Cover Photo Image


Hiroshima, Kyoto, Tokyo, Japan

Program Description

Immerse yourself in the rich, complex, artistic and cultural heritage of Japan through both the humanities and contemporary business practices.

This program will start with class meetings at JMU's campus in the Spring of 2021 to consider and discuss the art, culture, and history of Japan. During this period you will get to know your fellow students and the instructor as you gain a thorough grounding in both Japan's socio-political history and culture within a global context. You will understand how the transition of Japan from a feudal, agricultural empire to an industrialized world power impacted both society, art, and business practices while preparing to explore one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries.

During your four weeks in Japan in May 2021, you will spend time in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Tokyo. You will engage in site visits to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, encounter arts, crafts, and buildings designated as National Treasures, and explore the cutting-edge technology and pop culture of one of the safest developed countries of the world. Group excursions include Zen meditation in a Buddhist temple, a trip to the sacred island of Miyajima, and through the bustling streets of Harajuku. Meetings with Japanese entrepreneurs will offer insight into business practices ranging from small family businesses to industrial giants such as Toyota.

Through a partnership with Ritsumeikan University, you will experience Japanese student life and have the opportunity to interact with students and faculty at a leading university. Accommodations will include single accommodations at central facilities near campus, offering access to both the resources and student life of the university. The excellent public transportation systems in each destination offer easy access to nearby restaurants, shopping areas, and entertainment.

This program offers a total of six-credits which can fulfill General Education requirements for Cluster 1 and 2. The HUM 252 section will focus on the arts, history, religion, and literature of Japan, while the BUS 160 portion of the program will provide an intro to Japanese business culture and practices.

You do not need to speak Japanese to participate in this study abroad session, as all instruction is in English. While Japanese is the native language, English is widely used on signs, menus, and major tourist sites. Students enrolled in any major at any university are welcome to participate and apply JMU course credit hours toward one's degree program. The courses may be taken at an Honors level.

Check out the program video here!

Location Description

The ancient capital of the country, Kyoto has long been a center for artistic and cultural development, and today is home to both traditional artisans and contemporary artists. As one of the few cities spared from destruction during World War II, Kyoto’s countless temples, shrines, and historic structures offer visitors a glimpse into Japan’s past. At the same time, it is also one of the country’s largest cities, known for both emerging pop culture and live music. Highly walkable, the city is surrounded by pristine natural beauty.

The city of Hiroshima is best remembered as the first city targeted by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city on August 6, 1945. Most of the city was destroyed, and by the end of the year 90,000–166,000 had died as a result of the blast and its effects. From the ashes of this devastating event, the people of Hiroshima have rebuilt their city into a modern metropolis of over one million inhabitants. Today it is a city dedicated to educating future generations on the devastating toll of nuclear warfare, and advocating for worldwide peace.

The capital of Japan since 1869, Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the country and the most populous metropolitan area in the world. A major urban and artistic center since the seventeenth century, Tokyo has long been a showcase for avant-garde art, architecture, and technology. Housing everything from the youth-centric culture of Harajuku to the cutting-edge Mori Digital Art Museum, the city will be the dazzling backdrop to our final days in Japan.


Virginia Soenksen | | Madison Art Collection

Amy Strunk | | School of Business


Accommodations will be provided for students through hotels or furnished dorm rooms on the campus of our university partners. Rooms will have internet access, kitchen and laundry facilities. Most rooms will be single occupancy.

Students will be allocated a meal stipend to cover the cost of daily meals, which will be distributed every week. We will have two group meals (welcome and farewell dinners).

Additional Items to Consider

No vaccines are required for entry to Japan. The United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that travelers should be up to date on routine vaccines including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and the flu shot.

All students should be tested for a buckwheat allergy unless they have previously and knowingly consumed it with no ill effects.

With a valid passport and an onward/return ticket, students can stay on a tourist/business "visa free" stay of up to 90 days.

The easier and cheapest way for students to use cell phone data and make voice calls while in Japan is to buy an international plan through their US cell phone provider. A portable wifi router is highly recommended for each student, and rental discounts are available through CGE.

Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs that are readily available in the US are prohibited to bring into Japan. Prohibited drugs include those containing stimulants (including pseudoephedrine, found in Actifed, Sudafed, and Vicks inhalers), or codeine. Some US prescription medications cannot be imported into Japan, even when accompanied by a customs declaration and a copy of the prescription. Students are highly recommended to contact the Japan Customs office via email ( to confirm that their prescriptions will be permitted.

US prescriptions are not honored in Japan, so travelers with ongoing prescription medicine needs should arrive with a sufficient supply to see them through until they are able to see a local care provider. Students who take regular OTC medications should be aware that the same medication may not be readily available in Japan, and should plan to bring a sufficient supply with them.

COVID-19 Location Information:

Each country has different requirements upon entry with regard to COVID-19. Please check this website for the most up-to-date information on what is required for the country (or countries) that are part of this program. Please note that this changes often, so we encourage you to check back frequently.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

No language requirement

Applications from both Honors students and non-Honors students will be accepted.

Open to all majors

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Academic references
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


BUS 160: Business Decision Making in a Modern Japanese Society (3 credits) *Honors Optional

HUM 252: Cross-Cultural Perspectives: Exploring Japanese Humanities (3 credits) *Honors Optional

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


Back to Top