7 Affordable Universities in Japan 2024-2025

Japan’s technologically advanced society and well-developed educational system make it one of Asia’s most desirable study abroad destinations. There are many exemplary higher educational institutions in Japan, and with the Japanese government’s conscious effort to internationalize its educational system, more and more universities are offering courses in English.

One thing that always gives prospective students a pause is that Japan is also notorious for being very expensive. This might be true, but it doesn’t always have to be the case. It is possible to study in Japan without breaking the bank by finding a scholarship program or enrolling in one of the affordable universities in Japan.

The cost of living in rural areas or smaller cities is generally lower than in big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. However, tuition fees vary by course and educational institution, and choosing the right university is key to bringing the cost of the study abroad experience down.

Tuition fees at public universities in Japan are fixed at 585,800 yen per year. Additional fees such as admission fees and facility and maintenance fees bring the total annual fee up to 817,800 yen, usually paid in two equal installments. Most private universities in Japan are more expensive than public universities. For example, while admission fees are fixed at 200,000 yen per year, private universities dictate additional costs and payment schedules.

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Cheap Universities in Japan

1. University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo, also known as Todai, is one of the affordable universities in Japan. Fifteen out of the 62 prime ministers of Japan were educated at this university, and many of its alumni have gone on to lead Fortune 500 companies. Todai has ten faculties and 15 graduate schools with a total of 30,000 students.

The University of Tokyo offers the International Program on Japan in East Asia and the International Program on Environmental Science and the Global Science Course. These are undergraduate courses offered by the university.

Incoming students pay a one-time admission fee of 282,000 yen. In addition, the university has an Admission Fee exemption program for graduate students and a Tuition Fee exemption program for both undergraduate and graduate students.

2. Kyoto University

Ever since its establishment in 1897, Kyoto University has produced 11 Nobel Peace laureates – a testament to its top-quality education and research. The university has around 23,000 students, 10% of which are international students. The university houses ten faculties and 18 graduate schools, and 13 research institutions in its two campuses located in Kyoto and Uji.

In addition to the tuition fee, both undergraduate and graduate students pay an admission fee of 282,000 yen.

3. Kyushu University

Kyushu University has 12 undergraduate schools and 18 graduate schools spread in five campuses within the Fukuoka prefecture. Kyushu University offers undergraduate courses in English in the fields of Education, Law, Letters, Sciences, Economics, Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmaceutical Science, among others. In addition, its postgraduate faculties offer 60 programs in English.

Prospective students of Kyushu University pay an enrollment fee of 282,000 yen in their first year, and international students may apply for a reduction or deferment of their first-year tuition fee, making Kyushu University an affordable university for international students.

4. University of Tsukuba

The University of Tsukuba is located in Tsukuba Science City, Japan’s largest science city in the suburb of Tokyo. The university specializes in STEM fields and actively engages in research and partnerships to support the private sector. It has produced three Nobel laureates and 160 companies.

Like in other national universities, undergraduate and graduate students pay an admission fee of 282,000 yen in their first year. Application fees for undergraduate and graduate students are 17,000 yen and 30,000 yen, respectively.

5. Akita International University (AIU)

AIU is a liberal arts university established in 2004 by the local prefectural government of Akita, located in the Tohoku region of northern Japan. It offers undergraduate programs in Global Business, Global Studies, Global Connectivity, and master’s programs in Japanese Language Teaching, English Language Teaching, and Global Communication Practices.

This affordable university in Japan is the first higher education institution in Japan to conduct all classes in English. Also, AIU’s international approach to learning requires undergraduate students to spend one year abroad at one of its 200 partner universities.

International students pay a matriculation fee of 423,000 yen in their first year.

6. Sophia University

Sophia University is a private research university founded by the Roman Catholic Jesuits in 1913. This cheap university in Japan currently has nine undergraduate faculties and ten graduate schools supporting almost 14,000 students. Sophia’s main campus in Yotsuya is located in Tokyo’s heart, while another campus is in Ichigaya.

Its Faculty of Liberal Arts, the Sophia Program for Sustainable Futures, and Faculty of Science and Technology offer all-English courses. Postgraduate programs taught entirely in English include MA and Ph.D. in Global Studies and MA in International Cooperation Studies.

The annual tuition fee quoted includes additional costs for insurance, education enhancement, laboratory, and semestral enrollment fee. Furthermore, in addition to the tuition fee, all students of Sophia pay a one-time entrance fee of 200,000 yen.

7. Ritsumeikan University

Ritsumeikan University ranked 30th in the Japan University Rankings in March 2024 and 751-800 in the 2024 QS World Rankings. This cheap university in Japan has four campuses located in Kinugasa, Biwako-Kusatsu, Suzaku, and Osaka. The university has five colleges and seven graduate schools that offer degree programs entirely in English.

All students pay a 200,000 yen admission fee in their first year. The university has a tuition fee reduction scheme for self-financed international students in both graduate and undergraduate programs.

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