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Study in Japan Overview

As an island country in East Asia with a total area of 377.930 square kilometers, Japan is famous for being the home of many fascinating creative inventions that greatly influenced the world such as instant noodles, anime. In addition, this country is also famous for its comprehensive education model, attracting more than 312.000 foreign students to study and work here in recent years. Thus, what makes Japan so attractive?

                                                        Study abroad in Japan

The curriculum in Japan is among the top in the world 

Although there are not many advantages in terms of geographical location or resources, as well as frequent natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes. The Japanese government has always paid special attention to education with the goal of training young highly specialized intellectuals. Therefore, it is not surprising that Japan holds the 11th place in the ranking of the leading countries in the field of education with more than 700 universities, 10 of which are in the Top 200 universities worldwide. In addition, the teaching is carried out by highly qualified and dedicated teachers. Currently, the Japanese government is working on the Third Plan on Promoting Education (2018-2022), to carefully analyze future threats to current successes. 

The tuition fee to study in Japan is moderate along with many scholarship programs to sponsor students 

One great benefit of studying in Japan is that the cost of studying here is much cheaper than it would be in the US or European countries. The tuition fees you have to pay during the course of studying for a 2-year Master's program in Japan total nearly 1.360.000 JPY (about 287.899.000 VND) at a national university. This amount is more than 1,440,000 JPY (more than 304,834,000 VND) at a local public university and about 1.496.000 - 2.660.000 JPY (approximately 316.689.000 - 563.096.000 VND) at a private university (excluding Medical, Pharmacy, and Dentistry schools and colleges). (The exchange rate is 1 JPY = 211.69 VND, amount rounded to thousands)

In general, tuition fees in Japan are only half that of other places. The cost of living is also not too high, especially when you are far from the city centers. In addition, in Japan, students also have many opportunities to win attractive scholarships to help you cover the necessary expenses.

Japan's economy grows & develops stably

In 2020, Japan will have the 3rd largest GDP index in the world, a country with the world's largest automobile & electronics manufacturing industry, famous for Toyota, Honda, Suzuki, Mitsubishi, Toshiba, Sony... Therefore, the demand for highly specialized labor resources is always more feverish than ever, especially in the engineering and technology industries. Studying abroad in a country with high standards like Japan will bring many opportunities for you to experience a world-class professional learning and working environment.

Unique culture

Formed over thousands of years, along with a history full of changes, the culture in Japan has its own unique features that no other country can have. When studying abroad in Japan, that means you have a ticket to learn and experience the unique features from food, art, literature... in the land of Cherry Blossom already! As a result, your cultural and social knowledge will be greatly expanded.

Besides, studying abroad gives you a great opportunity to live, work and explore a different culture. Coming to Japan, you will have a new perspective on everything in life, positive changes in both your thinking and actions, helping you to develop yourself more comprehensively.

Great quality of life

Japan is one of the safest and most peaceful places in the world. With the education system from a young age, Japanese people's consciousness is very high. Therefore, the crime and loss rate in Japan is very low. Clean streets, advanced public transport systems, punctuality... have made traveling in the country more convenient than ever. In addition, Japan has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Those are the important reasons why Japan is a place worth studying and living in the eyes of international friends.

International learning environment

Thousands of international students from more than 170 countries around the world are studying at higher education institutions in Japan. Therefore, when you come to Japan to study, you have the opportunity to connect with international friends, and at the same time expand your knowledge through exposure and understanding of diverse cultures around the world.


Education is one of the most important aspects of creating a high-quality workforce and is the pride of all Japanese people. The country's comprehensive education system has consistently received praise from the international community. In world assessments of educational attainment, the country consistently scores above average in educational achievement, participation rates, and classroom environment. In the OECD's PISA 2018, 15-year-old Japanese students in reading, math, and science all scored 17-40 points higher than students in other OECD countries.


What do students learn in Japanese schools?

Subjects commonly taught in Japanese schools include Japanese, Math, Science, Sociology, Music, Crafts, Physical Education, and Housekeeping (learn cooking skills and simple sewing). Currently, most students learn English at the primary school level. In addition, students also study subjects such as Shodo (Calligraphy) and Haiku poetry to understand and respect traditional Japanese culture.

How is study time in Japan distributed?

In general, a school year in Japan begins in April and ends in March of the following year. Public schools in Japan study 5 days a week, Monday through Friday, however, there are also Saturday schools. In middle and high schools, students usually have to study 6 lessons/day, one class lasts 50 minutes. Therefore, an average school day lasts 6 hours, making Japan one of the countries with the longest school days in the world.

After school, students will have to clean the classroom on their shift and participate in extracurricular activities of the club they are registered with. After returning home, children in Japan also have to do other homework to help consolidate their knowledge.

In addition, schools in Japan have three holidays a year including summer vacation, winter break, and spring break.

                                  Three ways of dividing semesters in Japan

School life in Japan

In general, students in Japan often wear uniforms and use everything exactly the same, as the Japanese have always believed that this will help reduce class or status distinctions.

Besides, in Japanese elementary schools, classes are divided into groups for many activities. For example, students have to divide into groups every day to clean classrooms, halls, and school grounds. In many elementary schools, students eat lunch together in the classroom, enjoying meals prepared by the local school or center. Groups of students will take turns serving lunch to their classmates. School lunches are well planned and feature a variety of nutritious and healthy foods. Therefore, there are many students in Japan looking forward to lunch like this at school.

In addition, schools also organize many events during the year for students, such as sports days, excursions to historical sites and cultural and arts festivals, etc. The seniors of the schools. Elementary, middle, and high schools also have the opportunity to go on long trips to cities like Kyoto and Nara, ski resorts or elsewhere.

                                                     Students at a school in Japan

What types of student clubs are there?

Student clubs are a feature of Japanese education. Under the guidance of a teacher, students with similar interests in sports, cultural activities, or fields of study will voluntarily gather together after school and on holidays.

                                                       Kendo club in Japan

Each school usually has a lot of different clubs such as sports clubs (baseball, football, volleyball, basketball, track and field, swimming, Judo, Kendo (Japanese swordsmanship... ) or culture (band, choir, drama, literature, Kado (Japanese flower arrangement), Sado (Japanese tea ceremony), Shodo (Japanese calligraphy).

What is special about the structure of the Japanese education system?

The school system in Japan consists of public and private institutions and a number of public schools established by the province/city with the same curriculum. As in other countries, the biggest difference between public and private schools is the cost. Public schools only require a few fees, while private schools are almost 5 times more expensive. For primary and secondary public schools, tuition will be waived (for foreign students as well), and parents will have to purchase items such as uniforms, backpacks, and writing supplies as required. Meanwhile, each student in private schools has to pay an average tuition fee of 2,000,000 JPY (about 423,380,000 VND). On the other hand, classes at public schools are still taught in Japanese, while students studying at private schools have the option of taking courses in English.

                                                 The education system in Japan

In Japan, the educational structure is quite similar to the US. The basic structure will include:

Kindergarten & Primary School















Youchien (kindergarten)


Hoikuen (kindergarten)

                                               Education system from 1 to 12

Before entering primary school, most parents will send their children to kindergartens or kindergartens, so that they are exposed to education from an early age. Kindergarten schools only accept children from 3 years old and above, while daycare centers will take care of children under 6 years old.

Kindergarten's educational method focuses on children having fun and interacting with each other, they focus more on developing children's motor skills, reasoning, community and emotional development, and friendship and responsibility.

The downside of kindergartens in Japan is that the number of school hours can be limited to only 4 hours a day and children are not allowed to go to the nursery if they are sick. However, there are still kindergartens that take care of children until 19:00 and care if children are sick.

After that, as soon as they are 6 years old, they will have to study in the primary school environment. Each class will have a homeroom teacher, who is responsible for teaching most subjects to the students. However, for important general knowledge subjects for higher education such as science, music, housework, etc., there will be specialized teachers in charge of teaching. From Grades 1 to 5, you only need to take small tests.

High School











School type

High School





High School


Technological colleges

                                                                    Education system from 12 to 20

When students enter middle and high schools, their grade level starts back from one. For example, you might hear a 12-year-old student studying “Grade 1 Middle School” or a 15-year-old student studying “Grade 1 High School”.

Although the compulsory education program in Japan is 9 years, which means that children here must complete at least junior high school, still 98.8% of students continue to attend high school. Students will study the same subjects as those studied in elementary school. Teaching will gradually increase with each grade level, only the foreign language courses seem to be a bit more moderate, although the Japanese government is introducing an intensive English learning program. After finishing secondary school, students can choose to continue to high school, or transfer to vocational institutions or technical colleges.

At the high school level, students will begin to study more intensely to prepare for the college or university entrance exam.

College or Undergraduate and Postgraduate










School type






Master of Science in Natural Sciences



                                                            Education system from 18 to 26

As of May 2020, there are 795 active universities in Japan. As with other educational levels in the country, there are three types of universities: national, public and private.

About 11% of the universities are national government-funded universities, including the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University and Tohoku University, etc., most of which are top universities in the country based on score achievements. In addition, there are public universities, with about 60% of annual costs being managed by municipalities, mainly operating in the form of unions. Finally, there are private schools that are funded by individuals, organizations, or companies. Private universities are the most expensive of the three, with annual tuition fees for first-year students averaging over JPY 1,300,000, including tuition and fees as well as facility costs.

In addition to tuition fees, entrance exams make a significant difference between national universities and privately funded schools. Applicants must pass both a national exam and a specific exam to get into the national university of their choice. Private school applicants only need to take an entrance exam organized by the respective university.

Although higher education is not part of the compulsory education program, nearly 3 million students enrolled in Japanese universities in 2020. Particularly for children with physical or mental difficulties, there will be a separate education system to support the children to develop their own abilities, so that they can better integrate into the community.



Besides possessing affordable study abroad costs, Japan also attracts international students by the number of scholarships sponsored annually.

Scholarship to study in Japan

Japanese Government Scholarship (MEXT)

Monbukagakusho - MEXT Scholarship is a scholarship granted annually by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology to outstanding students from all over the world since 1954. This type of scholarship has received a lot of attention from international students because of its value and popularity.

How is the application review process?

To win this scholarship, you can apply through the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Or, you can send it directly to the school you plan to attend in Japan.

1. Apply for the scholarship through the Japanese Embassy/Consulate in your country of residence

The application review process generally includes an examination of the application, a test of writing skills, and an interview with the student. Of course, depending on the school in Japan you want to apply to and the country you reside in, you have to take different tests.

The Japanese Embassy/Consulate will then conduct screening based on the results of these tests, and make recommendations to the MEXT. MEXT consults with the selection committee, considers schools, and makes the final decision.

For more detailed information, you should contact the Japanese Embassy/Consulate in your country or region where you currently reside.

As for the program with the Young Leaders Program (YLP), the review will be done by the Japanese Embassy/Consulate in the target countries based on the recommendation of the relevant authorities.

First, candidates will have to go through the steps of application screening, interview, essay writing, etc. After that, the decision will be made by the YLP Committee located at MEXT, and the candidates will make the final decision

2. Apply for a scholarship through a Japanese university:

Universities will give applicants tests for international students, and on the basis of the results of the tests, they will nominate a number of students suitable for the MEXT. Then, MEXT will talk to the selection committee, weigh in with schools, and make a final decision.

You can contact the University you want to attend for more details.

Scholarship application period

Besides the value as well as the conditions for applying for the scholarship, the time to apply for the scholarship is also a factor worth noting. 

In addition, if you are already a recipient of a MEXT scholarship, you are not allowed to receive any other scholarships, other than a research scholarship.


JASSO (Japan Student Services Organization) is an organization under the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT). As one of the leading agencies in supporting students, especially international students from all over the world, the purpose of JASSO is to train human resources with high creativity, humanity, and responsibility to future society while enhancing international understanding and exchange.


The Human Resource Development Scholarship (JDS) program has been implemented in Vietnam since 2000, so far, a total of 691 students have been awarded scholarships. Every year, JDS opens applications to recruit up to 60 students for two-year Master's courses (completed in English) at leading Japanese universities.

Scholarship Information

JDS Scholarship is a FULL scholarship, supporting students with all costs of studying at Japanese graduate educational institutions, monthly living expenses, rent deposit, airfare to Japan (round trip) and other fees (Participation in seminars, books, transportation...). In addition, the scholarship also supports the costs related to the entrance exam, including: TOEFL exam (ITP) fees & health checks, travel, and accommodation expenses for interviews and courses. orientation…

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be an official of Vietnamese state agencies and reside in Vietnam at the time of application.
  • Age from 24 to 39 as of April 1, 2021.
  • Minimum 12 months of full-time work experience after graduation at a current state agency with social insurance contributions.
  • Graduating from a full-time university at a Vietnamese or foreign university.
  • Have not received any foreign scholarship at master's level.
  • Those who are performing/waiting for military service are not eligible to apply for the JDS scholarship.

Admission Process

After the screening round, at the beginning of January 2021, candidates will be able to take the TOEFL (ITP) and Math exams, especially for candidates studying Law System Enhancement majors will be exempted from the Math exam. At the end of January 2021, professors at Japanese universities will conduct a review of applications, and by February 2021, candidates will be professionally interviewed by the professors in Hanoi. Then, at the final review round in March 2021, the candidates will participate in a joint interview conducted by members of the JDS Scholarship Program Steering Committee in Hanoi.

Almost every student wants to try their hand at part-time jobs, partly to cover study & living expenses, partly to experience real-life conditions and gain more work experience. And of course, students coming to study abroad in Japan also have the need to work part-time, even though the cost in Japan is already cheaper than many other countries.

But before deciding to go to work, make sure you can maintain your education while working part-time. In addition, you should research carefully about the job you want to take on to avoid situations that cause trouble or difficulties for employers or student visas during your stay in Japan.

                                   Part-time job for international students in Japan

Are international students in Japan allowed to work part-time? Are there any regulations on overtime?

In Japan, international students are still allowed to work part-time. However, first you need to know the labor standards law, because this law is used to protect workers, so please read carefully and do not let any disadvantage just because you do not understand the law.

It is also worth noting that some scholarships will not allow students to work part-time, so be aware of the requirements of the scholarship for which you are subsidized.

In addition, you need to be granted a Permit to Engage in Non-Residential Activities in order to be allowed to work overtime. You only need to bring your passport, application and residence card to apply for this permit at the Immigration Department.

It should be noted that if you have to extend your stay, you will have to reapply for this Permit. On the other hand, if you have a spouse, your spouse must also be granted this Permit before working part-time, with the same standards as you.

Popular part-time jobs for international students in Japan

Since most Japanese are not very good at English, therefore, Japanese is the main language spoken in Japan. Because of that, the job that you can get depends on your Japanese level. For example, for those who are just learning Japanese, you can try light chores such as sorting goods in the warehouse, making bento (boxed meals), or cooking at a family restaurant or a fast-food restaurant, giving out newspapers…

And if you can already converse in simple Japanese, you can try applying at combine stores (mini convenience stores), supermarkets, working as hostesses at family restaurants, fast food stores or the coffee shop, …

Particularly for those of you who are already fluent in Japanese, you can try your hand at fields such as teaching assistants, language instructors, translators, interpreters, etc.

What is the working time in Japan?

You can work up to 28 hours/week. When looking for a job, to avoid the overlapping of school and work time, you should clearly write down your timetable on paper to make finding a job more convenient. Also, during the summer break, when there are no classes at the university, you can work 8 hours/day. However, for some jobs, there will be certain time constraints. So, please confirm carefully before accepting the job.

How much is the overtime salary in Japan?

The average salary of part-time jobs in Japan ranges from 900 to 1,000 JPY (about 191,000 – 212,000 VND), there will be a difference depending on the province you work in. That also means if you work 28 hours/week, you will earn about 100,800 – 112,000 JPY (about 21,338,000 – 23,709,000 VND).

What portal can I find a job through?

You can find jobs through friends, acquaintances, job brochures at convenience stores, schools... or at the area around where you live, online job search sites.

Jobs can appear anywhere, but they are highly competitive, so keep an eye out and contact the recruiter as soon as you think it's the right job for you.

Things need to notice

If you still don't understand the terms and what you have to do, don't take the job in a hurry. This information will be clearly stated in the employment contract or mentioned during the job interview, so confirm everything carefully. Ideally, you should keep a record of your work/contract work.

You need to clarify at least the following information:

  • Mission, place you work
  • Salary: amount and calculation (From October 2019, the minimum wage in Tokyo is 1,013 JPY/hour, while in Chiba is 923 JPY/hour)
  • Salary distribution method and salary payment date
  • Working time, working hours and break time
  • Regulations in the workplace
  • Is your work environment safe? Is there accident insurance on the job?

Once you have a job, is there anything else to pay attention to?

Tell your 'My Number' employer to get paid work

Then what is My Number?

My Number in Japan

For those residing in Japan on a relatively long-term visa, once you have registered your address at the local office, you will be given a tax and social security number, also known as is My Number. My Number will consist of 12 different digits, corresponding to each individual living in Japan and unchanged throughout each person's life.

You will need to provide this number when applying for a part-time job or when you change your address (both moving in and out). Therefore, your My Number is an important piece of personal information that needs to be kept secure.

Tax declaration

Sometimes, part-timers will receive a statement of the taxes that the tax office has withheld from their income. Normally, you will have to file your tax return from February 16 to March 15 at the Tax Office of the City/Ward where you live. Besides, some countries also have tax treaties with Japan, so if your country is one of them, you can get tax reduction or exemption. Therefore, you can consult/check the necessary information through the following websites:

Finally, remember that your main purpose when coming to Japan is to study, part-time work can only cover part of the cost, so don't get too caught up in a part-time job that neglects your studies!