What are the top Japanese schools with animation degree programs?

Top Animation Schools in Japan - 2024 College Rankings
1Tokyo Animation CollegeTokyo
2Kyoto University of the ArtsKyoto
3Digital Hollywood UniversityMultiple
4Kyoto Seika UniversityKyoto

Our 2024 rankings of the top animation degree programs in Japan. 

For this ranking we only consider formal degree programs (bachelor's degree or equivalent). For an explanation of our ranking criteria, click here

1. Tokyo Animation College, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo Animation College

Tokyo Animation College has several paths to study animation. Options include Anime Production (three years), Animator/Animation (two years), and Character Design (two years). Students in all programs have access to state-of-the-art labs and studios such the animation and comic labs; drawing, computer, and training rooms; animation, manga, illustration, and acting practice rooms; vocal, recording, and post-recording studios; archive rooms; and free spaces. 

The three-year Anime Production program explores TV animation, 3D animation art, theatre animation production, 3DCG, and web animation. Course examples for the program include Anime Production I-II; Character Design; Directing Techniques; Advanced Flash Anime; Color Design; Filming/Editing; Advanced 3DCG; Background Arts; Advanced Sketching I-IV; Short Animation Production; and Business. 

Anime Production students will also complete Graduation Production I-III, culminating with a full-length animated production. 

The two-year Animator/Animation program begins with basic skills such as drawing, sketching, and motion. Students will move on to mastering animation production processes such as color/filming editorial techniques, and background art. Students in this program will take most of the same courses as students in the Anime Production program. The program culminates with a final project (Animation Production). 

Housed in the Comic Department, Character Design is a two-year program that includes courses such as Basic Sketching I-IV; Production Development; Character Design I-II; Advanced Flash Anime; Comic Expression Techniques I-III; 3D Design; Advanced Sketching I-II; Practical 3DCG; and Color Techniques. Students in this program will also complete several projects, a graduation production, and a final presentation. 

Graduates of the animation programs at Tokyo Animation College are prepared to pursue roles such as Animator (Film), Flash Animator, Technical Director, Producer, CG Director, Key-Animator, Character Designer, Animator (Television), Production Assistant, Film Director, Digital Cell-Painter, Animation Supervisor, Storyboard Artist, Inbetweener, Comic Book Artist, Art Director, Cartoonist, Production Controller, and Animator (Advertising). 

Tokyo Animation College dates to 1979 when the Music School was founded. In 1984, the school became a specialized training institution authorized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. In addition to state-of-the-art production facilities, Tokyo Animation College now houses dorms, libraries, reference centers, and a career center.

2. Kyoto University of the Arts, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto University of the Arts

Kyoto University of the Arts (KUAD) houses the Faculty of the Arts, which provides programs in areas such as animation, manga, film, contemporary art, and graphic design. Students can learn animation through the Character Design BA program in the Department of Character Design; the Illustration BA program through the Department of Information Design; or through the Film Production BA program in the Department of Film Production. 

Across all programs, students benefit from courses taught by industry professionals; access to state-of-the-art production facilities and labs; internship opportunities; workshops, seminars, and visiting artists; and study abroad experiences. Students also have the opportunity to enhance any degree program by completing courses from other areas such as manga, mixed media, visual communication design, spatial design, art studies and cultural production, X-tech design, directing, photography, or painting. 

Graduates of the BA programs at Kyoto University of the Arts are prepared to pursue careers across the animation, film and television, game design, fine art, advertising, education, and other industries. 

Kyoto University of the Arts is a private university that began as a junior college in 1977. The school became a four-year university in 1991. Today, KUAD serves approximately 4,120 students and another 14,060 online through the schools distance education division. Kyoto University of the Arts houses two campuses, facilities such as the Kyoto Museum of Art, and dozens of programs at all degree levels.  

3. Digital Hollywood University, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Digital Hollywood University

Digital Hollywood University (DHU) is home to the Faculty of Digital Communication, which houses the Anime, Film, and 3D Computer Graphics programs. Leading to a bachelor’s degree, all programs allow students to study animation and 3DCG. However, the Anime bachelor’s is ideal for students interested in a program that focuses solely on Japanese animation.  

Program features include individual and collaborative projects; seminars led by industry professionals; access to state-of-the-art equipment, labs, and facilities; learning that takes place in a professional studio-like environment; animation business courses; and internship opportunities. 

Students in the DHU Anime program will work their way through the entire animation production pipeline from idea to finished film. Course examples include Introduction to Animation; Character Design; 3DCG I-III; Story Making; Drawing I-IV; Real-Time Graphics Techniques; VFX I-III; History of Anime; Anime Shooting Composite I-II; Animation Production; Game Information Study; Animation Direction I-II; Anime Scenario I-II; Video Direction I-II; Universal Design; and CG Short Film. 

The Anime program at DHU culminates with a final project to be displayed at the Graduate Exhibition. Students with the most outstanding projects receive an award. 

Graduates of the Anime bachelor’s program at Digital Hollywood University are prepared to pursue positions in all areas of Japanese and traditional animation. Nearly 92% of DHU alumni have secured employment shortly after graduating. 

Digital Hollywood University was established as a One Department and One Faculty System in 2004. The school serves approximately 1,150 students enrolled in digital communication programs across eight specialized areas. This includes anime/animation, game programming, 3DCG, film, graphic design, web design, business, and advanced media technology. Around 35% of DHU students come from 39 other countries. Digital Hollywood University is accredited by the Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA). 

4. Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto Seika University

Kyoto Seika University (KSU) is the first and only university in Japan to house a dedicated Faculty of Manga. Within the faculty are five bachelor’s degree programs including Animation, Cartoon Art, New Generation Manga, Character Design, and Comic Art. All programs feature courses taught by leaders in animation and manga; practical courses with options to specialize in an area of interest; access to sound and stop-motion animation studios; and opportunities to present works at film festivals and competitions.  

The Faculty of Manga also houses the Department of Animation, which manages the Animation bachelor’s degree program. Topics covered include stop motion, hand-drawing, 3DCG, direction, computer graphics, storyboarding, painting, sound design, and photography. Students also benefit from the Applied Practicum in Animation completed in years two and three. 

The Applied Practicum in Animation (Year 2) features an animation analysis seminar where students will master digital drawing techniques; explore Japanese Noh theater and pantomime; and study the movement as it relates to traditional animation. Students will also learn how to create storyboards; produce a short animated film; and complete a directing course. 

The Applied Practicum in Animation (Year 3) is led by instructor Kazuhiro Wakabayashi (sound director for the award-winning animated film Ghost in the Shell, and the Academy Award-winning animated feature Spirited Away. Voice actors, VFX artists, and other guests are invited to host hands-on sessions in areas such as Foley sounds, post-recording, and sound effects. 

The Animation program at Kyoto Seika University culminates with a team-based graduation project—the final animated feature film. Graduates are prepared to pursue advanced roles in traditional and Japanese animation. Some program alumni have gone on to establish careers with long-running manga series, animated series, and live-action movies. Graduates are Animators, Directors, Game Designers, Computer Graphics Artists, Sound Technicians, Sound Directors, VFX Artists, and Editors (Animation). 

Kyoto Seika University (KSU) was founded in 1968 as Kyoto Seika Junior College (KSJC). When it opened, KSJC consisted of the Departments of Art and English. Today, Kyoto Seika University houses the Faculties of Art, Global Culture, Media Creation, Design, and Manga. Within these faculties are the Departments of Humanities, Media Cration, Fine Art and Global Studies. KSU also houses the Graduate School and Human Environment Program. 

Serving approximately 4,255 students, Kyoto Seika University is accredited by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT) and the Japan University Accreditation Association (JUAA).