Thinking of studying in Japan but a full-semester abroad doesn’t fit in your schedule? Look no further because a summer course might be exactly what you need!

Japanese culture is unique and multi-faceted and has earned a lot of attention from people across the globe. But there is a lot more to learn about Japan’s kimonos and green tea, ramen and sushi, robots, computers, and anime. Luckily, there are short-term Japan summer courses that offer the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into studying in Japan. Through these courses, experts in the above-mentioned topics, and even Japanese youth, teach and mentor international students about Japan, the Japanese language, and their culture!

Advantages of studying during the summer in Japan

Short-term summer courses are usually held between the summer months of June, July, and August and can provide interesting opportunities for many international students because different universities focus on creating different experiences for their curriculum.

Although these courses usually last anywhere from 10 days to 6 weeks, students don’t just sit inside the classroom and attend lectures all the time. A huge advantage of studying in Japan during the summer is the ability to travel during the best months and go on frequent excursion trips, group activities, and cultural immersions that may not be on offer for regular semester exchange students.

… So you have here are our seven top universities in Japan that offer short-term study abroad in japan summer courses!

Summer Courses in Tokyo

Check out the bustle of Shibuya Crossing! Tokyo is often the first place that comes to mind when looking for a summer course to study in Japan.

1. Meiji University: Knowing “Cool Japan”

Meiji University offers two summer courses related to Japanese language and culture: Japanese Language courses and Cool Japan Summer courses. The Japanese Language Program includes classroom lectures, field study, and activities, with the course primarily aimed towards Japanese Language Learning. Meanwhile, the Cool Japan Summer Course does not include Japanese language classes but a series of lectures, field trips and workshops on ‘a wide variety of subjects relating to Japan’s contemporary images as well as its traditional culture.’ Some of the Cool Japan Summer Course lectures in the past included talks on Otaku culture, Anime seminar, a history of Japan’s Yokai monsters, and more unique excursions. Lectures are spearheaded by leading researchers and experts in the field, with all the lectures conducted primarily in English.  Don’t miss these study abroad in Japan opportunities!

2. Toyo University: Traditional and modern, urban and rural Japan

While Toyo University is in Tokyo, their Japan summer course is designed to examine various aspects of Japanese culture, comparing traditional and modern as well as urban and rural Japan. Toyo Summer Program combines includes classroom activities, field trips, and experiential learning. This unique study abroad in Japan experience includes homestay opportunities in a farming village in rural Japan as well as hands-on agriculture activities. Even in a short period, this unique study abroad in Japan courses gives international students a rich experience of Japan’s different facets.

3. Waseda University: Deeper understanding of Japan through the academe

Waseda University’s summer session is a unique study abroad in Japan opportunity for international students because they offer a wide range of courses that students can take, including business, culture, economics, history, literature and art, politics, and anthropology and society. The unique point of the course is that students encounter Japan in an academic setting by taking courses about Japan while experiencing Tokyo first-hand. These Japan summer courses have equivalent academic credits and students may transfer these as earned credits for their degrees. All of these classes, though focusing on Japan, are taught in English. They also offer optional Japanese-language learning classes for beginners, upper beginners, and those in between.

Schoolynk has interviewed to past participants of Waseda Summer School: Charis from the UK and Emmy from the US!

Here’s a snip-it from their interview:

What courses did you take at Waseda Summer School?

Charis: I took two courses. One was on Politics, which focused on political issues like Yasukuni Shrine. The second course which I particularly enjoyed was Literature & Art II, which focused on comparing the works of Murakami Haruki and Miyazaki Hayao. We watched a film every class and dived deeper into the film and literature techniques. I really enjoyed this class. It was interesting to compare novels and films and make a wider comment on Japanese society.

What did you enjoy most about summer school?

Emmy: I liked how the class times were organized conveniently and my workload wasn’t too heavy so I was able to go traveling basically every day! A lot of other students went to Kyoto or Osaka but I decided to stay in Tokyo as it was big enough for me already.

Any tips for future students looking to attend a summer school in Japan?

Charis: I think a nice part of studying at a summer school is that you can take classes that you normally wouldn’t take at your home university. So I would advise you to go wild and take something you really like! You don’t really have to care about the credits and can just choose anything you want to learn.

To find out more about Waseda Summer Session from the eyes of an insider, click here.

4. Keio University: A comprehensive range of different academia

Keio University is one of Japan’s top private universities and is a great choice for anyone looking for a short-term summer program throughout the months of June and July. The two-month program allows students to take credit-bearing courses with local Keio students during its second academic quarter. A standout feature of this program is the comprehensive range of interesting courses on offer: Keio Summer Session has 16 intensive summer courses in a wide variety of disciplines such as Business, law, politics, and religion. The program fee costs 260,500 JPY and students must have a minimum GPA of 2.3 to apply.

Summer Courses in Yokohama

Yokohoma Summer Courses may not be as competitive as those found in Tokyo, but these two cities are located only 30 minutes apart!

5. Yokohama National University Summer Program: Exploring the port city of Yokohama 

Yokohama National University’s (NYU) summer program is only two weeks but is packed with a lot of activities. Students will attend lectures (in English or in Japanese) and experience campus life while also enjoying cultural activities like learning brush calligraphy and tea ceremony. YNU students also accompany exchange students on excursion trips. The most popular part of their course is their weekend homestay experience. A Japanese family hosts the exchange students, providing a unique study abroad in Japan opportunity to experience home life in Japan.

6. Kanagawa University: Hands-on Language Learning for Beginners

Kanagawa University in Yokohama offers a summer course that focuses on intensive Japanese language learning not only by taking classes about Japan but also through hands-on cultural activities, field trips, and experiencing Japanese cultural traditions. The course is a perfect study abroad in Japan experience for beginners: it is open specifically to students whose Japanese language proficiency is N3 or less.

Summer Courses in the Kansai Area

Personally, my favorite place to attend summer courses in Japan due to the abundance of great foods! (Did you know that Kansai is often referred to as the Kitchen of Japan?

7. Kyoto University of Foreign Studies: Experiencing traditional culture in Kyoto

Kyoto University of Foreign Studies offers the Kyoto Japanese Summer Experience focusing on intensive basic-level Japanese classes while experiencing Japanese culture in the historic city of Kyoto. A unique feature of this study abroad in Japan course is that each international student in the course is paired with a Japanese student assistant who will support them in their language studies and more. The course’s location is also one of its main advantages. As the former capital of Japan, Kyoto is home to several world heritage sites and is known for its temples and the city’s celebration of traditional Japanese culture. As this short-term study abroad course happens in summer, the curriculum includes participating in one of Kyoto’s most famous festivals, the Gion Matsuri. This study abroad in Japan course allows students to experience Kyoto beyond the eyes of tourists but with deeper knowledge because of the guidance of lecturers who are experts in these Japanese traditions.

8. Ritsumeikan University: Deep diving into Japan’s Pop Culture

During summer, Ritsumeikan University offers an intensive Japanese Language program and a Japan Pop Culture Course taught in English. The unique course includes topics on manga, anime, video games, and J-pop and kawaii culture. This study abroad in Japan course also includes separate Japanese language lessons and four different Japan Studies classes focusing on traditional culture. Also situated in Kyoto, the course balances in-depth knowledge of Japanese pop culture amidst the backdrop of the historic city, making for a unique experience. 

9. Osaka Gakuin University: Experiencing energetic Osaka and more

Osaka, also a former capital of Japan, is known for its vibrant culture and energy quite unlike any other destinations for studies abroad in Japan. Osaka Gakuin University’s summer program focuses on cultural activities in the big and modern city of Osaka while also getting to experience other areas in the Kansai region. This study abroad in Japan course includes a day trip in Kyoto and an overnight trip in the nearby town called Kinosaki, a small town famous for their onsen culture (traditional hot spring bath) and preserving traditional Japanese rural architecture. 

Summer Courses in Shimane Prefecture

Shimane is a rural area in the west of Japan! A Japan summer course in Shimane offers the opportunity to escape the international metropolis of Tokyo and explore the rural lifestyle of the Japanese countryside.

10. The University of Shimane: Japanese language learning and breathtaking nature

Shimane prefecture is a coastal region in western Japan and is nestled between the Sea of Japan on one side, and the Chugoku mountain range. Studying abroad in Shimane provides an experience of Japan unlike any other. You can explore the unique natural landscape and the rich history of this prefecture through the Japanese Language & Culture Summer Program of the University of Shimane. This study abroad in Japan course includes Japanese classes, lectures about Japanese culture, activities with Shimane University students, excursions, and field study.


Conclusion

The wide variety of universities and Japan summer courses across the country ensures that there is surely a course for students who have different backgrounds and interests in Japanese culture. Short-term summer courses are a great way to get a taste of Japanese culture and explore the country during its peak travel season. Take your pick and begin your Japan summer study abroad experience today!

References:

Meiji University website

Toyo University website

Waseda University Summer Session Website

Toyo University website

Yokohama National University website

Kanagawa University website

Kyoto University of Foreign Studies website

Ritsumeikan University website

Osaka Daigakuin University website

University of Shimane website

List of short-term summer courses in Japan can be found here