Kansai Gaidai University

Hirakata City, Japan

Important Information:

  • Semester Dates
  • Additional Requirements:
    • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Language of Instruction:
    • ​ Courses are offered in English and Japanese.
  • ​Website:
  • For further information, visit the International Centre for Students at the University of Lethbridge in SU060 or email us at outgoing@uleth.ca

Japan's population is over 126 million. Most Japanese reside in densely populated urban areas. Japan's capital city is Tokyo. The population of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area including the city, some of its suburbs and the surrounding area is approximately 12 million.

Basic English is widely spoken throughout the country, particularly in major cities and tourist centers. Announcements on public transportation are frequently made in both Japanese and English, and signs generally include decipherable roman characters or an English explanation.

In Japan, there are many fascinating places that you can enjoy for free. These include such diverse attractions as beer museums, food galleries, hi-tech consumer electronics showrooms, cosmetics factories and television studios. With so many different places to visit there's bound to be something of interest for everyone.

Traditional cultural pursuits such as sado (Japanese tea ceremony) and ikebana (flower arrangement) are much more than simple pursuits in skills. They embody spiritual ways seeking the traditional values of wabi (elegant stillness) and sabi (antiquated elegance with calm).

Kansai Gaidai University is located in Hirakata City (population: 400,000) on the border of Osaka and Kyoto prefectures. This location provides easy access to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara. Osaka is Japan's second largest business centre.

Hirakata is bounded by the Yodo River to the west, and the verdant Ikoma Mountains to the east. The area has been populated since ancient times, and thrived as the hunting grounds of nobles and aristocrats during the Heian period and as a staging post along the main road from Osaka to Kyoto during the Edo period.

With approximately 16,000 students attending the six universities located in Hirakata, the city can now be regarded as a "students' city".


Originally established in 1945 as a small, private language school amid the smouldering ruins of post-war Japan, the school today prospers as a private, non-profit institution with four distinct educational programs. Kansai Gaidai offers a complete range of university courses at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. The university also offers a special program called the Asian Studies Program accommodating international students wishing to pursue Japanese language and Japan/Asian studies.

The two campuses of Kasai Gaidai are located in Hirakata city. As a university devoted to the promotion of international education, Kansai Gaidai recognizes the essential roles that human creativity, intelligence, and initiative play in the development of increased intercultural understanding.

Student life at Kansai Gaidai revolves around a variety of settings: classrooms, clubs, library, cafeterias, and student lounges, any of which can be the starting point for involvement in the Kansai Gaidai community. Over 13,000 Japanese students are here, interested in meeting and interacting with international students. They are willing to enrich your experiences in Japan.

For further information, check out:

Students considering application for exchange to Kansai Gaidai must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Courses Offered

All students must register for a Spoken Japanese language class. Four courses, including Spoken Japanese, are the minimum required semester load for recognition by Kansai Gaidai to be a full-time student. Therefore exchange students may register for a maximum of five courses. Also offered is a Written Japanese course with availability depending on the students' written Japanese abilities upon arrival.

A full listing of courses, including course descriptions, offered each semester, can be found at the Kansai Gaidai website.

  • Osaka is Japan’s third largest city, with a population of about 10.5 million people.
  • Osaka served as capital many times due to its status as a popular port with lots of trade opportunities.
  • Osaka is home to the first Universal Studios outside of the United States
  • The National Bunraku Theater of Japan provides English translations through headphones
  • People in Osaka love food so much there is a common saying in Osaka which means “eat until you drop”
  • Osaka was formerly known as Naniwa until the 17th centuy. It still retains this old name in place names e.g. Naniwabash, Namba, etc.
  • It is largely thanks to Osaka that Japan discovered Buddhism, as many scholars of buddhism from these countries came via Osaka.
  • It is also thanks to Osaka that Japan were able to gain knowledge and new technologies in ceramics, forgeries and engineering again because of its prime location.
  • In Japan, slurping your food is a sign that the food is delicious and is considered a compliment to the cook.
  • The fortune cookie dates back to the 19th century and was first made in Kyoto, Japan.
  1. Universal Studios Japan: Universal Studios Japan (USJ) was the first theme park under the Universal Studios brand to be built in Asia. Opened in March 2001 in the Osaka Bay Area, the theme park occupies an area of 39 hectares and is the most visited amusement park in Japan after Tokyo Disney Resort.
  2. Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan): Osaka Aquarium, also known as Kaiyukan (, Kaiyūkan), is located in the Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka's bay area, and is one of Japan's most spectacular aquariums. It introduces various forms of life inhabiting the Pacific Rim in a well organized and impressive way.
  3. Minami (Namba): Located around Namba Station, Minami (, "South") is one of Osaka's two major city centers. It is the city's most famous entertainment district and offers abundant dining and shopping choices. The district is easily accessible as it is served by three train companies as well as three subway lines and a highway bus terminal. The other major city center is Kita (, "North") which is located around Osaka and Umeda Stations.
  4. Osaka Castle (Osakajo): The construction of Osaka Castle (, Ōsakajō) started in 1583 on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga thirteen years earlier. Toyotomi Hideyoshi intended the castle to become the center of a new, unified Japan under Toyotomi rule. It was the largest castle at the time.
  5. Sumiyoshi Taisha: Osaka's Sumiyoshi Taisha (, "Sumiyoshi Grand Shrine") is one of Japan's oldest shrines. Founded in the 3rd century before the introduction of Buddhism, it displays a unique style of shrine architecture, called Sumiyoshi-zukuri, that is free of influence from the Asian mainland.

For detailed information about vaccination recommendations when going abroad, please visit the Government of Canada's website.

Students have two options for housing while studying at Kansai Gaidai: dormitories or home-stay. The dormitories at Kansai Gaidai are four Seminar houses, most of which have double-occupancy rooms, shared bathrooms for each floor and a huge fully-stocked kitchen for the entire building. Rooms are traditional tatami-style rooms where students sleep on futons. In the back part of the room, there are two desks, chairs, and closets. The dorms also have a computer lab, and are generally very well-run and modern.

Students choosing to live with a Japanese family in a home-stay situation have had excellent experiences, and find that this living environment provides them with an excellent opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture, and especially to significantly improve their Japanese language skills. One drawback of a home-stay is that long commutes are often required from the family home to the university. As student demand for home-stay placements is at times higher than the supply, some students requesting a home-stay may be placed in a dormitory. In such cases, however, they are encouraged to take part in the Kansai Gaidai Home Visit Program.


Within Osaka, the most common mode of transport is by train. Various discount cards are available for buses and trains. For example, a pre-paid Kansai Card can be used on all buses and trains within most of the Kansai area. Bus services are operated by numerous bus companies, not only in big cities but also in regional towns. The bus fare varies depending on the bus company but it is usually around $2.50 for an inner-city ride.

All applicants must call the office to arrange an appointment to apply for a visa and submit all documents in person at the Consulate General of Japan at Calgary. Note: visa application appointments can only be arranged by telephone.

Health Insurance

All Asian Studies Program participants must be covered by an insurance policy that is valid for the entire period of stay in Japan. If you bring your own insurance from your country, a minimum coverage of 5,000,000 yen (US$50,000) for medical/injury treatment expenses is required.

You may choose to join the Japanese National Health Insurance program (see below) after arrival in Japan.  The insurance premium will be charged from the date when you arrive in Japan. If you intend to join the Japanese National Insurance plan, please indicate so on the Insurance Verification Form (obtainable upon your arrival) and visit the city hall to complete all necessary application procedures.

You will be required to submit a copy of your insurance policy (i.e. documentation verifying the period and amount of coverage) during the orientation period to finalize your registration. If you failed to complete this procedure, your course registration will not be processed.

If you will be covered by your parents' insurance policy while studying in Japan, it is advisable that you ask for the documentation well in advance as it may take some time to obtain it from the insurance provider.

Please note: Not all hospitals in Japan accept payments by foreign insurance policies. You will be required to pay the entirety of any medical expenses to the hospital up front and to contact your insurance company later for reimbursement.

Japanese National Health Insurance Program

Regardless of their intended period of stay (one semester or one year), international students with the "College Student" visa are now eligible for the Japanese National Health Insurance.

This insurance is sponsored by the local government of a student's residence. Since the premium is based on the student's income in Japan in the previous year, most students in our program should be eligible for the "Standard Legally Reduced Amount" which reduces premiums by 70%. Although the actual premium depends on the city where the student resides, the average monthly premium is about 2,000 yen. This National Insurance covers 70% of the medical expenses for treatments for sickness or injury.

After joining this plan, students will receive the Insurance Card. When the student receives medical treatment for sickness or injury at a hospital/clinic, he/she must submit the Insurance Card to the receptionist and the insured student pay only 30% of the medical expenses.

Please note that the National Health Insurance does not cover such areas as normal childbirth, traffic accidents (when the assailant is clearly known), general health check-up, immunization, plastic/cosmetic surgery, etc.

Even if you plan to join the Japanese National Insurance, it is still strongly recommended that you bring your own insurance which will cover the entire period of your stay in Japan, in case of high medical expenses such as unexpected surgery or long hospitalization.

Summary of Approximate Expenses


CAD 1,500-2,000


U of L Tuition

CAD 2,200

per semester, for three courses

Rent (dormitory or homestay)

CAD 400

per month


CAD 10-120

per class


CAD 100-150

per month


CAD 100-200

per month, depending on amount of personal travel


CAD 30

Photograph and courier costs

Upon receipt of your confirmation as a participant in the exchange program, Kansai Gaidai will apply to the Osaka Immigration Office for a Certificate of Eligibility, which is the vital document in acquiring a student visa to Japan. For students who participate in the Asian Studies Program from affiliated institutions, the official nomination from the home institution must be received by the Center for International Education prior to/together with the arrival of application documents.

For further details about this visa, contact the Consulate General of Japan in Calgary.

Consulate General of Japan in Calgary
2300-450 1 St SW
Calgary AB T2P 5H1
CanadaTel: 1.403.294.0782
Fax: 1.403.294.1645
Email: consular@conjapan.ab.ca
Website: www.calgary.ca.emb-japan.go.jp