January in Tokyo, Japan at Oberlin University
Spend 2 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.
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.
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.
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
Please note the itinerary below is a sample only and is subject to change.
Day 1 (Saturday):
Day 2 (Sunday):
Orientation Part 1: Living in Japan
Day 3 (Monday):
Orientation Part 2: Campus
Day 4 (Tuesday):
Day 5 (Wednesday):
Tea Ceremony Activity
Day 6 (Thursday):
Day 7 (Friday):
Day 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday):
Day 10 (Monday):
Day 11 (Tuesday):
Day 12 (Wednesday):
Meiji Shrine and Kimono Wearing Activity
Day 13 (Thursday):
Day 14 (Friday):
Choose Your Course
This program is hosted at J. F. Oberlin University at the Shinjuku campus. Students will take one course over the 2-week session.
- Japanese: Beginner
- Japanese: Intermediate
- Japanese Anime & Popular Culture
If studying Japanese language, students will take a placement test during the program orientation.
Course Load: 1 course. 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 3 US / 4 Japanese credits.
- Depending on your Australian university, “courses” may be referred to as “subjects” or “units”.
- Each course/subject/unit you undertake on a CISaustralia program 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.
- CISaustralia strongly recommends that you have any overseas courses pre-approved for academic credit before you depart for your program. Some documentation that may be useful are the course outline/syllabus, program overview and the contact hours.
- Please be aware that the courses listed below are subject to change and cannot be guaranteed year on year.
- Your CISaustralia Program Advisor can assist with any questions or details your university needs to make a decision.
Academic Requirement: To qualify for this program, 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, you may still be considered for the program but will need to be prepared to provide supporting documentation. Please contact us to discuss your situation and we will work with you to help find another suitable program if required.
COVID Safe Travel
The health and safety of our students is our highest priority. We take our duty of care for our students, their families and our Australian University partners seriously. For all of our program locations, we have developed a site-specific COVID-19 risk matrix and risk management and emergency response plans so that health and safety response protocols are monitored, managed and communicated.
We have also developed a flexible COVID-19 Refund Policy that limits the financial impact on students should CISaustralia (or one of our overseas partners) have to cancel or suspend a program due to COVID-19.
CISaustralia monitors Smartraveller and reliable news feeds to keep up to date with the latest COVID information and any associated travel restrictions and entry requirements for all destinations where we have programs. Due to the constantly evolving COVID-19 situation, Government travel advice can change quickly. For the most up to date information on Japan, visit the Smartraveller website.
As part of the orientation, 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.
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.
While the university’s main campus is in Machida on the outskirts of Tokyo, this program is hosted at Oberlin’s Shinjuku branch campus – in the heart of the city! Shinjuku is buzzing with entertainment, galleries, theatres, bookstores, shopping, nightclubs, karaoke rooms, observation decks and upscale hotel bars and restaurants. The Skyscraper District, home to many of Tokyo’s tallest skyscrapers, is also located in Shinjuku as well as the world’s busiest train station and New National Stadium, the main stadium built for the Summer Olympics XXXII.
Oberlin 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.
Participants on this program will stay in single, hotel-style rooms. Bedrooms are small, very traditional Japanese-style hotel rooms.
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
- Dishes (a plate, bowl, spoon, fork, glass and mug)
- Frying pan, cooking knife
- 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
|Accommodation is limited and in high demand, which puts a cap on the program – first in / best dressed! Students need to pay their deposit by the application deadline to secure their place on this highly sought after program.|
|Application Deadline||14 November 2022|
|Arrival Date||14 January 2023|
|Departure Date||28 January 2023|
|Application Fee||A$ 95|
|Program Fee||A$ 5,499|
Program fees include the following:
- CISaustralia support services before, during and after the program
- Academic advising
- Financial advice
- Assistance with travel arrangements
- Pre-departure guide and session
- Airport pick-up (on specified program arrival date within designated arrival times)
- Accommodation – single, hotel-style room
- Welcome and Farewell dinners
- Tuition fees
- Course materials
- Extracurricular social and cultural activities
- Transport card (1,500 Yen)*
- Program risk matrix and COVID-19 risk assessment
- Risk Management and Emergency Response Plan
- CISaustralia 24/7 on-site support – Site Director
- Oberlin University official transcript
- CISaustralia Certificate of Participation (available on request)
*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:
- Program application fee
- International Student Identity Card
- Flights (CISaustralia will however provide travel guidance and support via our formal travel partner)
- Medical insurance
- 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.
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.
CISaustralia reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.