Kyoto, Japan

Summer Ancient + Modern Japan

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Kyoto is a beautiful, historic city centrally located in the Kansai region of Japan. It’s surrounded by beautiful scenic mountains, numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites, and many iconic attractions.  As the ancient capital of Japan, it remains the premier hub of traditional Japanese culture and visual arts, and attracts visitors from around the globe to its palaces, temples, museums, theaters, and excellent restaurants. Researchers and students are in good company, as Kyoto hosts dozens of top Japanese universities and several national research facilities.

COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement

CIEE is requiring all participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before traveling on programs. Read more ›

Unique Experiences


    Pass through the torii gates of the Fox Shrine, and reflect upon the Zen garden of Ryoanji Temple.


    Kyoto was Japan’s capital from 794 to 1868, and today is still called “the cultural capital of Japan” — rich in ancient cultural, religious, and artistic traditions.


    Don a kimono and learn the fascinating history and Zen philosophy behind the ancient tea ceremony.

  • UNESCO World Heritage sites within Kyoto

  • Number of years Kyoto was Japan’s capital

  • minute train journey to Osaka, Kobe, and Nara


Location & Culture

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Japanese women in traditional garb
River boats in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto is located in the Kansai region in the southern part of Honshu island, Japan’s largest. The cities of Osaka, Kobe, and Nara – which are also must-visit destinations in Japan – are nearby and easily accessible by train. Kyoto was the capital of Japan from 794 to 1868 and was formally called “Heian-kyo,” which literally means, “The Capital of Peace.” While Tokyo is the official capital of Japan, Kyoto is often called the country’s “cultural capital,” for its preservation of numerous cultural, religious, and artistic sites and traditions. Kyoto provides an ideal environment for students to learn about ancient Japanese history and immerse themselves in the Japanese language and culture.

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Kyoto.

Train in Kyoto, Japan

Excursions & Activities

Various activities may include:

  • Tour the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds where emperors of old resided.
  • Take a walking tour of the Higashiyama District to experience traditional Kyoto.
  • Visit the Kyoto National Museum, one of Japan’s oldest and most distinguished, or the Kyoto International Manga Museum – the world’s first – just minutes from CIEE Kyoto.
  • Get away to the nearby city of Nara, home of Nara Deer Park, the Great Buddha Hall at Todaiji Temple, and the Kasuga Grand Shrine.

City street in Kyoto, Japan

Projects, Volunteer Opportunities, or Internships

CIEE Kyoto seeks to foster an urban community of learners that is respectful of its surroundings and proactively engages with individuals, community groups, and institutions. Orientation will include an introduction to the community resources and opportunities to give back. Cultural activities and co-curricular activities, such as volunteering, attendance of local events, and engagement with peers at local institutions will provide opportunities for students to strengthen their knowledge of Japanese history, enhance their proficiency in Japanese culture, and better understand Japanese social institutions. This will help cultivate a positive and mutually respectful relationship between CIEE and its community partners.

Daily Life

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  • Houses in Kyoto, Japan


    CIEE will house students in a dormitory and deliver the majority of classes at its location near the central intersection of Kyoto’s two subway lines, just minutes away from the main Kyoto Station. 

  • Meals

    Meals are not included. Students can cook simple meals in their dormitory rooms. In addition, Kyoto is well-known for its local cuisine and students can easily find options to suit various dietary preferences and needs.

Kyoto, Japan

Where You'll Study

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    CIEE Kyoto Center

    Our home in Kyoto

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    Kyoto Train Station

    Kyoto is home to Japan's second-largest station building, housing a shopping mall, hotel, and movie theater.

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    Nishiki Traditional Market

    Historic marketplace for Japanese wares


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This program offers courses designed to help students explore the dynamics of Japanese culture in one of the most celebrated historical cities in the world. Student’s focus on a single intensive course offered during the session, with ample time to explore.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Program Requirements

1 CIEE elective course

Program Credit

Total credit: 3-4 U.S. semester/4.5-6 quarter credits per session

Course Credit

  • CIEE elective course: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours
  • Communicative Japanese Language course: 1 U.S. semester/1.5 quarter credits; 15 contact hours

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

Courses are designed by CIEE and adhere to standards and expectations consistent among U.S. higher education institutions. Students have opportunities to extend their learning beyond the classroom through interaction with local students and communities. Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday with possible weekend volunteer work and excursions. Regular class attendance and participation is expected and required. Students play an active role in their own education; participation in group projects and interaction with fellow students and professors are expected. The grading system may comprise of classroom participation, projects, oral and written presentations, research, and essays.

Class Format

Courses taught at CIEE Kyoto are exclusive to CIEE students. Classes are scheduled Monday-Friday.


The U.S. grading scale of A-F is used. Students are graded based on participation, exams, quizzes, presentations, and papers. Attendance and participation are critical and can directly affect grades.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction


Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


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Course Information

Course Notes
Students studying with CIEE for multiple sessions may only take Communicative Japanese once.

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Wollitzer Merit Scholarships in Area or Comparative Studies
  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant
  • The Stephen M. Lew Lifetime Friendship Award
  • CIEE Stem Scholarship

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
  • 1

    You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience! 

    Apply Now
  • 2

    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

  • 3

    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.