Handbook 2021 - Chapter 1 Before Coming to Japan

Table of Contents

1. Welcome to SFC!

The purpose of this website is to help you to prepare to come to Japan as an international student at Keio University SFC. 

You can learn all about what to do before you leave your home country and what to do from your arrival at the airport.

2. SFC (Shonan Fujisawa Campus)

What is Shonan Fujisawa like?

SFC is located on the north side of Fujisawa-city in Kanagawa prefecture, which is to the west of Tokyo.

Shonan is the nickname of the region along the coast of Sagami Bay and the Pacific Ocean.  It’s known as a popular summer resort area with a relaxed culture.

Fujisawa-city is in the heart of Shonan, with a popular tourist beach, Enoshima island, Hikiji river park and the Site of Oba Castle which is one of most beautiful cherry blossom spots in the prefecture.

A newly developed area around Tsujido station (there is a direct bus from campus), has a large shopping mall with movie theatres.

Around the nearest train station, Shonandai, you can find many attractive restaurants, bars, karaoke boxes, manga cafés, a planetarium and even natural hot springs.

Having Kamakura and Yokohama a short distance to the east, and Tokyo is only 40-50 minutes by train.  You can also enjoy a great view of Mt. Fuji.

The climate is rather warm, with little snow (It snows once or twice a year). And many people enjoy its nature and outdoor sports.

You will soon begin to love this town!

3. Visa

All foreign nationals entering and staying in Japan are given a status of residence at their port of entry, and are allowed to engage in activities permitted under that status of residence.

International students are expected to have a status of residence as “Student“. If you do not have the appropriate status of residence, you may not be able to enroll.

To apply for a Student visa, it is required to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (CoE). Keio University will apply for CoE for international students residing outside Japan.


To Obtain a Permit for a Part-Time Job

Students who hold “Student” status of residence are allowed to stay in Japan only for study and research purposes. Therefore, you are not allowed to work under “Student” visa status.  If you wish to engage in secondary activities aside from your studies, such as a part-time job, you must obtain a *permit from the Immigration Bureau beforehand.

With this *permit (資格外活動の許可/shikaku gai katsudo no kyoka), students are allowed to work for up to 28 hours a week (up to 8 hours a day during the summer, winter and spring recess) as long as the work is not deemed to be socially immoral.

 * The official name of this permit is “Permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted”

How to Apply

We will enclose the application form for this permit with the CoE to your home address.

Fill out the application form and submit it at Immigration at your port of entry upon arrival in Japan. Permission to engage in an activity other than that permitted under the status of residence will be given at the airport accordingly.

Bringing Your family

Please consult with the embassy/consulate in your home country by yourself as Keio university does not support family visas.

Please also visit the visa page of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.


4. Housing

Please refer to the following webpage and our handbook!

Keio University Student Website
>Information for International Students
>>Housing Information


5. Money

Japan is predominantly a cash-based society especially in rural areas.

We recommend you to bring the equivalent of 300,000 JPY~ in cash even you are a scholarship student as scholarship payment usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to start.


The currency in Japan is the yen (円, en) and is denoted with the symbol ¥.

Bills come in 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen (rare), 5,000 yen and 10,000yen denominations. Coins come in 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen and 500 yen denominations. Counterfeit money is sometimes found for 500 yen coins.

Consumption Tax

The current consumption tax rate is 10% nationwide (8% for take-out food and drink).  All the price tags should include the consumption tax.

Payment Methods

We recommend you to carry cash in your wallet, ~3,000JPY for daily life, ~10,000JPY for your first visiting day.

Credit Cards/Debit cards:
Credit cards/Debit cards have become increasingly accepted.
The most commonly accepted cards are MasterCard, Visa, and JCB. American Express and Diner’s Club are accepted to a lesser extent.
Please note that some places do not take foreign-issued credit cards or cash cards, including 銀聯card.
Please check if your credit card and cash card are usable in Japan before your visit.

Getting Your JPY

Currency Exchange:
Currency exchange is usually handled by banks, post offices, some larger hotels and a handful of licensed money changers found at international airports.

ATM Withdrawal:
Most ATMs do not accept foreign-issued cash cards in Japan.
Postal ATMs (Japan Post office) and 7-Bank ATMs (7-Eleven convenience stores) allow you to withdraw cash by credit and debit cards issued outside of Japan, including Visa, Plus, Mastercard, Maestro, Cirrus, American Express and JCB cards, and provide an English user menu.
Please check if your cash cards are usable in Japan before you leave for Japan.

Traveler’s Check:
Traveler’s checks are accepted in very limited currencies in Japan. International airports and leading banks are the easiest place to change your T/C for yen.

Price List

6. Travel Arrangement


Apply for your passport if you don’t have one.

Airline Ticket

Book your airline ticket.  Both Narita or Haneda are international airports close to SFC, though, Haneda airport is one hour closer if you can choose one.

*SFC is approximately 2 hours away from Narita airport and 1 hour away from Haneda airport.

Travel Insurance

This is not mandatory, but travel insurance is strongly recommended for the first few weeks until joining the National Health Insurance plan with your residential registration.


Check access from your port of entry to your final destination. 

7. Necessary Documents

The following documents will be required after your arrival.  We recommend you to prepare them while you are at your home country.

Also, please make copies of your passport and your visa documents, prepare some extra ID photos (4.5 X 3.5cm), and check the contact number for your embassy in Japan.

Joint Guarantor

Joint guarantor is a co-signer who takes legal responsibility in case the student  defaults on payment of rent or damages. They must be over 20 years of age and be a Japanese citizen with regular income (They must be able to prove that the rent is not above 30% of what they earn).

You need find a joint guarantor to rent an apartment before you arrive in Japan and make sure to get his/her contact details and signature to submit to your realtors.

Comprehensive Renter’s Insurance by Keio

If a guarantor cannot be found, it is possible for Keio University to cosign the lease for the period of study at Keio University.

For details of this system, please refer to the following website.


To subscribe to the system, please refer to the following website for more information.


A Guardian’s Letter

If you are under the age of 20 and plan on getting a mobile phone contract, download the parental consent forms and let your legal guardians fill them out. You will also need copies of your guardian’s identification documents.

*20 is the age of adulthood in Japan.

Followings are the main mobile phone providers.

NTT docomo






Necessary documents for financial aid

Prepare documents to certify the income of your parents/spouse and financial supporters.

– documents for all of your supporters, including your parents (or spouse). If your parent(s) (or spouse) do(es) not have income, states it in the Financial Supporter Report (prescribed form).

– If your parents (or spouse) or financial supporters live outside of Japan, they should submit a copy of documents that certify the income in 2020. An English or Japanese translation must be attached to documents written in other languages. You can also write English or Japanese translations directly onto the documents (the name of the document, year, amount of income, income period, name of the recipient and date of issue must be translated).

Please refer to the following link for all the required documents and guidelines.


8. Medical

Visit your doctor

Plan on visiting your doctor and getting a physical examination before you leave your home country to ensure you are in good health. We recommend that you bring along a copy of your medical records in English in case of an emergency or if you are suffering from a chronic illness.

Prescription Medications

The importing of medicines from overseas is subject to control by the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law and the Customs Law to prevent health hazard caused by defective products.

You can bring your personal medicines into Japan once certain procedures are completed.  When you bring your personal medicines into Japan, you have to apply for “Import Confirmation Application Form” (“Yunyu Kakunin-sho” in Japanese/輸入確認書), and receive it before you leave home, and declare it to the officer at customs.

Please see the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website as below;


You can find the “Q & A form” and “Import Confirmation Application Form” on the page.

9. Packing

Pack smart

While most things are readily available in Japan, some items may be more expensive, difficult to be mailed internationally, or simply inconvenient to purchase here, so you may wish to bring particular items with you from home.

Recommendations include:

Temperatures in the Kanto region can range from about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (around 1~2ºC) in the winter to 100 (around 35ºC) and humid in the summer.
For this reason, a wide range of clothing sufficient for the entire year is necessary.
Do not forget to pack formal clothes like black suits which are suitable for ceremonial occasions as well.
If you need big size clothes (more than L), bring them from your home country as it is not easy to obtain those sizes in Japan. (same with underwear)
Also, if your feet are bigger than 28cm~for men, 25cm~for women, it may be difficult to find shoes in Japan.
*Recently, more variety is available online.

Counter medicines
aspirins, cold medicine, stomach medicine, and other medicines you used to take.  One-month supply of prescription medication is allowed.  Please check the medical page for more details.

Back-up for glasses/contact lenses
You can buy them in Japan, but you need to visit a doctor to get a prescription to purchase contact lenses.  Back-up lenses will be useful for emergency.

Other personal items
Good deodorant and greeting cards are some things you can’t find easily in Japan.

Electric adaptor/a voltage converter
Japan operates on a 100V supply voltage and 50/60 Hz.  Socket type is a Type A (two prong like U.S).

SIM / Wi-fi router
As Japan does not have many free Wi-fi spots, you will need to make a contract with a phone company once you are settled in Japan.  Until then, you can use a short-term pre-paid SIM or Wi-fi router.  You can pick one up at the airport of your arrival.

Hand-carried baggage

  • Cash (a credit card and a cash card if possible)
  • Flight tickets
  • Passport
  • Travel insurance certificate (if any)
  • A pen
  • Contact list (Contact information of your embassy in Japan, Keio university, your guarantor, and your accommodation)
  • Masks (Under the Covid-19 situation, the face mask wearing rate in Japan is almost 100% except for small children)

Prohibited Items

Please check Japan Customs page.


10. Culture and Language

Inform yourself about Japan

Take some time to better familiarize yourself with Japan. By knowing your soon-to-be home’s culture, history, geography, economy, government, etc., even slightly can improve your experience in Japan and your time spent in the country will be more rewarding. Talk to others who have been to Japan and seek opportunities to watch movies and read more about the country and its culture.

Learn basic Japanese language and two basic written scripts (hiragana and katakana).  It will make your life in Japan much easier.  Not many people can speak English well.

Please try following easy Japanese learning webpages of Japan Foundation

<MARUGOTO Japanese Learning>

Hiragana : https://a1.marugotoweb.jp/ja/hiragana.php

Katkana : https://a1.marugotoweb.jp/ja/katakana.php

Also make sure to familiarize yourself with all the admission guide information from Keio SFC.

If you have any difficulties or problems during your stay in Japan, please contact us for an assistance any time on any subjects.  We are always happy to help you to enjoy your student life in Keio university.

11. Immigration

Arrival procedure at Narita/Haneda airports

The following is usual arrival procedure at international airports.  It is subject to continuing changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic situations.

Please check airport notifications at each airport beforehand.

Narita airport:

Haneda airport:

*Residence card(在留カード)…. Carry the card with you at all times, and present it when requested by an official or police. You may be required to present it for certain official procedures such as opening a bank account. Once you have found housing in Japan after arrival, you must register your place of residence at the local city/ward office within 14 days after moving in. Make sure to bring your residence card when you go to the city/ward office. If you fail to register your place of residence without a justifiable reason, your status of residence may be revoked.

12. Delivery Service

There are delivery service counters (Takuhaibin/宅配便) on the arrival floor at each international airport.

If you have a lot of luggage or large suitcases, you can use the delivery service.

Delivery is usually made the next day.  The price depends on the type, size and weight of the package and the destination. 

e.g. For a suitcase of 80cmX40cmX30cm would be 2000~3000 JPY from Narita airport to your accommodation in Fujisawa.

13. Travel from Airports

*Under the current border control policy to stop spreading the Covid-19 virus, all travelers from abroad are requested not to use public transportation for the entirety of their two-week quarantine period, including immediately after arrival.

We recommend you to book a hotel near your arrival airport for your two-week quarantine period, then move to the final destination using the public transportations suggested below.

If you need an assistant to your travel arrangement from your arrival airport, please contact the following tour agency, JTB Corp..

Send an inquiry by an E-mail at      


Please write “[Keio-SFC] Mr/Ms (your name)” in the email title. 

Public Transportations

There are several routes to your accommodation from Narita/Haneda international airport.

Take trains or a limousine bus to get to your final destination.  Check the time table for times. 

Taxis are relatively expensive.  (~40,000 yen from Narita airport to Fujisawa)

Note that buses and trains do not run 24 hours..

From Each Intl Airport to Shonandai



Campus Access


14. Campus Facilities/Amenities

Please refer to the following webpage!

Campus facilities

Campus amenities

15. Student Support

Please refer to the following webpage!

Keio University SFC GIGA website
>Campus Life
>>Student Support

16. Bulletin Board

With the exception of the graduate schools at Hiyoshi Campus, nearly all important communication for international undergraduate and graduate students will be posted on the bulletin boards of the Student Life Section at each campus and on the internet at the “For Keio Students” website, or the Gakuji Web System listed below.

It is your responsibility to check these bulletin boards and websites regularly as important information will be posted on them (including about scholarships, accommodation applications, and various events for international students). We also recommend that you access the International Center’s website regularly for important information on scholarships.


The Academic Affairs Web System and Web Entry System are accessible through potal keio.jp. Utilizing keio.jp you are able to access various web services including Education Support System, Class Support System, and the Academic Affairs Web System.

For Keio Students Website:

This is the Student’s homepage for Keio University and is called “Jukusei site”. You can find information and the latest news for all campuses, links to all the following websites, and an FAQ page with answers to all kinds of questions regarding your academic and student life.

Notice Board for Scholarships:

You will find details on available scholarships on this board in the first floor lobby of the Alpha Bldg.

17. Academic Calendar

Please refer to the following webpage and the SFC GUIDE 2021!

Academic Calendar for SFC students

(For your reference)
2021 SFC Academic Calendar can be found on the page 2-5 of the SFC GUIDE 2021.

18. Computing Environment


We will be removing the computers from the special classrooms located in the building κ、ε、ι、and ο, and will be promoting the great shift towards SFC BYOD (Bring your own devices), where students are required to use their own personal laptops for the purposes of their studies. Newly enrolled students are now asked to prepare their own personal laptops before the school guidance week.

Recommended laptop specifications and software

Please refer to the following “BYOD” page.

Campus Network System

Please refer to the following SFC CNS guide.
*2021 version will be available soon.
SFC CNS guide 2020 -English edition:  https://cns-guide.sfc.keio.ac.jp/2020/CNSguide2020_en.pdf

19. Covid-19 Information

Please keep yourself up to date with the latest information about Covid-19 regularly
at keio.jp and the following websites.

Upon re-entry/entry to Japan (Covid-19) |Keio University International Center

Keio’s response measures to Covid-19 (For Students) |Keio University Student Website

Important Notices on Covid-19 (University Measures) |Keio University Student Website

Measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) when feeling
unwell |Keio University Student Website

Information on the Covid-19 |Ministry of Foreign affairs of Japan

List of programs available to international students |MEXT

20. International Student Handbook

The SFC International Student Handbook summarizes helpful information that you will need when you start to study at Keio University SFC as an international student. Please keep yourself updated through bulletin boards, websites for Keio University students, and course registration guides distributed by your faculty, graduate school, or campus using the terms in this handbook as keywords.

Chapter 2 onwards will be available from late July.

21. Contact List

Keio University Shonan Fujisawa Campus
5322 Endo, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa 252-0882 Japan
Tel: +81 (0)466-49-3404

Student Service

Here is a full list of directories.

・Handbook 2021 -Following chapters are scheduled to be released in Summer 2021.
・This handbook includes information on municipal and commercial facilities. Please understand that Keio University does not make any particular recommendations on those facilities and does not take responsibility for any problems that arise as a result of using their services or from other information in this handbook.LS