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20+ Scholarships in Japan for International Students (+Fully Funded) 2019/2020

Looking scholarships in Japan for international students? You just found it. Scholarships in Japan offered by Japanese universities open every year between February and May. Scholarships by Japanese Government and organizations may be offered at any time of the year. Requirements for getting a scholarship often include a certificate of proficiency in the desired language – Japanese language for Japanese -taught programs and English language for English-taught programs.

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Why Study in Japan?

After World War II in 1945, Japan was in ruin. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been wrecked by atomic bomb; factories burned to aches, nearly everyone were jobless. The question then was; how will a devastated nation, with zero natural resources, less than 10% arable land, feed over 100 million people. To survive, the Japanese resolved to continually develop the capacity to import raw materials, add value to them and export. This simplified approach to a complex problem has turned Japan to the third largest economy in the world today.

Known for making things smaller, faster and first, Japan’s economic strength is largely due to the strong research and development industry that underlies successful international brands such as Nissan, Toyota, Panasonic, Canon and Sony; as well as producing robots for every imaginable need. Unsurprisingly, an excellent higher education system lies behind all this innovation. You wouldn’t be wrong to want to learn from this country.

Interestingly, the Japanese government is keen to attract more international students, and has set a target of having 300,000 foreign students in the country by 2020 (it reached the 100,000 mark in 2003). As a result, universities are focusing on making life easier for foreign students, from the application process all the way through to finding a job after graduation.

A point of attraction for international students to study in Japan is the introduction of more courses taught partly or entirely in English. Universities hire special staffs to support international students. International students are allowed to start courses in September, instead of April, which is when Japan’s academic year usually begins. There is also increase in exchange programs with universities in other countries.

How to Apply to Study in Japan

Because living and studying in Japan is expensive compared to many countries, the Japanese government has also introduced additional financial support for foreign students. Various university scholarships and grants are available through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO).

The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University and Tokyo Institute of Technology are the top three universities in Japan according to QS World University Ranking 2019.

To apply for admission, rather than submitting a GPA (grade point average) or other assessment grades, students applying to universities in Japan, either at the undergraduate or graduate level, are required to take entrance examinations. The ‘Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU)’ is the standardized test for foreign students, designed to test basic academic skill in areas of science, mathematics and ‘Japan and the world’. About 95% of national universities, 65% of public universities and 44% of private institutions require the EJU for entrance.

Fees for the tests range between ¥7,560 and ¥14,040 (US$67-$125) depending on how many subjects you take, and the test is offered twice a year. But some fully funded scholarships may cover this and all costs

In addition to the entrance examinations, applicants are likely to be asked to provide a completed application form, academic transcripts, proof of sufficient finances to cover tuition fees, academic references, a valid passport and a couple of passport-sized photographs.

Visa requirements to Study in Japan

International students intending to study for more than three months in Japan will need to apply for a student visa. To do this, you should first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility, which will be applied for on your behalf by the Japanese institution you have been accepted by. Once this has been issued, you will need to apply for your visa through your local Japanese embassy or consulate. As well as the original certificate of eligibility (and an additional photocopy), you will also need to provide a valid passport, a completed application form and a recent passport-sized photograph.

If you want to work in Japan while studying, you’ll need to obtain ‘Permission to Engage in Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted’, which you can apply for at an immigration bureau once you arrive in Japan. As a general rule, this permission will entitle you to work up to 28 hours a week during term-time and eight hours a day during official holiday periods.

Tuition Fees, Living Costs & Funding 

Tuition fees in Japan, although some of the most expensive in Asia, still look very appealing in comparison to Western countries such as the UK or the US. Typically, you can expect to pay between ¥535,800 and ¥1,725,966 (US$4,760-15,340) annually.

Average costs of living in Japan are ¥89,000 (US$790) per month, or $9,480 per year. Tokyo, unsurprisingly, is the most expensive place to live in Japan. Here, the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) recommends a budget of approximately ¥102,000 (US$905) per month to cover rent, food, insurance, entertainment and other living costs, which works out at $10,860 per year.

20+ Scholarships in Japan for International Students (+Fully Funded)

Watch Video of Top 10 Fully Funded Scholarships in Japan for International Students

Thanks to Japan’s ambitious reforms, international students now have more opportunities to gain funding than ever before. With the percentage of international students remaining well below the targets laid out by the CIEE, there are a range of government scholarships, grants and loan schemes open to outstanding international applicants. The Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho) Scholarship is one such scheme, for which students will need a recommendation from their university or local Japanese embassy.

We have put together a comprehensive list of partial and fully funded scholarships in Japan for international students

1.     University of Tokyo Global Science Course Scholarship for Transfer Students

Students who are accepted onto the Global Science Course (GSC) Undergraduate Transfer Program will be automatically offered the “School of Science Scholarship for Transfer Students”. This scholarship aims to help students pay for their annual tuition fees and support their living expenses.

Application Deadline: 7th April

Number of Awardees: A few

Value of Scholarship: 150,000 Japanese yen per month

Duration of Scholarship: Up to two consecutive years

2.     Rotary Yoneyama Foundation Scholarships for International Students

The Rotary Yoneyama Memorial Foundation awards scholarships to overseas students who aspire to study or conduct research in Japanese universities or graduate schools. Its scholarship fund is supported by the contributions of Rotarians throughout Japan. The Foundation is Japan’s largest private scholarship organization, both in terms of program scale and number of scholarships awarded..

Application Deadline: 16th October.

Number of Scholarships: several

Value of Scholarship:

  • Undergraduates: 100,000 yen per month
  • Masters students: 140,000 yen per month
  • Doctoral students: 140,000 yen per month

Only for the first year of the scholarship, a supplemental of 400,000 yen is provided upon arrival in Japan.

Duration of Scholarship: period of study

3.     United Nations – Nippon Foundation of Japan Fellowship Program for Developing Countries

The objective of the fellowship is to provide opportunities for advanced education and research in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea, and related disciplines including marine science in support of management frameworks, to Government officials and other mid-level professionals from developing States, so that they may obtain the necessary knowledge to assist their countries to formulate comprehensive ocean policy and to implement the legal regime set out in UNCLOS and related instruments.

Application Deadline: 15th September

Number of Awards: 10

Value of Award: Fully-funded. Fellows will receive a stipend in accordance with the cost of living in the country in which he/she will be studying; travel costs and other support.

Duration of Award:  The 9-month Fellowship Program is composed of two consecutive phases which provide Fellows with advanced and customized research and training opportunities in their chosen fields:

4.     Government of Japan (MEXT) Scholarships for Research Students

The Japanese Government’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) is offering scholarships to those who are enrolled in a master’s course, a doctoral course, or a professional graduate course at a graduate school, or who are conducting research in a specialized field at an undergraduate department, graduate school, institute attached to a university, etc. without the aim of completing the course, or who are receiving preparatory education in the Japanese language and other subjects prior to placement at the university, etc. (Excluding the Young Leaders Program(YLP) students or teacher training students.)

Application Deadline: 5th January. Visit individual country embassies for more information.

Number of Scholarships: Not specified

Value of Scholarship:

  • Allowance: 143,000yen (Research Students(non-regular students), 144,000yen (regular students in Master’s courses or professional graduate courses), or 145,000yen(regular students in doctoral courses) per month. (In case that the recipient research in a designated region, 2,000 or 3,000 yen per month will be added. The monetary amount each year may be subject to change due to budgetary reasons.)
  • Transportation to and from Japan
  • Tuition and Other Fees: Fees for the entrance examination, matriculation, and tuition at universities will be borne by the Japanese Government.

Duration of Scholarship: period of study

5.     Japan Africa Dream Scholarship Programme for African Students

The Japan Africa Scholarship (JADS) Program – capacity building in energy sector through skills development for sustainable development– is a joint initiative by the AfDB and Japan that aims at providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in priority development areas on the continent and abroad (including in Japan). This JADS program is funded by the Government of Japan.

Application Deadline: Varying by universities (Earliest date 30th April)

Number of Awards: Several

Value of Award: The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.

6.     Africa London Nagasaki (ALN) Scholarship for African Scientists 

The scholarship funds a candidate to undertake an MSc in a subject relevant to the control of infectious disease in Africa at either the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki, Japan or at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London, UK. Both residential and distance learning MSc courses are available at LSHTM. Candidates offered a course at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki will be required to reside in Japan for the duration of the course.

Application Ends: 30th September

Number of Awards: Four (4)

Value of Scholarship: Up to a maximum award of US$50,000 each to cover tuition fees, travel and living expenses

7.     Rotary Peace Fellowship for Masters and Professional Programs

In just over a decade, the Rotary Peace Centers have trained more than 900 fellows for careers in peace building. The Rotary Peace Fellowship is designed for professionals with work experience in international relations or peace and conflict prevention and resolution. Fellows are committed to community and international service and the pursuit of peace. Two types of peace fellowships are available:

  • Master’s degree
  • Professional development certificate

Application Deadline: 31st May

Number of Scholarships: up to 100

Value of Scholarship: The Rotary Peace Fellowship covers:

  • -Tuition and fees
  • -Room and board
  • -Round-trip transportation
  • -Internship/field study expenses.

Duration of Scholarship: 15 to 24 months

8.     Joint Japan World Bank Group Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) for Students in Developing Countries

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) is open to women and men from developing countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a master degree program in a development-related topic. JJWBGSP offers scholarships for over 200 Preferred Programs spanning a wide array of development topics and for 14 Partner Programs at universities in U.S., Africa and Japan in key areas of development, including economic policy management, tax policy, and infrastructure management. 

Application Deadline: 12th April

Number of Awards: Several

Value of Scholarship: The JJ/WBGSP scholarship provides annual awards to cover the cost of completing a master’s degree or its equivalent; air travel + $500 travel allowance for each trip; tuition and the cost of basic medical and accident insurance usually obtained through the university; a monthly subsistence allowance to cover living expenses, including books.

Duration of Scholarship: for a maximum duration of two years.

9.     Keio University Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) for Masters Students in Developing Countries

Since 1996, the Graduate School of Business and Commerce of Keio University has been training promising tax personnel in the field of tax policy and administration with its Master’s Degree Program in Taxation Policy and Management. This program brings together the cooperation of Keio University, the National Tax Agency of Japan (NTA), and the World Bank in an alliance between public and private institutions. Keio University, a leading private university in Japan, established the program as one of the partnership programs of the Joint Japan /World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP).

Application Deadline: 31st October

Number of Awards: 5

Value of Award: The JJ/WBGSP scholarship provides the recipient with the following benefits:

  • Economy class air travel between your home country and the host university at the start of your study program and immediately following the end of the scholarship period. In addition to the two-way air travel, scholars will receive a US $500 travel allowance for each trip;
  • Tuition for your graduate program and the cost of basic medical insurance usually obtained through the university.
  • A monthly allowance of JPY 152,000 to cover living expenses, including books.

Duration of Program: Two years

10.                        Yokohama National University Masters in Infrastructure Management (IMP) Scholarships for Developing Countries

Yokohama National University, with a grant funded by the Government of Japan and administered by the World Bank under the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJWBGSP), is now seeking prospective students for its inter-faculty Master’s Degree Program in Infrastructure Management (IMP). In applying for admission to the program, applicants should note that the IMP is oriented to training government officials with present or future management responsibility and an academic background in the field of engineering. Women are encouraged to apply.

Application Deadline: 9th March

Number of Scholarships: 10 scholarships

Value of Scholarship: Approximately 10 scholarships are allocated to the YNU program by the World Bank. Each scholarship provides a monthly allowance of JPY152,000 and a round-trip air ticket to Japan plus a travel allowance of USD500. The scholarship also covers tuition fees, the entrance examination fee and the admission fee.

Duration of Scholarship: up to 2 years

11.                        University of Tokyo Scholarships for International Students 

The University of Tokyo provides international students with scholarships that cover school expense exemptions, scholarships, emergency loans, and student discounts.The purpose of this scholarship is twofold: to financially support Self-Supported International Students whose academic performance is outstanding and to increase the number of students from abroad.

Application Deadline: 1st April – 1st May For those entering in September. The application must arrive no later than the last day of each application period without fail.

Number of Awardees: few (Enrolling in April or September)

Value of Scholarship: 150,000 yen monthly stipend. The stipend will be paid into the bank account quarterly after getting the confirmation of enrollment.

Duration of Scholarship: up to 5 years

12.                        Japan-WCO International Scholarships for Young Customs Officials

The Japan-WCO Human Resource Development Programme (Scholarship Programme) provides Customs officials from developing countries with an opportunity to pursue Master’s level studies and training in Customs related fields in Strategic Management and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) at the Aoyama Gakuin University (AGU) in Tokyo, Japan. The Master degree programme comprises two segments: an academic segment and a practical segment. The academic segment starts with focused teaching of foundational skills in strategic management and IPR. The practical segment is taught in co-operation with the Japan Customs, including the Japan Customs Training Institute.

Application Deadline: 18th August

Number of Awards: 55 Customs officials from 38 Members in all the WCO regions

Value of Awards:

  • A monthly stipend of 147,000 yen which covers living expenses such as food, clothing, and other daily expenses, as well as accommodations, transportation, medical treatment, insurance, and various miscellaneous expenses related to your study at AGU.
  • Admission(290,000 yen) and tuition fees (902,000 yen) of  which will be paid directly to AGU by the Japan-WCO Human Resource Development Scholarship Program. 
  • Round-trip economy-class air tickets between candidate’s home country and Japan. Airfare is provided for the scholar only and the travel must be on the date specified by AGU.

Duration of Awards: For the period of the master’s programme

13.                        ABE Initiative Masters Scholarship + Internship Program for African Students

The objective of the ABE Initiative master’s degree and internship program is to support young personnel who have the potential to contribute to the development of industries in Africa. This programme offers opportunities for young African men and women to study at master’s courses in Japanese universities as international students (hereafter referred to as participants) and experience internships at Japanese enterprises.

Application Deadline: August to October

Number of Awardees: 200 participants from the 54 countries in Africa

Value of Scholarship and Internship: JICA will provide the following expenses for participant of the program which is equivalent to similar JICA schemes.

  • Tuition at Japanese university master’s degree programs (and research student)
  • Allowances for living expenses, outfit, shipping etc.
  • A round-trip airfare
  • Expenses for support programs during the study in Japan, including the costs of observation tours and internship
  • Other costs should be covered by the participants’ organizations or other individuals.

Participants are not allowed to work while their stay in Japan.

Duration of Scholarship and Internship: It is expected that the duration of stay in Japan will be a maximum of 3 years. (6 months as a research student, 2 years as a student for master course and 6 months as an intern)

14.                        Japan Foundation United Nations University (JFUNU) Scholarships for PhD Students from Developing Countries

The Japan Foundation for United Nations University (JFUNU) Scholarship addresses pressing global issues of sustainability, climate change, development, peace-building, and human rights through an innovative interdisciplinary approach that integrates the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The programme is intended for recent graduates, professionals, and practitioners, offering the unique opportunity to study at a global university within the framework of the United Nations.

Application Deadline: 27th April

Value of Scholarship: The JFUNU scholarship covers the full tuition fees, and provides a monthly allowance of 120,000 JPY for living expenses for a maximum of 36 months. Travel costs to and from Japan, visa handling fees, and health/accident insurance costs must be covered by the student.

Duration of sponsorship: For the maximum of 36 months

15.                        United Nations/Japan Long-term Fellowship Programme for Developing Countries

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Government of Japan in cooperation with the Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) have established a United Nations/Japan Long-term Fellowship Programme on Nano-Satellite Technologies for nationals of developing countries or non-space-faring nations. The Programme will provide extensive research opportunities in nano-satellite systems through the use of the nano-satellite development and testing facilities available at Kyutech.

Application Deadline: 28th January

Number of Awardees: Up to two students in the Masters course and up to four students in the Doctorate course.

Value of Scholarship: The selected candidates will each receive a grant under Japanese government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) scholarship (Research Students) of about 145,000 yen per month for the duration of their fellowship study to cover housing, food, local transportation, and other expenses (actual scholarship amount is subject to change).

Duration of Awards: 2 or 3 years

16.                        University of Tsukuba Program in Economic Policy (PEP) Scholarships for Developing Countries

Applications are open to apply for Program in Economic and Public Policy (PEPP) studies in the University of Tsukuba through the Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJ/WBGSP) of the World Bank. The objective of the Program in Economic Policy (PEP) is to provide, within the time frame, training and the necessary skills for the conception, design, and implementation of development policies. Our focus is on International Development with a trans-disciplinary approach to the economic and social problems of developing countries and former socialist countries.

Application Deadline: 28th February

Number of Awardees: Not specified

Value of Scholarship: 

  • Round trip air travel (economy class) between home country and Japan, plus a travel allowance of US$ 500 for each one-way trip
  • Full tuition and fees
  • A monthly living stipend
  • National health insurance
  • Other program expenses such as Japanese lessons, educational trips, internship, etc.

Duration of Awards: 18 months

17.                        Kochi University of Technology (KUT) Special Scholarship Program SSP for Doctoral International Students

The Special Scholarship Program (SSP) was established in 2003 in order to support the advanced research of the university by enlisting the help of highly capable students especially students from foreign countries. Every year in April and October, the university enrolls selected doctoral students for specific research projects. The students pursue the doctoral course in English (excl. Japanese students) while at the same time assisting their host professor as a research assistant (RA). Through this program KUT wishes to expand and deepen international ties with academic and educational institutions all over the world.

Application deadlines:

  • 16th March
  • 14th September

Field of Study: Doctoral Program (3 years), Department of Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering

Number of Scholarships: Fifteen (15)

Value of Scholarship:

  • Exemption from 30,000 yen entrance examination fee, 300,000 yen enrollment fee and 535,800 yen/year tuition fee
  • To support living expenses, 150,000 yen/month is paid for research project work.
  • 150,000 yen is provided for travel and initial living costs. (given only to international applicants who are living outside Japan, and who have, or have the intention to acquire, “Student” status of Japanese residence at the time of entry into Japan)

Duration of sponsorship: Doctoral Program will last for 3 years. Scholarship: 1 year.

18.                        KUT Japan Doctoral Scholarship Program for International Engineering Students

The Special Scholarship Program (SSP) was established in 2003 in order to support the advanced research of Kochi University of Technology by enlisting the help of highly capable students especially students from foreign countries. Every year in April and October, the university enrolls selected doctoral students for specific research projects. The students pursue the doctoral course in English (excluding Japanese students) while at the same time assisting their host professor as a research assistant (RA).

Application Deadlines:

  • 17th March
  • 15th September

Field of Study: 3 years Doctoral Program in the Department of Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering

Number of Awards: Not more than 3

Value of Scholarship:

  • Exemption from 30,000 yen entrance examination fee, 300,000 yen enrollment fee and 535,800 yen/year tuition fee
  • To support living expenses, 150,000 yen/month is paid for research project work.
  • 150,000 yen is provided for travel and initial living costs. (given only to international applicants who are living outside Japan, and who have, or have the intention to acquire, “Student” status of Japanese residence at the time of entry into Japan)

Duration of Award: 1 year. The term will be extended for increments of one year up to a total of three years, unless the university terminates the SSP student status.

19.                        JAUW International Fellowship Program for Women Leaders

The Japanese Association of University Women (JAUW) International Fellowship Programme offers Fellowships to Women from any part of the world to carry out research or advance study in Japan. This program is to offer core funding to financially help you come and stay in Japan when you have found that it is preferable or very important for you to stay in Japan to further pursue your ongoing study/research.

Application Deadline: 31st March

Number of Awards: Up to two fellowships will be awarded under this Program.

Value of Scholarship: The program will allow maximum of 2 recipients, each winning between Yen500,000 and up to Yen1,000,000 to support transportation to and from Japan and cost for her stay in Japan.

Duration of Scholarship: This grant is for 4 to 6 months between September and March.

20.                        Matsumae International Foundation (MIF) Research Fellowship for Natural Science, Engineering and Medicine

Upon the concept of the founder of the Matsumae International Foundation (MIF), “Towards A Greater Understanding of Japan and a Lasting World Peace”, MIF has started the Research Fellowship Program.

Application Deadline: 31st August

Fields of Study:  Fields of study such as natural science, engineering and medicine are given first priority. Candidates are free to select host institutions (university research laboratories, national research institutions or the corresponding facilities of private industry)

Number of Awardees: Twenty (20)

Value of Scholarship: 

  • Stipend for research and stay
  • Insurance
  • Air transportation (a round-trip air ticket to/from Tokyo)
  • Lump sum on arrival

Duration of Scholarship: From three (3) to six (6) months.

21.                        Japan Student Services Organization (JSSO) Follow-up Research Fellowship for Students from Developing Countries

The Japan Student Services Organization provides the Follow-up Research Fellowship for former international students in Japan to researchers who have previously come to study in Japan from a developing country, region, etc. The aim of the fellowships is to give an opportunity to researchers to conduct short-term research with academic advisors at universities (except junior colleges) in Japan. Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) is an independent administrative institution established under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and  Technology.

Application Deadline: 30th November

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: 

  • Round-trip Air fare and
  • Daily allowance (¥11,000/day) for the recipient and
  • Remuneration for cooperation (up to ¥50,000) for the research advisor

Duration of Program: 60-90 consecutive days

22.                        JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme for International Students

Jointly organized by the United Nations University and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), the JSPS–UNU Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme is designed to provide promising, highly qualified, young researchers with the opportunity to conduct advanced research relevant to the main thematic focus areas of the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS, Tokyo) in cooperation with host researchers at Japanese universities and research institutions.

Application Deadline: 28th February

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: 

  • A round-trip air ticket (based on JSPS regulations)
  • A monthly maintenance allowance of JPY362,000
  • A settling-in allowance of JPY200,000
  • Overseas travel, accident, and sickness insurance coverage, etc.

Duration of Program: Fellowships are awarded for a period of 24 months.

See more Scholarships and opportunities in Japan here.

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