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Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe for students

This combined metropolitan area of three cities, Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe (also known as Keihanshin) is home to over 19 million people and contains eight universities ranked in the QS World University Rankings® 2020.

The former capital of Imperial Japan, Kyoto is one of the country’s leading destinations for both tourists and international students, second only to capital TokyoKyoto University is currently the second-highest ranked institution in Japan, at 38th place in the QS World University Rankings®.

Around 40km from Kyoto is Osaka, which definitely holds its own when it comes to top universities. Osaka’s highest-ranked university, Osaka University, places joint 72nd in the QS World University Rankings®.

The sixth-largest city in Japan, Kobe is the capital of the Hyōgo Prefecture and is home to Kobe University, which ranks 403rd in the world.

Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe appears in the top 25 for student view (reflecting the results of our student survey) which shows that students certainly enjoy their experience in these cities, and are often keen to stay after graduation.

Are you studying in Kyoto, Osaka or Kobe? Rate your experience.

Best universities in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe -

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 18th

More about Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe

Study in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe?

High education standards

Kyoto Osaka Kobe contains eight ranked universities this year, including Kyoto University, which currently places 38th in the world rankings. 

Strong employment prospects

The area ranks 14th for employer activity, reflecting the universities’ graduates’ strong reputation amongst employers.

Rich cultural heritage

With many temples, shrines and museums, Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe has plenty for students to explore. The area also includes plenty of bars, restaurants, art venues and theaters.

Low tuition fees

Tuition fees in the area average around US$5,300 per year, which is much lower than Canada, the US and the UK.

Cost of studying in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe 

Overall Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe ranks 44th for affordability, with tuition fees costing students an average of $5,300 per year. However, living costs tend to vary between the three cities.

Kobe is generally the more expensive of the three areas. Rent prices in are 13 percent higher in Kobe than in Osaka, with a one-bedroom apartment in the Kobe’s city center costing around ¥92,500 (approximately US$870) compared to Osaka’s ¥75,000 (approximately US$700).

Meanwhile, in Kyoto, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center will set you back around ¥79,580 (approximately US$745).

A list of scholarships available to study in Japan can be found on Japan’s student services organization.

Life and culture in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe 

For those who want to study in Japan but feel overwhelmed by the size and pace of Tokyo, Kyoto offers city life on a smaller scale, with plenty of opportunities to explore both traditional and modern Japanese culture – from beautiful Buddhist temples, to all-night karaoke bars and an eclectic selection of pubs and clubs.

Osaka offers a good selection of art exhibitions, live music and drama, as well as being known for its excellent and varied cuisine. 

Around 1.5 million people live in Kobe, which is located about 30km west of Osaka, in a picturesque location wedged between the sea and the Rokko mountain range. It is another vibrant cosmopolitan city and strong economic hub, with international companies such as Nestlé and Procter & Gamble having bases here.

Career in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe 

Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe ranks 14th in the employer activity indicator this year, meaning that its graduates are seen as highly employable. The area is known for its strong work ethic and booming economy, making it an ideal place for graduates looking for jobs.

The area also enjoys a strong economy. In fact, the combined GDP of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe is so strong that if it was a country, it would be within the top 20 of the world’s economies.  

Major Japanese industries include manufacturing, IT, electronics, financial services and tourism.

To work in Japan after graduation, you’ll need to acquire a highly skilled professional working visa, which you can find out more about here.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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