Founded in 1877, The University of Tokyo (or 'Todai') is the first national university in Japan. It is the highest ranked university in Asia since 2003 according to the ARWU Rankings. It consists of 9 faculties, a College of Arts and Sciences, 15 Graduate Schools and 11 Institutes.

University of Tokyo is ranked 3rd in Asia, according to the ranking of Top 200 Asian Universities published by the Times Higher Education (THE) Quacquarelli Symonds in 2009. Four universities from Japan made it to the Asian Top 10 list, including KYOTO (5th), OSAKA (6th), TOKYO Institute of Technology (9th).

According to the THES 2008 world university rankings, University of Tokyo is ranked first in Japan, followed by Osaka.

According to the ARWU 2008 league table, Tokyo is ranked No. 1, with Kyoto in 2nd and Hebrew University Jerusalem in 3rd position in Japan.

Another League Table:
Top 30 Japanese Universities
1 University of Tokyo
2 Kyoto University
3 Osaka University
4 Tokyo Institute of Technology
5 Tohoku University
6 Keio University
7 Kyushu University
8 Nagoya University
9 Hokkaido University
10 Tsukuba University
11 Kobe University
12 Chiba University
13 Waseda University
14 Hiroshima University
15 Kanazawa University
16 Okayama University
17 Tokyo University of Science
18 Tokyo Metropolitan University
19 Tokyo Medical and Dental University
20 Osaka City University
21 Niigata University
22 Kumamoto University
23 Tokushima University
24 Osaka Prefectural University
25 Gifu University
26 Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
27 Yokohama National University
28 Yamaguchi University
29 Nagoya City University
30 Kagoshima University

Background: In 2001 the Ministry of Education proposed to change the funding model to strengthen the "Top 30" universities. Among the various "Top 30" lists floated at the time, this one, attributed to the prep school Kawaijuku, is probably the most useful.

It was based on four factors:
  • research funding (Kaken only),
  • citations of research publications,
  • entrance exam difficulty,
  • reputation survey.
* Suggested Reading:

Top Business Schools in Japan

Top MBA Universities in Japan

Japanese Universities in QS Ranking 2011/2012
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World University Ranking Tables

America - US News & World Report, The Princeton Review, BusinessWeek
Canada - Maclean's, Gourman Report Ranking of Canadian Universities
UK - Sunday Times, Guardian, Times Good University Guide, Daily Telegraph
World - Shanghai Jiao Tong ARWU Rankings, Webometrics, Newsweek