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Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, Japan

Program Description

Japan: Art and Architecture is a three-week course focused on traditional, modern, and contemporary art and architecture, produced in collaboration with faculty and students at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and University of the Arts in Osaka.

This program allows visiting and exploring major cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, and we will have day trips to Nara and Uji.

During this program, students will be exposed to the rich cultural heritage of Japanese art and architecture and cultural significance. Students are also encouraged to engage in the traditional methodology of art making process such as printmaking, calligraphy, textile dye process, and basket making with masters in Kyoto. Students will be able to witness and taste contemporary pop-culture and design in Tokyo. Students are expected to explore personal drawings and journals through the galleries, museums, and cultural site visits.

Location Description

Tokyo is the capital of Japan and most populous city of Japan. Formerly known as Edo. Edo became Japan's political center in 1603 when Tokugawa Ieyasu established his feudal government there. Estimated 37.468 million residents as of 2018; although this number has been gradually decreasing since then, the prefecture itself has a population of 13.99 million people. This World most touristic city provides excellent galleries, museums, historic temples, and educational institutions.

Osaka was traditionally considered Japan's economic hub. Osaka is a major financial center of Japan, and it is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in Japan. The city is home to the Osaka Exchange as well as the headquarters of multinational electronics corporations such as Panasonic and Sharp. Osaka is an international center of research and development and is represented by several major universities. Famous landmarks in the city include Osaka Castle, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, museums, and Shitenno-ji, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan.

Kyoto, the capital city of Japan from 794 to 1869, is the cultural and artistic heart of the country. Kyoto is considered the cultural capital of Japan and is a major tourist destination. The agency for cultural affairs of the national government is headquartered in the city. It is home to numerous Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, palaces and gardens, some of which have been designated collectively as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Prominent landmarks include the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kiyomizu-dera, Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, and Kyoto Tower.


MiKyoung Lee | | School of Art, Design, and Art History

Jori Erdman | | School of Art, Design, and Art History


Accommodations will be provided for students through hotels and traditional inns with internet access and full kitchen and laundry facilities. Students will be in shared double rooms. Housing accommodations are centrally located and public transportation is easily accessible.

Breakfasts will be provided daily as part of accommodations. 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

No Japanese language skill is required.

Course prerequisite: ART 102.

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 via Zoom and will take approximately 30 minutes.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Open to students in all class levels

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 
  • Resume
  • Interview with Program Director required
  • Attendance at program info session required

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

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ARCD 492: Topics in Architectural Design: Sustainability in the Built Environment (3 credits)

ARCD 392: Topics in Architectural Design: Depicting Japanese Environments: Antecedent Armatures for Modern Palimpsest (3 credits)

ART 392: Topics in Art: Exploration of Japanese Art: Past and Present (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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