Understanding costs to study in Japan

To study in Japan, there are three major costs that you need to keep in mind and plan ahead.

  • Academic fees
  • Living cost
  • Travel expenses

Academic fees

In order to study in Japan, students need to pay for academic fees which include admission fees and tuition fees. Academic fees for the first year of undergraduate studies range from JPY 820,000 at national universities to JPY 1,100,000 to JPY 1,640,000 at private universities. The academic fees differ depending on the subject of your studies too.

Living cost

Living cost varies depending on where you live in Japan and your lifestyle. According to the study by JASSO, the average monthly expenses of international students range from JPY 75,000 to JPY 109,000 (As of June 2023, 1 USD is approximately JPY 140). For more details on living cost, please see Living in Japan page.

In Japan, there are extensive scholarship programmes and tuition exemption/reduction programmes. Some international students are financed by full scholarships, whereas many other international students finance their studies in Japan using a combination of a tuition exemption/reduction system and partial scholarships.

Applying for scholarships

There are three types of scholarships and financial assistance available for studying in Japan.

  1. Full scholarship provided by the Government of Japan (MEXT Scholarship)
  2. Scholarships provided by local governments, government agencies, private foundations and NGOs.
  3. Scholarships and tuition fees exemptions or reductions provided by universities.

These scholarships can be further categorised into two types.

  1. Scholarships you can apply for before or upon enrollment in schools; and
  2. Scholarships you can apply for after enrollment. 

Below is the general information on these scholarships. To apply for a scholarship, you need an excellent academic record in general. However, each scholarship has different eligibility and requirements in terms of levels of degrees it supports, areas of studies, schools you are enrolled in, and age limits. Please make sure you check with the organizations that are providing scholarships for more specific details.

Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship

Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship is the full funded scholarship offered by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan. This is a scholarship that you can apply for before enrolment in school.

MEXT Scholarship have two types - (1) the one that needs to be applied through Embassy recommendation, and (2) the other to be applied through Japanese university recommendation. 

MEXT Scholarship through Embassy recommendation

This scholarship needs to be applied for through the Japanese Embassy in your home country.  MEXT Scholarship offers, among others, scholarships to undergraduate students and research students (Masters, PhD, and non-degree students). The monthly stipend is JPY 143,000 - JPY 145,000 (approximately USD 1,021 - USD 1,035 as of June 2023).

Most embassies open applications for MEXT Scholarship for research students, but some have suspended the application for undergraduate students. In general, the application is open from April to May of the previous year that you intend to study in Japan, and the screening (document screening, written exams, and interviews) is conducted by the Embassy in May/June.

Application procedures may slightly differ from country to country where the embassy is located. Please make sure you check with the Japanese Embassy in your country for more detailed application procedures and deadlines.

The list and contact details of Japanese Embassies and Consulates around the world can be found here.

MEXT Scholarship through Japanese university recommendation

This is a scholarship, for which a Japanese university directly recommends selected candidate to the MEXT.

In principle, the application is not open to all public. The information will be posted on this website as well as on SNS of Study in Japan for Africa when and if it is available.

Scholarships provided by local governments, private foundations and NGOs

There are a number of local governments, private foundations and NGOs that provide scholarships. Each scholarship has different eligibility, application procedures and deadlines, and monthly stipend. Some are fully funded, while others are partially funded. Many of them accept applications after your enrolment in a university in Japan, but there are a few that accept applications before or upon your enrolment. In some cases, applications need to be made through the university you are enrolled in, while some others accept direct applications. Please read application details of each scholarship very carefully.

To search for this type of scholarships, you can visit Japan Study Support (JPSS) scholarship database.

Or, you can also download the list of scholarships from the links below.

For more detailed information on each scholarship, please contact directly the school you are enrolled in and/or the organisations that provide scholarships.

Examples: Scholarships offered by different organisations

Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI)

Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) is a fully-funded scholarship provided by a Japanese NGO called Ashinaga Foundation. It is a scholarship for undergraduate students who lost one or both parents. It covers tuition fees, accommodation cost, travel costs and other necessary fees.

To find out more about this scholarship, please visit the Ashinaga Africa Initiative website.

Master's Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth (ABE Initiative) 

Abe Initiative is a programme run by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to support young professionals who will contribute to the development of industries in Africa. It targets at professionals in the private sector, government officials and those who are engaged in teaching and research at colleges, universities and research institutes.

To find out more about this initiative, please visit JICA's website.

SDG's Global Leader

SDG's Global Leader is a long-term training programme offered by JICA, which allows young and middle government officials and academics to study in the universities in Japan that JICA has an agreement with, on condition that the applicants pass the entrance exam. It aims to build capacity of people who will contribute to policy development and implementation in different fields.

To find out more about this programme, please visit JICA's website.

Scholarships and financial assistance by or through universities

There are a number of scholarships that are made available by universities or that can be applied through the universities you are enrolled in after enrolment. Information is available at the universities that you are enrolled in. 

The Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students 

This is a scholarship provided by MEXT for privately-financed students enrolled in universities in Japan (undergraduate or postgraduate schools) as well as university preparatory courses and Japanese language schools. Scholarship covers either 12 months (from April to March) or 6 months (from October to March), and the monthly stipend is JPY 48,000 (approximately USD 350 as of July 2022) for undergraduate and postgraduate students and JPY 30,000 (approximately USD 220) for Japanese language students. Students who are grantees of MEXT Scholarship or any foreign government scholarships are not eligible to apply.

Applications need to be made through the school that you are enrolled in. Please ask your school for further information.

Tuition fee exemptions and reductions

There are a number of universities that offer tuition fee exemptions and reductions. Requirements and conditions are decided by each university. Please contact the university directly for more information. 

Scholarships for exchange students

Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan)

This is a scholarship offered by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) to students who are accepted by Japanese universities under a student exchange agreement. The monthly stipend is JPY 80,000 and the application has to be made through your home university. The selection of applicants is different from school to school, so make sure you contact the international relations department of your home university for further details.