Many youth exchange programs bring foreign teenagers to Japan, and the country also has a number of very active university exchange programs.
You can contact your local Japanese embassy or home university's exchange program department for information on how to proceed. Before contacting the authorities, read this short article and see which scholarship is within your reach.
With a student visa, you may obtain an additional permission form from Immigration to legally work up to 28 hours per week.
The cheapest way to stay in Japan for a longer period of time is to study at a local school or university with a generous "Monbukagakusho" which is a scholarship offered by the MEXT [Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Monbu-kagaku-sho)], where they pay for it all. To date, some 65,000 students from approximately 160 countries and regions around the world have studied in Japan under the Japanese Government Scholarship program established in 1954.
Those wishing to apply for a scholarship should meet one of the criteria listed below:
Embassy recommendation: In this type of scholarship, scholarship recipients are recruited and initially screened by a Japanese embassy (or consulate general, depending on the country). Research student, Undergraduate student, College of technology student, and Special training college student recruitment for the next fiscal year (April, October) is made between March and May. The initial screening (documentary examination, written test and interview) is made at the embassy between June and August. The embassy then recommends the selected candidates to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by the beginning of September. Teacher training and Japanese studies student recruitment for the next fiscal year (for those arriving in Japan in October) is made between December of the previous year and the following February. Screening is conducted between mid-February and March. Selected candidates are recommended to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by end of April.
University Recommendation: Research students and Japanese studies students who will be studying in Japan as an exchange student based on inter-university student exchange agreements can be screened through the national, public or private Japanese university involved as a candidate for a Japanese Government Scholarship. The university directly recommends the selected candidates to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Research students recommended by a university for study in Japan as government-sponsored scholarship recipients basically arrive in Japan in October. Japanese studies students basically arrive in Japan in October according to the university program. Universities recommend candidates to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology by mid-April.
Domestic Selection: Privately financed, full-time postgraduate foreign students, prospective postgraduate students, and full-time, prospective fourth-year undergraduate university students (prospective sixth-year students in the case of medical schools, etc.) are granted domestic selection scholarships that begin in April. Recruitment is conducted through national, public and private universities with the exception of junior colleges. Universities carefully screen academically and individually excellent students and recommend them by mid-December as government-sponsored scholarship candidates to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Teacher Training Students
Undergraduate University Students
Every year a large number of students are enrolled by embassy recommendation (see below). Each half of the contingent undergoes a 1-year preparatory program at either Osaka University "Center for Japanese Language and Culture" or Tokyo University of "Foreign Studies" before entering a 4-year undergraduate program at one of 86 Japanese National Universities.
Japanese Studies Students
College of Technology Students
Special Training College Students
Young Leaders' Program (YLP) Students
Japan's top universities are also very well regarded worldwide, though the downside is that degree programs are almost always conducted exclusively in Japanese. The tests for "Japanese Language Proficiency Test" are held twice a year within and outside of Japan, and more information can be found on the JLPT website.
Nevertheless, many of them have exchange agreements with other foreign universities, and you can apply to go on exchange for a semester or a year.
Among the most prestigious are the University of Tokyo, Waseda University and Keio University in Tokyo, as well as Kyoto University in Kyoto.
Guide to Study in Japan
Visitors can request a school catalogs for free. "The postage to overseas address is also free of charge".
Multilingual Daily Life Information For Foreigners living In Japan