Most Japanese universities offer three-year undergraduate programs similar to those at European universities, in contrast to the four-or-more-year programs found in the United States.

Keio University, founded in 1868, was Japan's first institution of Westernized higher learning. Tokyo Imperial University (1886) was Japan's first public university, and was eventually joined by six more schools to form a national Imperial University system that fell apart after World War II.

See Japanese education for more on how the education system works in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Boldfaced schools are those known for exceptional academic quality. An (I) denotes a former imperial university.

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