Top 10 Universities in Japan for Higher Education

Top 10 Universities in Japan for Higher Education

Students choice of selecting a university abroad depends heavily on the employability opportunities. Every year “The Times Higher Education” releases ranking list for universities around the world. The ranking is based on 13 performance indicators which measure the institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

The list is prepared after compiling answers of several recruiters, chief executives and business managers from top companies in 20 countries.

Let us have a look at the list “Top 10 Universities in Japan for Higher Education for the year 2020”

The University of Tokyo


The University of Tokyo was formed in 1877 when the Tokyo Kaisei School and Tokyo Medical School merged to created the faculties of law, science, letters and medicine, which came together with a university preparatory school.

Since then the University of Tokyo has merged with a number of schools and institutions to grow into a large research university.

It is made up of 10 faculties, 15 graduate schools, 11 affiliated research institutes, 13 university-wide centres, three affiliated libraries and two institutes for advanced study and the University of Tokyo Hospital.

The university has just over 450 international exchange agreements with universities from all over the world.

The University of Tokyo can count eight Nobel prize winners, 15 Japanese prime ministers and five astronauts among its alumni.

Kyoto University


Kyoto University is one of the most accomplished research-oriented universities in Asia. This is due to a unique approach to education and research, which encourages the creativity and dialogue essential for groundbreaking research and discoveries. Our state-of-the art laboratories and research facilities enable students and researchers to have the hands-on practical experience that is vital to their academic development. In addition to courses in Japanese, Kyoto University offers a variety of degree courses conducted entirely in English.

Tohoku University


For more than a century, Tohoku University has been consistently ranked amongst the top academic institutions in Japan. Its research achievements and contributions, coupled with its wide network of collaborative partners, led to it being one of the first institutions to be conferred the status of a Designated National University by the Japanese government in June 2017.

A trailblazer since its founding in 1907, the university was also the first to accept both women and graduates from technical schools, departing from the norms of other imperial universities at the turn of the 20th century.

Since then, Tohoku University has continued to attract talented researchers who have put their findings towards improving quality of life around the world. Among the inventions that were born at Tohoku University are the split-anode magnetron used in microwave ovens, the steel-wire recorder and the Yagi-Uda antenna.

More recently, in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, Tohoku University pioneered research in next-generation medicine and disaster science, giving local and global communities the necessary tools and knowledge to fight illnesses and be better prepared for natural disasters.

Tohoku University’s four main campuses are spread across the cosmopolitan city of Sendai, the cultural, political and economic centre of Japan’s north east (Tohoku) region. Located some 300 kilometers – and a short 90-minute bullet train ride – from Tokyo, Sendai is a city of fascinating contradictions.

Home to a million people, Sendai is a big, sophisticated metropolis with museums and music halls, trendy shops and cafes, with a home team in every major professional sport. But it also has a small-city charm, easy friendliness, four distinct seasons and magnificent nature.

It’s a great place to live and an inspiring place to study. Come join us!

Tokyo Institute of Technology


Tokyo Tech’s three campuses — two in Japan’s clean, vibrant capital, and one in adjacent Yokohama — create a comfortable setting for a unique study experience. The long-cherished practical science and engineering education provided by the Institute allows all students to experience research from an early stage. Findings from research institutes such as ELSI are fed back into curricula, and as laboratory members, students are in close contact with the world’s top researchers. The Institute’s hands-on approach is reflected in graduate employability rankings, in which Tokyo Tech consistently excels.

Tokyo Tech provides full degree programs in English at all levels. The Global Scientists and Engineers Program (GSEP) is a transdisciplinary Bachelor of Engineering program, while the International Graduate Programs (IGP) cater to those hoping to pursue more advanced science or engineering degrees in Japan.

Nagoya University


Nagoya University, also known as “Meidai”, has a history that can be traced back to 1871, when the Japanese city’s medical school and public hospital – only temporary at the time – opened.

It was in 1939 that the institution became known as Nagoya Imperial University (the last of the country’s Imperial universities), before taking its current name in 1947.

The university has nine faculties and 13 graduate schools, and has a particularly strong reputation for research in the sciences. There are also three research institutes and 18 research centres based at Nagoya University.

The university hosts an annual festival, the Nagoya University Festival (or Meidai-Sai), each June. It is the biggest university festival in the region, pulling in more than 50,000 visitors each year. There are about 100 events at the festival, organised by the university’s clubs and societies. It also includes tours of the laboratories and mock lectures.

Remarkably, six of the 13 Japanese Nobel Prize-winners of the 21st century spent time as members of faculty at Nagoya University. In addition, Shigefumi Mori, a Fields Medalist in 1990, spent the majority of his career at Nagoya.

Alumni of Nagoya University include Uichiro Niwa, the Japanese ambassador to China, and Shoichiro Toyoda, a former CEO of the Toyota motor company.

Nagoya is Japan’s fourth largest city by population, after Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka. Toyota was founded and is still headquartered near the city, while Nagoya City Science Museum is home to the largest planetarium in the world.

Osaka University


Osaka University was founded in 1931, when the Osaka Prefecture Medical School became Osaka Imperial University. This change was part of a national policy in Japan in which several imperal universities were established as centre of higher education and research. Originally the university had two schools – Medicine and Science – which increased to three in 1933 with the addition of Engineering, and five in 1949 with the addition of the School of Letters and the School of Economics when the university became Osaka University after the Second World War.

Today, Osaka University has 11 undergraduate schools, 16 graduate schools – including International Public Policy and Frontier Biosciences – five research institutes, two university hospitals and three national joint-use facilities, including the Research Center for Nuclear Physics and the Cybermedia Center. It is one of two national universities to have a School of Foreign Studies, and is the largest national university in Japan.

The university is spread across four campuses – Suita, Toyonaka, Minoh, and Nakanoshima – and is home to more than 15,000 undergraduates, 8,000 graduates and 2,000 international students, the majority of whom are graduates. They are taught by an academic staff of just under 3,200, with 3,645 part-time staff. Notable alumni include the Nobel Laureate in Physics Hideki Yukawa, Akira Yoshino, the inventor of the lithium-ion battery, and Sony founder Akio Morita.

Osaka is an industrial city in the Kansai region of Japan that has been called “the Manchester of the Orient”. It is the second-largest city in Japan after Tokyo and has a population of 19 million.

University of Occupational and Environmental Health


The University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan (UOEH), as a university for the training of qualified occupational physicians and the promotion of occupational health, was established in Kitakyushu city in 1978 under the enactment of the Industrial Safety and Health Act of 1972 for the securement of occupational physicians experienced in occupational health management. This act rules that every company over a certain size is obliged to appoint an occupational physician to control its workers’ health.

UOEH promotes education and research that pertains to medical science, especially occupational medicine and occupational health. It also produces many excellent medical doctors/scientists, occupational physicians and occupational health professionals who are active in society while conducting world-class research in the field of basic medicine, clinical medicine, occupational medicine and occupational health. Highly regarded publications on auto-immune diseases and asbestos related diseases written by our colleagues have been frequently cited by researchers around the world, which contributed to our position in the World University Rankings 2020 published by Times Higher Education. UOEH ranked in the 7th among Japanese Universities and 1st among Japanese private universities.


UOEH has the Institute of Industrial Ecological Sciences (IIES) which conducts research on occupational medicine through three different groups; Group for optimization of Work Environment, Group for Occupational Health Support, and Group for Environmental Evaluation. IIES actively contributes to international cooperation, for example by implementing a JICA group training course. It also plays an important role as a WHO collaborating center for Occupational Health, which IIES was designated by WHO in 1988.

In addition to the Graduate School of Medicine where students are trained to be health professionals who lead the field of medicine globally, UOEH has the Graduate School of Occupational Health. At the Graduate School of Occupational Health, students can pursue occupational health professionally by focusing on issues including nanoparticles, asbestos, and aging working populations. The Graduate School of Occupational Health trains researchers and practitioners who contribute to improving working conditions and discovering health effects in order to promote occupational health. Students receive “Doctor of Philosophy in Occupational Health”. This is possible only at UOEH in the world.

The Graduate School of Medicine has been successfully contributing to the society by conducting international-level research and training of health professionals, as evidenced by First Department of Internal Medicine being selected as “The Center of Excellence for Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Japan”. As one of UOEH’s 40th anniversary projects, UOEH established the “Asia International Educational Program for Graduate Students in the field of Occupational Health”, which allows selected non-Japanese students to be exempt from tuition fee.

Fujita Health University



Fujita Health University is located in the southern part of Nagoya City, the fourth largest city in Japan. We are a medical university that has sought to educate good health care providers with a focus on team medical care ever since our founding based on the principle of “Our Creativity for the People.”

With excellent faculties, top-of-the-line facilities and three educational hospitals where training and internship opportunities are available, the university educates medical personnel across a wide range of specializations including doctors, clinical technologists, nurses, public health nurses, radiologic technologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, clinical engineers, and health information managers.

Our university has about 3300 students including 2793 undergraduate students, 319 graduate students and 120 technical college students, and more than 30,000 have graduated so far. Currently, our university offers eight undergraduate degrees, two master’s degrees and two doctoral degree programs. In October 2018, in commemoration of our 50th anniversary, we renewed our university’s Japanese name to express our determination for leading the field of medicine.

At Fujita Health University Hospital, whose motto is “patient-centered medical care,” students can learn medical care in a broad range of areas and develop the requisite skills and qualities to become health care providers who can see things from the patient’s standpoint and remain close to the patient.

Furthermore, the university has a strategic focus on the development of unique medical science and clinical research centered in the Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science. We believe that high quality medical research provides the basis for high quality medical education, and there is no other private medical university in Japan that has as many full-time researchers working on advanced research. Reflecting our research accomplishments, we have ranked 7th in Japan in the THE World University Rankings 2019, alongside other national universities, and ranked in the 401-500 band in the world. We maintained position as the highest ranked Japan private university for the second consecutive year.

With the goal of being recognized as one of the top universities in Japan, we are not only pushing forward with activities in the areas of education, research and clinical practice, but also contributing to the local society and showing a commitment to the international community.

Hokkaido University


Hokkaido University is one of the seven Japanese national universities founded in 1876. The institution is a world leader in various subjects ranging from social and natural sciences to humanities. In 2015, Reuters included the organisation in top 100 world’s most innovative universities.

Its main campus is located in the heart of picturesque Sapporo, one of the four biggest cities in Japan that is surrounded by national parks and a World Heritage Site.

Firstly operating as Sapporo Agricultural College, the university has a good reputation for welcoming international students from more than 85 countries to combine best practices and stimulate cultural exchange. Its teaching is based on the idea to turn the institution into a place, which will bring positive change to the world.

Hokkaido University operates in 34 faculties, which include law, medicine and economics and business administration. Hokkaido’s strongest research fields are chemistry, earth and ocean sciences and material sciences. The institution’s facilities range from hospitals, childcare centres, gardens and parks to experimental forests and parks.

The university motto translates as “frontier spirits, global perspectives, all round education, practical learning”. The symbol of the university is the wake-robin that grows on campus. Its petals represent the long-lasting legacy created by the university.

Hokkaido University most famous alumni include the Nobel Laureate for Chemistry Akira Suzuki, the astronaut Mamoru Mohri and the oldest climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest Yuichiro Miura.

Kyushu University


Kyushu University in Japan is a public university located in Fukuoka, and is one of Japan’s National Seven Universities. Since its foundation in 1903, its aim has been to provide the highest levels of education, research and medical activities.

Now a recognised international university, Kyushu has 16 faculties, 11 undergraduate schools and 18 graduate schools. It is home to nearly 19,000 students, from some 90 countries, with over 2,000 academic faculty.

Its international feel is underlined by its overseas branch offices in places such as San Jose in the United States and Cairo, Egypt. It has partnerships with over 100 international universities involving study abroad programmes for its undergraduate and postgraduate student body, and its international outlook is enhanced by its membership of the Top Global University Project (formerly the Global 30 Project), a government-funded initiative to boost a select group of universities’ global competitiveness. Kyushu was selected as one of the top tier institutions for the project.

Despite its strong teaching ethic, Kyushu is also an active research institution with over 12 billion Yen funded research from corporate partners and government.

Their centennial motto – “leading the field in the next 100 years, leaping into the world top 100” – underpins the university’s commitment to sustained educational and research advancement over the next century.

Its alumni are noted in research fields; Hakaru Hashimoto, one of Kyushu’s first graduates, was a doctor whose research led to the discovery of a chronic thyroid disorder – chronic thyroiditis – which has become known as “Hashimoto’s disease”. Shozaburo Jimi, who graduated from Kyushu medical school in 1977, is a current Japanese politician. Ryukichi Inada, a pioneer in Japanese clinical medicine and the discoverer of the Weil’s disease pathogen, was a former professor at the institution.

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