Top 10 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad In Japan

Studying abroad is exciting, there’s just no other way to put it. It can be the best time of your life as you meet people from all over the world, gain experiences unlike any other, and make new memories in life. 

Japan, the land of Martial Arts and Culture, has continued to be one of the countries with the best education system. 

It is one of the most popular destinations for international students, with more than 150,000 students studying in Japan.

There are many reasons to study in Japan. Some are attracted by Japan’s high standard of education, while others are attracted by the country’s rich cultural heritage.

But before deciding to move abroad, many students want to know what student life is actually like in Japan. 

Below, we take a look at the top 10 things to know before studying abroad in Japan:

These Are The Top 10 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad In Japan

This is a must-see article, especially for those considering studying abroad in Japan, so please read it to the end.

1. Visa

As an international student, you need a visa to study in Japan. This is what you need to present at immigration when entering Japan. 

You can apply at the embassy or consulate of your home country with a COE. If you are going to study abroad, you will be granted a “Student visa”, and the initial period of stay you can obtain is generally one year and three months (After that, the period can be renewed for up to 2 years.).

Learn about the student visa process and what you need to enter the country depending on your citizenship status. 

You will also need to bring certain documents to passport control at the airport.

2. Improve Your English Before Going To Japan To Study

Do you think your English will improve if you live and study in Japan? Japanese people have similar levels of English proficiency. 

Therefore, when you study abroad and enter a language school, Japanese students often gather in the same class. If you have Japanese classmates, it will be easier for you to get along, and you will spend more time using Japanese outside of English study time. 

As a result, there may be fewer opportunities to use English in daily life.

Many people think that studying abroad will make them fluent in English. However, in reality, language skills cannot be acquired without effort, such as memorizing words and learning repeatedly.

3. Punctuality

Punctuality is highly valued in Japan. Everyone is expected to be on time for meetings and appointments. 

Aim to arrive sometime before or exactly at the designated time. If something is scheduled to start at 10:00 am, you need to be there by 9:45 am. 

You’ll notice, especially on public transportation, that people are always running or speed walking to their next destination. 

It is common sense for the Japanese to ‘be prompt.

If you are running even one minute late meeting someone, text or call to let them know.

Read More: How Much Does It Cost To Study Abroad

4. Tuition Fees And Living Cost In Japan

There are four parts to tuition fees in Japan:

  1. application fees
  2. registration fees
  3. tuition fees 
  4. fees for university institutions

The amount of the tuition fees varies depending on the type of university (public or private), the chosen subject, and the length of study. 

Private universities are generally more expensive than public universities. At a private university, you have to reckon with annual fees of around 8,000 EUR. At a public university, it is around 4,500 EUR per year. 

For a medical or technical degree, the tuition fees are sometimes significantly higher.

On top of the tuition fees, you will probably need about 100000-150000 Yen per month to cover your living expenses such as accommodation, food, and travel, etc. 

If you study in a smaller city where the accommodation and travel costs are low you might get by on less, but in Tokyo, it is easy to spend much more especially if you live in your apartment.

5. Get Acquainted  With Japan’s Amazing Public Transportation 

Explore your “home” city and travel throughout the country; especially within and between big cities, public transportation offers a practical way to get around. 

There are also rules and protocols when boarding public transportation in Japan. One of them is that there’s the unspoken rule of being very quiet when inside the train.

Public transportation in Japan is reliable. It’s safe. It’s really, really punctual, Yes, it’s also crowded, but that’s just part of the experience.

6. Bring Your Own Medicine

You’re not allowed to bring more than 3 months of prescription to Japan, while some medicines are not allowed at all. For a list of prohibited medicines.

Make more research on the list of drugs you can take to travel.

7. Eating Etiquette

It’s good you know how to use chopsticks before traveling to japan. 

It is the most common utensil used for eating although you may raise bowls to your mouth to make it easier to eat with chopsticks, especially bowls of rice.

Japanese cuisine is based on combining rice with one main dish and several side dishes. Japanese meals are served as small plates, with each dish being served separately. 

It is considered very rude to waste food. If you are not hungry, only take the amount of food that you will be able to consume.

You might notice that Japanese people are loud eaters. Slurping noodles or making loud noises while eating is actually OK! Slurping hot food like ramen is polite as it shows that you are enjoying it.

Read Also: 8 Most Affordable Universities in Malaysia for Foreign Students

8. Purchase A JR Pass

A JR Pass is short for a Japan Rail Pass, and it’s an inexpensive and comfortable way to travel around Japan on the bullet train, Shinkansen, and other JR-branded transportation. 

Remember there’s an expiration date for this pass that you have to keep in mind. Passes are usually valid for seven, 14, or 21-day periods. It’s recommended you buy your JR Pass before arriving in Japan and then verify it in a JR office with your passport.

9. Tipping Is Not Customary

Let me tell you for free, Japan doesn’t have a tipping culture, so you are not expected to tip your service providers. 

The reason for this is that they get a liveable wage, so a waitperson doesn’t depend on tips to live, unlike in some countries. 

Even if you insist on tipping them, they’ll try their best to give it back to you.

10. Enjoy And Climb The Mountains 

While planning to study abroad, you must have been thinking of adventures.

When you think of natural interests to go to in Japan, Mount Fuji should be at the top of your list. 

Check to see if the mountain’s open, though, as sometimes it is closed for multiple reasons.

If you’re unable to climb Mt Fuji, don’t worry, your hiking poles can still take you up the many other mountains in Japan.

Mount Kita, in the Yamanashi Prefecture, is the second-highest mountain in Japan and Mount Okuhotaka is the third-highest mountain, located in the Hotaka Mountain Range of Japan.

Frequently Asked Question 

1.What should I study abroad in Japan?

Some other popular subject areas which are commonly pursued by students who study abroad in Japan

2. Do you need to speak Japanese to study abroad?

Even if you don’t speak Japanese, you can totally study abroad in the land of the rising sun in English. Here’s how. 

First, expectations are on your side. The great part about Japan is that most Japanese people don’t expect you to speak Japanese.


I have successfully taken you through the top 10 tips to know before studying abroad in Japan.

The list is endless but I believe this article will help. Good luck!

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