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Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Himeji, Yokohama, Tokyo, Japan

Program Description

Upcoming Info Session 

February 9: 9:00am - 10:00am


This study abroad program in Japan offers an enriching blend of language learning, cultural immersion, and exploratory adventures, carefully designed to provide an ideal balance between class time, excursions, and free time.

Students can choose between two distinct tracks:

1) Language Track: Students enroll in JAPN 212, enabling them to complete an entire year's curriculum (six credits) of second-year Japanese.

2) Literature and Culture Track: For this track, students sign up for (a) JAPN 446 or HUM 200 and (b) JAPN 447, accumulating a total of six credits.

Over the span of six weeks, students will immerse themselves in the heart of Japan's rich heritage. Kyoto, renowned as the historical, cultural, and religious center of Japan, serves as our primary base. While in Kyoto, students can indulge in the city's culinary delights and explore its vast array of shops.
Integral to the program are excursions to important heritage sites, museums, temples, shrines, castles, and palaces. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to partake in hands-on cultural experiences such as Zen meditation and the traditional tea ceremony.

To foster genuine cross-cultural interaction, we have designed events where our participants can interact with local university students, paving the way for a more profound understanding of contemporary Japanese life.
Furthermore, the itinerary includes:

  • A day's visit to Osaka.
  • A day in Himeji, renowned for its amazing castle.
  • A day in the cosmopolitan port city of Yokohama.
  • A two-day immersive experience in Nara.
  • A week in Tokyo, visiting its most iconic locations such as Asakusa, Harajuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Ueno, and Akihabara.

Additionally, to ensure that students also have personal exploratory experiences, several free days are embedded within the program. This time can be used to independently discover hidden gems or delve deeper into areas of personal interest.

Join us on this journey to experience the harmonious blend of Japan's age-old traditions and its vibrant modernity.

Location Description

The program immerses students in the cultural tapestry of Japan, with a primary base in the historic city of Kyoto for five weeks. Kyoto, the former capital and heart of traditional Japanese culture, boasts about 2,000 Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and represents roughly 20% of Japan's National Treasures. The city, visited by over 55 million tourists annually, features 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites under "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto." Beyond its rich heritage, Kyoto leads in traditional crafts, from kimonos to exquisite textiles. The city's culinary landscape offers unique delights, and its influence extends to the entertainment industry, with Uzumasa district known as "the Hollywood of Japan."

In addition to the deep dive into Kyoto's wonders, students will embark on a week-long exploration of Tokyo, Japan's bustling capital, teeming with modernity while preserving pockets of its storied past. Shorter, yet impactful visits are scheduled to the cities of Nara (2 days), offering glimpses of its revered deer and ancient temples and shrines; Osaka (1 day), where attractions like the Nipponbashi shopping district await; Himeji (1 day), renowned for its iconic white castle; and Yokohama (1 day), a harmonious blend of Japanese and international cultures by the bay.

Japan's extensive transportation network comprising trains, subways, buses, and taxis, makes it easy to travel between these cities and to enjoy their unique vibes.


Aram Shahin | | Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Yuho Nemoto | | Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


Students will stay in shared apartments or hotel rooms that come equipped with wifi/internet access, kitchen amenities, and laundry facilities. These accommodations are conveniently located near supermarkets and restaurants, making daily errands and meal preparations easy. Additionally, public transportation, such as train stations and bus stops, is within close reach.

The program covers all meal expenses (21 per week). Students will receive a meal stipend for daily meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There will also be a few group meals organized by the program. From housing to meals, all necessary costs during the program are taken care of.

Additional Items to Consider

  • No visas are required at the moment for US citizens and citizens of certain countries.
  • Internet/Wifi access is available in all apartments. The apartments are furnished and have kitchens and laundry facilities.
  • All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are provided by the program.
  • The cost of all group excursions (travel and admission fees) is also covered by the program.
  • There will be additional short visits, covered by the program as well, e.g., to Fushimi Inari, Sanjusangendo, Nishiki Market, and Toei Kyoto Studio Park, all in Kyoto.
  • Cell phones and portable Wi-Fi may be rented in Japan. SIM cards can also be purchased.

    Tentative itinerary:
    - Arrival in Kyoto.
    - Orientation, tour of downtown Kyoto
    - Classes will be held over sixteen days. In addition to this, participation in excursions and related activities on other days are part of the course work.
    - The tentative schedule for the excursions is as follows:
    1. Trip to Osaka (including visit to Osaka castle, Dotonbori, and Nipponbashi).
    2. Trips to Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, Nijo castle, Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji, Nanzenji, Gion, and other locations in Kyoto.
    3. Trip to Nara (overnight stay in Nara). Visit to Todaiji, Horyuji, Yakushiji, Kofukuji, Kasuga Taisha, Nara Park, and Nara National Museum.
    4. Trip to Arashiyama and Sagano.
    5. Trip to Himeji, including visit to Himeji Castle and Shoshazan Mountain.
    6. Trip to Yokohama, including visit to China Town and the bay area.
    7. One week stay in Tokyo, including visits to Akihabara, Asakusa, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ginza, and Ueno.
    - Departure from Tokyo.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0.

No knowledge of Japanese required for the culture and literature track. One year of Japanese or its equivalent is required for the language track.

This program is open to all students interested in Japan and Japanese culture, regardless of major.


No prerequisites required for HUM 200, JAPN 446, and JAPN 447.

JAPN 102 or equivalent or permission of instructor for JAPN 212.

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 may be required
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students; unofficial for 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


JAPN 212: Intensive Japanese II (6 credits)

JAPN 446: Introduction to Japanese Literature (3 credits)

HUM 200: Great Works: Introduction to Japanese Literature (3 credits)

JAPN 447: Special Topics: Introduction to Japanese Culture and Civilization (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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