Life in Japan


We have collected some useful information about life in Japan for international students.
Visa Status
The visa status of foreign nationals will vary depending on conditions such as the activities they will carry out in Japan. The visa status of “Student” is given for studying at the educational institutions of Japanese universities. The periods of stay for “Student” can be 4 years and 3 months, 4 years, 3 years and 3 months, 3 years, 2 years and 3 months, 2 years, 1 year and 3 months, 1 year, 6 months, or 3 months. Foreign nationals whose period of stay in Japan is over three months will receive a residence card upon entry to Japan at the airport.
You are required to carry your residence card with you at all times during your stay in Japan.

For more information, please see the website of the Immigration Bureau of Japan, Ministry of Justice below.
Living Expenses
The average living expenses for Rikkyo students who commute from apartments (private housing) are approximately 114,700 JPY per month. Here are the average values for the main expenditures. Please use these as a reference.

Rent and electricity, gas, and water: 52,700 JPY
Food: 20,900 JPY
Textbooks and other study materials: 4,800 JPY
Leisure and transport: 14,700 JPY
Cell phone/Internet: 5,800 JPY
Commuting: 3,400 JPY
Other: 12,400 JPY

Source: “Rikkyo Student (Living Away from Home) Averages,” 14th Student Life Survey (Rikkyo University Press) (March 2015 Survey)
Part-time Work
International students with the visa status of "Student" must apply for and receive “permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted” from the Immigration Bureau in order to engage in part-time work in Japan. After receiving this permission, international students can take on part-time work provided that it is within 28 hours per week. (During recess periods recognized by the University, the limit is within 8 hours per day.) The visa status of "Student" is for those who stay in Japan to engage in study and research, so it is encouraged that you only engage in part-time work that does not interfere with your studies.
Usually, international students cannot open a personal bank account in Japan unless six months have elapsed since their entry into the country. However, it is possible to open a bank account with Japan Post Bank immediately after entering Japan. Japan Post Bank ATMs allow you to withdraw cash using a credit or debit card issued by foreign financial institutions. Also, utility payment can be made by automatic bank transfer from your account in Japan Post Bank. You can also receive funds sent from overseas. There is a post office very close by to the Rikkyo University Ikebukuro Campus. The banking service at the post office is open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays. When opening a bank account in Japan, a personal seal (inkan) is typically required. Stamping documents with your seal has the same effect as signing it, so you should handle your seal with care. Some banks including Japan Post Bank allow foreign nationals from countries that do not have the custom of personal seal to open an account using a signature instead.
Public Utility Charges
This covers charges such as those for water, electricity, and gas. An invoice for electricity and gas will be sent to you every month, while water rates are invoiced bimonthly. If you have a television, you will also be subject to the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) broadcast reception fee. These fees can be paid at your local post office, bank, or convenience store, and you can also pay them by automatic transfer from your bank account.
Medical Care and Insurance
The following three systems are in place to support your health, including insurance benefits and financial aid for medical fees that will be needed should you fall ill or become injured. If you have paid medical fees, ensure that you receive a receipt, as this will be needed to receive financial aid for the costs incurred.

1. National Health Insurance
Foreign nationals staying in Japan for over three months are required to enroll in the national health insurance system. On enrolling, you will receive a National Health Insurance Card, and you will be responsible for only 30% of medical fees (a 70% exemption) for which insurance is applied should you fall ill or become injured.
2. Student Mutual-aid Health Insurance Union
Rikkyo University students can apply for a refund of their personal payment (the portion not covered by national health insurance) if they have paid medical fees for which health insurance is applicable at Japanese hospitals and pharmacies (excluding dentists). The refund will be paid by the student mutual-aid health insurance union as financial aid. No procedures are necessary for degree-seeking students to enroll for this system, as union fee payments are made when paying academic fees. Special international students (including exchange students) can enroll in the system voluntarily by paying union fees of 3,500 JPY (or 1,750 JPY if enrollment period is one semester or less) during the orientation period.

Procedures for applying for benefits for medical fees are handled by the Student Welfare Office, Student Affairs Division of each campus.
3. Disaster and Accident Insurance for Student Education and Research
Should an accident occur during university education or research activities, whether on or off campus, students can receive an insurance payout. To receive an insurance payout, please carry out the claim-filing procedure at the Student Welfare Office, Student Affairs Division of either campus within 30 days of the accident. However, please bear in mind that insurance money will not be paid out for injuries or post-traumatic cervical syndrome (whiplash) caused intentionally or as the result of fighting, etc., nor for injuries resulting from accidents caused by unsafe exercise.
Types of insurance payout: death benefits, physical impairment benefits, medical expense benefits, hospitalization benefits
Japan has four seasons, with major differences in temperature throughout the year. The shape of the land also extends from north to south, and as such, the temperature will vary in different parts of the country. The average temperatures of Tokyo, where the Rikkyo University Ikebukuro Campus is situated, are as follows.

Average Temperatures for Tokyo (Celsius)
   Highest – Lowest
January – 10.6 – 1.8
February – 12.2 – 3.1
March – 14.9 – 6.1
April – 20.3 – 11.3
May – 25.2 – 15.7
June – 26.3 – 19.1
July – 29.7 – 22.1
August – 31.6 – 23.9
September – 27.7 – 21.9
October – 22.6 – 15.3
November – 15.5 – 8.1
December – 13.8 – 4.5
Severe earthquakes only last for one to two minutes at their longest. It is also understood that aftershocks are generally smaller than the main shock. Please be aware of the following should an earthquake occur.

  • Seek safety underneath a table, desk, or similar sturdy objects.
  • Turn off gas or electric appliances. Open doors and windows to secure a way out. Signs and other objects may fall down, so do not rush out of a building.
  • Ensure that you have correct information, e.g. from television or radio.
  • Call out to neighbors and help each other.
  • When outside, do not approach walls, fences, gateposts, and so on, as they will be at risk of collapse.
Contact Information for Emergencies
The telephone numbers below will be essential during emergencies. Please ensure that you remember them. When making a report, please ensure that you give your name and the location where the accident or crime occurred.

Report to police (crimes, theft, traffic accidents): 110 (no area code) (free)
If there is a police box (kōban) nearby, you can also make a direct report there. Police boxes are the small buildings staffed by police officers that serve as a center for local police activity, intended to maintain safety for the lives of residents.
Report to the fire department (fires, rescues, ambulances): 119 (no area code) (free)


Rikkyo University International Office

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