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12 Best Japanese Universities 2021 With Ranking

best japanese universities

Want to study in Japan? Here are the best Japanese universities and their ranking. Check it out!

The land of the rising sun is known not only for its rich culture and traditions but also for its innovations and brilliant contribution to the field of research. 

Over the years, Japan has made a name for itself as one of the best countries to pursue higher education in. It is home to some of the world’s best universities and is attracting many international students. 

higher studies in japan

The education system in Japan is known to be one of the toughest and most competitive worldwide. It is no wonder that the acceptance rates of universities in Japan are so low. Universities like Tokyo Institute of Technology, Waseda University, Hitotsubashi University,  and Tokyo University of Science have an acceptance rate less than 20%.

Whether you’re looking to do your undergraduate, post graduation or Ph.D., Japan offers students top ranking colleges and the finest quality of education. 

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Here is a list of some of the top ranking universities in Japan:

Best Japanese Universities: Quick Summary

Best Japanese UniversitiesWorld Rank (2021-2022)National Ranking
University of Tokyo131
Kyoto University282
Osaka University783
Keio University974
Nagoya University1305
Tohoku University1326
Tokyo Institute of Technology1517
Waseda University1888
Hokkaido University2209
Kyushu University22410
University of Tsukuba26111
Hiroshima University42412

How did we choose the best Japanese universities?

We went over 30 universities in Japan and rated them on academic reputation and global ranking. We also referred to the Centre for World University Rankings’ (CWUR) website and referred their most recent list of top universities in Japan. 

Best Japanese Universities

University of Tokyo

Location: Bunkyo, Tokyo

Estd.: 1877

Type: Public university

Also known as UTokyo and Todai, The University of Tokyo is  ranked as the best university in Japan. It has three campuses, namely the Honga campus, the Komaba campus, and the Kashiwa campus. Besides this, it has other facilities located across Japan. 

Currently, the University of Tokyo is comprised of 10 Faculties, 15 Graduate Schools, 11 affiliated research institutes (including the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology), four University Joint Education and Research Institutes, three Institutes for Advanced Study, four Interdisciplinary Research Institutes, three National Joint-Use Institutes and over 40 Integrated Research Systems.

This university boasts of its impressive alumni which consist of prime ministers, nobel prize laureates, Pritzker prize laureates, astronauts, and Fields medalist.

Check out this university’s programs here

Kyoto University

Location: Sakyo Ward, Kyoto

Estd.: 1897

Type: Public

Previously known as Kyoto Imperial University, Kyoto University has three campuses- Yoshida campus which is the main campus, the Uji campus and the Katsaura campus. 

This university comprises ten faculties, eighteen graduate schools, thirteen research institutes, and twenty two research and educational centres.

To deal with the issues that are believed to be critical at the moment, Kyoto University has established new graduate schools, namely the Graduate Schools of Human and Environmental Studies, Energy Science, Asian and African Area Studies, Informatics, Biostudies, and Global Environmental Studies.

The university’s alumni include prime ministers, nobel prize laureates, Fields medalists, and a Gauss prize winner. 

Check out this university’s programs here

Osaka University

Location: Suita, Osaka

Estd.: 1931

Type: Public

Sometimes known as OU, this Japanese university has three campuses. They are located in Suita, Toyonaka, and Minoh. It is known for its extremely difficult entry exams and is highly selective. 

It is a research oriented institute and has eleven faculties for undergraduate programmes. They are human sciences, foreign studies, law, letters, economics, science, medicine, dentistry, pharmaceutical sciences, engineering and engineering science.

The university also has sixteen graduate schools, six research institutes, four libraries, and two university hospitals. The researh institutes of Osaka University include the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases and the Joining and Welding Research Institute. 

Check out this university’s program here

Keio University

Location: Minato, Tokyo

Estd.: 1858

Type: Private

Keio University is the oldest university in Japan. It is a private institute for higher education.

The university has six major campuses in Tokyo and Kanagawa. Besides this, it has five other campuses with specific academic or research functions.

Keio is known for its top class teaching facilities and has over three hundred partner institutions across the world. 

Check out this university’s program here

Nagoya University

Location: Chikusa-ku, Nagoya

Estd.: 1871

Type: Public

Nagoya University is one of the Imperial universities of Japan. It has nine undergraduate schools, thirteen graduate schools, three research institutes, three inter university service facilities, and various satellite campuses in countries like Cambodia, Mongolia, and Vietnam. 

The university has an impressive list of alumni, which includes many Nobel prize laureates.

Check out this university’s program here

Tohoku University

Location: Sendai, Miyagi

Estd.: 1907

Type: Public

Tohoku University has made a name for itself as an academic leader and continues to provide quality education to its students. 

The university has ten schools for undergraduates in arts and letters, education, law, economics, science, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, engineering, and agriculture. 

It also has seventeen graduate schools and three professional graduate schools for law, public policy, and accounting.Research institutes include the Institute for Materials Research, the Research Institute of Electrical Communication and the Institute of Fluid Science. 

Check out this university’s program here

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Location: Greater Tokyo Area

Estd.: 1881

Type: Public

Also known as Tokyo Tech, this institution has one of the lowest acceptance rates. It has three campuses in Okayama, Suzukakedai, and Tamachi. 

Tokyo Institute of Technology has six schools for science, engineering, materials and chemical technology, life science and technology, and environment and society. The university allows students at all degree levels to be a part of research.

Students pursuing their masters and Ph.D. become affiliated with the labs at the university, including the Chemical Resources Laboratory, the Precision and Intelligence Laboratory and the Research Laboratory for Nuclear Reactors.

Check out this university’s program here

Waseda University

Location: Shijuku, Tokyo

Estd.: 1882

Type: Private

Waseda University is a private research university. It has many notable alumni including may prime ministers, important individuals in Japanese literature, and many CEOs,

The university has thirteen undergraduate schools and twenty-three graduate schools. It also houses one of Japan’s largest libraries.

Check out this university’s program here

Hokkaido University

Location: Sapporo, Hokkaido

Estd.: 1876

Type: Public

Hokkaido University is the fifth Imperial University of Japan. It has two campuses, the main campus is located in Sapporo and the other one in Hakodate.

This prestigious university has twelve undergraduate schools and twenty one graduate schools. It also has many partner institutions located in seventy one different countries and regions. 

Check out this university’s program here

Kyushu University

Location: Fukuoka, Kyushu 

Estd.: 1903

Type: Public

Kyushu University is the fourth Imperial university of Japan. It is known for its international research network. It is also the alma mater of many notable personalities like Japanese engineer and JAXA astronaut, Koichi Wakata; and well-known Japanese manga artist, Masashi Kishimoto to name a few.

Check out this university’s program here

University of Tsukuba

Location: Tsukuba, Ibaraki

Estd.: 1973

Type: Public

The University of Tsukuba is a public university in Japan. It has twenty eight college clusters and schools. The university is known as one of the leading research institutes in Japan. 

It has undergraduate and graduate programs, research centres and institutions, a university library and a university hospital. They offer international students courses that are taught in English. 

Check out this university’s program here

Hiroshima University

Location: Higashihiroshima and Hiroshima

Estd.: 1929 / 1949

Type: Public

Hiroshima university was established by the merging of a number of educational institutions. Eight schools were integrated into the university.

They were Hiroshima University of Literature and Science, Hiroshima Higher Normal School, Hiroshima Women’s Higher Normal School, Hiroshima Higher School, Hiroshima Normal School, Hiroshima Youth Normal School, Hiroshima Higher Technical School, and Hiroshima Municipal Higher Technical School. Later Hiroshima Medical College consolidated into Hiroshima University. 

The university has twelve undergraduate schools and 4 graduate schools. It is well known for its research around the world. 

Check out this university’s program here

Best Japanese Universities: FAQs

Does Japan have good universities?

Yes. Japan is home to some of the best universities in the world. The University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Osaka University, and Keio University of Japan all are included in the top 100 universities of the world.

What is the hardest university to get into in Japan?

Some of the colleges in Japan with the lowest acceptance rates are:
Tokyo Institute of Technology- 10%
Waseda University- 17%
Hitotsubashi University- 17%
Tokyo University of Science- 19%
Sophia University- 21%
Keio University- 23.9%
Nihon University- 24.9%
Tokyo university of Forign Studies (TUFS)- 26.3%
University of Tsukuba- 31.6%
University of Tokyo- 34%

Is it hard to get into Japanese universities?

The admission procedures to get into Japanese universities are extremely difficult. They are highly competitive for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The acceptance rates are also quite low. 

Can I study in Japan without knowing Japanese?

Yes, you can study in Japan without knowing Japanese. There are universities that offer classes with English as the medium of instruction.

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