sunset in kyoto with buildings lights
Kyoto, Japan

Japanese Language & Culture

Arts & Culture Language & Culture

Dates

-

29 weeks

Costs

$30,600

Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

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Dates

-

29 weeks

Costs

$33,250

Application Deadline

Enroll Now

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Dates

-

11 weeks

Costs

$17,000

Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

Enroll Now

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Dates

-

12 weeks

Costs

$18,500

Application Deadline

Enroll Now

Request Information

Dates

-

11 weeks

Costs

$17,000

Application Deadline

The application deadline has passed.

Enroll Now

Request Information

Dates

-

11 weeks

Costs

$18,500

Application Deadline

Enroll Now

Request Information

Program Overview
Step back in time in the ancient capital of Japan with the Imperial Palace, Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples and Zen gardens as your backdrop

Take part in walking tours of Kyoto and discover both the traditional and modern elements of this city. Learn why a cup of matcha bitter green tea is more than just a delicious hot beverage. This immersive experience is all about soaking up the centuries-old Japanese customs and culture all around you. But don’t worry: For a taste of the here-and-now, you can still find popular shopping districts, video-gaming arcades and sidewalk vending machines selling unique products (from socks to pizza slices!) to round out the experience.

You’ll spend most mornings in Japanese language classes with native instructors, improving your skills and confidence no matter your level of proficiency. Afternoons are for cultural exploration and practicing your language skills in real life – on the streets, in cafes and on expert-guided excursions to temples, shrines, palaces, museums and more. For a fully immersive experience, you’ll be placed in a homestay with a Japanese family where you’ll join in the daily routines and learn first-hand about local customs. Together you’ll prepare and share traditional meals, go shopping in markets, visit local sites or just hang out. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that opens your eyes, ears and access to the world — and one you’ll never forget.

On weekends and evenings participants will spend time with their homestay where you'll get into the rhythm of local life while exploring all your neighborhood has to offer. Prepare meals with your hosts, meet up with friends, take a day trip to explore a nearby town or nature reserve. Make the most of this amazing opportunity!

The Take-Aways

Language Proficiency

15-20 hours per week of Japanese language learning designed to improve real world language skills

Global Perspective

Build a strong foundation in the core components of intercultural learning. Come home with an improved sense of self and awareness of what shapes others

Certificate

Earn a Certificate of Learning in Japanese

96%

of alumni said their language skills improved

94%

said they learned to interact with different cultural backgrounds

89%

said their level of independence increased

The Destination
  • Kyoto
  • Kyoto
  • Kyoto

The Destination

Japan’s most historic city remains the hub of traditional old-world culture — and a perfect place to study traditional art, architecture and history

Did you know? Kyoto is home to more than 1,600 temples and 400 shrines. 

While Tokyo is the official capital of Japan, Kyoto is often called the country’s “cultural capital.” With a wealth of well-preserved historical and religious landmarks (including 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites), Kyoto is like a living, open-air museum — and a perfect place for studying Japanese language and culture.

Here you’ll see sacred shrines rather than skyscrapers; lanterns in place of neon lights. The narrow stone streets in the center are lined with old wooden houses, traditional teahouses, and quiet gardens. But all around you’ll find modern shops selling snacks (for your fix of Pocky and Matcha Kit Kat!) and noodle or curry houses catering to hungry students. 

Adventurous eaters will love Nishiki Market, which has over 100 food stalls and shops of its own. You can fill up on samples, skewers, gyoza dumplings, noodles and more noodles, and pickled everything! Mountains of rice-cake mochi and other wagashi confections come in all shapes and colors. Go for a grilled baby octopus on a stick if you dare! 

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.

Daily Life

Daily Life

A succesful Gap experience achieves the right balance between structured language instruction, practice in the community and cultural activties to be fully immersed in the local culture.

Here's how a typical week goes on a CIEE Gap Language & Culture program:

  • 15-20 hours of interactive language learning at a language school
  • 2 cultural activities, some of which will be done with local university students
  • Free time to explore and have fun! 

Weekends are for group excursions (1 overnight trip and 2 daytrips per semester), additional CIEE cultural activities or personal travel and exploration.

Carefully Screened Homestay*

Local Support

Local CIEE Center staff available 24/7

Program Blogs

From CIEE

Discoveries within the Daily Life of Kyoto

By High School Gap Year at CIEE

If you’re here, you’re looking right at the immersive program at CIEE. Maybe you have questions: What will life be like? What to expect, what to be aware of, and... keep reading

Activities

Sample Excursions

Practice the ancient arts of Japanese calligraphy and tea ceremony.

Visit the Kyoto Imperial Palace, where former emperors lived in high style. 

Climb to the Fushimi Inari Shrine, ascending Inari Mountain while passing through thousands of bright-orange torii gates.

Check out the Kyoto International Manga Museum and its collection of 300,000 comic books! See manga-related exhibits and read any manga (comic book) you like.

Eat up at world-famous Nishiki Market, or sample traditional tofu, yuba, and saikyo-yaki — Kyoto-style grilled fish.

kyoto japan students in kimonos

Sample Day Trips

  • Head to the historical city of Nara to see eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Great Buddha Hall of Todaiji Temple and the Kasuga Grand Shrine.
  • Visit Osaka, a thriving port city known for trendy shops, flashy signs, excellent eateries and youthful energy!
  • Take in gorgeous views on a daytrip to Kobe – an historic harbor city nestled between mountains and the sea. Look for the iconic port tower and its signature dish, Kobe beef. 
    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!
Dates & Fees

Dates & Fees

Eligibility

  • Program open to recent high school graduates (no more that 1 year post-graduation) who:
  • Are at least 18 years old at the time of their departure
  • Are in good academic standing
  • Demonstrate—through the application and interview process—flexibility and maturity.
  • No previous language experience required.
  • Please note Gap participants may volunteer at local organizations with prior authorization from CIEE. Gap participants however, are not authorized to take any job or seek employment during their stay.

For more information, refer to our detailed GAP eligibility criteria.

Fees

$50

Priority deadline discount: Apply to a fall semester or academic year by June 1 and get a $400 discount. Apply to a spring semester by October 1 and get a $400 discount. Discounts are deducted from final balance.

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

Program

Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Costs

Program Academic Year 2023 29 weeks Application Due Deadline Passed Start Date End Date Costs $30,600
Program Academic Year 2024 29 weeks Start Date End Date Costs $33,250
Program Fall 2023 11 weeks Application Due Deadline Passed Start Date End Date Costs $17,000
Program Fall 2024 12 weeks Start Date End Date Costs $18,500
Program Spring 2024 11 weeks Application Due Deadline Passed Start Date End Date Costs $17,000
Program Spring 2025 11 weeks Start Date End Date Costs $18,500

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