The site for the people who want to study in a Japanese Educational Institution.

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Ⅰ.The education system in Japan

The Japanese education system starts from kindergarten where young children attend, 6 years in primary school, 3 years in junior high school, and after 9 years of these compulsory education, most will enter 3 years of senior high school. The schools that you will be considering, the university, junior college and vocational school are schools that will require people to have had graduated from senior high schools, or have the equal education level for entrance (See Picture 1). Each of these schools has different duration and curriculum. The start of each grade’s academic year is except for a part in April. Therefore, since many taking an examination will be performed in April aiming at entrance into a school, cautions are required for a schedule.

1.University (Under and Graduate schools), Junior college

Usually, the duration for a university is 4 years, and for junior college is 2 years. (As for graduate school; master’s course-2 years, doctor’s course-5 years and professional degree course-2 years.) They are categorized into national, public (regional, metropolitan, etc) and private, however, most of them are private. Currently, almost half of the senior high school graduates in Japan enter either universities or junior colleges. 64,327 people are in a university among 132,720 foreign students at a point in time on May 1, 2009, and 35,405 people are in a graduate school, and 2,224 people are in a junior college.

Aspect of universities (and graduate schools)

In a 4-year university, it is constructed of departments, largely into Bachelor of Arts (literature, foreign studies, etc), Bachelor of Social Science (law, economics, commerce, etc), Bachelor of Natural Science (science, engineering, agricultural, etc) and each department would be broken down to majors (English literature, School of Law, economics major, etc). For graduate school, you would be furthering your studies according to the department/ major that you choose to achieve master’s, doctor’s and professional course degree.

At universities, usually a student would need to achieve more than 124 credits within 4 years to graduate and would be awarded a Bachelor Degree upon graduation.

The curriculum for all departments consists of the following subjects; liberal arts, foreign language studies, physical education, basic studies of majoring subject and your majoring subject. As you can see, at a university, you would be studying not only your majoring subject but also a width range of liberal subjects to polish intelligence and morals to enhance your applicative qualifications.

However, there are more and more universities nowadays that focus on training students with practical abilities to be well prepared for the real industry. At present, most universities require foreign students to take the same examination tests as the Japanese candidates in order to enter of transfer to a Japanese university and vacancies are very limited. We could say that it is a high hurdle to enter.

Aspect of Junior colleges

Junior colleges are constructed of departments, Arts (Japanese literature, English literature etc), Sociology (business, secretarial etc), Liberal Arts (liberal arts, international culture etc), Engineering (automobile, electricity etc), Clinical (nursing, clinical engineering etc), Educational (child education, child welfare etc), Domestic Science (food nutrition, fashion design etc) and Fine Arts (fine arts, design etc) etc.

More than 62 credits are required to graduate. (In the case where duration is 3 years, it would be more than 93 credits.) You will earn a Junior colleges Degree (Associate degree) upon graduation.

Most junior colleges' students are females, but at the present time there are junior colleges where male students enroll in too. After graduation students, who want to continue education, can enroll in a 4-year university.

Picture 1 Outline of the Education System in Japan

2.Vocational schools

A vocational school is a higher education facility, which has been authorized by the local government to provide vocational education. At the point of 1 May 2009, there are 27,914 foreign students studying at these vocational schools. As for Japanese high school graduates, more people are beginning to choose vocational schools to community colleges and this has brought more recognition of these vocational schools.

Aspect of vocational schools

Vocational schools provide vocational education, which is highly connected to the future job market. The schools themselves are categorized according to 8 job categories, engineering field, commerce administration field, medical field, sanitary field, liberal arts field, education/social welfare field, dressmaking/domestic science field and agriculture field. The courses are fixed according to these categories. (See Chart 1) Many classes include practical training. Subjects of the courses are also very different. Unlike universities and junior schools most attention is focused on work-related training. As vocational schools' education has such peculiarities, it is very important to understand which profession to choose in the future. The choice of the vocational school will depend on what you want to do and what skills you want to have.

Generally the period of educational courses in vocational schools is 2 years or more. Students, who have attended more than 1,700 class hours, can graduate vocational school with the original Academic Degree which called Diploma. Also they can enroll in university as third-year students (in some cases second-year students). Graduates of 4 year courses get the Advanced Diploma (the original Academic Degree) in case if they studied for 4 years or more and attended more then 3,400 class hours during the educational period. Also they can continue education in graduate school.

〈Chart 1: 8 fields of Vocational Schools's education〉
8 Fields Key Courses
Engineering Architecture, Civil Engineering, Location Survey, Construction, Electronic Engineering, Electricity, Broadcasting, Communications, Automobile Engineering, Mechanics, Information and Computers, Air Mechanics, etc.

Commerce Administration

Bookkeeping, Accounting, Auditing, Management, Office Administration, Hotel Service, Tourism, Commerce, Medical Office Administration, etc.


Nursing, Clinical Assay, Clinical Engineering, Medical Radiations, Dental Health, Dental Engineering, Rehabilitation Therapy, Judo-Orthopedics, Acupuncture, Moxacautery, etc.


Nutrition, Cooking, Confectionary, Breadmaking, Barber’s, Beautician, etc.

Liberal Arts

Music, Fine Arts, Sculpture, Design, Audio Visual Arts, Photography, Language, Interpreter, Veterinary, Animal Groomers, Civil Servant, Sports, etc.

Education/Social Welfare

Child Care, Children’s Education, Social Welfare, Welfare Caretaking, etc.

Dressmaking/Domestic Science

Dressmaking, Fashion Design, Japanese Traditional Dressmaking, Kimono, Fashion Business, etc.


Agriculture, Gardening, Landscaping, Bio Technology, etc