Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Language & Culture

Apply by 5/1 and get $400 off!
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Information for term Japanese Language & Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 1, 2020
  • Dates: Sep 24 – Dec 21, 2020 (13 weeks)

Application Deadline

May 1, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 1, 2020
  • Dates: Sep 24, 2020 – Apr 24, 2021 (30 weeks)


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Learn Japanese in the dazzling capital of pop culture.

Welcome to the sprawling metropolis of Tokyo, where you’ll experience an intriguing mix of East and West, traditional and modern, old-school and cutting-edge.

You'll study Japanese at an intercultural language institute - taking classes designed to improve your communicative Japanese skills. For a fully immersive experience, you’ll live with a Japanese family – practicing the language while preparing and sharing meals, and taking part in family routines and recreation.

Outside the classroom, you’ll practice the language everywhere you go – in restaurants and cafés, at shops and markets, while chatting with other students, and during regular get-togethers with international students and local peers. There’s no shortage of activity in this busy capital city. Take in the one-of-a-kind sights and sounds of Tokyo’s shops, anime theaters and "bunny cafes.” Learn how to make sushi, soba noodles, and bento boxes in fun, interactive workshops. Feel like wandering? Organized excursions will take you to see the sights of cities like Hiroshima and Kobe.

It all adds up to an experience you’ll never forget. As you use and build on your new Japanese language skills, you’ll be able to apply an insider’s knowledge of Japan’s cultural trends throughout your education, travels, and career.

The Take-Aways

  • Language Proficiency

    15 hours per week of language instruction – that means you’ll have as many contact hours in one month as most colleges offer in a three-credit course for a semester!

  • Global Citizenship & Cultural Competence

    Up to 20 hours of CIEE’s Global Competence course providing you with a strong foundation in the core components of intercultural learning: self-awareness, awareness of others, managing emotions, and bridging cultures

  • Certificate

    Earn a Certificate of Learning in Japanese

  • of alumni say their language skills improved

  • said they learned to interact with different cultural backgrounds

  • said their level of independence increased


Location & Culture

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A fascinating mix of modern and traditional.

Japan’s capital city is a fascinating mix of centuries-old tradition and cutting-edge technology. Teens are drawn to this vibrant center of pop culture known for its anime shops, karaoke, and kitschy animal cafés. Along with more than three dozen cat cafés, Tokyo now has several others featuring snakes, turtles, goats, bunnies, and even hedgehogs.

Shoppers will want to hit the Shibuya and Harajuku districts for trendy teen fashions and people-watching. The city is famed for its vibrant food scene, with sushi and soba noodles as popular mainstays. Summer brings out many street stalls with food-on-sticks and shaved ice treats for snacks on the go.

Along with skyscrapers and stores galore, you’ll also find peaceful public gardens throughout Tokyo, and historic landmarks and museums for quiet exploration.


Daily Life

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Daily Life

"After my trip with CIEE I have definitely grown in ways I never could if I had stayed in the US."

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blog.


  • Housing

    Private bedroom in home of carefully screened homestay.

  • Local Support

    CIEE resident staff available 24/7.

Program Blogs

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Program Blogs


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Sample Activities & Excursions

  • Take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
  • Try your hand at the elegant art of Japanese origami.
  • Learn to make authentic sushi, bento lunch boxes, wagashi confectionery and other traditional specialties in Japanese cooking classes.
  • Take a walking tour of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station, and surrounding historical sites.

The program fee also includes two day trips and one multiday excursion hosted by CIEE staff per semester, so you’ll get the chance to take in the diverse sights and sounds of several Japanese hot spots:

Kamakura day trip

Take off by train to this seaside city south of Tokyo for a walking tour, along with visits to local shrines and temples. Famous as the political center of medieval Japan, Kamakura today is full of spectacular Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. 

Hiroshima multiday excursion

Journey to historic Hiroshima, one of the world’s most significant landmarks. After arriving by train, you’ll visit the site where Americans dropped the atomic bomb during World War II. You’ll also learn about the history of the City of Peace through a walking tour and visits to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the memorial park, and Miyajima Island

Kawagoe day trip

Find yourself transported back in time on this day trip to Kawagoe, a city 30 minutes northwest of Tokyo. Here you’ll find old clay warehouses, merchant homes, and traditional Japanese sweet shops housed in buildings from the Edo Period of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. While in Kawagoe, you’ll wear a kimono, visit temples, and take in the traditional art of glass making.

Kobe multiday excursion

Jump on a train for an exciting trip to Kobe, one of the country’s most attractive and cosmopolitan cities. Located in central Japan, this hillside city has many cultural attractions, including Chinatown, Himeji Castle, art museums, and a traditional Japanese garden.

Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

What People are Saying

  • Being abroad in Japan definitely opened my eyes to a new culture, and how another group of people lived their lives. I have since implemented many elements into my daily life, and it often helps me look at problems or situations with new eyes.

    Alexander M., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna
  • Life is all about being comfortable with new things, taking advantage of opportunities whenever they come along, being independent, and thinking on your feet. This program helped me strengthen in all these ways more than any amount of university studies could.

    Taisa K., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna
  • The decision to join the CIEE Gap Year Abroad program was simply the best decision of my life. It taught me things about myself, and the world, that I am certain I could not have learned in an average classroom.

    Alexandra L., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna

Eligibility & Fees

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Eligibility & Fees


Fall: Rolling Admissions
Spring: November 15
Contact CIEE for more information.


  • High school graduates in good academic standing.
  • Students must demonstrate, through the application and interview process, flexibility and maturity.
  • Students must be 17 years or older at the time of their departure.
  • No previous language experience required.



You can create a duo program by combining any two CIEE Gap Year Abroad semesters and get 10% off the second semester.

Apply to a Fall Semester or Academic Year term by our 5/1 priority deadline and get $400 off the cost of your program. Apply to a Spring Semester by our September 1 Priority Deadline and get $400 off the cost of your tuition.

Program fee includes iNext travel insurance. Full inclusions are found online.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Academic Year 2020 30 weeks May 1, 2020 Sep 24, 2020 Apr 24, 2021


Fall 2020 13 weeks May 1, 2020 Sep 24, 2020 Dec 21, 2020


Our Staff

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Ready to change your life?