Kyoto Styudy

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Dreaming of Studying Art in Japan? Discover Kyoto’s Hyper-Creative Art Universities

Dreaming of Studying Art in Japan? Discover Kyoto’s Hyper-Creative Art Universities

Have you ever dreamed of studying art in Japan? It’s no secret that many aspiring artists have been inspired by art from Japan in some way. Japanese art in the form of anime, games, manga, and the like has taken the world by storm. Kyoto provides an excellent environment for gaining hands-on experience with such art!

Kyoto is known as a college town, and you'll find many universities and vocational schools with art programs there. You’ll surely draw inspiration for your creations from the city’s unique cultural atmosphere that mixes the traditional with the modern. It's a fantastic place to explore your passion for art!

In this article, we rounded up 5 art universities, 1 vocational school, and 6 universities with art programs in Kyoto. No matter your artistic goals, you'll find something for you here.

Subjects covered at art schools in Japan

The exact content you’ll learn depends on your interests and the program. Many programs will cover art history, art basics, composition, design, and color theory. Programs may include 2D and 3D animation, CAD tools, product design, character design, and more. 

Here’s an idea of what you may learn:

Field of Study  Subjects Covered 
Fine Arts Modern art, Japanese painting, Oil painting, Printmaking, Sculpture
2D Design Graphics, Illustration, Manga, Web design, UI design, Character design
3D Design Arts and crafts, Industrial product design, Metal jewelry, Figurines
Film and Media Arts Anime, Film/Video Production, Game Design, Photography, 2D and 3D Computer graphics
Fashion and Textiles Textiles, Fashion design
Spacial Design Interior design, Spacial design, Architectural design


Ready to find out more? Let’s take a look at some art universities in Kyoto!

Art universities in Kyoto

1. Kyoto Arts And Crafts University

Kyoto Arts And Crafts University aims to preserve Japanese culture and traditions by nurturing artisans with art and design skills and critical thinking abilities. The flagship Faculty of Arts and Crafts provides fundamental art skills in the first 2 years and specialization courses in the last 2 years. Additionally, the newly opened Faculty of Architecture, established in 2022, focuses on local building surveys, community-focused architecture solutions, sustainable building practices, and a blend of traditional and modern architecture.

The Faculty of Arts and Crafts has 7 specializations:

  • ・Visual Design 
  • ・Interior and Spacial Design 
  • ・Culture Design
  • ・Culture and Information Science Design
  • ・Pottery
  • ・Woodworking and Sculpture
  • ・Lacquerware

Courses may include: Introduction to Art, Art and Design Fundamentals, and Photography

The Faculty of Architecture focuses on 3 areas:

  • ・Architectural Design
  • ・Traditional Architecture
  • ・Fusion Architecture

Courses may include: Introduction to Architectural Design, Traditional Architecture, CAD software basics


2. Kyoto Saga University of Arts, Kyoto Saga Art College

Kyoto Saga Art College, established in 1971, and Kyoto Saga University of Arts, founded in 2001, are built on the same grounds as the Daikakuji Temple in Sagano. They emphasize teachings inspired by Kobo-Daishi and aim to foster creativity and humanity in students. The university offers 4-year degrees, while the art college provides 2-year degrees. Both offer 2 art departments and several courses to choose from.

Kyoto Saga University of Art 4-year programs:  

  • ・Japanese painting and ancient painting 
  • ・Oil painting and printmaking 
  • ・Composite art 
  • ・Graphic design 
  • ・Illustration 
  • ・Character design 
  • ・Tourism design 
  • ・Textiles, dyeing, and weaving 
  • ・Life design 

Kyoto Saga Art College 2-year programs:

  • ・Japanese painting
  • ・Western and modern art 
  • ・Graphic design 
  • ・Illustration 
  • ・Animation
  • ・Daily goods design
  • ・Manga
  • ・Comic art


3. Kyoto Seika University

Kyoto Seika University, established in 1968, boasts a diverse student body, with around 30% coming from overseas. The campus provides modern facilities and workshops, with 5 undergraduate faculties and 4 graduate schools to pick from. First-year international students are required to take Japanese language courses, and resources are available to support Japanese language learning. You can also enroll in extracurricular activities such as basketball, dance, drama, and creative manga. 

Department of Humanities

  • ・History Course
  • ・Literature Course
  • ・Society Course

Department of Global Studies

  • ・Global Culture Course
  • ・Japanese Studies Course

Department of Media Creation

  • ・Media Innovation Course
  • ・Media Designs Course 
  • ・Media Communication Course
  • ・Sound Creation Course

Department of Fine Arts

  • ・Oil painting
  • ・Japanese painting
  • ・Printmaking
  • ・Sculpture
  • ・Ceramics
  • ・Textiles
  • ・Video & Media Arts

Faculty of Design

  • ・Graphic Design Course
  • ・Digital Creation Course
  • ・Department of Illustration
    • ・Illustration Course
    • ・Motion Illustration Course
  • ・Department of Product Design
    • ・Industrial Design Course
    • ・Interior and Goods Design Course
    • ・Fashion Design Course
  • ・Department of Architecture
    • ・Architecture Course
    • ・Human Environment Design Course

Faculty of Manga

  • ・Department of Manga
    • ・Cartoon Art Course
    • ・Comic Art Course
    • ・New Generation Manga Course
    • ・Character Design Course
  • ・Department of Animation
    • ・Animation Course


4. Kyoto University of the Arts

Kyoto University of the Arts, established in 1991, promises 2 faces, one traditional and one avant-garde. They aim to raise a new generation of artists to launch the next renaissance. They cover almost everything art-related, with an astounding 10 art departments. Exchange programs are available for partnered universities and institutions, so check if your school is on the list! You can also enroll in their graduate programs. 

  • 10 art departments: 
    • ・Department of Fine and Applied Arts
    • ・Department of Character Design
    • ・Department of Information Design
    • ・Department of Product Design
    • ・Department of Spatial Design
    • ・Department of Environmental Design
    • ・Department of Film Production
    • ・Department of Performing Arts
    • ・Department of Creative Writing
    • ・Department of Art and Child Studies


5. Kyoto City University of Arts

Kyoto City University of Arts was established in 1880 and is known for producing many famous artists, such as Yayoi Kusama. You will acquire the necessary 21st-century skills for today’s workforce, as well as specialized artistic skills. You can refine your skills even further with their graduate and postgraduate programs.

  • Department of Arts
    • ・Japanese painting specialization
    • ・Oil painting specialization
    • ・Sculpture specialization
    • ・Printmaking specialization
    • ・Conceptual design specialization
  • Department of Design
    • ・Composite design specialization
    • ・Design B specialization
  • Department of Crafts
    • ・Ceramics specialization
    • ・Lacquerware specialization
    • ・Dyeing and weaving specialization
  • Department of Composite Art
    • ・Composite art specialization

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