Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship


The following information is intended for prospective international students currently based overseas and wishing to attend Kyoto University on the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship.

For information for privately-financed international students currently enrolled at Kyoto University, see Scholarships applied for through the University.


The Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship, funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), is available to seven categories of students: 1) Research Students (Graduate-Degree Students and Research [non-degree] Students), 2) Teacher Training Students, 3) Undergraduate Students, 4) Japanese Studies Students, 5) College of Technology Students, 6) Professional Training College Students, and 7) Young Leaders Program (YLP) Students.

Kyoto University accepts the following categories of international students:

Research Students Undergraduate Students Japanese Studies Students
Graduate degree and non-degree students Undergraduate degree students Credited auditors

Application period, eligibility, and benefits (as of June 2020)

The information provided below is based on last year's application guidelines and subject to change. Prospective applicants are advised to read the guidelines applicable to their intended year of entry.


MEXT: "About the MEXT Scholarships"

The above webpage is written mostly in Japanese, but is linked to pages providing links to application guidelines in English.

Category Research Students Undergraduate
Japanese Studies Students3


Overseas Selection
Around April – May Around late December – January1 Around April – May Around December Around February1
Evaluation of submitted documents, a written exam, an interview, and others Evaluation of submitted documents, an interview, and others
Eligibility Those who have graduated, or expect to graduate, from an undergraduate or higher degree program Those who have graduated, or expect to graduate, from a secondary school or equivalent Those enrolled in an undergraduate program at an overseas university, and who expect to return to that university after completing a Japanese studies program in Japan (advanced Japanese language proficiency is also required)
(at time of acceptance)
34 or younger 17–21 18–29
Duration Non-degree students: up to 2 years, including a six-month Japanese-language training period5, 6 (not mandatory for those with sufficient language skills) Non-degree students: up to 18 months6 Five years, including a one-year Japanese language training period2 One year
Degree students (master's, professional, and doctoral): until completion of the degree program (not to exceed the standard number of years required)6
Monthly stipend7
  • Non-degree students 143,000 yen
  • Master's and professional-degree students 144,000 yen
  • Doctoral students 145,000 yen
117,000 yen 117,000 yen
Those residing in certain regions may be eligible for an additional monthly payment of 2,000 or 3,000 yen
School fees7 Examination, admission, and tuition fees are exempted
Traveling cost7 One round-trip ticket is provided
These periods are for application through Kyoto University.
The language training is provided at either the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies or Osaka University during the first year of the scholarship period. The program includes Japanese language and other subjects needed to prepare for undergraduate studies, and must be completed before the student goes on to university. The university to be attended by the student for undergraduate studies is determined by MEXT in consultation with the preparatory educational institution and the university itself. For details, refer to the MEXT Scholarship application guidelines.
Please note that undergraduate MEXT Scholarship students are not eligible to enroll in the six-year programs at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Division of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine’s School of Medical Science.
For details on Kyoto University's Japanese studies program, see:
Japanese Studies Students Program (in Japanese).
Intensive Japanese language training is available to MEXT Research and Teacher Training Students expecting to conduct graduate-level research in the Kyoto or Shiga region. For details, see Intensive Japanese Language Course for Monbukagakusho Scholarship Students.
Those wishing to go on to a master's program, doctoral program, or professional degree program may apply for an extension of the scholarship to cover their postgraduate studies. Applications are evaluated by the university and MEXT, and may be granted based on academic records and other criteria.
Please note that not all the applications are approved.
All scholarship benefits are subject to specified requirements.

Application procedures (overseas selection)

Pre-arrival applications should be submitted through either:
1) a Japanese diplomatic mission (Embassy Recommendation) or
2) a Japanese university (University Recommendation).

Most of the MEXT Scholarship students at Kyoto University earned their scholarships through Embassy Recommendation.

Note: For information for privately-financed international students currently enrolled at Kyoto University, see Scholarships applied for through the University.

1) Embassy Recommendation

To obtain an "Embassy Recommendation", applicants must submit their applications to the Japanese embassy (or consulate) in their home countries for the initial screening. Those interested are advised to contact an appropriate Japanese diplomatic mission in their countries.

In China, however, applications should be submitted to the country's Ministry of Education for the first screening. The application requirements, schedule, and process differ from those for Embassy Recommendation. Successful applicants usually arrive in Japan in October. Contact your home university in China or China Scholarship Council (CSC) for more details.

Important notes on the 2021 Embassy Recommendation schedule (shown below)

  • Delays are expected in the "Before arriving in Japan" part of the schedule (from "Application" to "Notification of results").
  • There will be no April enrollment; the "Arrival in Japan" period will be late September or early October.

For details, please read the MEXT Scholarship application guidelines at an embassy or consulate website.

Before arriving in Japan April – May Application

May – August

Screening by the Japanese diplomatic mission
Research Students: Application for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance from a Japanese university9
October Screening by MEXT
February (– July)8 Notification of results
March (September)8 Immigration procedures
During the stay in Japan Early April
(late September)8
Arrival in Japan

Research (non-degree) students:

  • Japanese language training
  • Preparation for entrance exams
  • Conducting research

Undergraduate, master's, doctoral, or professional-degree program begins

Note: Students need to have passed the entrance exam before the program begins.
Entrance examination
Undergraduate, master's, doctoral, or professional-degree program begins6
Returning to home country

8 Months in parentheses are for those arriving in late September.

9For those wishing to apply for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance from Kyoto University

Those who have received a notification of selection, or the Passing Certificate of the First Screening, from a Japanese diplomatic mission are eligible to apply for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance from Kyoto University.

◆Application period

From the date of receipt of the Passing Certificate through Friday 20 November 2020 (Japan time)

Note: The application deadline is usually mid-August, but has been extended for this year to accommodate the delays in the application process caused by COVID-19.

◆Procedures and contact method
  • Applicants must first choose a prospective academic advisor, such as by searching the webpages listed below.
    The University is not available to make any recommendations; applicants are responsible for selecting their academic advisors based on their own needs and interests.
  • After selecting a prospective academic advisor, applicants are to prepare the documents listed below and email them to that faculty member or the administrative office of the graduate school concerned.

Those unable to find contact information on their prospective academic advisor are advised to inquire at the administrative office of the graduate school concerned, specifying the person they wish to contact. Inquiries that do not specify any such individual will not be answered. Please refrain from contacting more than one faculty member, laboratory, or graduate school at the same time.

Note: University offices are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, University Foundation Day (18 June), summer holidays (11–12 or 11–14 August), and 29 December – 3 January.

  • It may take a month or more for the graduate school and faculty member concerned to evaluate the submitted materials and make a decision about the application.
    Note that the above-mentioned date, Friday 20 November 2020, is the deadline by which applications for a Letter of Provisional Acceptance must arrive at the graduate school or faculty member concerned, and not the day when the application results are announced (successful applicants will be issued a completed Letter of Provisional Acceptance).
  • Those issued a Letter of Provisional Acceptance must apply not only for the scholarship but also for the University. In particular, those wishing to enroll in a master's, professional-degree, or doctoral program are required to pass the entrance exam carried out by the graduate school concerned. Learn about the application period and other details by reading the guidelines provided on the graduate school websites.
    Those who decide to withdraw their application after being issued a Letter of Provisional Acceptance are asked to immediately contact their prospective academic advisor.
◆Required documents (not returnable)

Scan the documents A) and C) 18 below into PDF files. Make sure that all the lettering and photographs in these files are clear and legible. Any incomplete application will not be considered.

A) Passing Certificate of the First Screening issued by a Japanese diplomatic mission*

B) Letter of Provisional Acceptance for 2021

C) Documents submitted to the Japanese diplomatic mission*

  1. Application form
  2. Field of study and research plan
  3. Official transcripts for all higher-education institutions attended
  4. Graduation or degree certificate
  5. Recommendation letter from the president of, or a dean or academic advisor at, the current or last higher-education institution attended
  6. Abstracts of theses**
  7. Certificate of language proficiency**
  8. Recommendation letter from the present employer**

Additional documents may be requested by the prospective academic advisor or graduate school office concerned.

* Documents A) and C) 1-8 must bear the official seal of the diplomatic mission that carried out the first screening.

** Required only if applicable.

◆Resources for finding a prospective academic advisor

Additionally, information on the education and research activities of KyotoU teaching staff can be found at the following websites:

Language of instruction

All Kyoto University undergraduate, master's, and professional degree courses and examinations, with the exception of English-taught degree programs, are generally conducted in the Japanese language. Therefore, most of those intending to enroll in the University's undergraduate, master's, and professional degree programs must have sufficient proficiency in Japanese at the time of matriculation.

Please read this page to learn about English-taught degree programs offered by the University, and this page for Japanese-language learning opportunities available after enrollment.

2) University Recommendation

Kyoto University screens the applications and selects candidates to recommend to MEXT as research, master's, professional-degree, or doctoral students. In general, those who do not intend to enter a degree (master's or doctoral) program are not eligible to apply for university recommendations. Those interested in an undergraduate program are advised to read Note 4 in "Application period, eligibility, and benefits".

Applications for the University Recommendation Scholarship are limited to those from countries and regions designated by MEXT. The list of the countries and regions designated for the previous year is available here (in Japanese).

Details of and application guidelines for the 2021 University Recommendation Scholarship (general program) are expected to be announced late December by MEXT.

The application process varies by graduate school, so prospective applicants are advised to contact the administrative office of the school they wish to apply for.

Before arriving in Japan December – February Application
Screening by Graduate School
March Screening by Kyoto University
April – May Screening by MEXT
June Notification of results
July – September Immigration procedures
During the stay in Japan Late September Arrival in Japan

Research (non-degree) students:

  • Preparing for entrance examinations
  • Conducting research

Master's, doctoral, or professional degree program begins

Note: Students need to have passed the entrance exam before the program begins.

Entrance examination
Master's, doctoral, or professional degree program begins6
Returning to home country

* In the 2020 selection process (general program), each Graduate School was allowed to nominate one applicant to the University, and the University was allowed to nominate up to three applicants to MEXT. Details of the 2021 process, along with the application guidelines, are expected to be announced by MEXT in late December.


International Student Support Section,
International Education and Student Mobility Division,
Kyoto University
Email: studyku*mail2.adm.kyoto-u.ac.jp (replace * with @)