Top Resources for Expats and Students in the Kansai Region of Japan

While working on a presentation for new MEXT scholars on how they can advance their careers as Japanese Government Research Scholars, I thought it would be valuable to create a collection of the top resources for both expats and students in the Kansai Region of Japan, which primarily includes Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe.

In Japan, Facebook is one of the most important resources for finding and discovering new events in the Kansai region. Some people also use Peatix to plan, host, and share events, and it was started by female founder, Emi Takemura Miller.

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Here’s a list of the 5 top resources for expats and students alike in the Kansai Region of Japan.

1. KyoTomorrow Academy by Study Kyoto

This is an amazing resource for those who want to make new friends, practice their Japanese, learn more about Japanese culture, and even get job hunting and interview training.

Personally, I have only attended the cultural events, where I learned how to make wagashi Japanese sweets, or learned how matcha was made hundreds of years ago. And I have attended one entrepreneur-related talk, where the foreign speaker had started his own successful e-commerce business in the heart of Kyoto. Finally, I’ve been meaning to attend the Japanese language exchange events that they host to practice my Japanese, but I haven’t yet had the time to do so.

Regardless, it’s an amazing organization run by fantastic, warm-hearted people. And it’s sponsored by the Japanese government, whose goal is to support foreigners who want to work in Japan full-time, as well as introduce foreigners to the wonderful aspects of Japanese culture, history, and traditions.

2. Kizuna at Kyoto University

This wonderful organization that is hosted at Kyoto University, offers weekly international exchange events, and monthly cultural events. Personally, I have attended the Halloween party they hosted, a takoyaki party, a basket-making class, and day trips to Amanohashidate.

Plus, you can sign up for a free Japanese tutor, or tutor a Japanese student in English or another language to make new friends. And they have books you can borrow, including many Japanese language books. It’s definitely worthwhile to check out, especially if you are a Kyoto University student. But even if you are not, you can still attend events. Join their Facebook group here.

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3. MEXT Scholars Association (MSA)

For both MEXT Monbukagakusho Scholars, and non-MEXT scholars, this website can still be a valuable resource, as they have a lot of useful information online for free. It’s designed by former and current MEXT foreign scholars, so it’s crafted to suit the needs of current and future students. Basically, the founders created a resource to help others navigate their careers in Japan, pre- and post-student life. As such, it’s a wonderful, thoughtful compilation of resources and events, so definitely add yourself to the Facebook Group, the Kansai MEXT Group, and read through the section on “Living in Japan.”

4. Kansai Sayonara Sales

This is another great resource for finding cheap, used materials from people who are leaving Japan. Since thousands of foreigners come to study in Japan, anywhere between 3 months and 10+ years, there’s always someone coming and going, meaning there’s always a surplus of stuff that needs to be sold quickly and efficiently. That’s why, the Kansai Sayonara Sales group was created, as well as Kyoto Sayonara Sales, and Osaka Sayonara Sales. You get the idea, right? Basically, you can join a Facebook group in any major city.

5. Study Kyoto Website

Not only does this website inform you about unique opportunities such as securing paid internships in my very own city of Kyoto, Japan, but they also offer the website in multiples languages including Chinese, Korean, and English. It’s a great place to find out about useful and practical information, and upcoming events.


I hope you enjoyed this short article. Please let me know if you know of any other useful resources for expats, and students living in the Kansai region of Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Nara.