Summer in Japan: Japan Then and Now

Image of Summer in Japan: Japan Then and Now
During this summer program, students will explore pre-modern and modern Japanese history through site visits.
Location: Yokohama, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Osaka, Hiratsuka, Japan
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Two and half week summer program that includes visits in Yokohama, Hiratsuka, Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Osaka
  • No language experience required
  • Interact with Japanese people to immerse yourself in Japanese history and culture

This two and half week program offers a hands-on look at pre-modern and modern Japanese culture and society through site visits that provide visual evidence of past historical events and sites that show the nature of contemporary Japanese society.

The program is based at Kanagawa University, Minato Mirai Campus in Yokohama. Yokohama is an international port city, one hour south of Tokyo and is located on the Tokyo Bay. It is Japan’s second largest city with a population of 3.72 million. The city has gorgeous parks such as the Sankeien Garden, a beautiful Japanese Traditional Garden and Yokohama’s historical Chinatown market. The city also boasts modern architecture and stunning views of the seaside. While in Yokohama, participants will be able to meet with Kanagawa University students and visit Hiratsuka, Lawrence’s sister city. Additionally in day trips, students will explore the temple grounds of the Great Buddha of Kamakura and visit top Tokyo sites.

The program also includes a six day excursion to Kansai region to visit Kyoto, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Osaka.


2024 Program Dates:
Depart U.S.: May 15, 2024
Arrive in Tokyo: May 16, 2024
Depart Tokyo: June 2, 2024

The program is based at Kanagawa University in Yokohama, Japan.

There is a six day excursion to visit Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka.

Program Itinerary 

Yokohama and Hiratsuka
•    Meet with Kanagawa University students in Yokohama
•    Visit the Great Buddha of Kamakura
•    Explore the beautiful Sankein Garden inYokohama
•    Visit the Cup of Noodles Museum
•    Meet Hiratsuka citizens at community event
•    Meet the Hiratsuka City Mayor and visit a local school

•    Visit Sensō-ji Temple in Asakusa, the oldest Buddhist Temple in Tokyo
•    Visit Akihabara, a major shopping district for video games, anime, manga, and electronics.
•    Visit Shibuya, a contemporary hot spot for Japanese youth.
•    See a kabuki play.


Participants will then travel to Western Japan to visit Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka.

•    Visit temples and gardens
•    Eat traditional cuisine.
•    Visit a traditional crafts museum and observe ancient craft practices.

•    Participants will visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Park to reflect on the war and its culmination in the atomic bombing of that city

Itsukushima (Miyajima Island)
•    Participants will see the Torii gate of the Itsukushima Shrine and be greeted by the island deer

•    Participants will visit Osaka Castle and various sites in this bustling merchant city, long the center of Japan's economy and famous for gastronomy


EALC 231/331 Studies in: Japan: Past and Present (3 credits) In this course, students will gain a knowledge of the past eras of Japan’s history and culture and will be able to verbalize insights into how historical experiences have shaped and influenced the Japan of today.

Students will be required to keep a journal and deliver short reflections on the influence of past historical conditions on the present. All students will submit a final essay exam after returning to the U.S. Students who take the course for Jr/Sr credit hours (EALC331) will also be required to write a term paper on a topic approved by the instructor. In addition to the overview of Japan’s history, the course entails close interaction with contemporary Japan through interaction with home stay families and student clubs on the Kanagawa University campus and through participation in traditional activities such as rice planting, calligraphy, and tea ceremony.  

While knowledge of Japanese is not required, students with background in the language will be expected to use Japanese in the home stays and students with no background will be taught and encouraged to learn phrases and simple grammar during the course of the homestays and travel.

Participants will stay in hotels or hostels during the program except for a 2 night home stay experience while in Yokohama.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

Open to undergraduate and graduate students from any accredited U.S. college or university. No previous Japanese training is required. Minimum 2.50 GPA required (exceptions considered only after submission of a petition).

Dr. Yuka Naito, Assistant Teaching Professor of Japanese and the Japanese Language Coordinator at the University of Kansas, has over 20 years of experience teaching Japanese language and culture. She was born and raised in Tokyo before she moved to Kansas for her graduate studies. Her research focuses are Japanese pedagogy and second language acquisition, but she also has interests in a various aspects of Japanese culture and customs and has traveled extensively throughout Japan.