is rich with its cultural heritage.

From century old temples to the age-old martial arts, from the anime to experiencing traditional Japanese cuisine (washoku), you can never run out of things to do in Japan outside of the classroom. Here are few of the things you can do and places you can visit while in Japan:

  • Visit famous centuries old castles like Hirosaki castle, the Nagoya castle
  • Stroll down the famous Kyoto Sannen-zaka to revisit Japan’s good old days
  • Discover a new taste in art at the Aomori Museum of Art,
  • Visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
  • Visit the centuries old Kiyomuzo Dera Temple which is also one of the World Heritage sites
  • Lose yourself in the Hanami festival, the Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Enjoy outdoor trips by visiting the Kusatsu onsen, Mt. Fuji and the likes

Whatever you do, do not miss out to relish the seasonal foods Japan has to offer including Washoku.

Working in Japan

As an international student in Japan, you can work part-time during your university sessions, and also choose to work after graduation.

International students in Japan are permitted to work for 28 hours a week during session, and up to eight hours a day during holiday season. However, students should be careful about maintaining their attendance in the university in order to avoid non-extension of their period of authorised stay in the country.

Food and Beverage, and sales and marketing are the two most commonly employed job sector for international students. As a part-timer, you can earn an average of JPY 3000 (approx. INR 2000) per working hour.

Here’s the rough hourly rate of working part time:


Part-time Hourly Rate
Hourly rate Ratio
Less than JPY 800 5.4%
JPY 800 to less than JPY 1,000 42.4%
JPY 1,200 to less than JPY 1,400 6.9%
JPY 1,400 or more 4.8%
Unknown 1.0%

After graduation, an international student can stay in Japan for a period of six months until the time his status of residence needs to get changed from ‘Student’ to “Specialist in/Engineer…” etc., i.e. from student visa to work visa. Under the “Designated Activities”, he can extend the duration for another six months until he finds the right job. The job sought after by the student should be related to the majors.

The employment of international students by Japanese Companies based business type is:


Composition ratio by type of business (top 10)
1 Commerce and trading 9.5%
2 IT Service 7.7%
3 Food Service 5.2%
4 Education 5.0%
5 Hotels & inns 3.8%
6 Machinery 3.1%
7 Electrical appliances 3.1%
8 Foods 2.7%
9 Construction 2.7%
10 Transportation 2.2%

If you return to your home country after working in Japan, it will be an experience that will add a lot to your skills and resume, and also be seen favourably by organizations. So, if you are yet to decide on your global ed destination, you should consider Japan and give yourself an unparalleled opportunity to study, live and work in one of the most efficient countries in the world.

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