January in Tokyo, Japan

Spend 2 or 4 weeks in Japan for part of your summer Uni break. Choose to learn or improve your Japanese language skills, or take a course in Japanese Anime and Popular Culture. Experience the famous temples and sites of Tokyo, while immersing yourself at a local university with Japanese students.

Program Overview

Special Offer

2 x $500 Travel Scholarship – January in Tokyo, Japan: 2020

CISaustralia would like to offer two lucky students a $500 travel scholarship for the January in Tokyo, Japan: 2020 program. All students who have applied for, been accepted and paid the deposit for the program will automatically be entered into the draw. The scholarships will be drawn on 22 November 2019. The successful recipients will be required to provide 20 high-resolution photos with captions and a 1-2 minute video of their study experience within two weeks of program conclusion. Scholarship funds will be granted at the conclusion of the program once all requirements have been satisfied. Terms and Conditions.

Japan is a land of endless contrasts and extremes, combining a unique and exciting blend of both the modern and the ancient. Students will have the opportunity to explore a refreshing and stimulating side of the world, with something for everyone. Experience natural beauty, taste amazing food, see some wild style and live in what many consider to be the most incredible city in the world!

Tokyo is the world’s most populous greater metropolitan area, and one of the most influential cities in the global economy. Life in Tokyo is fast-paced, vibrant and steeped in culture. Students will find limitless activities to do and sites to see while living and studying in Japan’s capital.

A few highlights of this exciting program include:

Set in the bustling city of Tokyo, the University campus is in the heart of it all. The sights, smells, boutiques and food stalls in Shinjuku station, the world’s busiest train station, are only a short walk from the university.

International Welcome
With an enrollment of over 9,000 students, many of them from overseas, the university seeks to foster global citizens. Participants in this program will have the chance to learn the Japanese language, history and culture first-hand, as well as partake in activities built into the program to get to know local students.

Cultural Immersion
From riding on the packed (yet silent) subway, to heading out to sample Japanese cuisine at Izakaya (exquisite Japanese diners), living in Tokyo will be filled with cultural experiences every day. The program includes visits to temples, shrines, parks, gardens, museums and other famous sites to show students the best of the city. However, participants may find that their greatest cultural learning will come from day-to-day life when discovering Tokyo on their own, and come to understand how unique and special the city is.


Besides having the unique opportunity to reside in the world’s most populous greater metropolitan area for a few weeks, this program offers students a number of other exciting highlights:

  • Location – Experience the city’s energy and all it has to offer!
  • Cultural Immersion – Have the chance to learn Japanese language, history and culture first-hand, with activities built-in to get to know local students. University students will help guide participants and also partake in orientation activities
  • Intensive Japanese Language – There is no better way to improve your language skills than by immersing yourself 100% – living and breathing in that country and interacting with locals!
  • Japanese Anime and Popular Culture – What better way to learn about Japanese history and popular culture than through anime? This course covers topics like anime manga, fashion, music, art, and food within a historic and popular cultural perspective.
  • Beauty and Tranquillity of Tokyo and Japan – Take advantage of your free time to visit Tokyo’s famous temples, shrines, museums, markets, gardens and more, or get out of the city to experience more of the country’s serene landscapes and natural wonders
  • The Weird and Wonderful – Discover some of the more interesting and unique aspects of Japanese culture, such as ‘inemuri’ or napping on the job; maid cafes; noodle slurping; ‘yaeba’ or ‘double tooth’ where Japanese youth are paying large sums of money on attaining uneven teeth; capsule hotels; and the remarkable variety of items sold in vending machines, from live lobsters to underwear – just to name a few!
  • Economic Powerhouse – Despite its small size, Japan is a major economic power in the modern world. It currently is the 3rd largest economy in the world, after the USA and China. Japan is an immensely powerful force in the world of trade and commerce, and is a key partner for Australia

Sample Itinerary

Day 1 (Saturday):

Day 2 (Sunday):
Orientation Part 1
Asakusa Trip

Day 3 (Monday):
Orientation Part 2: Campus
Placement Testing
Welcome Lunch

Day 4 (Tuesday):
Classes begin

Day 5 (Wednesday):
Tea Ceremony Activity

Day 6 (Thursday):

Day 7 (Friday):
Meiji Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya
Welcome Dinner

Day 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday):
Free time

Day 10 (Monday):
National Holiday (Session 1 only – free time)

Day 11 (Tuesday):
Kimono Wearing Activity (Session 2)

Day 12 (Wednesday):
Kimono Wearing Activity (Session 1)

Day 13 (Thursday):

Day 14 (Friday):
Certificate Ceremony
Final Lunch Party

Choose Your Course

Students can choose to attend one or both 2-week sessions. Students will take ONE course per session. All courses meet a minimum of 45 hours face-to-face in class time over 2 weeks (lectures, tutorials, workshops), plus additional independent study time (research, readings, assessment preparation) and are equivalent to 4 Japanese University credits (3 US credits). Note: Students who undertake the 4-week program (2 x 2 weeks) will undertake 90 hours face-to-face in class time, plus additional independent study time and would be equivalent to 8 Japanese credits (6 US credits).

Session 1 Course Offerings: 

  • Japanese: Beginner
  • Japanese: Intermediate
  • Japanese Anime & Popular Culture

Session 2 Course Offerings: 

  • Japanese: Beginner
  • Japanese: Intermediate
  • Japanese: Advanced

If studying Japanese language, students will take a placement test during the program orientation.

Academic Requirement:
To qualify, students must be in good academic standing with a GPA of 4.0 (out of 7) or equivalent. If your current GPA falls below the requirement, please contact us to discuss your situation. We will do what we can to find the right program for you.

Course load:
1 course per 2-week session, equivalent to 4 Japanese credits (3 US credits). If attending both sessions students will take 2 courses, equivalent to 8 Japanese credits (6 US credits).

  • Depending on your Australian university, you may refer to “courses” as “subjects” or “units”.
  • Each course/subject/unit you undertake on a CISaustralia program overseas is designed to be a full-time, semester course that has been condensed to fit into an intensive, short-term program. As such, for any 1 course you study abroad, you should receive the credit points for 1 full-time course/subject/unit at your Australian university.
  • Many universities work off of a 1-for-1 equivalency (1 course abroad = 1 course in Australia), but ultimately credit approval is the decision of your faculty and Australian university.
  • Students must receive course approval from their home institution prior to the start of the program in order to receive academic credit. Courses are generally approved if they fill a major or elective requirement.
  • Your CISaustralia Program Advisor can assist with any questions or details your university needs to make a decision.

Course descriptions:

Japanese Anime and Popular Culture (4 Japanese credits / 3 US credits)
Minimum of 45 contact hours
This course is a survey of Japanese popular culture with particular topics covered such as anime manga, fashion, music, art and food. Part of the course will focus on Japanese animation within a historic and popular cultural perspective. Both anime and manga will be examined with particular emphasis on the art, culture and national and international popularity. There will be a class trip to the Ghibli Animation Museum.
View the course syllabus

Intensive Japanese Language (4 Japanese credits / 3 US credits)
Session 1: Beginner OR Intermediate
Session 2: Beginner, Intermediate OR Advanced
Minimum of 45 contact hours
Language courses focus on modern spoken Japanese through aural-oral drills and exercises and mastery of the basic grammatical structures. Emphasis is on the spoken language, although there will also be exposure to the Japanese writing systems to meet practical needs. The method of instruction will be a communicative approach, Proficiency Method, Direct Method, Jorden Method, TPR, VTS, etc. More advanced students will focus on reading Japanese newspapers and understanding other media outlets. There should be a minimum of four students per level per session in order to offer each level in each session.
View the course syllabus: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced


As part of the two-day orientation, together with the help of Japanese students, CIS participants will start getting familiar with their local neighbourhood, learn the city subway and train system, get to know the university campus and its facilities, meet faculty and staff, learn some Japanese culture tips and start exploring the wonders of Tokyo!

Excursions included within the program may vary from year to year, but here is a sample list of activities students may participate in:

  • Asakusa: An area in Tokyo not far from the Tokyo Sky Tree that’s great for shopping, as well as the location of the famous Sensoji temple, the oldest temple in Tokyo, and the well-known Kaminarimon (Kaminari Gate) structure.
  • Harajuku, Meiji Shrine & Shibuya: One of the most fun and well-known areas of Tokyo and Japan! See Meiji Shrine, the largest and most famous shrine in Tokyo. Hang out in nearby Harajuku, one of the most famous fashion districts in the world. Enjoy an evening Izakaya meal in Shibuya where students can try many kinds of Japanese food.
  • Kimono Wearing: Experience wearing an authentic kimono and learn about the history and beauty of the kimono. Take pictures in a tatami mat room and walk around outside while wearing the kimono!
  • Japanese Tea Ceremony: Learn about and experience the tradition of the tea ceremony with fellow University students where you can perform some of the traditions, enjoy the pure form of Japanese tea and sweets in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony room on campus.

There is an endless number of other activities students can explore on their own (at own expense), both in Tokyo and the surrounding areas:

  • Tranquil Gardens: Check out the many beautiful Japanese Gardens in Tokyo to experience the serene feeling of Japan and Asia. The Imperial Palace Higashi (East) Gyoen (garden), Shinjuku Gyoen, Kiyosu Teien, Hamarikyu, Rikugien – to name a few.
  • Fish Market: Be sure to go to Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo, the largest fish market in Japan! Try to get to the market around 5am so you can watch the auction of freshly caught giant tuna fish. Enjoy the freshest sushi in the world, and have some famous ramen there too.
  • Tokyo Sky Tree: The world’s highest free-standing broadcasting tower. The height of the tower is 645m. Take the elevator up to the top “Tembo Deck” (observatory deck) so you can have a complete panorama view of Tokyo.
  • Tokyo Imperial Palace: Still the primary residence of the Emperor in a large park area surrounded by moats and massive stone walls, located in the centre of the city.
  • Edo-Tokyo Museum: Covers the city’s history. Tokyo was known as Edo prior to 1868. It was a small castle town in the 16th century and within a few decades had grown into one of the world’s most populous cities.
  • Tokyo National Museum: Holds the largest collection of Japanese art in the world and is the oldest Japanese national museum, established in 1872.
  • Tokyo Hot Spots: Akihabara for video games and electronics; Harajuku and Shibuya for modern youth fashion; Shinjuku and Ginza for shopping and dining; and Roppongi and Shibuya to experience the Tokyo nightlife.
  • Mt. Fuji: Ride the fastest Japanese train, the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Tokyo Station to Shin Fuji station. At the station, take in the dynamic view of Mt. Fuji.
  • Kyoto: Take a Bullet train further east to Kyoto, stay overnight in a Japanese inn and explore the ancient capital city.
  • Onsen (Hot Springs): Take a train to Hakone and Atami, a 1-hour ride from Tokyo. In Hakone and Atami, there are a number of traditional Inns where you can enjoy “Onsen” (hot springs) and authentic Japanese cuisine. (There are also some good spots in Tokyo).
  • Ghibli Animation Museum: Visit the famous Ghibli Animation Museum in Tokyo. Enter into the amazing world of Ghibli with famous characters like Totoro, Kiki and the Robot Soldier from Laputa Castle in the Sky. Shop in the museum store for all your favourite Ghibli products, enjoy the reading room and watch an original short animation from Ghibli in the Museum’s theatre. (Note: students enrolled in the Japanese Anime & Popular Culture course will visit this museum as part of the class).



Tokyo is one of a kind. It is huge, stylish, exciting, bold, adventurous and incredibly fun. The Tokyo metropolitan area is the most populous in the entire world with over 35 million residents, and it is home to absolutely everything! There is something for everyone in Tokyo from amazing food, shopping, karaoke, festivals, dance clubs and markets, to quiet and peaceful parks, gardens and temples all within the city centre and outskirts. It would take several lifetimes to explore all that Tokyo has to offer. This program will show students some of the best sites the city has to offer.

The housing and university are right in the middle of all of the action. Students can spend their free time visiting the world-famous markets, shrines and museums that Tokyo is known for, or can spend their time exploring quiet neighbourhoods by bicycle, interacting with street vendors and food cart owners.


Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku, which make up about 97% of Japan’s land area. The county has the 10th largest population in the world with 127 million, who enjoy the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality in the world.

Japan’s unique civilisation has blossomed into a thriving nation, filled with traditional and modern contrasts. The country embodies a strong, warm and welcoming spirit with a rich culture ready to be explored by any traveller. The country has drawn influences from the rest of Asia for thousands of years, taking in and refining aspects to create something distinctly Japanese. Traditional culture of Kyoto geisha dance and the beautiful Zen rock gardens has evolved to also embody a contemporary-art scene, dynamic design and pop-culture trends.

Outside of the cities, Japan offers a large variety of natural wonders that shouldn’t be overlooked – including hiking in the Japan Alps and Hokkaido, coral reefs of Okinawa and forested mountains just outside of Kyoto. Public transportation in Japan is well connected and efficient, so it’s easy to explore and discover the other sides of the country besides its cityscapes.

The University

Founded in 1946 by Reverend Yasuzo Shimizu, J. F. Oberlin University aims to not only impart book knowledge to students but also at helping them to acquire a broad liberal arts education and the ability to make their own decisions. With an enrollment of over 9,000 students, many of them from overseas, the university seeks to foster global citizens and to nurture individuals who will be able to understand others and deal with circumstances in a spirit of cooperation. Oberlin students acquire practical experience through a variety of programs, including language study and academic exchange programs as well as volunteer programs and internship opportunities.

The university’s main campus is in Machida, a suburb of Tokyo. There are also two branch campuses: one in the city of Sagamihara, and the other in the center of Tokyo. This program will be held at the Shinjuku campus, in the heart of the city!

The University has received recognition for its innovative academic organisation; systematic, tiered undergraduate curriculum; student advising and online learning systems; career guidance; and its support for students with disabilities.

With an internationally-focused curriculum, students are enthusiastically welcomed by bilingual Japanese students and professors. The local university students are globally-minded, warm, welcoming and eager to learn from and share with international students. The program is designed so that interpersonal connections between Japanese and CISaustralia students can easily be made. CIS students have the opportunity to learn the language, history and culture first-hand in an incredible setting.

The Faculty

Ms. Miho Okada sensei
Japanese Language Faculty: Intermediate, Advanced Levels

Ms. Okada sensei, a native born Japanese citizen, comes with a wealth of education, teaching and work experience. Her academic degrees consist of a Bachelor of Philosophy, International Relations from Sophia University in Tokyo Japan, an Advanced Diploma of Chinese and Chinese Culture at Zhejiang University, a Master of Social Science at University of Newcastle, Australia, a Master of Gender Studies Master of Social Science (Honors) at University of Newcastle, Australia, and presently at the University of Tokyo Graduate – School of Arts and Sciences – International Social Science – Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Doctoral Program. Her Certificate/Licensure includes a Test of Chinese Proficiency (HSK) Grade 3 and IELTS (International English Language Testing System) 7. She has experience teaching Japanese beginner to intermediate as an Instructor at the University of Manitoba Canada, The Asian Studies Center, and Faculty of Arts. Additionally, she teaches intermediate and advanced Japanese at Seisen University in Tokyo Japan since 2016. She has also worked at the University of Tokyo in the Department of Education and presently works also as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Tokyo, School of Arts and Sciences / College of Liberal Arts.

Ms. Miho Estay-Izumi
Japanese Language Faculty: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Levels

Ms. Estay-Izumi sensei, a native born Japanese citizen comes with a wealth of education, teaching and work experience. Her academic degree consist of a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Literature from Meiji University in Tokyo Japan. She also holds an Advanced Teacher`s Certificate in Japanese Language and Literature from Waseda University in Tokyo Japan. Other certificates include a Japanese Teacher`s Certificate as well. She also speaks English fluently, basic Spanish, and basic Chinese as well. Her professional experience includes teaching Japanese in Tokyo at Suginami High School, Eishin Seminary, Kamimizominami High School in Kanagawa prefecture, and Japanese Tutorial School which she owned in Yokohama Japan too. In the US, she taught Japanese at ABC Language Exchange in New York City, and also she is the owner of Japanese Study Hall New York, located in Harrison New York. She has taught Japanese Beginner and Intermediate levels at Seisen University since this June – July 2018.

Ms. Kayako Takagi
Japanese Language Faculty: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced Levels

Ms. Takagi sensei, a native born Japanese citizen, comes with a wealth of education, teaching and work experience. Her academic degree consist of a Bachelor of Arts in International Communications with a Minor in Teaching Japanese as a Second Language from Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka Japan. Other certificates include a Japanese Teacher`s Certificate as well. She also speaks English fluently, intermediate Spanish, and basic German as well. Her professional experience includes Teaching Japanese Assistant at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, a foreign language instructor at the Universidad De Especialidades Espiritu Santo as well as a Japanese Language Instructor at Japanese Language School Fujino, and as a Japanese Language Instructor at Guayaquil Hoshuko all in Guayaguil Ecuador. She also has taught Japanese at Kaunas University of Technology and presently at Kaunas University of Technology in Kaunas Lithuania. She has taught Beginner and Intermediate Japanese at Seisen University in January and June/July programs since 2016 to present.

Professor Darren Ashmore
Japanese Anime and Popular Culture Course Faculty

Dr. Ashmore, a native born citizen of the United Kingdom, has a Ph.D in Cultural Anthropology from the School of East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield and with an undergraduate degree in Japanese Language and Culture also from the same University. He is currently the Head Professor of Japanese Studies at Yamanashi Gakuin University since 2015. Prior to this appointment, he was the Head of Japanese Studies at Akita International University. He also taught East Asian Studies at the University of Sheffield prior to coming to Japan. He currently  teaches part-time Japanese Anime and Popular Culture at Seisen University since January 2018. He currently is also the Editor in Chief of FANS JAPAN, part of the Fandom and Neo-Media Studies Journal. He has numerous publications and presentations given on the topic of Japanese Culture, Anime and Pop Culture.


Participants on this program will stay in single, apartment-style rooms. Bedrooms are small, very traditional Japanese style hotel rooms (click to view images).

Accommodation is limited, which puts a cap on the program – first in / best dressed! Students need to pay their deposit to secure their place on this highly sought after program. Each room will have:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bed and linens
  • Bath & toilet
  • Body soap, shampoo & conditioner
  • Face & bath towels
  • Yukata (casual kimono-like garment worn during the summer)
  • Hair dryer
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mini-kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Dishes (a plate, bowl, spoon, fork, glass and mug)
  • Kettle
  • Frying pan, cooking knife
  • Refrigerator
  • Electric cooking plate
  • Study desk or drawer (can be used as a desk) and a chair
  • TV set
  • Wi-Fi (password in the room)
  • Washing machines and dryers are in the building near the hotel reception (washing machine: ¥200, dryer: ¥100)
  • Irons, iron boards and study lamps (available to rent)

Note: Access to computers is available on campus as well as free WiFi. It is recommended that you bring your own tablet or laptop to use if you would like.

The accommodation is easily accessible from Sugamo Train Station and is within a 30-minute commute from campus, as well as within easy reach of many other popular locations in Tokyo by train. Other stations easily accessible to the accommodation are Otsuka Station, Otsukaekimae Station, Sugamo-Shinden Station and Koshinzuka Station.

Your accommodation is not university accommodation – there are other permanent residents who will surround your rooms. We ask that you respect your neighbours during your program.

Please be aware that accommodation and rooms in Japan are typically smaller than they are in Australia and it is most likely that your rooms will be smaller than what you are used to. Additionally, the size of your room may vary depending on room availability and the length of your stay (2-week vs. 4-week program).

Program Fee & Dates

January 2020: Session 1
Application Deadline11 November 2019
Arrival Date04 January 2020
Departure Date18 January 2020
Program Fee A$ 4,999
OS-HELP A$ 9,234
January 2020: Session 2
Application Deadline11 November 2019
Arrival Date18 January 2020
Departure Date01 February 2020
Program Fee A$ 4,999
OS-HELP A$ 9,234
January 2020: Session 1 and 2
Application Deadline11 November 2019
Arrival Date04 January 2020
Departure Date01 February 2020
Program Fee A$ 6,499
OS-HELP A$ 9,234


Program fees include the following:
  • Tuition fees
  • Course materials
  • Accommodation (single room accommodation in apartment-style hotel)
  • Welcome Lunchtime Event, Welcome Dinner and Final Lunchtime Event
  • Extracurricular social and cultural activities
  • Transport card (1,500 Yen)*
  • CISaustralia support services before, during and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial advice
  • Health and medical insurance (if requested)
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure guide and session
  • Airport pick-up
  • CISaustralia 24/7 on-site support – Site Director
  • Oberlin University official transcript
  • CISaustralia Certificate of Completion

*Students will receive a SUICA transport card pre-loaded with 1,500 Yen. Additional transport costs above 1,500 Yen will be at the student’s own expense.

What is not included:

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa fees
  • Vaccinations (if required)
  • Meals (unless mentioned above)
  • Extra travel/excursions (other than those mentioned above)

Visa: Australia has a “Reciprocal Visa Exemption Arrangement” with Japan for a period of 90 days or less. Upon landing, Australian passport holders will be issued with a “Temporary Visitor” entry status stamp, which allows them to stay in Japan for a period of up to 90 days for non-remunerative activities. If you are not an Australian passport holder, please contact the Japanese Consulate-General for specific visa information – you may need to apply for a visa. For your visa application, you may be required to provide a Letter of Invitation and a Letter of Guarantee. CISaustralia and our onsite team in Tokyo can provide this for you. Please reach out to your CISaustralia Program Advisor for further information.

CISaustralia reserves the right to alter fees and inclusions at any time due to currency fluctuations and / or changes made by our affiliates and partner universities.

Dates are for reference only and are subject to change. Please do not book flights until you have received the confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork.

Adventure Awaits

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest updates on all CISaustralia programs, scholarships, news and more!