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Second Year Japanese in Kyoto


Kyoto, Japan

Program Description

Students will complete one entire year (six credits) of second year Japanese during an intensive 4 week, 5 classroom hours per day course which will meet four days per week. There are numerous attractions in Kyoto including hundreds of temples and shrines. The city of Osaka is a short train ride away and provides other attractions, such as the Nipponbashi shopping district (a smaller version of Tokyo's Akihabara Electric Town). All sites are accessible via the extensive public and private transportation systems (buses, subways, trains, and taxis). During the program, students will visit historical, cultural, and religious sites of the city, and can enjoy the rich culinary tradition of Japan in general and Kyoto in particular. The program also includes a one day trip to Osaka and a two day trip to Nara (another ancient center of Japanese culture and the capital of Japan during the 8th century).

Location Description

This four week program will take place in the city of Kyoto, one of the major cities of Japan and the center of traditional Japanese history and culture. The city is located in west-central Honshu island with an estimated population of about 1.5 million people. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for more than one thousand years until the move of the Japanese emperor to Tokyo in 1868 and remains the center of traditional Japanese culture and Buddhism.

The city of Kyoto combines traditional Japanese history and culture with a modern economic and industrial importance. On the one hand, the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" comprise 17 locations that are considered World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The variety, historical span, and sheer number of these sites is unrivaled in Japan. In fact, about 20% of Japan’s National Treasures are located in the city of Kyoto itself which contains about 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and is visited by more than 30 million tourists every year.

Kyoto is also renowned for its traditional festivals some of which have been held for more than one thousand years. The three major festivals of the city are almost national events. The city is also the birthplace of traditional Japanese drama. Traditional Japanese crafts are a major industry in Kyoto and the city is the leading center for the manufacture of kimonos and fine textiles and it also produces some of Japan’s finest sake. On the other hand, Kyoto is one of the centers of the Keihanshin Industrial Zone, the second largest urban and industrial agglomeration in Japan. The key industries of the city are electronics and information technology and it is home to the headquarters of a number of major companies including Nintendo. Japan’s television and film industry is also centered in Kyoto.

Kyoto also offers a rich culinary tradition with specialties unique to the city including “Kaiseki Ryori” and the vegetarian “Shojin Ryori.” Kyoto is also famous throughout Japan for its Japanese sweets. There are more than 35 institutions of higher education in Kyoto, including Kyoto University, one of the top universities in the world. Additionally, a number of American universities have set up centers in the city for students wishing to do advanced work in Japanese language and cultural studies.


Yuho Nemoto | | -and- Aram Shahin |


Accommodations will be provided for through furnished apartments, with internet access and kitchen and laundry facilities. All meals being covered in the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

Visas are not necessary for US citizens. Citizens of other countries should check with the directors or with the website of the Japanese embassy in the US.

All group excursions are covered in the program fee.

This program is intended for students who wish to complete their two-year language requirement in Japanese or who intend to advance in their Japanese language studies.

JAPN 102 or 111 or equivalent proficiency is required.

Tentative Itinerary: 

Arrival in Kyoto. - Orientation, tour of downtown Kyoto - Classes will be held four days per week from 9 am to 3 pm (including one hour for lunch break and other breaks). 

Tentative Schedule for Excursions:

1. Trip to Osaka (including visit to Osaka castle). 2. A number of trips during the stay to Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, Nijojo castle, Nanzenji, Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji, Daigoji, Tofukuji, Toji, and Kyoto International Manga Museum in Kyoto. 3. Trip to Nara (overnight stay in Nara). Visit to Todaiji, Horyuji, Yakushiji, Kohfukuji, Nara Park, Nara National Museum. 4. Trip to Arashiyama and Sagano. - Departure from Kyoto.

Application Process

For this program, students are required to submit the following material(s):

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 3.0.

For more detailed instructions and to download the application, please click on the following link to the Applications and Forms section for JMU Short-Term Programs.

Official transcript required for first-semester transfer students and non-JMU students.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


JAPN 212: Intensive Japanese II (6 credits)