Studying an LLM (Master of Laws) program in Japan

LLM (Master of Laws) in JapanThe characters that constitute Japan's name translate to 'sun-origin', as a result Japan is also known as the
'Land of the Rising Sun'. Japan is an archipelagic country, it is a combination of a series of islands; the number of islands in Japan totals 6,852 including: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. These islands are the four largest in Japan and between them they form about 97% of Japan’s land area. Most of Japan is mountainous and uninhabitable.

The capital of Japan is Tokyo, and other well-known cities include Hiroshima and Nagasaki both of which bore the major brunt of devastation caused by World War II in 1945.

Japan is a country that is associated with many successful brands, products and sports. Sumo wrestling is known as Japan's national sport. Other well-known Japanese brands include: Toyota (automobile makers) and Toshiba (a multinational electronics conglomerate corporation).

Japan is also well known for its tradition of delectable styles and fashion – for example one only has to check out the offerings from the trendy Harajuku district of Tokyo. Likewise the country is also applauded for the skillful and beautifully made up Geishas who are traditional Japanese female entertainers.

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What & where to study in Japan

The two consistently highest ranked universities in Japan are The University of Tokyo (Tokyo, Japan) and Kyoto University. Other universities of note include: Kyushu University (Fukuoka, Japan), Temple University- School of Law (Tokyo campus), Nagoya University-Graduate School of Law (Nagoya, Japan), Chuo University (Tokyo, Japan), Niigata University (Niigata, Japan), Waseda University and Hitotsubashi University.

At Japanese universities students can study Master of Laws degrees in International Economic and Business Law; Comparative Studies of Politics; Transnational Law; Comparative Law (English and Japanese); LLM (general); and International Law.

Most universities offer LLM degrees in English language for the benefit of foreign students willing to study in Japan, these include Kyushu University, Niigata University and Nagoya University. However some universities do not offer English courses, they only offer the LLM programs in Japanese. To undertake these students will need to have a high level proficiency of the Japanese language in order to gain admission and understand lectures. Students are required to have a proficiency of above level 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.

Application & admissions

Some universities in Japan are affiliated to other universities, with satellite campuses in Japan. For instance Temple University is an American Law School in Japan; Temple Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), with a satellite campus in Tokyo (Japan). American students enrolled in Temple University (America) may choose to complete their legal studies in Japan. Temple University in Japan is open to Japanese and foreign students alike.

Some universities conduct entrance examinations for foreign students before admission, students undertake a written exam and are interviewed. Upon successful completion they are offered admission into the university. The following documents are needed with an application fee (depends on university): the application form of your chosen university (completely filled in with your information). Some universities only accept online applications – so make sure you check on the individual websites as to what is expected of you. You will almost certainly also need an official transcript, personal statement, and 2-3 letters of recommendation depending on the university.

Tuition fees & living costs

In general, tuition fees in Japan are expensive and students are strongly advised to have enough funds to cater for tuition and living costs throughout the duration of their LLM program. The cost of living is also rather high in Japan – especially in Tokyo and tuition fees vary from institution to institution. Overall international students are advised to budget from between $45,000-$85,000 per annum depending on where they are planning to study.

What to do in Japan when you aren’t studying

LLM (Master of Laws) in Japan

Japan consists of series of islands or archipelago and is endowed with many magnificent views of the natural world. Students can take a fast-paced ride on the high-speed bullet train or take a cruise around  Tokyo Bay in the futuristic Himiko boat, trendy 'fashionistas' can shop for fabulous styles and designs at Japan's youth culture capital of Harajuku in Tokyo or visit one of Japan's many manga or anime attractions.

Other popular scenic sites to visit in Japan are: Himeji Castle and Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which are both regarded as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Also Disneyland Tokyo welcomes a large influx of fun-loving visitors, including many students enjoying the thrills and amazing rides.
Night life in the big cities of Japan is alive and bubbling with activities. There are many clubs open to Japanese and foreigners alike. There are also many street food vendors scattered around Japan, where you can order food on the go. These are known as Yatai and are open all day (and all night) long. They serve delicious, mouth-watering, cheap food to reinvigorate after a long night of clubbing; a light meal from a Yatai stall will surely energize and fill you up.

Besides clubs and discos, you can visit the very expensive geisha bars, they are high-end bars where trained beautifully made-up women entertain by singing and playing traditional Japanese musical instruments, you can find many of the popular geisha bars in Kyoto.

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