Study in Japan for Free (3 Tips)

//Study in Japan for Free (3 Tips)

Japan, one of the world’s most advanced countries, is a haven for foreigners who wish to take their studies to the next level. After all, the land of the rising sun is home to technological advances, quality research, and of course, world-class universities.

Despite the high cost of living in Japan, it should not be a barrier to studying in this East Asian country. With this guide on how to study in Japan for free, you can finish your education without paying a cent.

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How to Study in Japan for Free

1. Study hard and prepare your application early to have a good application

As the process of studying for free in Japan is quite lengthy, it’s best to complete your application documents early on. According to the Study in Japan website, you need to follow these steps:

  • Obtain the necessary documents from your school from April to May
  • Choose a university by June
  • Apply for the entrance exam for international students (EJU), the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), and TOEFL/IELTS (as needed) by July
  • Send your application from August to October
  • Take the EJU by November
  • Complete immigration procedures, change of status, and enrollment procedures from January to March

2. Apply for Scholarships in Japan

There are many scholarships for which you could apply in Japan so that you can study in Japan for free. Undergraduates can either apply for a Japanese government scholarship or the 9 external funding options available before flying to the country. Even if this is not done, there are still 88 scholarship options available upon arrival. More scholarships are even available for Masters and Doctorate students.

3. Attend cheap universities in Japan

In case you only get a partial scholarship for your studies, you can defray the other costs by applying to a budget-friendly university. For example, Nagoya University, Osaka University, Kyushu University, and Tohoku University only cost about $4,000 a year.

Study Undergraduate Programs in Japan for Free

To study in Japan for free, you should apply for these scholarship programs:

Kyoto University

Also known as Kyodai, Kyoto University is the second-oldest educational institution in Japan. It offers various scholarship programs, including the Japanese MEXT Scholarship. This covers tuition, admission, and examination fees. This also comes with roundtrip airfare and a monthly stipend of 117,000 yen.

Another option is the AEON scholarship, which is open to students from certain Asian countries who are majoring in non-Religion or non-Political courses. You can study in Japan for free with AEON scholarships since it covers tuition for 4 years and a 100,000 yen monthly stipend.

University of Tokyo

UTokyo or Todai is one of the four imperial universities. Founded in 1877, it is one of Japan’s oldest educational institutions.

Its scholarship programs for foreign undergraduates include the UTokyo Scholarship, which is given to 10 students who show exceptional academic talent. It covers four years’ worth of tuition fees, admission fees, and a monthly stipend of 126,000 yen.

Sophia University

Sophia University is a prominent private educational institution in Tokyo, Japan. Ranked as the third-best school in all of the country, it offers two scholarships that cover the full cost of tuition, so that international students can study in Japan for free. One is the Sophia University New Student Scholarship, which covers the first year of studies.

As for the other years, you may try for the Sophia University Benefactors’ Scholarship (Adachi), which covers full tuition and an additional educational enhancement fee. A good example is the Volvo Global Challenge Scholarship, which amounts to as much as 1 million yen. This is given to students who show an interest in global issues.

Eligibility depends on an evaluation that tackles grades, financial situation, and student character.

Meiji University

Meiji University is a Tokyo-based institution founded in the year 1881. To date, this private university offers the following scholarships for undergraduate students:

  • Meiji University International Students Incentive Scholarship Program, which is open to students from 8 countries. It covers full tuition, admission fees, airfare, and a monthly stipend of 100,000 yen.
  • Meiji University Special Grant for Privately Financed International Students, which will cover as much as 100% of the tuition fee amount. This is given to applicants who entered through the Student Exam Type II or English Track Exam from Abroad.
  • MEXT Scholarship, which covers full tuition and living allowances.

Hokkaido University

Hokkaido University is a national educational institution known to be the country’s fifth Imperial University. Its scholarships for undergraduate students include the MEXT scholarship, which covers tuition and monthly living allowances.

Kyushu University

Kyushu University or Kyudai is a national school located in Fukuoka. As with most Japanese institutions, Kyushu University offers the MEXT scholarship to international students who wish to take their Bachelor’s degree in the university.

Keio University

Keio University is a private university located in the Japanese capital. Its scholarship programs include the Yamaoka Kenichi Memorial Scholarship for New Undergraduate Students, which comes with an annual scholarship amount of 700,000 yen for Economics, Law, Business, Commerce, and Letters students. The budget is increased to 900,000 yen a year for students of other faculties.

Students may also apply for the MEXT scholarship, which covers tuition fees and monthly stipends, among many other benefits.

International Christian University

ICU is a private university based in Mitaka, Japan. Foreign undergraduate students may apply for any of the 14 slots for the ICU Peace Bell Scholarship, which covers the tuition amount of 1 million yen a year for four years, abling international students to study in Japan for free.

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Titech is a national research university situated in the Greater Tokyo region. As the largest Japanese institution specializing in science and technology, it offers a variety of scholarship programs for undergraduate students. One such bursary is the Japanese MEXT Scholarship, which covers tuition, travel expense, and monthly living allowances.

Study Master’s in Japan for Free

Finish your Master’s program at these Japanese universities for free:

University of Tokyo

Masters scholarships at UTokyo include the IUCHI Asia Students Memorial Foundation scholarship. Only open to Myanmar citizens, it covers tuition, admission fees, and a monthly stipend of 70,000 to 100,000 yen.

Kyoto University

Kyodai Master’s students may apply for the Japanese MEXT scholarship, which covers tuition, admission, and exam fees. It also provides a monthly stipend of 144,000 yen.

The AEON scholarship is also available to some Asian applicants. It covers 2 years’ worth of Master’s studies plus a monthly stipend of 100,000 yen.

Asian, African, and Latin American students may also apply for the Konosuke Matsushita Memorial Foundation Scholarship, which is given to students who are researching the understanding of Japan and other countries. This awards full tuition and a monthly stipend of 120,000. It also covers the fees for examination and travel.

Masters students can study in Japan for free through the ABD-Japan Scholarship program. Applicants from ADB-borrowing countries who study Engineering, Agriculture, Economics, Management, or Global Environment can also apply for the ADB-Japan Scholarship program. This covers tuition, a monthly stipend of 120,000 yen, and travel expenses.

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Titech also offers Masters’ scholarships through the ADB bursary. It includes tuition fees, admission fees, book fees, as well as a monthly stipend of 147,000 yen.

Study Ph.D. in Japan for Free

Completing Ph.D. studies and research may be expensive, but you can study Ph.D. in Japan for free at these Japanese institutions:

University of Tokyo

UTokyo Ph.D. students may apply for scholarships such as the IUCHI Asia Students Memorial Foundation scholarship. Open to Burmese citizens, this covers tuition, admission fees, and monthly living allowances.

Kyoto University

Kyodai’s Japanese MEXT Scholarship is also provided to Ph.D. students. Apart from full tuition coverage, it also awards a monthly stipend of 145,000 yen.

International University, Japan

Based in Minamiuonuma, this private university offers the following scholarship programs for Ph.D. students:

  • Nakayama 100 Premium, which covers full tuition, dorm fee exemption, and a monthly allowance of 50,000 yen
  • Nakayama A, which only covers tuition and partial admissions fee
  • MEXT Scholarship, which covers full tuition, airfare, and a stipend of 144,000 yen monthly


I hope that this article on studying in Japan for free was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Japan Scholarships Page!