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Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Himeji, Tokyo, Japan

Program Description

There are two main tracks available in this program, (1) a language track and (2) a literature and culture track. For the language track, students will enroll in JAPN 212 and complete one entire year (six credits) of second year Japanese. For the literature and culture track, students will enroll in JAPN 446 and JAPN 447 for a total of six credits. It is also possible for students to mix the language and literature/culture tracks by completing one half of the language track, either the first half (by enrolling in JAPN 231) or the second half (by enrolling in JAPN 232), and taking just one of either the literature course (JAPN 446) or culture course (JAPN 447). The program lasts six weeks.

During the program, students will visit important world heritage sites of the city of Kyoto, which remains the historical, cultural, and religious center of Japan, and can enjoy in its numerous restaurants and shops the rich culinary tradition of Japan in general and Kyoto in particular.

The program also includes a one day trip to Osaka, a one day trip to Himeji, a two day trip to Nara, and a seven day stay in Tokyo. The stay in Tokyo includes visits to the most famous and important locations of the city, including the districts of Akihabara, Asakusa, Harajuku, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Ginza, Ueno, and Odaiba.

Location Description

The program will be centered in the city of Kyoto with visits and/or stays in the cities of Osaka, Nara, Himeji, and Tokyo. Kyoto is one of the major cities of Japan and has been ranked consistently by various travel magazines as one of the top cities in the world to visit. 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.

There are numerous attractions in the city. About 20% of Japan’s National Treasures are located in Kyoto which contains about 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines and is visited by more than 55 million tourists every year. 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.

Traditional Japanese crafts are a major industry in Kyoto and the city is the leading center for the manufacture of kimonos and fine textiles. Besides producing some of Japan’s finest sake, Kyoto offers a rich culinary tradition with specialties unique to the city, including vegetarian cuisine, and it is also famous throughout Japan for its Japanese sweets. Uzumasa, a district in Kyoto, was called "the Hollywood of Japan" and used to be the center of the Japanese film industry. Historic drama films and TV series are still filmed in Kyoto on a regular basis.

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 (trains, subways, buses, and taxis).


Aram Shahin | | Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Yuho Nemoto | | Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


Students will reside in shared furnished apartments with wifi/internet access and kitchen and laundry facilities.

Housing accommodations are located close to supermarkets and restaurants.

Public transportation (train stations and bus stops) is easily accessible.

All meals will be covered by the program.

Students will be allocated a meal stipend to cover all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

There will also be a number of group meals covered by the program.

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.

- Internet access is available in all apartments. The apartments are furnished and have kitchens and laundry facilities.

- All meals 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, Sanjusangen-do, Nishiki Market, and Toei Kyoto Studio Park, all in Kyoto.

- Cell phones may be rented in Japan.

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 and Ota-Road [a mini Akihabara]).
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, Kohfukuji, 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. Multiple day trip to Tokyo, including visits to Akihabara, Asakusa, Shinjuku, Shibuya, Harajuku, Ginza, Tokyo Bay Area, and Tsukiji Fish Market.
- Departure from Tokyo.

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.


JAPN 102 or equivalent or permission of instructor for JAPN 212 and JAPN 231

JAPN 231 or equivalent or permission of instructor for JAPN 232

No prerequisites required for JAPN 446 and JAPN 447.

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

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

Applications Closed.

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)

JAPN 447: Kyoto: Introduction to Japanese Culture and Civilization (3 credits)

JAPN 231: Intermediate Japanese I (3 credits)

JAPN 232: Intermediate Japanese II (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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