Another option for those who are looking at a more long term stay in Japan is to study in Japan. If you want study short-term and are native of countries exempt from a general visa, you can study in Japan visa-free for up to 90 days (length of time depends on the country of origin). If you want to do long-term studies in Japan, a visa is required.
Student visas for Japan
Student visas are not as difficult to acquire as work visas. There are two main types of student visas that you can apply for in Japan: College Student Visa and Pre-College Student Visa.
The College Student Visa is aimed at those looking to study in a Japanese university for one to two years, while the Pre-College Visa is intended for those looking to enter into Japanese language schools and institutions and allows a stay of six months to one year.
In order to get your student visa, you need an educational sponsor. The first step before applying for your visa is to research and choose the university or language school you would like to study at. Choose wisely as each institution is different and has different facilities, atmosphere, and location. After you have applied and been accepted into your institution of choice, you will receive your certificate of eligibility and can make your student visa application at the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country.
While in Japan on a student visa, it is forbidden to engage in any paid activity unless you have been granted special permission from both your host institution and the immigration office. But even in these special cases, you are only allowed to a set amount of working hours.
To enter a Japanese university, the requirements are high, and you must first sit an exam to determine your place. Most universities use The Examination for Japanese University admission for international students (or EJU), however, some universities use their private entrance exams. The EJU is held twice a year, and focuses mainly on Japanese culture, Japanese language, sciences and mathematics, and the exam can be taken either in English or Japanese (some test sites only offer the exam in Japanese). You can sit the exam in Japan, or in a few cities in other countries.
For language schools, there is no entrance exam. There are schools for all levels of Japanese, and thus you merely need to find a school that fits your Japanese level.
Good to know:
Though the exam can be taken in English it is strongly recommended to have a good command of the Japanese language before entering a Japanese university as most courses are taught in Japanese.
University tuition fees in Japan can be quite expensive, however, sometimes not as expensive as in other countries such as the UK, USA, and Canada. The fees are often around ¥ 500,000 per year (equivalent to £3,447, $4,488, €3,852), and in most cases, there is also an admission fee.
There are scholarship options, tuition fee exemptions in special cases and government-sponsored programs – for more information you are advised to contact the Japanese embassy in your home country.
Language school fees depend on the school you choose and the duration of your study. Typically it costs around ¥200,000 for a three-month course (£1,378, $1,795, €1,540) with an additional admission fee.
Good to know:
Some universities in your home country may have partnerships with Japanese universities, so it is worth finding this out.