Raya in Tokyo

Table of Contents

Overall Thoughts & Feelings

I am glad to say that my exchange semester was one of the best months of my life. It was an incredible experience to dive into a very different culture, I met incredible people and could discover the entire country. I feel the 5 months that I’ve been there was just the perfect amount of time to learn about and see a lot of the country. What impressed me the most was how it also helped me to question my very euro-centric perspective that I used to have and really see things from a very different angle. There are simply so many enjoyable things in Japan, starting from the very pleasant temperatures until late in winter, to the incredible kind and polite nature of Japanese people. This country for sure requires you to move out a bit out of your comfort zone, but it is so worth it!


  • Rent: 280 EUR (special price for dormitory room at partner uni)
  • Groceries: 300 EUR
  • Transport: depends a lot on your location + whether bike available, approx. 60-250 EUR
  • Nightlife/Going out: 100 EUR (girls have indeed often much lower prices)
  • Traveling: of course very individual, between 250-500 EUR
  • Total: approx. 1000-1200 EUR


The Hitotsubashi University as well as its student dorm are located in the outskirts of Tokyo and it takes around 45 minutes to go to the city center. This is why the prices are also way below the normal living standard in Tokyo. However, it is highly recommended to stay at the dorm, as all other exchange students are living there. 

Most of the flats in the dormitory are shared among 6 people, with half international and half Japanese people. Even if you get everything you need around the Kodaira district, we tend to go to Tokyo city in the evening to go out. 

From the Ikkyo-Ryo campus which is the dorm, where I live, it takes around 25 min to Uni by bike and around 30 min by train.


Actually, the HU has a strong reputation particularly in the field of social science but it is definitely possible to take business classes as well. For the master students these are mainly MBA classes. For sure it is a very nice exchange uni if you are also interested in social sciences or politics as well. Because of personal interest I also took some non-business courses which might not be recognized by WU however.

Recognized by WU I can probably get the following: 

  • Global Marketing: as an extension to the Global Marketing course at the WU, very interesting analysis and hands-on approach on adapting the components of an ad to the local needs. The professor is quite demanding though.
  • Global Management: Mainly about managing across cultures and implementing business models, however mainly based on class discussion and a bit on case studies. Very interesting and not very demanding. 
  • Public Economics: This course deals with various policies and topics of the Japanese economy, like taxation- or pension systems. However I learned a lot about Japanese society as well, and often references were made to the present. 
  • Global Governance: The lecturer was very impressive and is serving as a consultant for the Japanese government for issues of nuclear safety. It was a very discussion-based course, however sometimes the course lacked the necessary structure. 

Overall I would say that the difficulty of studies is definitely lower than at the WU. Most of the assessments are paper or group works such as presentations. Because many Japanese students are not too confident in talking in English, it is very easy to receive the score for participation in class. 


Sadly there were no events organized by the University, even though the student association ISDAK sometimes organized some day trips for the exchange students. However this was not a real issue, because all the exchange students were living in the same dorm, it was still very easy to connect with people. However, it was also due to the personal initiative of some students that created a group with all exchange people.

Places to Visit

The traveling was for sure the best part that also made my Japan experience unforgettable. There are an infinite amount of nice places to visit and even for holidays I can only warmly recommend this country. It is so diverse, from tropical islands in the south (Okinawa) to very cold snow-rich regions in the northern island Hokkaido, vulcans, mountains, culture-rich cities and a lot of beaches. That’s why we actually went at least every two weeks on a bigger trip over the weekend and visited places like Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Hiroshima, the Mount Fuji area and the Nagano area. 

Country & City Vibes

Japan is such an exciting country in every aspect of life. Exploring the differences in culture is so much fun and there are so many things that still sometimes are so crazy and even contradictory to understand to westerns. The people are extremely polite and super friendly and mostly also very interested in you. However the language barrier makes it often difficult to really get to know Japanese people better, simply because the overall english level in Japan is not that high. Everything is super organized, clean and people stick to every rule without the need to be controlled. What I especially enjoyed in Japan is that it is incredibly safe – you always feel safe to go back home, the rates of crimes are quite low and so many people do not even lock their bike or let their computers charge without supervision. 

And I enjoyed not only the richness of places that you can visit but also the amount and variety of activities that you can do – actually there is nothing that does not exist in Tokyo: going shopping, driving Mario carts in the streets, Sing karaoke, go for a hike or visit one of the very delicious Japanese restaurants or a traditional bar.


As soon as you get your confirmation of your partner university, it is really easy to apply for a visa and my uni was supporting me enormously in the process. They provided all necessary information when to submit what document. Even in COVID times, the Visa was issued within a week. However, Japan tends to love bureaucracy a lot, so indeed a lot of documents are needed. But with the help of the partner uni that is no problem at all. The fees for student visas are also free. 

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