Ranking: Top 10 Japanese Universities

Feb 2, 2019

What are the Best Universities in Japan?



The number of universities in Japan has increased immensely over the past 30 years. With only 490 universities in 1988, there are nearly 800 universities in Japan today, but do you know what the top 10 most prestigious universities are in Japan?

An attractive, yet contradicting, the fact is that the birthrate is decreasing in Japan while the number of people attending universities has gone up. Although it may seem like these two wouldn’t go together, the reason is that having a college education is needed to be more competitive in today’s job market. More than 50% of both male and females graduate from university, opposed to the 25% in 1993.

It costs quite a bit of money to attend a university in Japan, with public schools requiring nearly 5 million yen and private universities costing upwards of 8 million yen. But this is all in hopes to be able to pursue a stable career once they graduate. People with a high school education are now facing problems getting stable jobs in Japan, so to market themselves getting a higher education is seen as a necessity.

This article introduces the top 10 highly prestigious university published by The Times: Higher Education World Universities Rankings, an institute that publishes the global university rankings annually. The following is the ranking for Japan in 2018.


#1. The University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is the most famous and prestigious university in all of Japan, attracting many students who hope to be accepted into this elite university. The University of Tokyo was established in 1877 and has about 28,000 currently enrolled. Many expect to graduate from this university and be labeled as an elitist for the rest of their lives!

The University of Tokyo is also known for being the university with the most amounts of Nobel Prizes in Japan. There are a total of 11 professors at the University of Tokyo who have won the Nobel Prize by the end of 2018.

#2. Kyoto University

Another famous university in Japan established in 1897, it is known as the second best university in Japan. Similar to the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University proudly holds the second highest number of Nobel Prizes. The number of professors who have the prize is 10. It’s said that the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University have a competition to win more Nobel Prizes between the two. Although the University of Toyko may hold more Nobel Prizes compared to Kyoto University, Kyoto University was the first university to win the award.

The motto held by Kyoto University is to “pursue what you think is interesting”, and many believe this motto is the reason why many professors win the Nobel Prize – because they pursue their passions.


#3. Tohoku University

Founded in 1907, Tohoku University holds a motto of “research first”, and also carries an open-door policy. Tohoku University is located in Sendai City in the Miyagi prefecture, with seven campuses and more than 5000 students currently enrolled.

Many international students travel from all around the world to study here, which adds to many of Tohoku University’s international achievements. One main point of this University that many students seek out is that you can keep a very close relationship with your professors and focus strictly on your studies.


#4. Tokyo Institute of Technology

The Tokyo Institute of Technology was founded in 1929, with the number of students reaching only about 10,000; but the interesting point of this university is that 90% of the students enrolled are graduate students and not undergraduate students.

The graduation rate of students at this school is relatively high in comparison to other universities in Japan.



#5. Kyushyu University

Known as the best university in the Kyushyu region, Kyushyu University was founded in 1911 with a relaxed setting to its study environment in comparison to that of the University of Tokyo or Kyoto University.
There are approximately 19,000 students enrolled on the large campus, so it doesn’t feel too crowded, and you can feel at ease while you study.

#6. Hokkaido University

The best University in Hokkaido holds about 18,000 students and is located in the center of Sapporo in Hokkaido. Despite being in the city center, you are surrounded by nature. Many students who enjoy the outdoors nature and don’t want to move to the city attend this university.


#7. Nagoya University

Although this university is ranked 7th, it is the third university holding six professors who have won the most Nobel Prizes. One unique point of this university is that there is a railway station located inside the university campus. This is the only university in Japan which has a station located on a college campus.

There is also an exclusive residential area near the campus, allowing you to go to quiet areas to study in silence.

#8. Osaka University

Many students select Osaka University as their second priority university if they fail to pass into Kyoto University. Osaka University is a popular choice for students in Japan.

#9. Tsukuba University

Tsukuba University was established in 1973, being the newest universities ranked in the top 10. This university is known as an “open” university, and no, that doesn’t mean open-door policy, but instead, no gates are enclosing the area allowing for many to take a look at the campus. In Japan, Universities without barriers are extremely rare, so many would explore the campus.

Not only does the campus not have gates, but the campus is so large that there are buses that travel around the campus every 20 minutes.


#10. Keio University

Keio University was founded in 1920, with an even longer history. Yukichi Fukuzawa, known as the man on the Japanese 10,000 yen, established this school as a school to study in a Western style in 1858 during the Edo period. There are currently 34,000 students enrolled at this private university and holds a high status as many students have a high employment rate once graduating this school.


How are the 10 Best Japanese Universities?

Are you interested in any of the Universities in Japan once reading this article? As I mentioned earlier, there are roughly 800 universities in Japan, and this only suggests the top 10. It may be difficult to decide which University you are interested in, so it’s important to research each school and understand the differences among all of them.

I hope this article helped you scratch the surface on what Japanese Universities have to offer, and hopefully, this article has helped you start to think about what you want out of your educational experience in Japan.

Aika Kaise / Japan



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