Studying in Japan? A Guide for Canadian Students

Last Updated: 16 Jul 2023

Studying in Japan? A Guide for Canadian Students

Thinking of studying in Japan as a Canadian student? Embarking on an educational journey in the Land of the Rising Sun can be an incredibly rewarding and transformative experience. 

Japan, with its unique blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge technology, offers a captivating environment for students seeking to broaden their horizons. In this guide, we will delve into the reasons why Japan is an enticing destination for international students, explore its esteemed academic institutions, highlight the rich cultural immersion opportunities, and provide valuable insights into the practical aspects of studying and living in this captivating country. Whether you are captivated by Japan's rich history, fascinated by its technological advancements, or drawn to its renowned arts and culture, studying in Japan can offer a wealth of academic, personal, and professional growth opportunities. So, let's explore the wonders of studying in Japan and discover why it might be the perfect destination to pursue your educational aspirations.

Cost of studying in Japan as a Canadian student

As a Canadian student studying in Japan, you can expect to encounter certain costs. While the specific expenses can vary depending on the institution and location, here are some general cost considerations:

Tuition fees: Tuition fees in Japan can vary significantly depending on the university and program of study. Public universities generally have lower tuition fees compared to private institutions.

Living expenses: The cost of living in Japan will depend on the city or town where you reside. Major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto tend to have higher living costs, while smaller cities and rural areas may be more affordable. 

Accommodation: Housing costs can vary based on the type and location of accommodation. Some universities provide student dormitories, which may offer more affordable options.

Transportation: Japan has a well-developed transportation system, but it can still contribute to your expenses. Depending on your location and commuting needs, you may need to consider costs for train, bus, or subway passes. Some cities offer student discounts for transportation.

It's important to note that the actual costs can vary. Additionally, scholarships, grants, and part-time job opportunities may be available to help offset some of the expenses. It's advisable to research specific universities and programs you are interested in and contact them directly for accurate and up-to-date information regarding tuition fees and other expenses.

How to apply to a Japanese university as a Canadian student?

To apply to a Japanese university as a Canadian student, follow these general steps:

Research and check admission requirements: Start by researching Japanese universities and their programs to find the ones that align with your academic interests and goals. Review the admission requirements for each university and program you are interested in. Typically, this information can be found on the university's official website or through their admissions office. Requirements may include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement or essay, language proficiency test scores (such as the JLPT or EJU), and application fees.

Language proficiency: Check if the program you wish to apply to requires Japanese language proficiency. Some universities offer programs taught in English, while others may require Japanese language skills. If the program is taught in Japanese, you might need to demonstrate your language proficiency by taking the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) or other recognized language tests.

Prepare required documents and submit the application: Gather all the necessary documents for your application, such as academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and proof of language proficiency. Make sure to have official translations of your documents if they are not in Japanese or English. You can then complete the university's online application or submit a physical application form, following the instructions provided by the university. Pay attention to deadlines and ensure that all required documents are included. Some universities may require you to apply through a centralized application system, such as the Japan University Application Service (JUAS).

Apply for scholarships: Explore scholarship opportunities for international students in Japan, such as those offered by the Japanese government (such as the MEXT scholarships) or other organizations. Research the application requirements and deadlines for each scholarship and apply accordingly.

Await notification: After submitting your application, wait for the university's decision. If you are accepted, you will receive an acceptance letter or notification. Follow the instructions provided by the university to confirm your enrollment and proceed with the necessary steps for student visa application, housing, and other arrangements.

Why study in Japan?  

There are several compelling reasons to consider studying in Japan. Here are some key advantages of studying in Japan:

Academic excellence: Japan is renowned for its high-quality education system and academic excellence. Japanese universities consistently rank among the top in global university rankings. You can benefit from the opportunity to learn from renowned professors, engage in cutting-edge research, and gain a globally recognized qualification.

Technological advancements: Japan is at the forefront of technological advancements, making it an ideal destination for students interested in fields such as engineering, robotics, information technology, and innovation. Studying in Japan allows you to access state-of-the-art facilities, collaborate with leading experts, and gain practical skills in advanced technologies.

Unique cultural experience: Japan offers a rich cultural experience that is distinct and captivating. Immerse yourself in a unique blend of ancient traditions and modern influences. Explore the rich history, visit historic landmarks, participate in traditional festivals, and experience the hospitality of the Japanese people.

Global Networking and Career Prospects: Japan has a strong presence in the global economy and offers diverse career opportunities. Studying in Japan allows you to build a network of connections with local and international students, professors, and industry professionals. This network can be valuable for future career prospects and international collaborations.

Best Japanese places to study

Japan offers numerous excellent places to study, each with its unique advantages. Here are some of the best Japanese cities and regions known for their academic institutions and quality of education:

Tokyo: As the capital and largest city of Japan, Tokyo is a vibrant and dynamic hub for education. It houses several prestigious universities, including the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Waseda University. Tokyo provides a rich cultural and cosmopolitan environment, offering a wide range of academic disciplines and research opportunities.

Kyoto: Known for its rich history, Kyoto is home to several renowned universities, such as Kyoto University and Ritsumeikan University. This city offers a blend of traditional culture and modern academia, making it an ideal destination for students interested in subjects like Japanese studies, art, history, and cultural studies.

Osaka: Osaka is a major economic and educational center in Japan. It is home to Osaka University, one of Japan's top-ranked universities, as well as other prominent institutions like Kansai University and Osaka City University. With its vibrant urban atmosphere, Osaka offers diverse academic programs and a bustling student life.

Yokohama: Located just outside of Tokyo, Yokohama is known for its thriving academic scene. It is home to Yokohama National University and several private universities. The city offers a blend of urban development and natural beauty, providing a relaxed environment for studying and proximity to Tokyo's opportunities.

Fukuoka: Located in southwestern Japan, Fukuoka is known for its warm climate, friendly atmosphere, and vibrant student life. Kyushu University, one of Japan's prestigious national universities, is based in Fukuoka. The city offers a relaxed lifestyle, beautiful natural surroundings, and easy access to other parts of Asia.

In addition, according to global rankings¹, Tohoku University, Nagoya University, Hokkaido University, University of Tsukuba, and Keio University are recognized as top universities in Japan.

Choosing the Right Exchange Service Provider

In case you are interested in pursuing your studies in Japan, it is important to note that only the YEN currency is accepted there. While banks do not offer good exchange rates, MTFX, on the other hand, offers live exchange rates that come with lower fees and transparent pricing, without any hidden charges.

Planning to study in Japan?

Paying for your education online

If you're living and studying in Japan for a considerable time, finding affordable ways to transfer money internationally is well worth it. For instance, if you want to avoid the above-average fees that your bank will charge, all you have to do is register your MTFX account.

The MTFX platform is accessible 24/7 and allows secure, automated payments. You can also enjoy competitive exchange rates of 3-5% lower than the banks. This translates to savings of $1,500 for each $30,000 you move across borders.

Open an account today and enjoy competitive exchange rates, low transfer fees, and quick, easy international money transfers.       

Study in Japan as a Canadian – FAQs

What are some things international students are often surprised to learn about Japan?

International students in Japan are often surprised to learn several things about the country. Here are a few examples:

Bowing: The frequency and significance of bowing in Japanese culture can surprise international students. Bowing is an essential form of greeting, showing respect, and expressing gratitude in Japan. Students may find it interesting to learn about the various types of bows and when to use them.

Group-oriented society: Japan has a collectivist culture, placing a strong emphasis on group harmony and cooperation. International students may notice the importance of consensus-building, hierarchy, and the concept of "wa" (harmony) in various social settings, including schools and workplaces.

Punctuality: Japanese people value punctuality and consider it a sign of respect. International students might be surprised by the precision with which trains, buses, and other public transportation operate, as well as the expectation to arrive on time for classes and appointments.

How can I manage the cost of living in Japan?

You can always find bargains for university students if you know where to look.

  • Use a foreign exchange service like MTFX to send money from Canada to Japan and avoid expensive exchange rates and transfer fees.
  • You can work while studying and earn extra money on the side.
  • Explore various scholarship opportunities. 

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