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2019 Japanese University Rankings - Top Choices for Postgraduate Study

Japan offers a raft of unique opportunities for international postgraduates. Combining a proud academic tradition with rigorous standards and a welcoming attitude towards foreign students, Japan makes for an emerging postgraduate destination and a great place to study a Masters.

There are currently around 130,000 international students in Japan, but this figure is increasing year-on-year. This page takes a look at how Japanese universities do in current global league tables.

Top Ranked Japanese Universities

The following table lists the best 10 universities in Japan in 2019, according to global rankings.

This information is based on the latest rankings tables, researched and published by Times Higher Education, QS and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU).

Each ranking system uses its own methodology, with different factors having more or less influence on a university's result.

For more information on using international rankings as a postgraduate, see our guide.


Top 10 Japanese Universities in 2019
University THE 2019 QS 2019 ARWU 2018
The University of Tokyo 43 23 22
Kyoto University 65 35 35
Osaka University 251-300 67 151-200
Tohoku University 251-300 77 101-150
Tokyo Institute of Technology 251-300 58 151-200
Nagoya University 301-350 111 83
Fujita Health University 401-500 - -
Hokkaido University 401-500 =128 151-200
Kyushu University 401-500 =126 201-300
Teikyo University 401-500 - -
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and Academic Ranking of World Universities. Visit their websites for more information.

How do rankings work for Masters study?

International rankings use all sorts of metrics to assess universities and they aren't all equally relevant to postgraduate study. That's why we've put together a guide to university rankings for Masters students.

So, how good are Japanese universities for Masters study?

Japan holds its own in the global rankings, with five universities in the top 100 of the QS rankings (and 11 institutions in the top 50 Asian universities of that table).

However, these league tables don’t tell the whole story. In particular, one of the metrics that the Times Higher Education ranking uses is how many times a paper has been cited in English. Japanese scholars don’t always have the same tendency to publish in English as academics elsewhere in the world, which may help explain the relative lack of Japanese universities at the top end of the Times Higher Education worldwide league table.

One way to get past this is to look at rankings that are designed specifically for Asian universities. For example, the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings ‘recalibrate’ the metrics used for the international table to give a clearer indication of Asian universities’ relative position. As you can see in the table below, Japanese institutions feature heavily in the top 60 of this particular ranking.


Top Japanese Universities - THE Asia University Rankings
University 2018 Rank
University of Tokyo 8
Kyoto University 11
Osaka University 28
Tohoku University 30
Tokyo Institute of Technology 33
Nagoya University 35
Kyushu University =48
Hokkaido University =55
Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) =60
University of Tsukuba 63
Information in this table is based on the latest Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings.

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Last updated - 02/10/2018

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