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Study for in Tokyo, Japan

Population: 13,185,502

City Overview

Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world, a hub of entertainment and excitement for any student. Taking a graduate program in Tokyo is something you will not regret.

Tokyo is one of the richest cities in the world, continually striving towards excellence. The city hosts more Fortune Global 500 companies and has more Michelin stars than any other in the world, and stands at one point of the global economy ‘command centre’ triangle (along with New York City and London).

Education profile

Tokyo is home to many of Japan’s most prestigious universities, including:

As well as Waseda and Keio, there are over a further hundred private universities scattered across Tokyo, as well as at least twenty public ones offering postgraduate courses.

Research and taught masters are both offered as graduate programs in Tokyo, 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 Tokyo 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 Tokyo

Tokyo is famous for a thriving nightlife, exciting fashions and foods and outlandish entertainment. Manga is very popular, as is a diverse array of sports including baseball and sumo wrestling.

Life in the centre of Tokyo is fast paced, but as a graduate you will certainly not be living in the centre of Tokyo (almost exclusively reserved for millionaires and business tycoons), and instead the western outskirts will be your home, where life is quieter and more domestic.

Tokyo’s transport system is second to none, so even if you find yourself living an hour out of the centre, you will never be far from the excitement.

Furthermore, despite its metropolitan status, many ancient practices still exist in Tokyo and international students on postgraduate courses will often be expected to adhere to them. Examples include how to enter a stranger’s home, how to finish a meal and even how to take a bath!

Working In Tokyo

If, after you graduate, you wish to remain in Tokyo permanently (or just longer than six months) to work, then you will need to apply for a work visa.

Unless you speak very good Japanese, you will struggle to find permanent work in Tokyo, except perhaps as a language teacher of your native tongue. Fluency in two languages will increase your employment chances, particular English which is largely spoken in the business sectors.

Tokyo’s major industries are finance and banking, publishing, transportation and broadcasting. It is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, but as a result the wages are higher and the quality of life better once you get onto the career ladder.


Tokyo has one of the highest populations of any city on earth, and as a result student accommodation is smaller, less central and supply often doesn’t meet demand.

University accommodation in Tokyo is normally cheaper than private accommodation, as it is basically furnished, smaller and less central. Depending on where you look, private accommodation could cost you a lot more.

Student accommodation in Tokyo can cost anywhere between 5,000 and 65,000 yen per month, depending on the location and size of the apartment, though approximately 30,000 yen is the average (not including utilities).

Weather and Climate

The majority of mainland Tokyo lies in the humid subtropical climate zone, with hot humid summers and generally mild winters with cool spells.

Tokyo is prone to some extreme weather, such as typhoons, but most are not strong enough to cause significant damage.

What to do next

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