If you haven’t visited Kyoto, then you haven’t been to Japan, they said. Kyoto is the perfect place for those of you who want a calm, clean, more laid-back environment during your time studying abroad. Comparing this city to the-more-chaotic Tokyo, Kyoto has some world wide famous universities such as Kyoto University, Ritsumeikan University, Doshisha University, Kyoto Institute of Technology, and many more. If you are still in doubt where to study in Japan, here are my top 5 reasons why you should come and study here in the city of zen, Kyoto.
- Top Universities.
Not to mention that Japan has some of world’s best universities which are spread across its land. One of them is Kyoto University or Kyodai which is located in the southeast part of Kyoto , Japan’s second oldest university and one of Asia’s highest ranked universities. Known for its world-class researcher, Kyoto University is known as one of Asia’s leading research-oriented institutions. As one of the most selective universities, Kyoto University is known for its competitive entrance as one of the best 180 universities in the world. I, myself, went here to spend my 6 months exchange period and enrolled in the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies in Kyoto University. The faculty actually sound a little bit unusual compared to mine back at my home university. This faculty is actually divided into several departments which are Division of Multi Disciplinary Studies of Civilizations, Division of Cultural Environment Studies, Division of Cognitive and Information Sciences, Division of Natural Sciences, and Division of Human Sciences. Not only the glory of the academic reputation, Kyoto University is also known for its famous student clubs and circles, mostly culture and sports.
2. Student Life
Kyoto is known as city with a thousand temple with calm and serene environment. If you want a city that is not as chaotic as Tokyo, then you might take Kyoto into consideration. If you haven’t known just yet, the fun fact is 1 of 10 people in Kyoto is actually a university student, the highest number of university student located in one city out of all areas in Japan so far. I would say that based on my experience, Kyoto is really a nice city for student as you can easily find a place to live such as an international dormitory or a flat with a diverse range of price. You can find the cheaper ones which are usually located a little far from the city, but do not worry as Kyoto is a really friendly city for bikers, you can easily get a license to buy or rent a bicycle. The transport system here is convenient too as you can go explore the city pretty much only by the city bus. If you are still in that ‘adapting’ mode and confused about where or how to spend your weekend, Kyoto also has a lot of international night where you can get a chance to make friends with other students from the other side of the world who also study in Kyoto. Talking about the environment, I got to say that you might feel a little bit strange at the first time if you used to live in the chaotic metropolitan city because Kyoto has such a really calm vibe that is perfect for studying or maybe if you just casually want to do your homework or eat your lunch by the river. Some universities actually provide a pass for museum or art exhibition specially for their exchange student. Make the best use of that pass and discover some nice art and historical museums that Kyoto has.
3. Explore The Fun
If you are type of person who just can’t stand to stay in your dorm alone, there are so many things to do in Kyoto from a visit to historical sites to a night out at one of the best izakaya in the entire Japan. Some of places to visit around this time or this autumn that I would recommend are Uji Prefecture and Arashiyama. Uji is just 45-ish minutes away by train from downtown Kyoto. This city is known for producing the best matcha you can possibly have in your entire life. One of the must-try is the 300 yen soft-served green tea ice cream, best green tea ice cream I have ever tried. Another a must-visit place this autumn is none other than Arashiyama, the best autumn leaf spot in Japan I would say. One very event that shall not be missed is the Momiji Festival held in Arashiyama while surrounded by the beautiful red orangey autumn leaf, such an unforgettable experience. If you are not a nature kind of person and more into the city/shopping life, Kyoto has a numerous department store, cool thrift store, and monthly flea market held in the city hall if you are looking for something vintage with a good quality.
I actually cannot mention all the reasons why I would suggest you to pack your suitcase and go study here in Kyoto, where you can experience the ancients and modern in one. If you are looking for a city where you can really focus studying and still have some places to go out and have fun then you might include Kyoto into your list.
Photos provided by author