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Top Universities in Japan (2019 Update)

by Samia Tasnim

If you want to study in Japan, you need to have the detailed information about the universities in Japan and of course which are the top-ranked among them. From the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, The universities of Japan have been in the top rankings based on their performances, research, international outlook and overall objectives. Japan’s total 89 universities are in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings till 2018. The top universities in Japan are now highly recommended for the students who want to study abroad because of their high-quality performances and research work.

World University Rankings 2018 & Japan

Rank in Japan Rank in Worldwide University name Place
1 46 University of Tokyo Tokyo
2 201 Tohoku University Miyagi
3 74 Kyoto University Kyoto
4 301 Nagoya University Aichi
5 251 Tokyo Institute of Technology Okayama
6 201 Osaka University Osaka
7 351 Kyushu University Fukuoka
8 401 Hokkaido University Hokkaido
9 401 University of Tsukuba Ibaraki
10 601 Waseda University Tokyo

Top Universities in Japan 2018

1. University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo, as the first national university in Japan since its establishment in 1877 has been almost every year on the world university rankings. This university offers courses along with high-quality performance record and research work. The University of Tokyo has about 10 faculties, 11 combined research institutes including the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, 15 graduate schools, 13 university-wide centers, three libraries and two institutes for advanced study- these all are huge benefits for the students indeed.

Students are given lectures on three main campuses and these are in Hongo, Komaba, and Kashiwa. Faculties out there are associated with the university throughout Japan. This university has a slightly unusual course structure, such as the students have to complete their liberal arts education at one campus during their first two years until they are transferred to another campus to study their chosen subject. The campuses of the University of Tokyo are nearer to many of Tokyo’s cultural activities including Yanesen which is a town of temples. And Ueno Park which is filled with its museums and cherry blossoms. All the separated campuses have good transport systems throughout the capital.

The University of Tokyo is the highest-ranked university among the top universities in Japan and is ranked at number 46 in World University Rankings.

2. Tohoku University

In 1913, Tohoku University was the first university in Japan to admit female students in 1913 after the appointment of Masataro Sawayanagi, the university’s first president and the vice minister of education. Tohoku was also the first university to admit foreign students in Japan. Many of Tohoku University’s facilities are built around and within the ancient war grounds of the city of Sendai.

Tohoku University was one of 13 universities in 2009 selected by the Japanese government because of its contribution to providing higher education on an international level. The university has introduced a huge series of degree programs that are taught in English among the students.

3. Kyoto University

Kyoto University has about 22,000 students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels altogether and has 10 faculties, 13 research institutes, 16 graduate schools, 21 research and educational centers. Kyoto University’s students attend their classes at three campuses in Yoshida, Uji, and Katsura. It is one of Japan’s oldest universities and is consistently highly ranked in Asia and World University Rankings either.

The university was at first established for the colleges of science and engineering, law, medicine, letters. The only within two years, the university started the journey of a library and a hospital. Later on, it established faculties of economics, agriculture, and humanities. Then the first graduate school started its activities in the mid-20th century. The university has owned a number of successful researchers including 10 Nobel prize winners, two Fields medalists, and one Gauss prize winner.

Read More, Top Universities in South Africa 2018

4. Nagoya University

Within a short period of time, Nagoya University has done a lot and has established three goals to make it transformed it into a globally recognized university. These goals were, first of all, to increase international collaboration, to promote human correlation and to apply more English language education- these are the tactics that Nagoya University has done for the improvement of its campus and has been the different one from other universities. And for these, the Nagoya University has achieved the fourth place in the Japan university Rankings and also in World University Rankings.

Nagoya University has nine faculties and 13 graduate schools. This university does the best research work in the sciences. The university has also owned six Nobel prize winners in science, the third highest tally in Japan behind Kyoto University and The University of Tokyo.

4. Tokyo Institute of Technology

Tokyo Institute of Technology is one of the country’s leading universities for science and technology for more than 130 years since its establishment. The university was founded in 1882. Its main library was situated on the Okayama campus and it is the largest science and technology library in Japan. It is the only university outside the National Seven Universities group to be in the top five of the rankings.

The processing of admission to the university is highly selective. For this, it is considered as one of the most difficult university admissions processes in Japan. So after all these, the university has only about 10,000 students which are relatively small than the other universities.

Osaka University

Osaka University is also known as “Handai” and is ranked in the 6th position in the Japan University Rankings 2018. It has a strong reputation for the number of research fields. This university is world’s best for 29 subjects, in the global top 50 for chemistry, chemical engineering, physics, biological sciences,  and astronomy, dentistry, and materials sciences.

Some Facts about Studying from abroad in the Top Universities in Japan

If you are planning to study in any of the top universities in Japan as a foreign student, you do not need to worry much rather you are welcome by the government of Japan. The government is keen to admit to its country’s universities more international students and has set a target of having 300,000 foreign students by 2020, where the target has already reached 120,000. For this, universities are focusing on providing the best for foreign students, from the application process to all the way to finding a job after graduation.

International students are having the benefits of being taught the courses partly or entirely in English. Other facilities that attract the students more are,

  • Taking extra care to support international students.
  • Allowing students to start courses in September instead of April, because Japan’s academic year usually starts on that period.
  • Recruiting more faculties from outside Japan.
  • Increasing exchange programs of universities with other countries.

Living and studying in Japan are quite expensive compared to many countries. The government has also offered additional financial support for foreign students. Through the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology and the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), various university scholarships and grants are available for the foreign students.

There are about more than 780 universities in Japan, of which about 80% are private. There are also some specialized schools and colleges that provide more vocational types of degree. Among the top universities in Japan and the nation’s strongest global ranking is currently claimed by the University of Tokyo, which ranks joint 28th in the QS World University Rankings 2018. Close behind are Kyoto University (joint 36th) and Tokyo Institute of Technology (56th), with a further 40 Japanese universities that are top-ranked among the world university rankings.



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