IES Abroad Tokyo – Language & Culture

Video and Photos

Okinawa Cliff Selfie
Okinawa Cliff Selfie
Learning how to play the Sanshin in Okinawa, because IES does the best group trips ever.
Since I stayed for a full year, a friend and I ended up having the same host family. Our host mom made us yukata for Tanabata, taught us how to wear them, and took our picture with our host sisters
Crossover session between the intermediate Japanese language class and the freshman English language class of Kanda University of International studies. Yes, the room is really that white.
Study abroad in Tokyo with IES Abroad
Study abroad in Tokyo with IES Abroad


Whether you’re people watching in the hip Shibuya neighborhood, visiting Asakusa temple, or exploring Okinawa on a course-related excursion, your semester in Tokyo will be a whirlwind of adventure. As you explore your host city, Tokyo will become your classroom.

Expand your understanding of Japan with our Language & Culture Program by immersing yourself in contemporary Japan and Japanese culture. When you study abroad in Tokyo, you will take a 6-credit language course specially designed for IES Abroad students, taught at Kanda University of International Studies (KUIS), plus area studies courses taught in English.
Now is your chance to live and learn in one of the world’s most famous cultural metropolises.

Start your adventure with IES Abroad today.


IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

As for the weekly schedule, I was in the language intensive program, not the language and culture program, so it may be slightly different. In addition, I was in the program in Fall of 2012, so it may very well be different now. The weekly schedule with a host family was like this: Japanese language class from 9 am to 12 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday Classes in the evening on...


based on 20 reviews
  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 16 - 20 of 20
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Yes, I recommend this program

Dream come true.

Any organization is going to succeed or fail because of its people. At IES Abroad Tokyo, the people are experienced, motivated and more than willing to enhance the study abroad experience. I went to Japan for the semester in April of 2013. Before I arrived in-country, IES provided an E-pal that contacted me through facebook which allowed me to ask questions and have a friend upon arrival. Right as I got into Narita airport, the IES staff was there to help. From the moment I was in Japan, IES was there to help. This became a re-curing theme as anytime I or anybody else in the group had trouble, IES was there. The staff there understands, seriously, they get it. From presentations and small little group activities I was able to learn and bond with my fellow students. Once school started I developed a routine and just tried as much as possible to immerse myself in the culture. The academic program is great, the extra-curricular programs even better. Ultimately everyone in my group that wanted to return to Japan to teach or live did. As I write this I am preparing to move to Okinawa and I can't wait. Ultimately, your study abroad experience is what you put into it. You'll find that human beings don't differ too much from one another. The relationships and experiences we foster with one another define who we are. I can't thank IES Abroad Tokyo enough.

What would you improve about this program?
Kick us out of the Yellow Sofa area. That was my crutch.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience With IES Tokyo

Overall, I had a very rewarding experience during my time with IES. What was great to me about IES was the fact that teachers wanted to make sure you learned while also giving you the chance to explore Japan and your surroundings. Although this is a language intensive program, you aren't pushed to the point of being stressed. You will learn more of the language, but I don't think I was challenged enough academically. What was helpful in learning more Japanese was being surrounded so much by the language and by hanging out with my e-pal. IES pairs each abroad student with an "e-pal", which is a Japanese student attending the university who you can get to know before getting to campus. This was super beneficial for many of the abroad students because they had the opportunity to befriend and hang out with a Japanese student to learn more about Japan's culture. We could practice our speaking skills with them and jump into the social scene with more ease. IES was also extremely involved with the students in providing constant information about events going on around Tokyo. We got to go on two long field trips to the countryside (3-5 days each) and also went on a lot of other student council-run trips around the city. IES Tokyo definitely wants their students to be able to get the most out of their time in Japan. It is a great program for students looking to get immersed into the culture while also practicing their Japanese skills.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Spring in Japan

This program has everything you would need, expect, and want.... plus more! The location is close enough to the city to be able to go anywhere without much trouble. The people are helpful and kind. They really are there for you for anything. The school is a good environment and the people are fun.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Beyond City Limits

There's a lot to be said for studying in as metropolitan an area as Tokyo. You'll never be able to take advantage of all the opportunities available, and the train system allows you to go almost anywhere in the country with incredible ease. Make sure you get a map of the train system at first though, and keep it with you until you learn your way around.

That's not to say that big cities and bright lights are all there is to Japan though. Most of the country is actually pretty rural, and the scenery is breathtakingly gorgeous. There are beautiful hiking trails, mountains to climb, and gorges to explore nearly everywhere! Nikko is an especially good place for this. If IES doesn't schedule a group trip there, you should go check it out!

Make sure to travel outside the city as much as you can. As exciting as Tokyo is, you'll have the most fun on your trips outside of it. Try looking up famous festivals in Japan and taking a day trip to visit one. They're always great fun, and you'll get to see and try a lot of new things. Personally, I would recommend the Narita Taiko Festival. If drums are your thing, this is for you! Great food and incredible performances every time you turn around. Make sure to try the Unagidon! If you're looking for something a little closer, head to the Jidai matsuri in Asakusa. Samurai, lords, princesses, shrine maidens, and ninja all in one glorious parade!

Also, keep the climate and weather patterns in mind while you're packing. Spring semester has the rainy season, and fall semester has typhoon season. Typhoon season will break your umbrella, so bring a raincoat instead. You should also keep in mind that most places in Japan don't take cards, so bring cash.

What would you improve about this program?
The only real complaint I had with this program was that the way the classes are scheduled, you have to spend all day at the IES student center, or on campus. You can't really finish up your classes in the morning and head out to explore.

It can also be kind of hard if you end up with a class where the teaching style is difficult for you to follow. The professors will try their best to help you, but they don't have office hours or anything like the professors on your home campus, so often you'll just have to tough it out.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Navigating the Tokyo Jungle

IES Abroad - Tokyo Language intensive program is a fantastic program all around. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful host family who was very loving and experienced in hosting foreign students. I know that not everyone may end up with such a scenario but the staff a the Tokyo center really work hard to ensure that every student is given a considerate host family to live with, and I did not hear any major complaints from other students regarding their host families during my time there. Students living in the dorms also claimed to have pleasant experiences in the dorms. My only difficulty in staying with a host family is that I had to ride the train for an hour to and from school. Which is rather long, and the morning Tokyo trains are packed, so it can be bothersome, but you learn to get use to it. My host mother's wonderful cooking more than made up for the long train ride. The academics are challenging and definitely live up the name "intensive". I guarantee your Japanese speaking abilities will improve substantially after taking this program. And the internships is what makes this program unique. I worked for an anime art gallery and loved it. My coworkers knew no English, so I really had to rely on my Japanese skills to get by - a challenge, but rewarding.
I could write a mini novel on this program, but I'll leave it at this: this is a great program for people who seriously want to improve their Japanese language skills and learn to navigate life through one of the world's largest cities, all while having a blast doing it.

What would you improve about this program?
Better integration with Japanese students would have made this program better, but I know that steps towards this have already been taken as the program has moved to a new university in Makuhari (Chiba prefecture) since my time there; this new university has more international students and Japanese students studying foreign languages, so integration will be easier at the new school.