10 Best Places to Study Abroad in Japan

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Have you ever considered studying abroad in Japan? Many foreign students come to Japan to study what they are majoring in, such as Japanese language, history, economics, etc. However, when you think about studying abroad in Japan, it can be tough to decide where you want to study and what school/city suits you best. In this article we will tell you about various cities in Japan that might be just right for your study abroad experience! 

1. Tokyo

If you are looking to take classes at the highest academic level in Japan, Tokyo might be a great option for you. As Tokyo is the center of Japan, it is home to plenty of high class  universities. For example, the University of Tokyo, located in Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, is known as the most prestigious university in all of Japan, attracting talented students from all over the world! In addition to being amazing academically, the transportation system in Tokyo is very well developed, making it easy to get to school no matter where in Tokyo you live. If you want to study while living in the biggest and one of the liveliest cities in the world, Tokyo is the place for you! 

2. Kyoto

A beautiful city centered around tradition and history, Kyoto is a wonderful place to study abroad. The whole city’s atmosphere is that of old, traditional Japan, and you can always walk around the beautiful city in between classes to take your mind off things. Kyoto, like Tokyo, is home to universities of the highest academic level, and Kyoto University is a prime example. Kyoto University has a large number of research institutions, with many different fields, including biology, chemistry, mathematics, and economics to name a few. Studying in a city with a traditional Japanese atmosphere will surely make you fall in love with Japan. 

3. Osaka

Osaka is one of the most famous cities in the Kansai region, and is a goldmine of delicious food. It’s also home to Kansai International Airport, which flys both domestic and international. It is very convenient and easy to take the train from the airport to the center of Osaka. In addition, since Osaka is fairly close to Kyoto and Kobe, it is possible to commute by train from Osaka if you need to. The cost of living in Osaka is said to be relatively cheaper than Tokyo, and you can take advantage of the cheap supermarkets and reasonably priced food stalls and restaurants. What do you think, with convenient transportation and delicious food, is Osaka the place for you?

4. Sendai 

Sendai, the largest city in Miyagi Prefecture in the Tohoku region, is a city full of nature. There is so much greenery growing throughout the city that it is called the “the City of Trees”. It only takes 30 minutes to an hour by car from the city to get to areas such as Akiu, Sakunami, and Izumi, where you can enjoy beautiful autumn leaves during fall. If you are not a big fan of Japan’s extreme heat and harsh winters, we have some good news for you! Sendai is known to have very few sweltering summer days or freezing winter days throughout the year, making it a very comfortable place to live. Sendai could be just the place for your study abroad experience. 

5. Nagoya

Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture is right in between Tokyo and Osaka. The transportation system is very well developed, with the subway running under all the main areas of the city. Using the Nagoya Railway(Meitetsu) is highly recommended if you want to get to Nagoya Station from Chubu Centrair International Airport, which also flys both domestic and international. It only takes about 30 minutes to get to Nagoya Station. Nagoya is known for its long history, and Nagoya Castle, which can be accessed by a short train ride from Nagoya Station, is a big tourist spot that attracts many visitors every year. If you like a historical atmosphere, Nagoya could be the right fit for you. 

6. Fukuoka

Fukuoka, the capital of Fukuoka prefecture, is located in the northern part of Kyushu. In the center of the city, there is a well known area called Hakata, which is a gourmet paradise where you can eat various delicious foods. Not only food, but fashion and business are also very big, making Hakata a lively and fun area. The city also has a great transportation system. You can get to Hakata Station in 5 minutes by subway from Fukuoka Airport! This ranks at the fourth fastest time in the world from an international airport to the city. Rent in Fukuoka is also relatively cheaper than in Tokyo which is always a plus as well. If you love food or just enjoy being in an exciting city, Fukuoka is a great option. 

7. Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a big city in Hiroshima Prefecture, located in the Chugoku region of Japan. In 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, tragically devastating the city.  The Atomic Bomb Dome was one of the only buildings still standing in Hiroshima after the war, and is now a symbol of world peace. Hiroshima is a very livable city with lots of fashion friendly areas and cultural facilities. It is also known for its streetcars and delicious Okonomiyaki, which are both very popular among locals and visitors alike. Studying in this unique city will surely be a  special experience.

8. Kobe

Kobe, in Hyogo Prefecture, is known as the most fashionable city in the Kansai region and is getting more and more popular every year. The night view from the Port of Kobe is particularly beautiful, and is perfect for a date. Surrounded by mountains and the sea, you feel like you are connected to nature all the time. You can easily get from Kobe to Osaka and Kyoto by train, making day trips to other prefectures a nice travel option. Kobe isn’t as big as places like Tokyo or Osaka, but it has a nice vibe and the people are very kind, making it a place that anyone could take a liking to. 

9. Sapporo 

Sapporo, the capital of Hokkaido prefecture, is in the northernmost part of Japan. The seafood and well known dairy products are just a few of the delicious foods you’ll find there. Hokkaido University is a traditional university that dates back 145 years, and is full of nature with rows of poplar and ginkgo trees spread throughout campus. In the fall, their leaves change into a beautiful gold color, making it a popular place to take a stroll. The campus also has an auditorium that was built over 100 years ago, giving the campus a historical atmosphere. Although Sapporo gets pretty cold in the winter, it is an amazing place with delicious food and many things to do. If you can deal with the cold climate, you will surely enjoy your time there. 

10. Yokohama 

Yokohama is a large city in Kanagawa Prefecture and is popular for its convenient location, being only about a 30 minute train ride from Tokyo. Therefore, if you decide to live in Yokohama, you could always commute to Tokyo, and enjoy both Tokyo and Yokohama on your days off. Yokohama is not only convenient in terms of transportation, but also has many sightseeing spots. The Red Brick Warehouse and Yokohama Chinatown are a few of the famous spots. At night, there is a fantastic view of the Yokohama Bay Bridge that is always lit up. Yokohama is great if you want to live somewhere that has everything but isn’t quite as busy as Tokyo. 

Websites for more information on Studying Abroad in Japan

The Japanese Government and Japan Student Services Organizations (JASSO) have gathered information for anyone who wants to study abroad in Japan. If you’re interested, be sure to check out the official websites for more information! 

Study in Japan by JASSO

Study in Japan by JASSO, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

We talked about 10 great places that might suit your study abroad experience. Did you find a city that you want to study in? Of course there are plenty of other places to study in Japan that might suit you just fine as well. It is a good idea to check the cost of living and rent in the area in advance and decide where to live according to your budget. We hope you have the chance to study here in Japan! 

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Happy travelling!

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Mao Goto is a Japanese freelancer who was born in Hayama, Kanagawa prefecture, and raised in Tokyo. Since 2016 she lives in the Taito Ward, home to a lot of Japanese culture hotspots such as Asakusa, Akihabara, and Ueno. She has been interested in the field of English education of Japan and got her Master’s degree in March, 2020. A lover of photography, travel, sweets, and cross-stitch. Contact her via Facebook.

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