Japan Study Abroad Country Profile

Japan Overview

Japan is truly the confluence of East meets West. Japan is, in many ways, not as remote or culturally distinct from the lifestyle students are used to at home, but Japanese touches put a new perspective on otherwise familiar things. Education in Japan is incredibly important, and the population boasts a near-perfect literacy rate. Rich, long-standing cultural traditions blend seamlessly with cutting-edge technologies and modern cities. Even Japan’s most advanced areas like Tokyo, which is often depicted as a hyper-modern metropolis, blend the old with the new; Japan’s oldest temple can be found amidst modern high-rises and bright neon signs. Whether students seek nature, culture, or technology, there is something for everyone on this island nation.

Cultural Highlights

Japan has something of a love affair with American culture, but not so much so that you will be unable to escape it (though it can be a good way of combating home sickness). Entertainment as an industry is central to Japanese culture, and karaoke and game centers are very popular. For those interested in the more traditional aspects of Japanese culture, there are many fantastic historical sites and cultural points of interest. Kyoto is famous for its Japanese gardens and geishas. Japan’s tallest mountain, Mount Fuji, provides a diversion for outdoors enthusiasts – hike the mountain, paraglide off of it, or enjoy a picnic at its base. It is hard to summarize Japan’s multifaceted culture in just a paragraph or two – the best way to get a sense of it is to experience it for yourself! As a Japan study abroad participant, you will be potentially overwhelmed with fantastic opportunities!

Popular Fields of Study

Clearly, there is only one place to go if you’re interested in learning Japanese, and though the language can seem daunting at first, there are many long-term benefits to being proficient in the language. Studying through a Japanese university can be difficult, since they are currently limited to accepting students whose home institutions already have an affiliation. However, there are

Why Study Abroad in Japan?

Japan has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Japan.

1. Japanese Language

In terms of immersion and language exposure, there is really only one place to go if you’re interested in learning Japanese. Whether you’re interacting with classmates at a Japanese university or helping family members during a home stay, being in Japan will truly help you grasp the language.

2. Endless Things To Do

For the student that wants options, there are few better places to go than Japan. Japan’s cities have a vibrant atmosphere with something to do at every turn, while Japan’s more rural areas offer natural points of interest and a chance to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

3. Kyoto

Experience the aspects of Japan’s culture that are historically the most well known, from Japanese gardens to the art of calligraphy. Japan study abroad participants will be mesmerized by the impressive assortment of Shinto shrines spread throughout the city.

4. Sumo Wrestling

This unique sporting pastime is well known but seldom understood by people outside of Japan. Tokyo in January is the best time to check out a sumo match – the first tournament of the year (Hatsu Basho) lasts for fifteen days.

5. Japanese Theater

There are three distinct types of theater in Japan that are very different from Western forms of live theater. Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku are a feast for the senses, and even if your Japanese isn’t up to speed, you will be moved by these dramatic performances.

6. Hiroshima

An important historical destination for both the Japanese people and Western tourists is the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the building was the only structure left standing after the first atomic bomb dropped in 1945.

7. Friendly People

By and large, the Japanese people you meet will be friendly, willing to help you if you’re lost, and eager to converse in Japanese with you.

8. Safety

Many students want an academic experience abroad but don’t want to get too far out of their element. Japan is a safe destination for student travelers, which is partially tied to the friendliness of its people.

9. Anime

Most Japanophiles don’t need a reason to visit or study abroad in Japan, but if you like anime, Japan is the only choice for you.

10. Food

There are a wide variety of foods available in Japan in a number of different price ranges. From the ubiquitous udon noodles to more bizarre, niche food offerings, there is something for every palate in Japan.

Japan Study Abroad Statistics

Japan Country Ranking: 11

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 13.9%
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 5,012
  • Total US Students 2007/08: 5,710
  • Yearly 2007/08 Trend: +13.9%
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