Types of Schools in Japan
Types of Japanese Schools

Types of Schools in Japan

The following schools are available in Japan to international students.
1.Japanese language school
2.Specialized training college
3.Junior college
5.Graduate school
6.Programs for research students

Disciplines to be provided, qualifications to be given at graduation, times for admission test and entry are different depending on each school. You are required to identify your purpose of study, and if you have any questions, research in advance or ask for advise from your  school adviser or more directly from international student offices of  schools before you make a decision.


1.Japanese language school

Japanese language schools provide Japanese-language education from basic, which can be divided into those that target students who wish to advance to specialized training colleges or universities and those that provide intensive Japanese learning programs. The certificate for completion of their programs or that for N1 or N2 of Japanese Language Proficiency Test will help you find a job in or outside Japan or go to a higher school.

What is Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)?

JLPT is, in principle, a test to measure Japanese language proficiency of non-native speakers of Japanese.
The test consists of five levels of N1, N2, N3, N4 and N5, with N5 being the lowest level, and N1 being the highest.

About Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

List of Japanese language schools | Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education


2. Specialized training college

Specialized training colleges provide education programs on knowledge, skills and technologies  which would be necessary for your employment or daily life. In order to enter one of these schools, you have to complete 12-year school education. It takes two years to graduate from the colleges and you will acquire a qualification of “Licensed Specialist” which satisfies  one of requirements of the immigration law and is required when you are employed by a Japanese company.


3. Junior college

Junior colleges provide high-school graduates with educational programs on skills and knowledge for which business persons will be required. It takes at least two years to graduate from a junior college, and you will acquire an” associate degree ” that satisfies one of the requirements of the immigration law and is required when you are employed by a Japanese company.

List of Public and Private Junior Colleges | Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology


4. College/University

Colleges/Universities provide specialized education in  systematical and theoretical systems. It takes at least four years to graduate, and you acquire a “degree” that satisfies one of requirements of the immigration law and is required when you are employed by a Japanese company. They have traditional departments of literature, education, law, etc. and also relatively new departments such as environmental system and tourism.

List of colleges/universities


5. Graduate school

Graduate schools have two types courses: master course and doctor course, and the former requires at least two years, and the latter three years for graduation. Students who completed a master course acquire a “master degree,” and those who completed a 3-year doctor course acquire a “doctoral degree” which satisfies one of requirements for employment by Japanese companies.


6. Programs for research students

In addition to master and doctor courses described above, graduate schools have Japan-specific programs for research students , which allow the students to attend lectures of the college/university or use their facilities, but no degree is provided to them.
However, many of colleges/universities select candidates only by screening their papers, which enable international students to obtain the admission before they come to Japan. This system provides  you with an alternative way by which you can learn Japanese and expertise and then take an admission examination for master/doctor course.


Educational Institutions Course details
Vocational school 2 years You will learn specialized knowledge and skills of an occupation. While you learn in a comprehensive manner at a university, you will learn special areas of expertise more deeply at a vocational school. You can obtain a qualification called “Diploma.”
Junior college 2 years As you study liberal arts for half of your university period, you will learn more practical skills. It is also possible to obtain a qualification called “Associate Degree.” There are also schools for learning specific skills such as nursing schools. Many women attend schools in Japan.
University 4 years They theoretically learn education systematically and academically by the field. It is possible to obtain a qualification called “Bachelor’s Degree.” There is a wide range of departments which make each university unique. They learn skills necessary for a profession at a university, then enter a company they targeted. This is the common flow.
Graduate school 2 years People who have completed their studies at a university will learn higher academics. There are Masters and PhD courses. People who complete Masters course obtain Master’s Degree and people who complete PhD obtain Doctorate Degree. Many people proceed to become a researcher at an institute.
Japanese language school You cannot obtain a diploma at Japanese language educational institutions. You can learn Japanese prior to studying abroad in Japan.


The Difference Between Private, Public, and National Institutions



Private It is a company as a school corporation. Tuition will be as high as twice that of public and national institutions as they need to arrange equipment. Each school is a brand that has its own educational policy which is its special characteristic.
Public It is a school established by a local government (prefecture). There are many examination subjects.
National The Japanese government established it for education and research. Generally, the tuition is lower. There are many examination subjects.