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Hiroshima, Kyoto, Tokyo, Japan

Program Description

Immerse yourself in the complex artistic and cultural heritage of Japan in a program that explores the country’s past, present, and future. 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 in the world. By experiencing the country through a lens of business and art, you will meet a variety of artisans and learn about the artistry and invention that have sustained them over centuries. Group excursions include Zen meditation in a Buddhist temple, encounters with the bowing deer of Nara, and exploring contemporary art in the bustling streets of Tokyo.

Your program directors will be with you every step of the way to ensure that you experience deep engagement with the people, the culture, and the artistry of Japan. A small program size ensures the closeness of participants, allowing you to make lifelong friends as you navigate a new culture.

See the 2023 program video.

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Location Description

Kyoto, the capital city of Japan from 794 to 1869, is the cultural and artistic heart of the country. While it is a major metropolitan area of 1.45 million people, the city is highly walkable and provides numerous opportunities for encounters with traditional artists, craftspeople, and performers. Containing over 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, Kyoto is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites and National Treasures of Tangible and Intangible Culture. As one of the few cities to escape the firebombing of WW2, the city offers a glimpse into Japan’s architectural past.

Today a bustling city of over a million people, Hiroshima is most known as the epicenter of the first atomic bomb that was dropped on August 6, 1945. The city became known worldwide for this unenviable distinction. The destructive power of the bomb was tremendous and obliterated nearly everything within a two-kilometer radius. After the war, great efforts were made to rebuild the city, including monuments of Hiroshima's historical heritage like Hiroshima Castle and Shukkeien Garden. In the center of the city, a large park was built and given a name that would reflect the aspirations of the re-born city: Peace Memorial Park.

Tokyo is Japan's capital and the world's most populous metropolis. Prior to 1868, Tokyo was known as Edo. Previously a small castle town, Edo became Japan's political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. A few decades later, Edo had grown into one of the world's largest cities. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, the emperor and capital moved from Kyoto to Edo, which was renamed Tokyo ("Eastern Capital"). Today, Tokyo offers a seemingly unlimited choice of shopping, entertainment, culture, and dining to its visitors. The city's history can be appreciated in many excellent museums, historic temples, and gardens. Despite its size, the city is easy to navigate via excellent public transportation systems.


Amy Strunk | | College of Business

Virginia Soenksen | | Madison Art Collection


Accommodations will be provided for students throughout the program. All accommodations include private bathrooms, internet access, and laundry facilities and are centrally located with easily accessible public transportation options. Students will be in shared double rooms.

There will be a welcome and farewell dinner provided as part of the program. Students should plan to spend their own money each day to cover the cost of other meals, and program directors will suggest a per diem budget closer to the departure date.

Additional Items to Consider

The proposed itinerary is as follows:

Tokyo: May 26-31

KyotoJune 1-June 24 with day trips to Hiroshima, Nara, and Osaka

The program offers free weekends that permit students to visit other nearby locations on their own time. The itinerary is subject to change. Students must book their own travel to and from the country, subject to the approval of program directors. Booking airfare will not occur prior to three months before the program start date.

Visas may be required as part of this program. COVID-19 immunizations are required for all participants, as well as a negative test within 72 hours of the departure date. These requirements are subject to change.

Students are encouraged to purchase eSims that are compatible with their smartphones to ensure access to Google Maps and easy contact with program directors.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0.

No language requirement.

Open to all majors.

Students must submit a complete application as well as complete an interview with program directors. After submitting the application, students should make an interview appointment. Interviews will be conducted in-person and will take approximately 45 minutes.

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
  • 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 Society: Japanese Business Practices (3 credits)

HUM 252: Global Cultures: Japanese Humanities (3 credits)

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.


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