How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan? » Beatnaija

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan?

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How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan?

The true cost of studying abroad in Japan can be a lot more expensive than most students think. Make sure you are fully prepared for all expenses before you leave. Some programs will cover your expenses while others require that you cover them yourself. Don’t forget to include housing, food, and transportation in your budget. A good rule of thumb is to plan on at least $10 per day for living expenses; use that as a benchmark when calculating costs. If you don’t have that money saved up, check out these tips for how to raise money for study abroad . It’s possible! Not only do scholarships help students afford school but they also assist with paying for everything else associated with college from books and supplies to travel and housing expenses.


Breathtaking nature, ancient culture and traditions, creativity and innovation—Japan really has it all. You can participate in everything from shorter, intensive summer and winter programs to full years abroad, too, making it easy to fit your dream of living in Japan into your academic plans.

From programs that immerse you in Japanese language study to programs that let you take classes in history, international business, or literature, and even internships abroad, there’s something for just about any student here.

But you’re not alone if there’s a lingering question holding you back: How much is it to study abroad in Japan? The thought of tuition, housing fees, and Japan’s reputation as being less-than-budget-friendly are enough to make the most eager students hesitant to look for study abroad programs in Japan.

Understanding how to make sense of the numbers you see—and how to manage and save money as you plan—can help you find a program abroad that fits your needs.

Can I study abroad in Japan for free?

Though it’s tough to study abroad without some kind of price tag, you have many ways to significantly bring down the total dent in your own wallet. Scholarships can cover part or even all of your tuition and other costs. Apply to as many as you can; students can and do study in Japan for “free” because they’ve pieced together a few different scholarships.

You’ll need to account for essentials you can’t live without (think: housing, food, your health insurance) no matter which program you choose, though the way some of those costs get covered varies. And that amazing program with the program fee that makes you gasp? You’ll have more ways to bring down the total cost than you might imagine.

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What’s the average cost to study abroad in Japan?

Your program choice plays into what you’ll wind up paying. If your home college has an exchange agreement with an institution in Japan, you can keep paying your regular tuition, which can translate to a really good deal if your tuition costs at home aren’t that high. Still, you should carefully compare costs with programs that may look more expensive up front.

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan?

Exchange programs often provide a cost-effective way to study abroad thanks to the reciprocal tuition agreement structure, but not all colleges have these agreements with schools in Japan. Direct enrollment at a university in Japan offers another possibility. Keep in mind that if you opt for an exchange program or direct enrollment at a university in Japan, your tuition payment may cover just that—tuition for academic credits only.

You can also enroll in a program with a third-party provider. While a program via a provider may come with higher up-front costs, the fees you pay can cover everything from tuition to visa assistance, housing to health and safety services, and more.

  • Tuition or program fee: The cost to study in Japan varies considerably. You’ll find semester programs under $7,000 and others up to and beyond $25,000. Academic year programs exist in a similar (doubled) range. Summer programs are available in a variety of lengths, some as short as just a few weeks, which can impact the total price you’ll pay. For example, you can find summer programs in Japan for less than $4,000. If you’re paying a bigger program fee to a provider, keep in mind it likely includes more than standard tuition for credits.
  • Housing: The average rent for international students in Japan is around $300 per month, with Tokyo on the high end of the spectrum closer to $400 and monthly rent in Shikoku closer to only $200. Some programs may offer homestays, which can help you save overall thanks to included meals (and plenty of language and cultural immersion!). And remember, you may already pay for housing as part of your total program fee depending on your chosen study abroad program.
  • Health insurance: If you’re staying in Japan for three months or more, you’ll need to enroll in Japan’s National Health Insurance. The premium varies depending on your income and municipality, but often costs less than $15 per month. (Your program or home university may also require you to enroll in student health and travel insurance, so check to confirm additional costs you should expect.) Some cost-saving good news: NHI will automatically cover 70% of most medical and dental expenses incurred while you’re in Japan.
  • Airfare: Round-trip airfare to Japan will likely cost you over $1,000. You’ll need to account for this cost regardless of how long you study in Japan.
  • Extra spending money: The average monthly spending expenses (excluding academic fees but including rent) come out to just under $800 for international students in Japan. That includes about $45 for local commuting and around $240 for food.
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4 ways to manage the cost of living in Japan for international students

Managing the cost of living in Japan starts long before you move into your homestay, dorm, or apartment. Some thoughtful pre-departure planning goes a long way toward finding a program that fits your budget.

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan?

1. Make time for advising so you don’t leave money on the table

Whether you already have a specific university or study abroad program in mind or you just know you want to study in Japan, make some time early on in the process to speak with the study abroad team at your home school.

They can help you find programs approved by your institution—a must for keeping your financial aid, getting approved for certain study abroad scholarships, and staying on track for graduation.

If you do get financial aid or loans, a conversation with a financial aid advisor should also top your to-do list. You’ll need to make sure you’re choosing a program that works with any financial aid requirements, including ensuring you have the right courses available to take in Japan.

And if you typically get a scholarship that covers part or all of your regular tuition? You’ll want to have a chat about that as well to be certain you can use that money for study abroad.

Even if advising sounds boring when you’re busy planning out your classes and trips you’ll take once you’re in Japan, don’t skip this step. Taking some extra time before you leave to speak with the necessary people at your home school will help you make sure you’re getting all the money you can to fund tuition and other costs in Japan.

2. Consider program length when building your budget

Think about how different program lengths can impact the total amount you’ll need to save for a study abroad program in Japan—and don’t write off your dream of studying in Japan if the cost of a full semester or year-long program has you shaking your head.

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan?
We know you’ll want to spend forever here, but that’s not necessarily budget-friendly.

By opening your search to include short-term programs that are often less expensive due to the shorter time frame, you can find options that better fit with a smaller budget. Likewise, if you know your financial aid won’t cover the courses you take abroad, you might find paying for only one or two courses over the winter or summer more manageable than funding a full semester out-of-pocket.

On the flip side, maybe you’re a great candidate for a study abroad scholarship that only applies to longer programs. Or, maybe your financial aid package only applies to full semesters, not summer or winter courses. You’ll want to play around with different program lengths depending on your personal situation, but once you do, you’ll find a program that lets you study abroad in Japan while meeting your budgeting needs.

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3. Keep an open mind when deciding where you’ll study

…And travel on all the four main islands, to less obvious places, like Nagoya, Kotohira-gū, Akan or Aso National Park. Considering different locations can help you save big in the long run. This starts from the moment you’re looking for a university or program in Japan and continues through all the fun excursions and trips you’re planning to fully immerse yourself in Japanese culture.

When it comes to program choice, opting to study in a smaller town or city can significantly bring down the average cost to study abroad in Japan. Look at programs and universities in lesser-known areas if you’re on a budget, as cities in Japan generally come with a higher cost of living than rural areas.

The same holds true if you’re strategizing weekend trips to explore Japan beyond your new home base. Venturing to areas that don’t draw throngs of tourists can help you manage your money, all while offering a unique and authentic experience.

As for getting there, train ticket prices will vary a lot depending on the speed of the train you’re on. You can save some cash when you have the time to travel via slower, regional trains instead of bullet trains, known as shinkansen. Regional trains in Japan are still safe and reliable, and they’ll get you closer to those off-the-beaten path areas that shinkansen might not reach.

4. Apply for funding to cover study abroad costs

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan?

You’ve found your dream program and hit send on that application. Get your creative juices flowing again, and start putting together some awesome applications for scholarships to study abroad in Japan.

You’ll find general study abroad scholarships, scholarships specifically for students studying in Japan or Asia, scholarships for language study…the list goes on.

Have your eye on a third-party provider program? Check if they offer funding that you can apply directly to your program cost. Many providers have grants for students who receive Federal Pell Grants, students who attend affiliated universities, and more.

If you combine a few different scholarships, you might be able to study in Japan for free—or at least significantly bring down the total cost you need to deal with on your own. You can also use online fundraising tools to cover some of the remaining costs of your time abroad.

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