How to Study Abroad in Japan: 4 Simple Steps

Programs for this blog post

Ancient + Modern Japan

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College Study Abroad

Japan is an extraordinary country – one of the oldest in the world – and it will surprise and delight you at every turn. If you choose a Japan study abroad program, then get set for an experience of a lifetime. 

How to Study Abroad in Japan  

Once you decide to study abroad in Japan, CIEE makes getting there easy. We’ve outlined the process below, so be sure to bookmark this page and refer back to it when you’re ready to commence your study abroad journey to Japan.  

Step #1: Choose Where You Want to Go   

The first thing you’ll need to do as you prepare to study abroad is choose which incredible location in Japan you want to explore. We currently offer Kyoto and Tokyo as Japan study abroad options.  

Though these cities are quite different from one another, they each offer incredible experiences that are sure to satisfy all your senses. Plus, you can always take the bullet train (aka Shinkansen) to travel back and forth if you’d like to visit both. 

Option #1: Kyoto  

Kyoto is a beautiful city known for its temples, gardens, museums, illustrious teahouses, hiking trails, international business influence, and more. Study abroad in this ancient city and you will be immersed in Japan’s deep-rooted traditions. There is nothing quite like Kyoto.  

With CIEE, you’ll get to go on exciting cultural excursions to places like the White Heron Castle, partake in a classic tea ceremony, and tons more.  

You’ll also get to do some of your own exploring, of course. Check out some of the city’s top sites like:  

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine: A religious ancient site dating back to the eighth century 
  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: One of the most beautiful walking areas in Kyoto, with most trails covered in an enchanting canopy of bamboo  
  • Nishiki Market: Offering hundreds of shops and restaurants, you’ll get to dive into a wide variety of delicious and authentic Japanese cuisine  
  • Gion Disrict: A vibrant neighborhood where you can see lovely geishas and their maiko apprentices 

And much more!  

Those passionate about culture, art, and history will feel right at home in Kyoto.  

kyoto woman kimono temple

Option #2: Tokyo  

The modern-day capital of Japan, Tokyo is a lively, densely populated city with incredible nightlife, and shopping, and is iconic for its modern architecture, technology, efficient public transportation, and cleanliness. Studying abroad in Tokyo means diving into an advanced city with unique traditions and culture.  

You’ll have the opportunity to go on incredible cultural excursions with CIEE such as day trips to Hiroshima and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, as well as opportunities to visit the Tokyo Dome, a popular venue for sports events, concerts, and other affairs, and much, much more.   

A few other must-sees during your Japan study abroad program in Tokyo:  

  • Tokyo Tower: The second-tallest structure in Japan that serves as a communications and observation building 
  • Ginza: Home to the world’s biggest seafood market 
  • Akihabara: A colorful and fascinating neighborhood in Japan; you’ll be amazed at this shopping hub known for its high-tech retailers, exhibits, and more   
  • Shibuya Crossing: One of Tokyo’s most recognizable streets, where thousands of pedestrians cross every few minutes during busy days 

If you’re someone who loves learning about the blend between modern-day culture and history, Tokyo is an ideal study abroad location. Plus, CIEE students get the opportunity to study at Sophia University, Japan’s oldest Jesuit university located in the heart of the city. 

tokyo temple reflection water


Step #2: Pick Your Dream Program  

Once you’ve decided between Kyoto and Tokyo, it’s time to choose your ideal study abroad program. And both cities offer great program options. 

We recommend you align your study abroad program with your interests and passions and be sure to choose one that’ll keep you on your chosen academic track. It’s best to discuss your options with an academic advisor and on-campus study abroad advisor, too.  

In Kyoto, we offer: 

  • Ancient + Modern Japan: An incredible opportunity to dive into Japanese language and culture in one of the most historical cities in the world 
  • January in Kyoto: Spend part of your winter exploring ancient Kyoto 
  • Summer Ancient + Modern Japan: Create your own summer adventure where you’ll have the opportunity to discover more about Kyoto’s incredible history, begin your international career, and much more 
  • Open Campus Block: Design a study abroad course that’s best for you and immerse yourself in Japanese culture 

In Tokyo, we offer:  

  • Arts + Sciences: Engross yourself in Japanese arts and science studies like anthropology, history, international business and economics, and tons more 
  • Summer Japanese Studies: Spend your summer in exciting Tokyo and learn all about Japan’s pop culture, society, communications, and then some 
  • Summer Global Internship: With some of the largest companies and brands in the world, this program is the perfect opportunity to learn more about working in a field you’re passionate about 
students at japan temple study abroad

Step #3: Explore Scholarship Options 

Now that you’ve chosen your dream location and Japan study abroad program, you’re ready to start exploring our scholarship and grant options. We offer millions in financial assistance each year to make studying abroad a reality for as many students as we can. Look at what type of aid you might qualify for and reach out if you have any questions. We’re happy to help.  

Study Abroad Scholarships for Japan 

We break down our scholarship offerings into three categories: 

Need-Based: Our need-based scholarships are based on students’ Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) and their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at their enrolled institution. Our need-based scholarships include: 

Merit-Based: Our merit-based scholarships are based on academic standing and achievement and include:  

  • Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship 
  • Frederick Douglass Scholars Grant 
  • McDermott Health Sciences, Nursing and Public Health 
  • Ping Scholarship for Academic Excellence  
  • Ritzmann Tropical and Marine Ecology Scholarship  
  • STEM Scholarship 
  • Stohl International Undergraduate Research Scholarship  
  • Wollitzer Merit Scholarship in Area or Comparative Studies 

Other Scholarship Options: Our other scholarship options are based on program choice or alumni status and include:  

Step #4: Start and Complete Your Application 

The easiest step is applying! Our application is simple and requires just a few items like name and address, your university, program of choice, term and year, and emergency contacts. There might be a few program-specific questions on your application too.  

Make sure to thoroughly review our how to apply page to ensure you don’t miss anything during the process. We’re available too if you have any additional questions.  

study abroad students in japan bamboo forest

How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad in Japan? 

The cost of your Japan study abroad trip will depend on your program choice, considering the length of the program, the number of courses, and more.  

Average Cost 

Costs for our Japan study abroad programs range from about $4,000 to $27,000. These figures may be surprising, but keep in mind our one-time fee covers most expenses including:  

  • Tuition 
  • Housing 
  • Pre-departure advising 
  • Orientation 
  • On-site staff and 24/7 emergency on-site support 
  • Culture and co-curricular activities 
  • Travel Protection  

Beyond these core expenses, you’ll want to create a budget and bring extra cash for other incurred costs, like additional travel, food, drink, attraction fees, and more. 

And remember, we offer many scholarship and grant options to help you get on your way. Simply complete the Scholarships and Grants section of your CIEE Study Abroad application to automatically be considered for any scholarships and/or grants you may be eligible for.  

Japan is Calling 

Studying abroad in Japan promises an exciting adventure full of history, culture, modern-day innovations, and then some. You’ll never run out of things to explore in this captivating country. And by choosing CIEE, you’ll have plenty of scholarship and grant opportunities to help make this dream a reality.  

今日 から 始めましょう! Get started today! Domo arigato gozaimasu!