7 Best Cities to Study in Japan

Have you thought about doing your exchange in Japan? The country that is known mainly for technology also has some of the best universities in the world. According to Countryaah.com, Japan has the fourth largest population in Asia. Just to give you an idea, in the ranking of QS World Universities 2021, the land of robots and the organization has 41 universities among the 1000 best in the world. But what are the best cities to study in Japan? This is what you will discover now!

Best cities to study in Japan: Tokyo

There is no way to make a list of the best cities to study in Japan without starting with the incredible Tokyo, the country’s capital. With 40 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, Tokyo is considered the largest urban area in the world. And among so many people it is obvious that there are many foreigners. Just to give you an idea, in 2018 there were 114,833 students from other countries in the capital’s educational institutions.

And even with all its excitement and grandeur, it is one of the safest cities in the world and has a super efficient transport system that allows you to easily access practically all corners of the metropolitan region. The city’s subway system, for example, is the fifth largest in the world, behind only Shanghai, Seoul, London and New York.

When it comes to education, Tokyo also leads the country in the main international rankings. The University of Tokyo, which was created in 1877 as a public university, has five campuses spread over more than 29,000 students in its undergraduate and graduate courses. According to QS World University Rankings 2021 it is the best university in Japan and the 24th best university in the world.

Other prominent institutions in the city are the Tokyo Technological Institute (Tokyo Tech), Keio University, Waseda University, Hosei University, Meiji University, Rikkyo University and Tokyo University of Medicine and Dentistry. Four of them also appear in the QS ranking:

  • Tokyo Technological Institute (Tokyo Tech): 3rd best in Japan and 56th in the world
  • Waseda University: 9th in Japan and 189th in the world
  • Keio University: 10th best in Japan and 191st in the world
  • Tokyo University of Medicine and Dentistry: 13th best in Japan and 362nd in the world

Best cities to study in Japan - Tokyo

Best cities to study in Japan: Kyoto

Kyoto has been Japan’s cultural center for quite some time. The country’s former capital has an impressive 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which serves as a testament to the region’s rich cultural experience. Today, much because of its history, the city is a beautiful mixture between the bustle of a metropolis living with a well-preserved past of its museums, shrines and monuments.

The city is one of Japan’s leading academic centers, and is home to several national and international students who are divided among their excellent institutions of higher education. The main one is the University of Kyoto, founded in 1897, which today is the second best in the country (38th in the world).

Other important institutions are the Kyoto Institute of Technology, Doshisha University and Ritsumeikan University.

Best cities to study in Japan - Kyoto

Best cities to study in Japan: Osaka

Osaka is the third largest city in Japan and is in the west of the country. It has been considered in several surveys as one of the best cities in the world to live. One of them was the Global Liveability Index study, done by The Economist magazine in 2019, which placed the city as the fourth most livable in the world, behind only Vienna, Melbourne and Sydney. Osaka prides itself on having a lively and vibrant culture and is internationally famous for its unique cuisine. It is no wonder that it is known as the “cuisine of the nation”.

The best university in the city is Osaka University, founded in 1869, which is considered the fourth best in the country (72nd in the world). Other prominent institutions are Osaka City University, Kansai University and Osaka Prefecture University.

Best cities to study in Japan - Osaka

Best cities to study in Japan: Nagoya

Nagoya is famous for its innovation and technological advances but, at the same time, it is also full of important historical monuments. It owns the titles of the fourth largest urban center in the country in population; the largest economic center in central Japan and the third richest city in the country, behind Tokyo and Osaka.

Its most important educational institution is the University of Nagoya, founded in 1871. This is the sixth best university in Japan and ranks 110th in the world ranking of QS. Also noteworthy are the Nagoya Institute of Technology (NIT), the University of Nanzan and the Toyota Technological Institute, created from a donation from the Japanese auto giant.

Best cities to study in Japan - Nagoya

Best cities to study in Japan: Yokohama

With almost 4 million inhabitants, Yokohama is the second largest city in the country and is located in the metropolitan region of Tokyo. Because it is about 30% cheaper than the capital, it is quite common for students from Tokyo universities to live in Yokohama. The distance between the two cities can be accomplished in a 25-minute train journey.

But Yokohama also has its own prominent universities. The highest ranked in the rankings are Yokohama City University and Yokohama National University.

Best cities to study in Japan - Yokohama

Best cities to study in Japan: Kobe

Close to Osaka and Tokyo, Kobe is a beautiful city marked by the unique combination of sea and mountain, attracting several tourists and international students. It is a much quieter city than the others on this list so far. However, it is far from being small, as it has a population of almost 2.5 million people in its metropolitan region.

Kobe is home to eighteen public and private universities, including Kobe University, the Kobe Institute of Computing and Konan University, which are the most prestigious. Kobe University is considered to be the 14th best in Japan and is among the 500 best universities in the world, at position 403.

Best cities to study in Japan - Kobe

Best cities to study in Japan: Sapporo

Sapporo is the fifth largest city in Japan and the largest city on the island of Hokkaido, which is in the north of the country, being considered its political, economic and cultural center. Among the cities on this list, it is the one that is furthest from the others.

It is especially popular with winter sports lovers, having already hosted one of the Winter Olympics editions, as well as promoting the Sapporo Snow Festival, which attracts around 2 million tourists every year to admire hundreds of statues and ice sculptures.

In the field of education, the city does not look bad either. Its main institution is the University of Hokkaido, the eighth best in the country (139th in the world). Also noteworthy are the University of Sapporo and the University of Education in Hokkaido.

Best cities to study in Japan - Sapporo