Study Abroad in Japan: Programs & Reviews

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Opportunities abound in the Land of the Rising Sun. Whether you are studying on one of Japan's four major islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, or Shikoku), or exploring one of the other 4,000 islands comprising the archipelago, you will find a study abroad experience as unique as Japan's aggregation of traditional and modern (falling somewhere between the busy Tokyo streets and the nearby zen gardens).

Japan is a prosperous nation - the second largest economy in the world - but is much more than advanced technology or fancy electronics. From the postcard-perfect sights of Mt. Fuji to your first cup of sake to the dizzying speeds of the bullet train, Japan is a student's dream destination!

View of Kyoto at sunrise
View of Kyoto at sunrise

The secret to any successful study abroad experience begins with research, so you're already off to a great start! Now let's take a look at some useful information that will get you one step closer to eating sushi, singing karaoke and improving your kanji in Japan.


Language-intensive courses are at the heart of study for many overseas students, and understandably so! Living in Japan will give you many chances to put those language skills to use--practice your Japanese with the locals and engage them in conversation, even if it just over the price of soba noodles versus udon!

Japan's strong education system has significantly impacted the country's transformation over the last century into the economic powerhouse it is today. Acquiring Japanese language skills will open up many opportunities for internship and career opportunities, as fluency in English and Japanese is a desired skilled for many multinational companies that operate in Japan.


When you select a study abroad program, consider the differing types of accommodation offered. Some programs will give you many options, while others will have only pre-arranged accommodation available.

GlobaLinks guarantees all students a place in the on-campus residence halls, whose first floor offers Japanese-style rooms and a communal Japanese-style bath. CIEE only offers homestay options to their students, claiming this living situation, "provides students with an unparalleled opportunity for language acquisition, cultural immersion, and local community involvement." The Center for Study Abroad (CSA) offers all accommodation types for their students.


Some program providers will include extra activities in their program costs to enable both community building and extensive learning. If you prefer to have a more independent program, I would recommend finding a program that gives you more freedom to decide how to fill your time. If you want all of your Japanese ducks in a row even before you leave America, then a program with many cultural activities included is more suitable.

IES Abroad's program in Tokyo includes many field trips to places of historical and cultural significance, including a five day homestay in the city of Mobara to see first hand Japanese familial life. CSA's summer program in Japan organizes and offers excursions such as a trip to Mt. Fuji, a lesson in tea ceremonies, a night of Kabuki, and international student parties. All activities are optional and available for an added cost. Another approach is just to include all program activities in the overall costs; GlobaLink's program at Asia Pacific University in Japan includes an overnight trip to Nagasaki, and scavenger hunts around Beppu with your pre-arranged Japanese study buddy!

Next, you have to narrow down your search. Check out the list below that highlights some of Japan's most popular study abroad destinations.


As home to over a quarter of Japan's population, Tokyo can be best described as "crowded," - crowded with people, opportunities, adventures! Asia's trendiest call Tokyo home. At the same time, when exploring this city, you will discover that some of its neighborhoods feel less urban and more like country-life plucked straight from rural areas and placed smack dab in the city. It is these contrasts that make Tokyo an ever-changing and exciting city. Tokyo has been named the most expensive city in the world, and is the financial backbone of not only Japan, but all of Asia. Tokyo has graced the world stage as one of the most modern cities in the world, and is a "must-visit" for every study abroad student in Japan!


Steeped in history, Kyoto is home to innumerable shrines, museums, palaces, and temples (and 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites!). Some of Japan's oldest traditions, such as the tea ceremony, flower arranging, and geisha schooling originated in this city.

Located in the Kansai region of Japan, Kyoto is dedicated to preserving Japan's oldest traditions, yet it is also an energetic, contemporary city. Modern conveniences are readily available, making Kyoto a perfect destination for study abroaders looking to explore Japan's past without sacrificing the familiar comforts of home.

The price tag for a semester in Japan may be a little steeper than some of its other Asian counterparts. Don't let the cost hold you back - besides budgeting and planning, the following scholarships may free up some space so you can spend your yen on a new manga comic!

  • The JASSO scholarship is funded by the Japanese government and available to students studying abroad for one year in Japan.
  • The Bridging Foundation offers a scholarship for study abroad in Japan for American undergraduate students majoring in any field of study. Awards are up to $4000 and are not applicable for summer programs.
  • The Freeman-Asia award provides needs-based funding to American students studying in Japan for semester, year, or summer programs.
  • More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships

Contributed by Spencer Huddleston

Spencer Huddleston works for myGengo, a Tokyo-based startup devoted to breaking down language barriers and making global communication accessible to all through high quality human translation services that are scalable, convenient and affordable.

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Programs & Reviews

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Immerse yourself in Japanese culture through full-time enrollment at the Center for Japanese Studies (CJS) at Nanzan University. As a distinguished private university, Nanzan...
4 Reviews
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Ready to expand your Japanese language skills both in class and during free time? The CET Japan program is designed to maximize language improvement and allows students to...
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USAC offers exciting study abroad programs in three Japanese locations: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Osaka/Kobe. Each location has unique aspects that should be considered by...
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World Campus International, Inc. is offering an opportunity to take part in short-term, non-traditional study abroad programs in Japan. Participants can choose to sign up for...
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Old and new, traditional and ultra-modern: Japan is a country of amazing and exciting contrasts. Tokyo, the economic, technical, and political hub of the country, is one of...
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Study abroad in Japan at the International University of Japan's post-graduate studies program. International University of Japan (IUJ) offers 5 Master of Arts Degrees in...
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Peace Boat's Global Voyages are an amazing way to explore the world, while being part of a dynamic learning community. Guest educators - activits, academics, entrepeneurs,...
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Kansai Gadai University invites students to come participate in the prestigious Asian Studies Program! The program takes place at the university in Osaka, Japan. The focus is...
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EF pioneered the concept of an educational tour many years back, and now maintains their presence as the biggest private student travel company in the world. Educational...
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Come study Japanese in one of the finest cities in all of Japan - Kanazawa! A lesser travelled location for tourists, this is a perfect city to fully immerse oneself into the...
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Looking to better your Japanese language skills? Then check out this AmeriSpan Japanese language program in Kanazawa, Japan! Students will spend 5 hours each weekday studying...
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CSA - Low Cost Academic Programs
The Tokyo Language Institute offers year-round programs, helping you learn and perfect your Japanese in the thriving capital city of Tokyo! Only accepting beginner and...
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As one of the world's largest metropolitan areas, Tokyo and its environs will challenge you to look at the world differently. Mastering public transportation, trying exotic...
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International Studies Abroad (ISA) offers students the chance to study at Musashi University in Tokyo, Japan. Explore one of the most bustling modern cities in the world...
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Study Japanese with Languages Abroad this year in Fukuoka City in Japan. The modern facilities offer state of the art equipment and classes for students of all language...
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