Kyoto University
京都大学 (Japanese)
MottoJapanese: 自由の学風
Motto in English
"Freedom of academic culture"[1]
TypePublic (national)
EstablishedJune 18, 1897; 127 years ago (June 18, 1897)
PresidentNagahiro Minato[2]
Academic staff
4,062 (teaching staff)[3]
Administrative staff
3,658 (total staff)[3]

35°01′34″N 135°46′51″E / 35.026212°N 135.780842°E / 35.026212; 135.780842
135 ha (333 acres)
Athletics48 varsity teams
Colors  Navy blue[4]
AffiliationsKansai Big Six, ASAIHL Edit this at Wikidata

Kyoto University (京都大学, Kyōto daigaku), or KyotoU (京大, Kyōdai), is a national research university located in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1897, it is one of the former Imperial Universities and the second oldest university in Japan.

The University has ten undergraduate faculties, eighteen graduate schools, and thirteen research institutes. The University's educational and research activities are centred in its three main campuses in Kyoto: Yoshida, Uji and Katsura. The Kyoto University Library Network, consisting of more than 40 libraries spread across its campuses,[5] has a collection of more than 7.49 million books,[6] making it the second largest university library in the country.[7] In addition to these campuses, the university owns facilities and lands for educational and research purposes around the country.[8]

As of 2024, Kyoto University counts two or five Prime Ministers of Japan and a President of Taiwan amongst its alumni. 19 Nobel Prize laureates, two Fields Medalists, one Gauss Prize winner, and five Lasker Award recipients have been affiliated with Kyoto University, giving it the most Nobel laureates of all universities in Asia.



Kyoto University can trace its roots back to the Chemistry School (舎密局, Seimi-kyoku), an institution for Chemistry and Physics founded in Osaka in 1869. Seimi is a Japanese transcription of the Dutch word chemie, meaning chemistry.[9] In 1894, this institution was replaced by the Third Higher School, which was a specialised boys' boarding school. Back then, the country had only one university, Imperial University (today's University of Tokyo), and the call for the nation's second university in the Kansai region was gaining momentum. However, due to financial reasons, the government was reluctant to do so.[10]

The situation changed when the aristocratic politician Saionji Kinmochi, who was from a notable kuge family in Kyoto, suggested the founding of the nation's second university using war reparations from the First Sino-Japanese War.[10] This plan was edicted accordingly in 1896, and Kyoto Imperial University (京都帝國大學, Kyōto-teikoku-daigaku) was established on June 18, 1897,[11] as the second university in the country. The University started using Third Higher School's buildings, and the higher school moved to a patch of land across the street, where the southern section of the Yoshida Campus stands today. The Imperial University in Tokyo was renamed Tokyo Imperial University following the founding of its counterpart in Kyoto.

It started teaching with the College of Science and Engineering in the year of its foundation, which was followed by the establishment of the College of Law in 1898. Other faculties and colleges were established during its first decade as a university. The low rates of success of its graduates in the Higher Civil Service Examinations led to the Chief Commercial Law Professor Yoshihito Takane (高根義人) adopting a distinct style of teaching, which he called the 'German way of cherishing the freedom of research, teaching, and learning'. He is said to be the originator of the current motto 'freedom of academic culture (自由の学風, Jiyū no Gakufū)'.[12]

Post-war period

The Allied Occupation Period following Japan's defeat in the Second World War saw a radical reform in the country's educational system, and Kyoto University was not immune from it. Along with other Imperial Universities, Kyoto Imperial University dropped the word 'imperial' from its name and came to be known as Kyoto University (京都大学, Kyōto daigaku) in October 1947. In May 1949, as a result of the American-led reform, former Imperial Universities merged with higher schools and became four-year universities as they are today. Kyoto University merged with the Third Higher School, which had been coexisting with the university since its founding as a university-preparatory boys' boarding school. The now-integrated higher school became the College of Liberal Arts (教養部, Kyōyō-bu) within the university in September 1949, and came to be in charge of equipping all first-year undergraduates with general knowledge such as mathematics and foreign languages.[13][14] The college was replaced by the Faculty of Integrated Human Studies (総合人間学部, Sōgō-ningen-gakubu) in 1992.[15]

Kyoto University has been incorporated as a national university corporation along with all the other national universities, gaining a greater independence from the MEXT.


The Clocktower
Yoshida Campus headquarters

Kyoto University is organised across three main campuses: Yoshida, Uji, and Katsura, each playing a distinct role in the university's academic and research activities.

Situated in Sakyo, Kyoto, the Yoshida Campus is the oldest and serves as the university's central hub. This campus is characterised by its mix of architectural styles, from historic brick buildings such as the Clock Tower Centennial Hall to modern research facilities. It encapsulates the university's history and is subdivided into seven areas, including the North Campus and the Yoshida-South Campus, which used to be occupied by the Third Higher School.[16][17]

The Uji Campus, located in Uji, Kyoto, was formerly occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army. The university acquired it just after its reorganisation into its current form, in 1949. Today, it houses several research institutes and centres focusing on natural sciences and energy. Along with its large laboratories, Uji Campus is recongnised for its greenery and serene environment.[16]

The Katsura Campus, in Nishikyo, Kyoto, is recognised as a 'Techno-science Hill' for its forward-looking approach to research and education in engineering and informatics. Established in October 2003, Katsura aims to pioneer new knowledge domains in the 21st century. This campus is organised into four sections, each dedicated to different facets of technological and scientific exploration.[16]


Kyoto University is organised into 10 undergraduate faculties and 19 graduate schools. The president of the university is Nagahiro Minato, who assumed the office in October 2020 and expected to serve until September 2026.[18]

As of 1 May 2023, the university's student body consists of 13,038 undergraduates and 9,577 postgraduates. Apart from audit students and research students, there are 2,249 international students.[19]


Faculty of Engineering Civil Engineering Classroom Main Building (Yoshida Campus)
Graduate School of Science Building No. 4 (Yoshida Campus)
Faculty of Law and Economics Main Building (Yoshida Campus)

Kyoto University has 10 faculties.[20]

Graduate schools

Kyoto University has 19 graduate schools.[20]



Notable research institutes and facilities

International Programmes

Kyoto University offers a range of international programmes aimed at both its students and international students seeking to study there, across undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Undergraduate Programmes

Kyoto University provides undergraduate degrees available for international students across all 10 faculties, with core modules available in English to cater to the needs of international students. The Kyoto University International Undergraduate Programme (Kyoto iUP) is a notable initiative, offering a comprehensive 4.5-year programme that consists of a six-month preparatory course (mainly intensive lessons of the Japanese language) followed by a four-year normal undergraduate degree programme. This programme is designed for students with no Japanese language proficiency and offers various financial support options, including admission/tuition fee waivers and monthly scholarships.[21][22]

Graduate Programmes

At the graduate level, Kyoto University has 18 Graduate Schools offering master's, doctoral, and professional degree programmes, all of which are available for international students. International students are well-represented, with over 2,000 international students enrolled. The university facilitates a conducive learning environment with English-taught programmes, Japanese language education, and scholarships tailored to international students' needs.[23]

Academic rankings and reputation

University rankings
THE National[24] General 5
T. Reuters National[25] Research 2
WE [ja] National[26] Employment 10
NBP Kansai[27] Reputation 1
Shimano National[28] Selectivity SA
QS Asia
(Asia version)[29]
General 17
THE Asia
(Asia version)[30]
General 13
ARWU Asia[31] Research 2
THE World[32] General 55
QS World[33] General 50=
ARWU World[31] Research 39
ENSMP World[34] Alumni 5

Kyoto University maintains a high academic reputation, and is regarded as one of the nation's top two universities, along with the University of Tokyo.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked Kyoto University 55th in the world in 2023 (2nd in Japan).[35] QS World University Rankings ranked Kyoto University 46th in the world in 2023 (2nd in Japan).[36] The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2022 ranked Kyoto University 26th in the world (2nd in Japan).[37] The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked Kyoto University 39th in the world in 2023 (2nd in Japan).[38]

In the Nature index 2023 annual table, Kyoto University was ranked 44th for its output in selected journals in the fields of natural sciences and Health Sciences research, among all leading research institutions in the world (2nd in Japan).[39]

Subject rankings

Popularity and selectivity

Kyoto University is one of the most selective universities in Japan. The selectivity for its undergraduate degrees is usually regarded as among the top two, along with the University of Tokyo.[43][44][45]


This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2010)

Kyoto University competes in 48 sports. The university is a member of the Kansai Big Six Baseball League.


.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}@media all and (max-width:500px){.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{width:auto!important;clear:none!important;float:none!important))You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in Japanese. (September 2017) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the Japanese article. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 1,128 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Japanese Wikipedia article at [[:ja:京都大学アメフト部レイプ事件]]; see its history for attribution. You may also add the template ((Translated|ja|京都大学アメフト部レイプ事件)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.

Members of the university's American football team, the Kyoto University Gangsters, were arrested in 2006 for gang rape, which had been recently added to the Penal Code in January 2005 following the Super Free rape controversy. The three students had forced a female university student to drink liquor to the point of unconsciousness, at which point they gang-raped her. They were all convicted.[46][47][48]

Notable people

Main article: List of Kyoto University people

See also: Kyoto University alumni

See also: List of Nobel laureates affiliated with Kyoto University

Of the nineteen Nobel Prize winners who have been affiliated with Kyoto University in some way, eight attended the university as undergraduate students.[49] Fields Medal winners Heisuke Hironaka (1970) and Shigefumi Mori (1990) and one Carl Friedrich Gauss Prize winner Kiyosi Itô are also affiliated with the university.[50]

Two Prime Ministers of Japan, Fumimaro Konoe and Hayato Ikeda, attended Kyoto University:[51] Apart from these two, Osachi Hamaguchi, Kijūrō Shidehara, and Tetsu Katayama attended the Third Higher School before going on to study at UTokyo. The former President of Taiwan, Lee Teng-hui, attended KyotoU when Taiwan was a Japanese colony but transferred to National Taiwan University after Japan lost the Second World War.

See also



  1. ^ "Kyoto University Basic Concept for Internationalization". Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  2. ^ "Profile of President Nagahiro Minato". Kyoto University. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Kyoto University Facts and Figures 2021-2022" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-05-07.
  4. ^ Kyoto University Visual Identity Guidebook (PDF) (1 ed.). October 1, 2018. p. 8.
  5. ^ "Kyoto University Library Network". Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  6. ^ "蔵書数等" (in Japanese). Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  7. ^ "図録▽大学図書館蔵書数ランキング". Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  8. ^ "大学の施設" (in Japanese). Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  9. ^ "沿革" (in Japanese). Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  10. ^ a b "[大学が成立した背景] | 京都大学 白眉センター|白眉プロジェクト". Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  11. ^ "Historical Sketch". About Kyoto University. Kyoto University. 2004. Retrieved 2007-07-17.[dead link]
  12. ^ "平成9年度 入学式式辞 | 歴代総長の式辞で振り返る | 京都大学のあゆみ". 京都大学 創立125周年記念事業特設サイト (in Japanese). Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  13. ^ "History" (in Japanese). Kyoto University. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  14. ^ "Third Higher School | Kyoto University Fund | Funds in Operation". Retrieved 2019-11-02.
  15. ^ "沿革 | 京都大学 大学院人間・環境学研究科 総合人間学部". 2024-02-05. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  16. ^ a b c "Campuses". Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  17. ^ "Campuses | Academics". Kyoto iUP. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  18. ^ "Message from the President". Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  19. ^ "学生数" (in Japanese). Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  20. ^ a b "Departments". Kyoto University. Archived from the original on May 21, 2011.
  21. ^ "Kyoto iUP - Kyoto University International Undergraduate Program". Kyoto iUP. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  22. ^ "Undergraduate degree programs". Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  23. ^ "Graduate degree programs". Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  24. ^ "Japan University Rankings 2023". Times Higher Education. 2023. Retrieved March 23, 2023.
  25. ^ "Thomson Reuters 20 Top research institutions in Japan". Thomson Reuters. 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2022. (this raking includes 5 non-educational institutions)
  26. ^ "Employment rate in 400 major companies rankings" (in Japanese). Weekly Economist. 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  27. ^ "Nikkei BP Brand rankings of Japanese universities" (in Japanese). Nikkei Business Publications. 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  28. ^ "GBUDU University Rankings" (in Japanese). YELL books. 2009. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  29. ^ "QS Asian University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2023. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  30. ^ "Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings". Times Higher Education. 2024. Retrieved April 30, 2024.
  31. ^ a b "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2023. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  32. ^ "THE World University Rankings". Times Higher Education. 2024. Retrieved September 27, 2023.
  33. ^ "QS World University Rankings". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2025. Retrieved June 4, 2024.
  34. ^ "ENSMP World University Rankings" (PDF). École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris. 2011. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
  35. ^ "World University Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 2023-09-25. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  36. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2024". Top Universities. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  37. ^ "World Reputation Rankings". Times Higher Education (THE). 2022-10-06. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  38. ^ "ShanghaiRanking-Univiersities". Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  39. ^ "2023 tables: Institutions | Annual tables | Nature Index". Nature. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  40. ^ "QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024". QS World University Rankings.
  41. ^ "World University Rankings by subject". Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
  42. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2023". Academic Ranking of World Universities.
  43. ^ 文藝春秋 (in Japanese). Japan: Bungei Shunjū. February 2010. p. 312.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  44. ^ "入試難易予想ランキング表 | 条件検索". Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  45. ^ "【2024年度入試対応】東進の大学入試偏差値一覧(ランキング)". 【2024年度入試対応】東進の大学入試偏差値一覧(ランキング) (in Japanese). Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  46. ^ "Kyoto University trio held in suspected gang rapes". January 27, 2006 – via Japan Times Online.
  47. ^ "Kyoto U. students admit gang rape". February 7, 2006 – via Japan Times Online.
  48. ^ "Four university football players accused of rape in Kyoto | The Asahi Shimbun: Breaking News, Japan News and Analysis". The Asahi Shimbun.
  49. ^ "ノーベル賞" (in Japanese). Kyoto University. Retrieved 2024-02-11.
  50. ^ "Dr. Kiyoshi Ito receives Gauss Prize". Kyoto University. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  51. ^ "総理輩出、東大16人に対し京大は2人 この違いは?". AERA dot. (アエラドット) (in Japanese). 2013-03-28. Retrieved 2024-04-07.

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