Universities in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe

By Keshala Jayawickrama

Updated September 22, 2023 Updated September 22, 2023

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 nine universities ranked in the QS World University Rankings 2024.

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 46th in the QS World University Rankings.

Around 40km from Kyoto is Osaka. Universities in Osaka also hold their own, with Osaka University placing 80th 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 joint 476th in the world.

Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe appears in the top 30 for student voice (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: 14th

World Rank Institution
46 Kyoto University
80 Osaka University
=476 Kobe University
601-650 Osaka City University

Ritsumeikan University

751-800 Osaka Prefecture University
1001-1200 Kyoto Institute of Technology
1001-1200 Doshisha University
1201-1400 Kindai University (Kinki University)

More about Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Kyoto University (46th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)

£4490 (~US$ 5500)

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?

It's affordable

Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe earns one of its highest scores for affordability, ranking 56th globally. How much you'll spend depends on which area you live in, but all areas are relatively affordable. 

Full of culture 

With art, culture, excellent cuisines, temples and beautiful landscapes to explore, Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe is a student city that has it all. 

Respected by employers 

Employers think highly of graduates with degrees from one of Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe's universities. The city ranks in the top 20 for employer activity this year. 

Cost of studying in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe

Ranking 56th for affordability, Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe, is a relatively cheap student area. The cost of living depends on which city you choose to live in, although none of the three cities are unaffordable. According to Numbeo, the cost of a one bedroom apartment in Kyoto city centre is around £422 per month, whereas the cost in Osaka is £445. In Kobe, a one bedroom apartment in the city centre is around £384 per month. 

Universities in Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe charge an average of £4490 (~US$ 5500) per year - a lot cheaper than student cities in the UK or the US.

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 has a long history of being an international gateway for trade, politics and knowledge. Today, it remains a key economic and cultural hub, with a large and diverse population and an economy bigger than some entire countries. It 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

Employers see graduates from Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe as desirable candidates for jobs, as shown in the high score received for employer activity - the area ranks 17th globally.

The combined GDP of the area is so strong that if it was a country, it would be within the top 20 of the world’s economies. This is one of the many reasons large international companies have branches there. 

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in September 2023

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