Short and long-term options to study in Japan

Reading Time: 5 minutes
Personne prenant des notes sur les options pour étudier au Japon

Have you ever wanted to study Japanese in Japan? We often receive questions about the different options to study in Japan and live in the country. 

We created this article about the different options to study in Japan and the pros and cons of each. While most people choose to study long-term between 6 and 24 months at a language school or up to four years at a university, there are short-term options as well. If you are interested in moving to Japan now or in the future, this article may help you decide on what kind of trip you want to make!

Read on to see all the options for living and studying in Japan.

Short and long term options to study in Japan infographic.

Long-term options to study in Japan

If you want to become proficient in Japanese and have the chance to explore the country and get accustomed to life abroad, one of the best options to study in Japan is a Student Visa.

A Student Visa generally allows you to stay long-term and comes with a lot of benefits such as the ability to work part-time, open a bank account, get National Health Insurance, and more.

It’s important to note that the application for a Student Visa is more involved and requires proper preparations. It’s all worth it though, if your goal is to improve your Japanese and possibly live and work in Japan in the future!

Student Visa for language school (6 months – 2 years)

If you’re interested in learning Japanese and want the chance to immerse yourself in a new culture, then attending a language school will give you the chance to do both.

With language schools located all over the country of Japan, you can choose to enter big city life or enjoy the scenic countryside. Language schools also allow you to choose how long you’d like to stay in Japan, from 6 months up to 2 years, making a language school one of the best and most flexible options to study in Japan.

However, there is a limiting factor that you can only start your journey in the beginning of a school semester, which for language schools is usually January, April, July, and October (this varies by school). 

Student Visa for university (up to 4 years)

Other long-term options to study in Japan include going to a vocational school or university. Attending a university will allow you to apply for an extension of the period of stay on a Student Visa for up to four years and three months.

Another benefit of choosing to go to a Japanese university is that you will have a higher chance of being prepared to work in Japan and securing a full-time job after graduation on a Work Visa.

Pros of a student visa

– Eligible for part-time work (up to 28 hours/week)
– Eligible for the National Health Insurance
– Can open a bank account
– Wide range of housing options
– More chances to find full-time employment after studying
– Easier application for a Work Visa if you switch from the Student Visa
– The best chance of improving your Japanese language skills
– Go! Go! Nihon helps you with the involved application process!


– Only four start terms a year for language school and some terms have different study lengths
– University students need to renew their student visa every one to two years up to a four-year stay.

Image of student with textbooks standing in the street in Shinjuku

Working Holiday Visa (1 month – 1 year)

Another option is to study in Japan with a Working Holiday Visa if your country has this agreement with Japan. While you can’t pursue a university degree with a Working Holiday Visa, you can study at a Japanese language school! 

A Working Holiday Visa is valid from one month up to a year, depending on the agreement your country has with Japan.

The Working Holiday Visa gives you the same benefits as a Student Visa but allows you to work as much as you want. However, note that the original purpose of the Working Holiday Visa is for travel. So if you use it for studying at a language school, you won’t be able to use as much time to travel.

Note that the working holiday visa is only available for those 30 or under, and only for certain nationalities. Check if you are eligible for the working holiday visa on the ministry of foreign affairs website:

– No limit on how many hours you can work
– Eligible for the National Health Insurance
– Can open a bank account
– Wide range of housing options

– Only available for some countries
– Only available for a year
– Age restriction
– If you don’t stay for the entire length of the visa, you won’t be able to re-apply and complete the rest of the visa in the future
– If you choose to study while on the Working Holiday Visa, this gives you less time to travel, which is what the visa is originally for

Short-term options of studying in Japan

Maybe you work full-time or you’re a university student in your country. Perhaps you aren’t in a situation where you can commit to moving to Japan for half a year or more. In that case, it’s still possible to do a short-term in Japan! 
The great thing with short-term study is that there is a lot less bureaucracy and you have more flexible start dates. However, you can’t work part time on a temporary visitor visa, and you don’t have access to National Health Insurance. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are insured before you travel!

If you are interested in doing a short-term trip to Japan and learning Japanese, there are two main options for you.

Temporary Visitor Visa (1 month – 3 months)

One option is to apply and study short-term directly at one of our partner language schools. Note that not all language schools offer this option so if you are interested in a particular language school, contact us for more information. Studying at one of our partner language schools is a good way to combine learning Japanese and exploring Japan!

– Smooth application
– Flexible starting dates
– No need for long-term commitment 

– No access to part-time work and National Health Insurance
– Limited school options
– Not long enough to make any substantial progress in your Japanese language skills

Image of a group of Study Trip students standing outside Sensoji Temple in Tokyo

Study Trips (2 – 4) weeks

Another option you have is our Study Trips. We offer a range of pre-arranged trips that combine language study with travel and experiences. The length varies between one to five weeks.

Pick the Study Trip that suits you, book a flight, and let us handle the rest!

– Smooth application
– Tailored and pre-arranged packages
– Have fun cultural experiences while also learning the language

– Less flexibility than if you were to organize your own travel
– Not enough time to see significant progress in language skills

Application deadlines

Go! Go! Nihon has a team with more than 10 years of experience helping people to live and study in Japan. We offer support with finding a suitable school and housing to guide you through the whole process of moving to Japan and help you meet application deadlines completely free of charge. 

If you want to explore the options to study in Japan and live or go on a Study Trip, the earlier you contact us the better. It is recommended to contact us at least six months in advance if you wish to apply for a student visa, to make sure you have enough time to complete the applications.

If you are interested in knowing more about life in Japan, check out our blog for regular updates, and if you are thinking about moving to Japan, contact us for more information!

Share this article

Go! Go! Nihon

Related articles