Japan Blog

Financial Planning: The Guide

Before you start packing your bags and brushing up on your kanji, let’s talk money. How much does it actually cost to study in Japan? Let’s break down the expenses and help you budget for the adventure of a lifetime.


Tuition Fees: The Starting Point

First things first, tuition. Depending on the type of institution you choose, the costs can vary significantly.

  • National and Public Universities: Typically, tuition fees here are the most affordable. Expect to pay around ¥535,800 per year, plus a one-time entrance fee of about ¥282,000. This makes them a great option for those on a tighter budget.
  • Private Universities: These are more expensive, with tuition fees ranging from ¥700,000 to ¥1,200,000 per year, depending on the program and university prestige.
  • Japanese Language Schools: If your Japanese isn’t quite up to par yet, you might start with a language school. Expect to pay between ¥600,000 and ¥800,000 per year for tuition.

Living Expenses: Home Sweet Home

  1. 1. Accommodation

  • Dormitories: Many universities offer dormitory options, which can be a more affordable choice. Prices range from ¥20,000 to ¥60,000 per month.

  • Private Apartments: If you prefer more privacy, renting an apartment is an option. Expect to pay around ¥50,000 to ¥80,000 per month for a small one-room apartment in a city like Tokyo. In less expensive areas, prices can drop to around ¥30,000 to ¥50,000.

  1. 2. Utilities

Utilities such as electricity, gas, and water typically cost about ¥10,000 to ¥20,000 per month.

Healthy Daily Life: The Cost of Fun and Food

Living in Japan isn’t just about studying; you’ll also want to experience the culture, food, and fun!


  1. 1. Food

  • Groceries: Monthly grocery bills can range from ¥20,000 to ¥40,000, depending on your eating habits.

  • Eating Out: Eating out can be relatively affordable. A meal at a cheap restaurant might cost you ¥500 to ¥1,000, while dining at mid-range restaurants can set you back ¥2,000 to ¥3,000.


  1. 2. Transportation

If you’re living in a big city, you’ll likely rely on public transportation. A monthly commuter pass for unlimited travel between your home and school can cost between ¥10,000 and ¥20,000.


  1. 3. Entertainment and Miscellaneous

Don’t forget to budget for fun! Movie tickets cost around ¥1,800, a cup of coffee is about ¥400, and if you’re into karaoke, expect to pay around ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 for a couple of hours. Budgeting ¥10,000 to ¥20,000 per month for entertainment should keep you covered.

Health Insurance: Stay Safe, Stay Healthy

All international students in Japan are required to enroll in the National Health Insurance scheme. This typically costs around ¥20,000 per year, but it significantly reduces your medical expenses.

Scholarships: Lightening the Load

The good news? There are numerous scholarships available for international students. Organizations like the Japanese government (MEXT), JASSO, and various private foundations offer scholarships that can cover a significant portion of your expenses. Make sure to research and apply early!

Summing It All Up: The Bottom Line

Here’s a rough estimate of your annual expenses:

  • Tuition: ¥535,800 (national university) to ¥1,200,000 (private university)
  • Accommodation: ¥240,000 to ¥960,000
  • Utilities: ¥120,000 to ¥240,000
  • Food: ¥240,000 to ¥480,000
  • Transportation: ¥120,000 to ¥240,000
  • Entertainment and Miscellaneous: ¥120,000 to ¥240,000
  • Health Insurance: ¥20,000

Total Annual Cost: ¥1,395,800 to ¥3,360,000 (approximately $12,800 to $30,800 USD)



Studying in Japan is a fantastic opportunity, but it’s essential to plan your budget carefully. With a clear understanding of the costs and a bit of financial planning, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your time as a student in Japan without breaking the bank. So, get ready for an unforgettable adventure—your Japanese journey awaits!


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