This page is written by IGPAS students what they learned after their coming to Japan.

Please add your name for each articles.

What should you do first?

First of all, WELCOME TO SENDAI and congratulation that you have passed the IGPAS entrance examination and completed initial registration. But your "real" life actually has just begun. You may face many problems that you probably didn't predict before. This is the main purpose behind the making of this page, i.e., to help you adapt smoothly with Japan "atmosphere" of life and education. Assuming that you were in the period of ONE WEEK before your coming to Japan, and you also maintain a good communication with our professor, or tutor (one former student member), or DIRECT (, then you are ready to read any information contained in this page.

Let's start...

  • Make sure that you have prepared all stuff you need to bring from your country to Japan. Check these out:
    (1) Passport/Visa and airplane ticket.
    (2) Necessary certificates (graduation, scholarship, etc).
    (3) Several photos, in different sizes: 
        40 mm x 30 mm, 45 mm x 35 mm, 45 mm x 45 mm. 
        Please prepare at least 5 photos for each size.
    (3) Enough money and food for a couple of days after your arrival in Japan.

We recommend you to bring cash of 150,000 - 200,000 yen before you can receive scholarship at the end of the month. It is very important, otherwise you have to manage your finance so tightly for the first month.

  • In Japan, everything might be confusing if you have no experience in Japanese language. To overcome this problem, it is better to contact your tutor (by e-mail/telephone) before your travel to Japan so that you can make an appointment to pick you up in the station/airport you arrive.
  • For the first time in Japan, you may stay for a moment at your friend's apartment, at hotel, or any places (as long as it is allowed).
  • Then, one of the most important thing in your academic life is the first meeting with our professor. You are welcome to meet with professor at working time. Please arrange the schedule for it since you were in your hometown.
  • In the student room, you will be given some goods for your convenience, such as a desk, bookshelf personal computer, etc. Please keep and use them carefully for research work and education purpose.

(Nugraha, 2009.7.23)

What is tutor and who is he/she?

Tutor is a student who will assist international students new to Japan to get accustomed to their new surroundings as smoothly as possible. Usually the tutor will be chosen by faculty member or our professor, but some students can also propose themselves to be a tutor. Tutors will give assistance in various matters such as study and daily life. Students eligible to be the tutors are graduate students or research students within one year of their admission in our group. We will get some information about our tutor before coming to Japan, so it is helpful if we contact he/she first.

(Nugraha, 2008.10.19)


There are two types of dormitory (housing), one is privet appartment and another one is belong to Tohoku university authority ( ) or JASSO ( ) and ( ). Please write a mail to (( ) about the deadline of application for those housing. Twice per year application for those housing are accepted. Details about housing is explained in the "Approximate Expenditure Per Month" section. In either case, when you arrive at the dormitory, you must be asked for the certificate of living in the dormitory or guarantor of your housing, which you will use in many places such as Ward Office, bank account, post office, and DIRECT. Those documents can be issued by Tohoku university authority.

At your dormitory you may find some arrangements (bed sets) those are not free to use, i.e you have to pay some rental cost. We recommend you to purchase the new bed sets from the beginning of your stay and it will cost around 10000 yen at the Aramaki Shop Center.

Another important thing, you must check the whole status (window glasses are not broken, bulbs, basin accessories are OK, etc.) of your room in the presence of dormitory authority or on the other hand you may report immediately whenever you find any faults in your room arrangements.

(Mahbub, 2008.10.18)

Administration and possible troubles

After your arrival in Sendai you will be sent at some places mentioned in the above section in order to make your alien registration card and health insurance card, Bank account, Postal account, etc. in where the respective authority will register your name in Katakana (Japanese characters). In order to prevent troubles you should write-up your name correctly in Katakana by a Japanese person who is a good English speaker. You may find him/her at your departmental administration office or at DIRECT. Otherwise your name would be registered in different accent and spelled at different places.

(Mahbub, 2008.10.18)

Approximate Expenditure Per Month

Housing is the main factor which controls the living expense. Foods and other necessary items are almost constant.

1. Housing at the Tohoku University International House (as a Single)

- If you are lucky enough then you can get University House and you are   allowed to stay here for only one year in your student life at Tohoku Univ.  
There is no guarantee that one student will get this place for living. If the
number of applicants is more than the number of vacant houses then the selection process is quite complicated.
- Rent of a single room is 5900 yen/month. I hope including other bills 
(water + gas + electricity ) you have to pay all about 15000 ~ 17000 yen per month.

2. Housing at the Tohoku University International House (as Couple or as Family, family means that you have not only spouse but also children)

- House rent  (rent +basic maintenance charge+ Basic Telephone + Water + .. 17000 yen)
- Bills of Electricity (around 4000) + Gas (around 7000 ~10000) , +  Internet (4000 this is optional but we usually use Internet connection at our home) i.e total around 35000 yen.

3. Now I will give exact prices (lowest price) of some foods those I buy for myself.

a. Rice 10 kg 2580
b. Oil 1.5 L   350
c. Beef 1 kg  1300
d. Chicken   2 kg 840
e. Fish  (shrimp) 250 gm 250
f. Babies Milk Powder 850 gm 1480
g. Milk 1 L 160 ~ 350 (depending on quality)
f. Vegetables are also little bit expensive.

4. Transportation

a. Only for one person 5000 yen per month anywhere within the city (in this case you have to buy bus card by showing your student ID).
  -but if you use bicycle then it will take around 0 ~ 3000  yen per month

I hope now you can estimate about your monthly expenditure approximately.

When you live outside of University house the house rent (excluding bills) would be near 30000 ~ 35000. But important fact that you have to pay some deposit money (50000~70000) before entering the apartment. In most cases this deposit money is non-refundable.

(Mahbub, 2009.06.30)

Food, Supermarket, Water

Food and drink are our primary needs to live in this human being (certainly). Everyone has its own desire on food and we can take a look at several choices to get ours. There are some student cafetaria/restaurant at Tohoku University. The menu usually vary everyday. We can choose our favorite food and request it to be always available. The cost of most food in student restaurant is very cheap compared to restaurant outside campus. It will be a good choice if we want to save much money. But sometimes we also want to make/cook food by ourselves. Believe or not, that is the most economical way of life. So if we have much time, it is better to spend a little of our time for cooking. For this purpose, we need to buy some food materials in supermarkets.

We can find many supermarkets in Sendai, from the type of minimarket to the big one. Each company (supermarket) is trying to give its best bargaining position. Some companies give cheaper price for vegetables but expensive in meat. The other companies give cheaper price for meat but, vice versa, expensive in vegetables. We can manage the finance by ourselves according to needs in one month, so it will be sufficient during our life in Sendai/Japan.

For drinking, we can generally drink water from every water tap in Japan. If we want "more", we can buy some brands of coffee, milk, etc from supermarket, or from automatic machine available in many places.

(Nugraha, 2008.10.20)

99/100-yen Shop

There are some "special" convenience stores in Sendai with "special" price so called 100-yen shop and 99-yen shop. We can buy many things there with only 99 or 100 yen per item. But note that we should pay additional fee about 5 yen (10%) as a tax. Different 99/100-yen shop may provide different goods. We can choose appropriate shop as what we want to buy.

(Nugraha, 2008.11.28)

Public Transpotation, Bus, Japan Railway, Subway

Train and bus both can be considered as public transport. In fact those will seem you very expensive. There are several ways to minimize the expenditure in transportation purpose, for instance; there is train card as well as bus card which are comparatively cheap if you buy the cards that applicable for one to six months. We can also make them much cheaper by using our student card, but we have to request a form of evidence as a student from faculty office.

Of course we may control our transportation cost that tends to zero, the only condition is that we must know how to ride bicycle and must have that one.

(Mahbub, 2008.10.29)

Islamic Center: Location, Access

In Sendai City, there is a small mosque which is also considered as an Islamic Cultural Center in Sendai (ICCS). It is located in Hachiman area. To access this mosque, we can take any bus from bus-stop 10 at the main bus pool near Sendai Station. If we do not want to get lost, please ask first to the bus driver whether the bus will pass Hachiman or not. If that's so, enjoy the bus and get off at bus-stop Hachiman 7.

(Nugraha, 2008.11.04)

How to select Lectures

There are at least 30 credits that we must take to complete master program. The credits consist of 16 credits of seminar/thesis and 14 credits of lectures. For the lectures, it is convenient to choose lectures in Department of Physics. If we want to take courses outside our department, then we have to submit a letter of reference to faculty office containing signatures of the lecturer and Head of Department of Physics. Please choose any lecture that are related to our research subject, such as solid state physics, condensed matter physics, statistical physics, quantum field theory, and spectroscopy or optics. Beyond these lectures we can take several courses for our "fun", such as from mathematics, chemistry, or even language courses.

(Nugraha, 2008.11.04)

Registration of Lectures

To register ourselves as a participant in some lectures, we should do online registration using this URL:

We must login into the site by submitting our username (student ID) and password. It is written in Japanese, so we have to ask for help from our tutor. Once we know the meaning of any symbol in that site, perhaps we do not need to ask our tutor in the next time.

(Nugraha, 2008.11.04)

Computer and Network

In our own computer, we can make several user accounts. Since the computers are lab properties, please provide information about user account that we use in our computer and the password. If possible, we don't have to set any password.

We are given an account in flex system. To login, use ssh:


(username: e.g. nugraha, mmhaque, furukawa, etc.)

We will be asked for the password (it is given by our network administrator) and it may be changed using this command:


There we can edit our webpage in public_html directory:

cd public_html

and put index.html file in that directory, then we will be able to see our homepage in this URL:

This account is also useful for doing calculation in special computer designed for that purpose such as tube and wire.

To enter tube and wire environment, just using ssh as previous after entering flex account:

ssh computer_name

(computer_name: e.g. tube, wire, tube21L, tube22L, tube 23L, etc.)

(Nugraha, 2008.11.28)

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Last-modified: 2015-02-10 (Tue) 06:19:20 (777d)