Common questions

How can I apply to schools?
You can apply to schools directly or through a study abroad agency like the Japan Study Abroad Network. Because we are partnered with most schools in Japan, we are able to provide information about multiple schools and help you through the entire application process for free.
When do I need to apply?
The time to apply can depend a little on each school, but generally you will need to apply 6 months before enrollment. Regarding language schools, each semester starts in January, April, July and October. Some schools set more flexible schedules, while some others only accept students in April and October, for example.

Before you apply, you will need some time to prepare your application and supporting documents, which can take an additional month or more. For this reason, we recommend that you inquire with us as soon as you know of your intentions to study in Japan, so that we can help you prepare in advance.
Are there any education requirements and age limits to apply to schools?
It depends on the school and course.

Many Japanese language schools require a high school diploma or the equivalent of 12 years of primary and secondary school education. For this reason, those seeking student visas generally need to be 18 years of age or older.

There is no upper age limit, however, additional documents or information may be requested of those who are over the age of 30 years old.
How can I apply for a student visa?
  • 1

    After we have determined the school that best suits your purpose, goals and preferences, we will fill out the application forms and gather your supporting documents.

  • 2

    We will then apply to the school on your behalf and clear their questions. The school will apply to Japanese Immigration.

  • 3

    Once approved, the school will receive your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This takes several months. You will then receive an invoice from the school to pay your tuition and other fees.

  • 4

    Once you pay the invoice, the school will mail you your COE along with an Official Letter of Acceptance. You will then go to your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate with the original COE, visa application form, photos and valid passport. This process takes about three to seven days.

  • 5

    After you pick up your passport at the embassy or consulate, which will contain a stamp and your student visa, you will be able to enter Japan within the timeframe specified on the visa itself.

How much does it cost to study and live in Japan?
According to Japanese immigration, it costs about 1,000,000 yen for six months of study including tuition and living costs. Living costs in Tokyo are relatively higher than in other study destinations but it depends on where you live and your lifestyle.

Average:
  • language school tuition fees: 50,000-70,000 yen / month
  • language school registration fees: 5,000-20,000 yen
  • national university tuition fees: 535,800 yen / year
  • national university admission fees: 282,000 yen
  • private university tuition fees: about 1,600,000 yen / year (it depends on universities and courses)
  • vocational college tuition fees: about 1,240,000 yen / month (including admission fees)
  • rent for apartment: 50,000-70,000 yen / month (Student dormitory is a cheaper option.)
  • transportation: about 10,000 yen / month
Can I apply for a scholarship?
Yes. Some scholarships are applied for through the school you are attending, while others are applied for directly through the scholarship organizers. Sometimes, the school itself will offer its own scholarship.

The vast majority of scholarships for studies at Japanese language schools are applied after beginning your studies in Japan, and therefore only take effect from the 2nd year of study. This is because most scholarships use a study record in Japan to assess eligibility.

The same applies if you are looking to apply directly to a college, university, or graduate school, with the exception of the “Reservation Program for Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately-Financed International Students by Pre-arrival Admission”, which selects students who have scored well on the EJU.

Note that scholarships for Japanese language courses are relatively difficult to obtain.
For more information about Scholarships for Studying in Japan, please read our article.
Should I study Japanese before studying in Japan?
It depends on the course and the school. For long-term Japanese language studies requiring a student visa, you will need to:
  • have passed the JLPT N5 exam (or the equivalent on another test), or
  • have completed 150 hours of Japanese language study (which includes both in-class time as well as self-study).
For your reference, it is much easier to begin studying Japanese after you know how to read and write the hiragana and katakana alphabets.
How long does it take to learn Japanese?
It depends on your level when you start studying, and your goal. If you start from the beginner level and want to gain enough knowledge to apply to college or university or to work, you will need approximately two years.
What is the resident status for international students’ in Japan?
You will stay in Japan with the status of “Student”.
How can I find accommodations?
There are several options such as student dormitories, share-houses, private apartments and homestays.

We guide students to options available in the city where your school is located based on reliable companies with which we are familiar, as well as provide the latest accommodation information available through the school itself. Besides this, you may also search online through real estate agents’ websites and property management companies to find some suitable options that are foreigner-friendly.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a student dormitory vs an apartment?
Student dormitory
Advantages:
  • Rent is low.
  • Furniture comes included.
Disadvantages:
  • Because of a limit on the number of rooms, there is sometimes limited availability.
  • There may be rules such as a curfew.
  • Facilities such as the kitchen and the bathrooms are shared.
Apartment
Advantages:
  • You can choose where you live.
  • You can get privacy.
Disadvantages:
  • You must pay a bond (shiki-kin and rei-kin) when you make a contract.
  • Usually, you need to find a guarantor when you make a contract.
  • Usually, there is no furniture, so you need to buy it.
What do I have to do after I arrive in Japan?
  • 1

    Get a Residence card (zairyu card) and a passport with a Landing Permission stamp at airports. If you enter Japan via the airports which are not listed below (*), a Residence card is sent to your accommodation after residence registration.

  • 2

    Decide where you live, if you haven’t already.

  • 3

    Register the residence address at the municipal office with a Residence card or a passport with a Landing Permission stamp.

  • 4

    Get your social security and tax number (called “My Number”) which are sent to you after your residence registration.

* Airports where you can get a Residence card include:

  • New Chitose
  • Narita
  • Haneda
  • Chubu Centrair
  • Kansai
  • Hiroshima
  • Fukuoka
What should I do when I change my place of residence?
Fill out a Move Out Form at your previous municipal office, then submit a Move In Form at your new local municipal office.
What should I do when I change schools?
Submit a notification to The Regional Immigration Services Bureau.
What do I have to do to change my status of residence?
In the event that you become a full-time worker after you graduate from college or university, you have to apply for the Permission for Change of Status of Residence. The type of status of residence depends on your job. You have to file it at The Regional Immigration Services Bureau with your passport, residence card, application form, resume, documents from your employer and certificate of graduation from university. If you graduated from a university outside of Japan, you may also be asked to provide your Graduation Certificate. Sometimes your employer will be able to apply for your new visa on your behalf.

If you want to do job-hunting after your graduation, you have to change your status of residence from “Student ” to “Designated Activities”. Apply for it at The Regional Immigration Services Bureau with your passport, residence card, application form, photograph, bank statement, ID and a letter of recommendation from your school.
Can I extend the expiry date of stay?
Yes; however, you must apply for an extension at The Regional Immigration Services Bureau before the expiry date. Usually, you can file it 3 months before the expiry date.
Can I work while I am studying?
Yes. Most students work part-time and on a casual basis while studying in Japan. In most cases, students work in shops or restaurants.

While holding a student visa, the rule is that you are allowed to work 28 hours per any given 7 day period. During a long school vacation, the limit on the working hours is up to 8 hours per day.

There are several rules you must follow. One of them is that you have to apply for “permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted” at The Regional Immigration Services Bureau. Your Japanese language school will likely be able to provide guidance on how to apply for this permission.
Can I job-hunt or do internship activities while I am studying?
Yes, you are able to do both job-hunting as well as engage in internship activities while studying.

Regarding job hunting, this typically starts on the 1st of March every year, with many companies following this schedule. Students in the year before their final year of their courses can start job hunting at this time.

As for internship activities, these are often unpaid. In the event that you do land a paid one, you will need to apply for “permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted” at The Regional Immigration Services Bureau.

To search for jobs or internship programs, it would be best to contact your school’s counselling services, career centre, and job-posting board after being admitted to the school. You can also find opportunities on job-search websites and find an internship program through internship agents.
Can I leave Japan temporarily while I am studying?
Yes; however, you must apply for a re-entry permit at The Regional Immigration Services Bureau.

The following are circumstances in which you do not need to apply for a re-entry permit:
  • You have a valid passport and residence card.
  • You will return to Japan within one year (or before the expiry date if it is within a year).
Should I get health insurance?
Students who will stay in Japan for 3 months or more must register for National Health Insurance (NHI or Kokumin Kenkou Hoken or Kokuho for short). Registration takes place at the municipal office after completing your resident registration.

Questions related to Covid-19

Is it currently possible to study in Japan?
While many schools are still open, the border of Japan is currently closed to all non-residents. That being said, Japanese Immigration is still processing school applications. We therefore encourage you to inquire with us to receive the latest updates, and apply to a school so that there are no delays and you are first priority once the border opens again. Note that you will not need to pay for the school tuition fees until the border opens.
What am I obligated to do when I arrive in Japan?
As of July 2021, you must follow the procedure below:
  • Submit the certificate with a negative test result of COVID-19 that was conducted within 72 hours before departing.
  • Stay for 14 days at a location designated by the school or quarantine station chief(*).
  • Not use public transportation, including regular taxis.
Note that if you are coming to Japan on a student visa, the school where you will be enrolled is both responsible and obligated to organize and coordinate your quarantine and transportation thereto. As a result, the school will likely designate specific dates upon which to land in Japan and undergo quarantine, as per the rules set out by Japanese Immigration.

* For certain countries designated by the Japanese government, you will have to stay for 10 days at a location designated by the school or the quarantine station chief, and obtain the negative results of all COVID-19 tests conducted on the third, sixth and tenth days. You also have to stay 14 days at a location designated by the quarantine station chief after 10 days of quarantine.
What do I have to do before I go to Japan?
You must take COVID-19 tests within 72 hours before departing.
What happens when I need to postpone or delay my enrollment?
If you need to postpone, the Japanese embassy can extend the validity of your COE for 6 months. In most cases, the school will conduct the necessary procedures on your behalf, however in some cases it is possible that you will be required to submit some additional documents to confirm your request or renew your COE.
What should I do if I was denied entry to Japan?
You have to contact the embassy or consulate as soon as possible to know when you can travel safely. You also have to contact the school and agent to find a solution.