The education system in Japan is quite similar to the US system. Here is an overview. 

Click here to see the diagram about Education system in Japan


Prior to Higher Education:

6 years of elementary education

6 years of secondary education:

  • 3 years of junior high school
  • 3 years of senior high school or specialized training colleges


Waseda university Tokyo

Waseda University, in Tokyo

Higher Education:

Colleges of technology

Professional training colleges

Junior colleges

Universities – after graduating student can further proceed with Masters Education




Schools For International Students in Japan


Japanese language schools

Japanese language schools offer different type of programs to the students. Program types are Standard Japanese course, Conversation focused course, Preparation for Higher Education and Language plus Cultural Activity course. 

With Japan Language School, students will learn the Japanese language and culture within months compared to studying in their own country. Course length varies from few weeks (short term) to maximum of 2 years (long term). This is often called preparatory courses especially for students aiming to enter higher education.

Vocational schools

After completing your Japanese language school, student can enter different type of higher education schools. 

Vocational Schools teach practical knowledge and techniques in different fields such as Education, Medicine, Agriculture, and Business etc.

Upon graduation (2 years), foreign students are able to seek a job position in Japan.

Junior colleges

Junior colleges provide specialized studies that prepare students to be fully operative on the job market once they have graduated (2 to 3 years). The course that can be taken for 4 years will be shorten and compressed in two years.

Graduates receive an associate degree, which enables foreign students to work in Japan.


Universities provide advanced learning to students. Graduates (4 to 6 years) receive a Bachelor’s degree. It enables them to work in Japan. If the student still would like to pursue further education, they can do so by pursuing Graduates of Master’s course (2 additional years) and Doctoral courses (at least 4 additional years). Once completed, student can seek full time employment in Japan.

Fields of studies are diverse in Japan. Most universities offer Medical, Engineering, Law, Sociology, Education and Business Departments. Note that there is no public ranking of Universities in Japan.

To go to Higher Education in Japan, one must be proficient in Japanese (JLPT N2 or equivalent level). In addition, to go to University, one must take the EJU. Of course, this is what Japanese language schools prepare their students for.


For more information on Higher Education in Japan, you may visit the following websites:

To find universities in Japan that propose programs to foreign students: http://www.jasso.go.jp/study_j/schinfo_e.html

To look for a university, find programs and get information about admissions: http://www.jpss.jp/en/


Education system in Japan


Education system in Japan