Campus Walk No. 41: Mejirodai International Village Home for 1000 students and researchers

June 7, 2024

Campus Walk No. 41
Mejirodai International Village: Home for 1000 students and researchers

Hisashi Shigematsu
Mejirodai International Village
In-house Advisor
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Mejirodai International Village is an international dormitory that opened in September 2019 on the site of the former University of Tokyo Hospital Annex. While UTokyo’s international lodges are principally for international students, Japanese students can also live in Mejirodai International Village, and it has a 70/30 mix of international and Japanese residents at present. Japanese students ranging from undergraduates to those undertaking doctoral programs live here together with students and researchers from overseas. I am one of three in-house advisors tasked with providing guidance, advice and other support while living on-site.

There are a total of 857 rooms spread across the Linear Building, South Building, and North Building. Of these, 704 rooms are for student use in shared dwelling units, with a communal living room and kitchen for every 20 or so rooms. As the dormitory is large, there are more than 30 blocks that have their own communal living rooms and kitchens, but how those rooms are used differs from block to block.


Main entrance to the buildings, with a cherry tree remaining from the Hospital Annex days. VILLAGE MARCHE is on the right.


Evening scene from the Shirakashi Deck at the center of the facility
Photo: Naomichi Sode, SS Inc.


Welcome event just after opening (2019)

Residents cannot enter the communal living rooms and kitchens of other blocks, so networking between residents from different blocks takes place at the dining hall on the first floor of the Linear Building. Few residents were using it during the COVID-19 pandemic, but after a new batch of international students and others came into the village in October 2022, the dining hall once more became a hive of activity, with residents watching films together, and chatting and laughing until late at night.

Next to the dining hall is a much-used studio. The sounds of piano, violins and wind instruments coming from it confirm that our students have a wide range of musical tastes. Lots of residents also enjoy a game of billiards or table tennis in the Village during the evenings.


Christmas party before the COVID-19 pandemic (2019)


Experiencing a Japanese seasonal event with a mochitsuki (rice cake-making) festival (2020)


One corner of the spacious dining hall. Writing messages on the blackboard is popular

On the road-facing side of the Village, there is a convenience store as well as VILLAGE MARCHE, a café-restaurant. While few students go to VILLAGE MARCHE since it is rather upscale, a lot of locals can be seen in there especially at lunchtime, which helps to open up the Village to the surrounding community. A food truck service also started up in June 2021.

Once the risks from COVID-19 have finally gone, we will stage all types of social events more frequently, with the aim of building networks not just between our residents but also with local people and those working in the adjacent Entrepreneur Village (a base of operations for university-corporate relations).


Monthly theater night. Watching movies recommended by other residents on a big screen + discussion


Ukrainian students accepted under the emergency relief program participating in a tea ceremony jointly held with the UTokyo Tea Ceremony Club


Disaster mitigation and crime prevention event held with Otsuka Police Station. The quake simulation vehicle was popular with participants from countries not normally hit by earthquakes

* Assistant Professor Shigematsu’s affiliations and titles are as of March 2023.

* This article was originally printed in Tansei 46 (Japanese language only). All information in this article is as of March 2023.

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