Japan: Japanese Language & Culture

Video and Photos

temples in japan
temples in japan
Japan
Japan
group of students
group of students
Japan
Japan
temple
temple
group of students in traditional Japanese clothing
group of students in traditional Japanese clothing
sushi
sushi

About

Land in Tokyo for exploration before traveling to Sapporo, where you will immerse yourself in 60+ hours of Japanese language classes and practice Japanese writing systems like kanji. Experience Japan’s enthusiasm for karaoke with local students, who will help you practice your Japanese. Other highlights include tasting local sushi and ramen, learning about the cultures of Hokkaido, and visiting local college students to learn about Japanese pop culture and daily life.

Practice Japanese during your homestay. Cook homemade soba noodles or roll your own sushi with your host family. Try the art of Japanese flower arrangement, the traditional tea ceremony, or zen meditation.

Continue exploring as you spend several days exploring the temples, markets, and shrines of ancient Kyoto. You will hike to Nijō Castle and visit the famous golden-walled Kinkaku-ji temple. Return to Tokyo, where you will see the anime and manga in Akihabara and the fashion scene in Harajuku.

Highlights
  • Language
  • Temple Stay
  • Arts
  • Culinary
  • Homestay

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 11 reviews
  • Growth 9.1
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 8.7
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
Default avatar
Francisco
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Beautiful Time

The Experiment In International Living created a program in which students can experience every part of Japanese culture. Our group leaders were kind, caring, and amazing. They helped us when we needed it, but also allowed us to do some things on our own in order to truly indulge ourselves into the culture. We participated in many activities and we took Japanese classes. We talked to college students, high school students, and elementary school students. We lived with a host family that taught us about daily Japanese life, which even then wasn't uniform since each family was unique in their own way. Of course, there were so many beautiful sights to see and moments to share, but we also discussed parts of Japan that we weren't quite accustomed to. However, this helped up grow into more open minded people, and it helped me open my heart to differences between cultures all around the world.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I believe that my most nerve-racking moment was the first time u had to pay a cashier at a convenience store. Before the program, I was already afraid of going to the cashier to pay for something, so having to pay for something to someone that didn't understand me as well made me sweat like crazy. I ended up doing it anyway, looking silly as I pointed and wiggled my arms. Then, after doing this many times with different cashiers, it made me comfortable with the notion of talking to a cashier.
Default avatar
Aaliyah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Japan Trip

If you're looking for thrill and excitement everyday of 30 days, then look no further than the experiment. With years of experience in sending students into foreign countries, every day was more fun than the last. I met the most amazing people on my trip, from members of my group who became family, to my amazing leaders who supported me through every problem I had. All the amazing Japanese people we met were beyond sweet and kind. You won't meet a single bad boned person on this trip. Not to mention the amazing variety of food. We did a little bit of everything, from hiking up mountains in Kyoto to view monkeys in their natural habitat, to exploring the diverse and never ending wonders of Tokyo. Feel like getting a breath of fresh air? You'll be exposed to the pure air of Japanese farm lands and the breath taking views of oceans and more. But something that'll always and forever stay with you is the homestay, and how close you'll become with your families. I miss my host mother and sister more and more everyday. Don't look past this amazing experience, it'll truly change your life.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
SQUID!! I went on this trip with two things I never wanted to eat, spicy noodles and squid. But with a lot of support and pressuring, I finally ate squid and it wasn't that bad.
Default avatar
noreija
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Japan Language and culture

I really had a fun time in Japan. It was one of those trips that I will never forget and I have been on many trips in my life. The people were so nice to me and they were accepting towards me and they did not stare at me as I thought they would. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone and I am definitely going to do the experiment every year before I graduate in 2021. I had so much fun thank you for letting me go on this trip. I did a lot of things like climb three mountains and ate octopus. I went to a language school and I was in the intermediate class. I ate Japanese food almost every day the sushi there is fresh and so good. My host family was sooooooooo amazing I oved them and they loved me. I still keep in contact with them until this day.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The advice that I have for people who want to do this program is live in the moment. There might be things that might bother you or you might get annoyed while on the trip or you might be angry however you must remember that you are in JAPAN!!!! and this is maybe your first time in Japan. So you must live every moment in Japan like it is your last.
Default avatar
Natasha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience in Japan

Being able to go to Japan, through The Experiment, was one of the most life-changing experiences of my life. The Experiment offers a safe space to explore your interests individually while still supporting every aspect of your journey. Before The Experiment, I had never traveled in my life. Going to Japan for the first time seemed scary, but all the traditions and activities this program allows you to explore abroad help you not miss home, and feel comfortable even when you're across the world! Additionally, all the people you meet on the way from the students to the locals are people you will never forget. The students are open-minded and have the same drive to explore and learn as you do! My Group Leaders were extremely hard-working and really cared about the well being of their students. This experience really left me feeling like a matured student.

What would you improve about this program?
The packing list for this program is a little excessive, and I wish the language classes continued after Sapporo.
Default avatar
Daniell
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Summer!

Japan was absoutely gorgeous! We travelled to many different cities to meet all kinds of people! We interacted with college students by hanging out at the huge top-notch mall-and-train station in Sapporo and celebrated with the Farewell party with our host families! The Experiment did a fantastic job of making small yet personalized groups with other high-schoolers with various backgrounds! I had fun time with my group and my favorite moments are the water-gun fights during the ferry boat ride to Kyoto and going to the Odaiba onsen in Tokyo. The only bad thing that I have to say is that I wish the program extend much longer to over a month!! Thay way, I do not have to say goodbye to my new friends and families sooner. I absolutely cherish all of them. Thank you to the Experiment for giving me once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Default avatar
Mia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing

Japan was such a beautiful place and the group I was paired up with was even more breathtaking. I’m so glad that we were able to connect the way we did. And the food was amazingly delicious, curry is obviously my new favorite dish. Then the locals and college students who we met along the way were one of the sweetest most kindest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. And don not even get me started on the fashion. It was everything I could have ever dream of. They were so adorable and stylish and I probably spent way more money than I’d like to admit. But all and all I loved all the memories and friendships I made this summer and I am so grateful I was able to do this. It will probably be one of the best things I did in my life. Thank you!

What would you improve about this program?
One thing that feel as though should be done is updating the supply list.
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Racheal
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

What Japan Has To Offer

Despite the slight cultural variations in different parts of Japan, Japanese people homogenously value cleaniliness, respect, and productivity. Due to their desire to full fill their social responsibility, they make sure that foreigners, irrespective of their own personal beliefs, are welcomed and treated well. Apart form the welcoming atmosphere, there are a plathera of places to explore and things to do. Every corner has something to offer, so don't limit your journey to just touristy destinations.

*The more you make an effort to learn the language, the more they make the effort to assist you in doing so.

What would you improve about this program?
Due to only having a month in Japan, most days are very eventful. However, certain days need to be set aside to rest and recharge.
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Marshall
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Trip of My Life!

My trip to Japan was an experience that I will never forget. Not only did I expand my cultural knowledge and awareness but I also got to immerse myself in and around groups of amazing people. Never before had I felt so welcomed and thrilled to keep learning. Everyday was a day in which I felt in paradise. Whether it was exploring with my group, playing with my host siblings, eating amazing food, hanging out with college students, or having language classes, I always had an extreme amount of fun. Japan will forever be one of my favorite places.

Default avatar
Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Growing in Japan

I attended EIL’s Japan: Language and Cultural Traditions program this past summer and I could not dream, of a better experience. The people, the culture, the food, the experience was one that seemed out of a book, but what I found most amazing was how my view of myself changed over those four, hot summer weeks and even more once I returned.
Throughout the program, there were always new challenges being presented every time we changed location, ate at a new restaurant, or met a new person. As a study abroad student in Japan that does not know a significant amount of Japanese, this was extremely challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. It became an essential survival skill to have to put yourself out there and face the difficulties. Never before in my life have I had to do that and eventually it became comfortable to be uncomfortable. I learned new ways of communication not just through language, but with hand gestures, body language, and facial expressions. Other challenges, like behavior, also changed the way I saw myself. The people there had different customs and social norms for behavior that I was not used to. Sales associates bowing, only being able to use the left side of the elevator, showing politeness by keeping your hands on the front of your body, and the manner in which you gave and received money was all brand new to me, and it taught me a lot about cultural sensitivity and customs. I had to fight against by basic social instincts because I did not want to be rude to anyone. It opened my eyes to the way others receive culture and how people adapt to the change. I saw tourists and other students either be completely fine with the shift or have this great internal war with themselves like many others were probably feeling at the time too. I began to understand the importance of culture in its most natural form. I had to experiment with my Experiment.
The way I view myself now was not the way I viewed myself before those four weeks. There were a few moments in particular where I saw this shift. The first was during my homestay in Nanae, Japan. I was having a delicious dinner with my family when my host father began to tell me how “Japanese” I was in character. He praised the way I addressed people, showed respect by bowing, got along with others, and in general how I acted. Never in my life have I received such praise, and at first I didn’t know what to do with this information. It was like looking at a mirror, recognizing the way you always looked, except your reflection began to tell you things you never knew about yourself. It was a confidence boost that will survive for the rest of my life. The other time was at the end of my program during the closing ceremonies/activities. As a group, each person would tie a string around another person’s wrist and tell them something you would remember them by, or what you appreciated about them. When it came time to exchange ties with one of my group leaders, she explained how she was grateful for my quiet leadership. As a socially shy person, the idea that I could be a leader in any shape, way, or form was insane, but the sincerity of my leader’s words caught me off guard, and I realized she truly meant it. Coming home I was expected to be bombarded by questions about my experience abroad, which turned out to be an understatement, but I was still questioning myself as to how I was going to receive it. I found it very easy to answer peoples’ questions, not just because I had the time of my life, but because I had more confidence in myself to talk to people and explain what happened and what I learned.
After my experience abroad I want to do so much more. I want to explore more, talk more, explore more, and learn more. My perspective on myself and the world has changed, and I couldn’t have had a better way to spend my summer than doing my program with the Experiment.

Default avatar
Hana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experiences

On my trip, I went to various cities: Tokyo, Sapporo, Bihoro, and Kyoto.
In Tokyo, we navigated the train systems and experienced the various cities along the Yamanote line, which was a truly interesting experience as I had never been on a train before.
In Sapporo, we completed language lessons and met with college students for karaoke, cooking, and purikura as we prepared for our homestays.
Bihoro was where we had our homestay, and I truly had an amazing time in this city. The local culture was so amazing and everyone knew each other. I spent a lot of time with the other host families doing barbecue and hanabi (fireworks). We learned Taiko and etegami and went shopping with our families before preparing for our farewell party. I grew extremely close to my host family and truly love them as my own family now. They are very eager to learn English, but you must be eager to learn Japanese as well. The language barrier isn't that scary, especially with translation apps that are out now. Plus, mistakes lead to amazing stories later on in the trip!
Kyoto was beautiful and was truly a tourist site. We made it our mission to go to Osaka and experience the Osaka Aquarium with whale sharks, which was so amazing to see.
I really wouldn't trade this experience for anything. I met so many amazing people, including many very nice locals! I would give anything to be able to return to Japan.

Default avatar
Simi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

Konnichiwa, Summimasen, Hajimemashite. When I first decided to travel to Japan, what I expected from when I visited there was totally different from what I actually experienced. I thought everyone drove cars, the roads wider, and people being more open and such. What I got was different though, I never knew that roads were so small, all the buildings are bunched together and people are polite but keep to themselves. Everyone is living in their own world over there, the atmosphere is quite different from America. Although the country is advanced in technology and such, the use of it in every-day life goes to an extreme along with the fantasies and the art of animation. Once the rural part of japan is discovered however, there, people are more open to making conversation. The traditions they practice also rises to the surface because they are away from techy Tokyo and such. The urban, sub urban, and rural life actually differ drastically. The places I have travelled to, Tokyo, Sapporo, Kamaishi, and Kyoto were all unique in there own way, they're all pieces in a puzzle that make up Japan as a whole. Almost all the Japanese people that were encountered were surprised at us American-jins and loved to hear us try to speak Japanese. Coming to japan I knew only a crumb of the cake and left with1/4 of it. There is still a lot I don't know about japan but what has been learned is more than enough for now, which sums up to quite a lot too. Along with the Japanese people I met and stayed with I was also able to communicate well with the people I went there with. My leaders were helpful and knowledgeable, their resourcefulness gave me a surprise too. Overall, everything was spectacular, this is an opportunity that shouldn't be missed!

What would you improve about this program?
The amount of money that is recommended to be brought should be a bit higher.

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About The Experiment in International Living

The Experiment in International Living is the most experienced provider of summer abroad programs for high school students. For more than 85 years, our immersive programs have allowed participants to explore the world in an authentic and impactful...