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Study for in Kyoto, Japan

Population: 1,500,000

City Overview

Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto is the heart of academic Japan and a great place to come and be a postgraduate student. Recently ranked as the world’s 11th most liveable city, Kyoto is an exciting blend of traditional Japanese heritage and modern design. With more than 6,000 international students, this is the perfect place to study a graduate program in Japan.

Education profile

Kyoto is one of the academic centres of Japan, with more than 37 institutions of higher education. You can study a graduate program in Kyoto at:

Kyoto is also home to the unique Consortium of Universities in Kyoto, which consists of three national, five public and 41 private universities.

Research and taught masters are both offered as graduate programs in Kyoto, and both usually take two years to complete. Almost all PhDs are academic and dissertation based (and last five years), apart from the Juris Doctor – the only professional doctorate offered in Japan, which only takes 2-3 years to complete.

Immigration and visas

You will need to apply for a student visa if you are studying a full time postgraduate course (at least four hours a day, five days a week) in Kyoto for more than three months.

You will also need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility before you are able to apply for a student visa, so the whole process will take some time – start your application at least four months before your first semester to be ready on time.

You will need to send a copy of your passport along with a completed application form and the Certificate of Eligibility. Your student visa will last for two years of study before it needs to be renewed.

Life in Kyoto

Kyoto is the perfect escape from the hassle and bustle of Tokyo, and is traditionally Japan’s cultural centre. However, the number of students in the city ensures that it stays creative and at the forefront of new technology. This is the sort of place where you can meditate in a temple, visit Nintendo’s headquarters, walk through some World Heritage sites and visit some achingly cool bars all in one day.
However, Kyoto isn’t all about city living. Set around hills and with the Kamo River nearby, Kyoto has plenty of tranquil spots to relax away from studying – as well as more than 2,000 temples and shrines that form part of the city’s cultural heritage.

Kyoto is the place where you will find the Japan of your imagination – golden temples, traditional restaurants and geisha girls. What better place to study a graduate program in Japan?

Working in Kyoto

If you wish to remain in Kyoto after you finish your studies for more than six months to work, you will need to get a work permit.
Being able to speak Japanese will greatly enhance your job opportunities in Kyoto, unless you are just looking for work as an English teacher. However, most major businesses will also conduct work in English.

Kyoto’s key industry is information technology and electronics, with the city being the headquarters of major electronics players like Nintendo. The city also relies on tourism, with it being the second most popular Japanese city after Tokyo.


Most postgraduate students in Kyoto opt to stay in university accommodation as it is cheaper, easier to find and a good way to meet other students. However, if you choose to go for private accommodation, you should probably think about which ward you want to live in.
Kyoto is divided into eleven wards, with the two most popular student wards being the central (Nakagyo-ku) and lower (Shimogyo-ku) wards.

Weather and Climate

Kyoto has a humid climate during summer, when temperatures regularly reach 30C during the warmest months between July and September. Conversely, winters can be cold with snowfall. January and February tend to be the coldest months.

As with most of the Pacific coast cities of Japan, Kyoto can be prone to typhoons during September and October.

What to do next

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