How much does it cost to study in Japan? - Living Costs & Tuition Fees in Japan


Want to study abroad in Japan? But worried about the cost? This article breakdowns the cost to study in Japan for international students. Find out how much living costs and tuitions fees are in Japan, and ways to subsidize the costs. 

First Published: 2022/10/26
Updated: 2024/05/30

Table of Contents

  1. How much does it cost to study in Japan? → Separate living costs and tuition fees
  2. Study in Japan Cost 1: Tuition Fees in Japan
    1. Other Expenses Before Admission
  3. Study in Japan Cost 2: Living Costs for International Students in Japan
    1. Japanese Student's Cost of Living
    2. International Student in Japan's Cost of Living
  4. Study in Japan Cost and Scholarships in Japan
  5. Study in Japan Cost and Part Time Jobs in Japan  

How much does it cost to study in Japan ? → Separate Living Costs and Tuition Fees

costs to study abroad in japan

When thinking about the cost of studying in Japan, the first thing that comes to mind is tuition fees (学費 gakuhi). National and public universities have lower tuition fees than private universities, but many may wonder how much of a difference it actually makes. In the case of tuition fees, it is divided into: an admission fee (入学費 nyuugakuhi) paid only once in the first year of admission, and the tuition fee (授業料 juugoryou) which is paid annually. There are also other miscellaneous fees to be incurred before admission, such as Japanese language test application fee, visa fee, school application fee, document courier fee, etc. . 

When thinking about student life when studying abroad, the first thing that comes to mind is rent (家賃 yachin) but there are also various expenses that make up living costs. There’s transportation, food, electricity and water (utilities), health insurance, etc. 

In addition, It is not easy to find out the tuition fees for each individual school.

In this article, we breakdown the cost for studying in Japan based on the information related to the cost of studying abroad by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO). In addition, we introduce scholarships to help with tuition and living expenses in Japan.

※ JASSO, “Academic Fees

Study in Japan Cost 1: Tuition Fees in Japan

school fees and tuition fees in japan

When studying in Japan, the first year’s tuition (admission fee + tuition fee) and subsequent years’ tuition (tuition fees) are different. Take a look at the average tuition fees for the admission year (first year) at national, public, and private universities. 




Private University
(excluding Medical Studies)

Private University
(Medical Studies)

Graduate School

820,000 yen

900,000 yen

1,100,000 yen

850,000 yen


820,000 yen

930,000 yen

1,100,000 yen

3,200,000 yen

Junior College


610,000 yen

960,000 yen


[Note] According to the “Survey Results on Tuition Fees, etc. for those Enrolled in Private Universities, etc.” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)※, the tuition and admission fees for each national/public/private university (as of the year 2020) were as follows: 

  • National University (National Standard Amount): Tuition 535,800 yen / Admission 282,000 yen
  • Public University (Average): Tuition 536,382 yen / Admission 392,111 yen
  • Private University (Average): Tuition 927,705 yen / Admission 247,052 yen

For vocational schools (training schools), technical colleges, and Japanese language educational institutions (Japanese language schools, etc.), the average tuition fees for first year admission are as follows: 

Technical College (National)

320,000 yen※

Vocational Schools

890,000 yen

Japanese Language Educational Institution

680,000 yen

[Note] If you are curious about the differences between national/public/private universities in Japan, and what kind of schools are junior colleges, vocational schools, and training colleges, etc. are. Please read The Confusing University Education System in Japan: What is junior college? What is the difference between private, public, and national universities? What degree can you acquire?.

※ JASSO, "Planning to Study in Japan Academic Fees"

Other Expenses Before Admission

In addition to tuition, there are other expenses before admission. It may be helpful to divide them into:

  1. the expenses required for entrance application submission 

  2. the expenses for taking entrance exam

  3. after admission is confirmed, the visa issuance fee, airline ticket price, and short-term accommodation fee

1) Expenses required up till entrance application submission 

  • Test Fees (JLPT, EJU, TOEFL, etc.): Example) JLPT 6,500 yen, EJU 10,000 yen per subject
  • Entrance Exam Fee for Desired School: Example) Common Test for University Admissions:12,000~18,000 yen (2 to 3 subjects), National University 17,000 yen, Private University approx. 30,000~35,000 yen per school
  • Application Fee: Approx. 2,000 yen
  • Medical Examination (if necessary for admission): Approx. 6,000 yen

2) Expenses for taking the entrance exam

  • Travelling and lodging (if necessary) expenses to sit for exams and interviews at each school

3) After admission is confirmed, the visa issuance fee, airline ticket price, and short-term accommodation fee

  • Expenses incurred to obtain student visa (document courier fee, visa issuing fee, etc.): [Explanation] Certificate of Eligibility required for student visa issuance, and issuing of student visa (status of residence: student) is free of charge, expenses incurred here refers to miscellaneous expenses like travelling to the embassy, courier documents to the school (for COE application), using proxy service such as administrative scrivener, etc. 
  • Airfare and lodging expenses (temporary accommodation expenses like hotel stay until more permanent lodging is secured)
  • Passport issuance/renewal fee (if necessary)

Study in Japan Cost 2: Living Expenses in Japan for International Students 

living expenses in japan for international students

Now that you have a sense of tuition fees and related expenses, it's time to find out the cost of living (生活費 seikatsuhi) when studying abroad. 

Local Japanese Student’s Cost of Living

According to the “Student Life Survey” conducted by JASSO, the cost of living (total of food, housing/utilities, hygiene/sanitation, entertainment/hobbies, and other daily expenses (including communication fees) of Japanese university students is an average of 677,400 yen a year (around 56,450 yen a month) in 2022. However, it should be noted that the results include students who live in their family home, so their costs for food, housing, and utilities are lower than the average international student’s

※ JASSO, “令和4年度 学生生活調査結果” Pg.4-7 [2024.3.29] [PDF]

International Student in Japan’s Cost of Living

international student in japan cost of living

According to the “Privately Financed International Students Survey” conducted by JASSO, the average monthly living cost of an international student is 158,000 yen, as of 2021. This is the amount used by international students per month, excluding expenses up till admission and admission fees, but including tuition fees. Further excluding study and research expenses, the average cost of living is 102,000 yen per month. The breakdown for international students’ cost of living is as follows:


Cost (national monthly average)

Study and Research(*)

56,000 yen

School Commute / Transportation

4,000 yen


28,000 yen

Housing / Rent

38,000 yen

Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water)

7,000 yen

Health Insurance / Medical

3,000 yen

Entertainment / Hobbies

5,000 yen

Other Daily Expenses

8,000 yen


9,000 yen

Total Monthly Living Cost

158,000 yen

*Study and Research expenses include tuition fees, learning materials (textbooks, practice materials, stationery, etc.), social activities (training camp, club activities), and similar expenses. Refer above for tuition fees, remember that the cost varies depending on national/public/private, region, and school type (junior college, technical college, vocational school, Japanese language educational institutions, etc.). 

Since many international students are interested in staying and studying in Tokyo, here are the results for Tokyo. 
The average monthly living cost of an international student in Tokyo is 180,000 yen, as of 2021. Excluding study and research expenses, the average cost of living is 118,000 yen per month. 


Cost (national monthly average)

Study and Research(*)

62,000 yen

School Commute / Transportation

5,000 yen


30,000 yen

Housing / Rent

50,000 yen

Utilities (Electricity, Gas, Water)

7,000 yen

Health Insurance / Medical

3,000 yen

Entertainment / Hobbies

6,000 yen

Other Daily Expenses

8,000 yen


9,000 yen

Total Monthly Living Cost

180,000 yen

[Note] Since housing costs in Japan vary greatly by region and type of residence (school dorms, sharehouse, etc. , or private rental), it is recommended to research what the standard cost of monthly rent is in the area where you will be studying and for the type of residence you will be living in. 

※ JASSO, “令和3年度私費外国人留学生生活実態調査概要” Pg.19-21 [2022.9] [PDF]

Study in Japan Cost and Scholarships in Japan

Scholarships and part time jobs can be considered as sources of a student’s income to support tuition fees and living expenses. 

According to the “Student Life Survey” conducted by JASSO, in 2023, Japanese university students received an average of 407,600 yen a year from scholarships (20.7% of student income). Income from part time jobs is an average of 375,900 yen a year (19.1% of student income), which accounted for the same proportion. And lastly, financial support from family is an average of 1,096,900 yen per year, which makes up 55.8% of student income.

To receive a scholarship in Japan, it is important to conduct early research on:

  • Types of available scholarships (awarding institutions and organisations)
  • Eligibility conditions
  • Selection test
  • How to apply
  • Deadline for application

What scholarships you can receive can depend on your:

  • Age
  • Country/region of origin
  • Previously/currently enrolled school in Japan
  • Field of study

In addition to document screening your application, there may be interviews, written tests, language tests, etc. for evaluation. 

In many cases, scholarship applications are made through the school you are currently enrolled in, but this really depends on the scholarship so you need to find out yourself (and apply yourself if necessary). From big scholarships that almost fully covers the cost of studying abroad, such as tuition and living expenses, to small scholarships such as tuition reduction (30, 50, 100% waiver) and living expenses support, research and apply for a variety of scholarships.

※ JASSO, “令和4年度 学生生活調査結果” Pg.4-7 [2024.3.29] [PDF]

Types of Japan Scholarships

According to awarding institution/organisation, these are the available types of Japanese scholarships:

  • Japanese Government (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology): Undergraduate students, in general apply before going to Japan
  • Japan Student Services Organisation (JASSO): Programme to promote acceptance of international students (MEXT Monbukagakusho Honours Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students). For privately financed international students entering Japan for university undergraduate, junior college, technical college (from 3rd year), vocational school, sit for Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU) and apply before entering Japan 
  • Local Governments / Related International Exchange Organisations
  • NGO Scholarships
  • Currently Enrolled School: School-specific scholarships, tuition reduction/waiver system

Study in Japan Cost and Part Time Jobs in Japan 

International students’ status of residence is “student (留学 ryuugaku) which allows them to stay in Japan for study purposes, so there are some restrictions when it comes to working part time. It is very important to adhere to the rules exactly as failure to do so will affect your student visa renewal, or future change of visa status. 

International students that want to work part time in Japan must obtain prior permission. This permission is called “permission to engage in other activities other than that permitted under status of residence” or “「資格外活動許可」shikakugai katsudou kyoka”. This permission generally allows international students to work up to 28 hours a week. There are also restrictions on types of part time jobs, for example adult entertainment jobs. 

For more about ”permission to engage in other activities” including how to apply, when and where to apply, and other important rules, read What is a “permission to engage in other activities other than that permitted under status of residence” in Japan? Necessity, application method, and precautions.

How much can you earn from a part-time job?

The minimum wage for each prefecture is different. From October 1, 2023, the minimum hourly wage in Tokyo is 1,113 yen. Knowing the minimum wage and the 28 hour work week restriction, you can roughly calculate how much you can earn in a month. It is important to think of your part time job as an incidental source of income and put your studies first. When choosing a part time job, adjust it to your lifestyle and schedule it so it does not interfere with your studies. 

Check our average salary in Japan and minimum wage in Japan article for more information, here

Looking for a part time job in Japan? We can help! 

WeXpats Jobs is a part time job site for foreign nationals living in Japan. You can search for jobs in 11 languages (English, Vietnamese, Korean, Indonesian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Burmese, Thai, Spanish, Portuguese), including Japanese. Find jobs that suit you by specifying your Japanese language level, occupation, location, and etc.

※ You can register from outside Japan, but only those living in Japan can apply for jobs.

To Sum Up How Much Does It Cost to Study in Japan 

In this article, we divided the cost of studying in Japan into tuition fees and living expenses, and looked into each item in detail. The information on costs we provided are after all just the average amount, how much you need, whether more or less, can be adjusted according to individual circumstances, so please use this information as a reference only. Plan your study in Japan economically and in detail and consider supplementary income to support yourself through scholarships and part time jobs. 


Here to provide a variety of articles from useful information about life, working, and studying in Japan to Japan's charms and attractive qualities.

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