Tea ceremony, calligraphy, music, dance, and martial arts—Japan is a medley of culture, old and new, that you can explore during your time in Tokyo. Live and learn in this exciting city where the past mingles with the future, and the ultra-modern stands side-by-side with the traditional.
Expand your understanding of Japan in our Society & Culture Program by immersing yourself in contemporary Japan and Japanese culture. You 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. Founded in 1987, KUIS is a private university dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in International Studies, Foreign Languages, Intercultural Communication, Japanese Culture, and Linguistics.
Tokyo will be your classroom. Visit Tokyo’s traditional hot spots, like the temple at Asakusa, the gardens of the Imperial Palace, and the Meiji Grand Shrine. You can also learn about Tokyo’s younger generations by visiting popular districts like Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara, and Harajuku.
We want you to feel at home in Tokyo, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in Tokyo. Our ePal program introduces you to a local student before you even arrive! Your ePal teaches you about Japanese culture, and helps you practice your Japanese language skills. You can also enroll in Social Organization in Japan and the field placement program, which provides you with first-hand experience in a Japanese organization. We also take you to places in and around Tokyo that you might not experience on your own.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences.
We offer unique courses that explore Japanese culture through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and course options enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.
You must take 15–18 credit hours per semester. Courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified.
You craft your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:
Additional KUIS Courses
With permission from the Tokyo Center Director and the KUIS instructor, you may enroll in English-taught area studies courses at KUIS that are 1.5 credits per course. Offerings vary each semester, and the course schedule is determined by KUIS shortly before the start of each semester. Past courses have included:
This is a list of potential course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
To learn more about IES Abroad’s innovative theoretical and pedagogical approaches to teaching language abroad, refer to the IES Abroad MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication.
The following courses are available at Kanda University:
JP 101 Japanese in Context: Novice Abroad I
JP 201 Japanese in Context: Novice Abroad III
JP 301 Japanese in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad I
JP 401 Japanese in Context: Independent Abroad I
Founded in 1987, KUIS is a private university dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in International Studies, Foreign Languages, Intercultural Communication, Japanese Culture, and Linguistics. It is a modern and vibrant university with an international faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. The University enrolls approximately 3,100 graduate and undergraduate students; all students study a second language. It features modern computer facilities, library, sports and recreation center, and cafeteria.
With permission from the Tokyo Center Director and the KUIS instructor, you may enroll in English-taught area studies courses at KUIS that are 1.5 credits per course.
Offerings vary each semester, and the course schedule is determined by KUIS shortly before the start of each semester. For this reason, it is not possible to preregister for these courses before you arrive in Tokyo. Past courses have included:
Location and Commute Time
KUIS is located in Makuhari, a short train ride from Tokyo and near the IES Abroad Tokyo Center. Commute times will vary based on the location of your housing option. Expect commute times to range between 30-90 minutes. KUIS is a five minute-walk from the IES Abroad Tokyo Center.
A highlight of our program is the optional 3-credit course, Social Organization in Japan. As part of the coursework for this class, you spend one day each week in a field placement experience as a participant-observer at local businesses, non-profits, or governmental organizations. These placements allow you to directly observe Japanese social and work interactions and to experience the local culture. In the required seminar course, you discuss your experiences and learn more about society and culture in Japan.
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Tokyo, it will feel like home.
Residence Halls - Live with Japanese university students and young professionals—each residence hall is configured differently. They are single-sex, privately managed, and offer single rooms with shared common spaces and bathrooms.
The residence halls offer a meal plan that provides breakfast and dinner daily, Monday through Saturday (no meals are provided on Sundays or public holidays). The cuisine features typical Japanese set menus. There is also a common kitchen for student use, and rental refrigerators are available for student rooms.
Homestays - Live with a host family and gain first-hand experience with Japanese customs, manners, and cuisine while you forge life-long friendships. Accommodations vary by placement. Hosts provide breakfast Saturday and Sunday seven days a week, and dinner on Monday through Friday. Homestay opportunities may be limited.
Whether staying with a host family or in a residence hall, you will likely commute 40 to 60 minutes, as do most Japanese residents in the Tokyo area. If you have particularly high commuting costs, you will receive a monthly subsidy from IES Abroad.
Part of making you feel at home in Tokyo is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
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The program begins with a specially- designed, three-day orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad staff, your fellow students, Kanda University of International Studies, and the city of Tokyo. Topics such as academics, housing, emergency plans, transportation, and health and safety are covered during the orientation.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
Redefine the way you live and learn in Tokyo through our cultural events, such as:
University Clubs & Events
IES Abroad students in the Japanese Language Intensive Program have access to all KUIS facilities and receive a KUIS student ID that entitles them to student discounts on museum entrance fees, the cinema, theatrical performances, and rail travel.
While you’re in Tokyo, joining a club or program is a great way to meet local students and practice the Japanese language. Here are a few recommended ways to get involved:
ePal Program – Partner with a Japanese student as “ePals” to help you meet local students. You are introduced to your ePal via email one month before the program begins. Your Japanese ePal then meets you after arrival and serves as your cultural resource throughout the term. We strongly encourage you to sign up for an ePal and start your cultural and linguistic preparation before departure.
Student Council – Students at the Tokyo Center elect an IES Abroad Tokyo Student Council, which receives funds to be used for student events. Past councils have held photo contests, sponsored softball games with Japanese students, headed fundraising drives to benefit local charities, and hosted holiday parties.
Although your adventure begins in Tokyo ( ), our field trips take you to other great cities and locations in Japan to provide contrast and context for what you are learning in Tokyo. You share a portion of the cost with IES Abroad. Past destinations are listed below.
4 days | Fall
Explore temples, castles, early modern merchant districts and gardens, and try your hand at traditional arts and crafts.
2 days | Fall
Visit Japan’s most spectacular Shinto Shrine and some of the country’s most beautiful mountain scenery.
3-5 days | Spring
Visit this city known for its unique cultural traditions, historic fortresses, and pretty beaches.
1 day | Spring
Visit Narita to see the Narita Drum Festival, one of the largest taiko festivals in Japan. Japanese taiko groups from across the country gather to perform at Narita Shinshoji
1 day | Spring
Visit the site of the first shogunate (warrior government), the home of the Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha statue), and some of the most famous gardens and temples in Japan.
1 day | Fall
Go to the site of Senso-ji, Tokyo's oldest and most popular temple, and one of the few sites in the city that survived the bombing raids of World War II complely intact.
Attend an authentic sumo wrestling match and see the strict traditions of the sport in action.
The Fall and Spring Tokyo programs are based at the IES Abroad Tokyo Center and supported by IES Abroad staff. Our Center is located within walking distance of public transportation, Kanda University of International Studies, a seaside park, a Japanese garden, and many public amenities.
Features of the IES Abroad Tokyo Center include:
The Summer program is based at the National Olympic Youth Center, near Yoyogi Park in downtown Tokyo. For more information on this facility, please see http://nyc.niye.go.jp/e/index.html.
Karl Friday, PH.D.IES Abroad Director
Dr. Karl Friday has been the Center Director in Tokyo since 2010, and a student and on-and-off resident of Japan for more than 35 years. He holds an M.A. and Ph.d. in history from Stanford University and a BGS and M.A. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Kansas. He has also studied at Tsukuba University in Japan, and at Ewha University and Yonsei University in Korea. A specialist in pre-modern history, particularly the late classical and early medieval eras, he has authored five books and dozens of articles on samurai history and culture. He has been a professor, visiting professor, or visiting researcher at the University of San Diego, the University of Hawaii, the University of Tokyo Historiographical Institute, Tsukuba University, and the University of Georgia.
Shin Daiji Associate Director
IES Abroad Staff
Ishikawa MarikoField Placement Program Coordinator, Homestay Coordinator, and Customized Programs Coordinator
Lee Hyung-HyeStudent Affairs Coordinator
Takahashi NatsukoCenter Administrative Assistant
Academic Year Faculty
John ClammerSocial Anthropology
Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Studies, Oxford University
Master of Architecture, Yale University
Okura Gagne NanaAnthropology
Doctor of Philosophy, Yale University
Doctor of Philosophy in Economics, Yokohama National University
Master of Business Administration in Finance, Pepperdine University
Master of Arts in International and Intercultural Management, School of International Training
Doctor of Philosophy Candidate, University of California, Santa Cruz
Kawanishi YukoSociology/Social Psychology
Doctor of Philosophy, University of California, Los Angeles
Master of Arts xxxxx
Doctor of Philosophy, Oxford University