What kind of schools are there in Japan?


About the education system in Japan

Higher education in Japan begins after the end of 12 years of primary education (6th grade) and secondary education (3rd year of junior high school and 3rd year high school).There are five higher education institutions where international students can enter: (1) technical colleges, (2) vocational schools (specialized courses), (3) junior colleges, (4) universities, and (5) graduate schools, which are roughly divided into national, public, and private institutions.
In many Japanese higher education institutions, from April to March of the following year, there is a two-term system for the first semester (April to September) and the second semester (October to March), but there are also schools that have a system for admission to fall (a system for admission in September or October).The holiday period is usually three times a year in summer (late July to early January) and spring (February to March).

Japanese Language Education Institution

During the higher education period in Japan, classes are basically held in Japanese for all departments.In order to acquire Japanese to keep up with school classes, you need to be in the first or second grade of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.This is said to be the level at which I studied more than 600 to 900 hours.There are individual differences to study in your own country and reach that level, but it can take years.Even if you study intensively in Japan, you need to study for a year or two.


The regular course is four years long, and in the case of medicine, dentistry, some pharmacy and veterinary medicine, it is six years.
Depending on the university, there is a system for non-regular students and students taking courses.
In addition to studying abroad for the purpose of obtaining a degree or long-term research, there is also a short-term study abroad program that is not intended to obtain a degree.


The length of study at a junior college is usually two years, but there are also three years, such as medical technology and nursing.
While universities focus on academic principles and theories, junior colleges focus on education that allows students to go out into society and acquire skills that are directly useful in the field.About one-third of the junior colleges are women’s junior colleges, and more than half are in the humanities, family politics, education, and social sciences.

How to enroll in a Japanese university

In order to enter a Japanese university, you must meet any of the following conditions:

  1. A person who has completed 12 years of school education (including requirements for ending secondary education) in a foreign country.
  2. Students who have graduated from a secondary school in 10 or 11 years have completed a 18-year-old student who has completed a “preparatory curriculum” by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
  3. Those who have passed the certification examination in each country that corresponds to the “High School Graduation Certification Examination” in Japan.
  4. Those who are recognized as having academic ability equal to or greater than those who have graduated from high school with regard to admission to universities, etc.
    • An international baccalaureate qualification, a German Abitua qualification, who has reached the age of 18.
    • A person who has completed a 12-year course at a foreign school certified by an international evaluation body (WASC, ACSI, or ECIS) and has reached the age of 18.
  5. A person who has been recognized as having academic ability equal to or greater than that of a person who graduated from a high school by individual entrance qualification screening at a university, etc., and has reached the age of 18.

Documents required for application

Each university varies, but in general:

  1. Application form
  2. Resume
  3. Certificate of High School Graduation (Expected)
  4. High school transcript
  5. A letter of recommendation from the principal or teacher of the high school you graduated from
  6. Health certificate
  7. Photos
  8. Certificate of matters stated on the alien registration card (if you live in Japan)
  9. (Guarantor-related documents)

* For more information, please contact the school of your choice directly.

Entrance Examination

It is often done by combining the following.

  • Document screening
  • Academic achievement test
  • Interview
  • Essays and essays
  • Other tests on academic ability and aptitude
  • Japanese Language Study Abroad Examination
  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test
  • National Center for University Entrance Examinations

* The National Center for University Entrance Examinations is an examination that is required for Japanese applicants (faculties) to national universities and some private universities.For international students, most universities are exempt from this, but some university faculties (mainly medical schools and dental schools) may have to take this exam.

Quoted from JASSO “Getting to Know Schools”