Japan, a blend of traditional and ultramodern, from tranquil temples and historic castles to neon-lit cityscapes and pop culture. The birthplace of samurai and sumo, the home of manga, anime, and sushi, Japan is known for its inspiring mix of rich cultural history and innovative technology.
Japan, the 10th most popular study-abroad destination, hosts around 7,000 American students annually. It’s an amazing place to study, offering the chance to explore its unique blend of traditional and modern attractions. From Tokyo to Kyoto, Hokkaido to Hiroshima, and many places in between, we’re showcasing the best cultural experiences that Japan has to offer.
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Tokyo: Exploring Japan’s Capital of Culture and Innovation
Tokyo, Japan’s capital city, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that combines the ultramodern and the traditional. Here, the ancient blends with the cutting-edge in fascinating ways.
Start your exploration at the heart of the city, the Imperial Palace. Surrounded by parks and gardens, this historic site offers a serene escape from the urban buzz.
Tokyo Skytree, one of the city’s modern marvels, is another must-visit. Standing 634 meters high, it offers panoramic views of the city and beyond.
No Tokyo experience would be complete without a visit to Akihabara, known as Tokyo’s “Electric Town”. This district is famous for its many electronics shops, ranging from tiny stalls to vast department stores. It’s also the heart of Japan’s otaku (diehard fan) culture, with many shops devoted to anime and manga.
Cultural experiences are abundant in Tokyo. Why not enjoy a tea ceremony, a formative part of traditional Japanese culture. For the foodies, a sushi-making class is an enjoyable way to dive into Japanese cuisine.
For an immersive and enriching Tokyo experience, check out KCP International Japanese Language School, a top-rated study abroad program provider, ensuring an unforgettable cultural journey.
(KCP has been working with accredited U.S. universities for over 20 years and has affiliation agreements with several universities and sponsor agreements with three of them.)
Kyoto: The Heart of Traditional Japan
The city of Kyoto is Japan’s cultural heart and the family home of traditional arts like tea ceremonies, geisha, and kaiseki dining. Start your journey in the historic district of Gion, known for its well-preserved machiya houses and teahouses where Geiko (Kyoto dialect for Geisha) and Maiko (Geisha apprentices) entertain.
Be sure to visit Kinkaku-ji, or the “Golden Pavilion,” a Zen temple that’s one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. Equally breathtaking is the Fushimi Inari Shrine, famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates.
To truly immerse yourself in the heart of traditional Japanese culture, Genki Japanese and Culture School in Kyoto (Genki also has Schools in Fukuoka and Tokyo) offers an engaging study abroad program that allows students to learn the language and cultural arts.
Hiroshima: Historical Lessons and Natural Beauty
No trip to Japan is complete without a visit to Hiroshima, a city that has risen from the ashes of the past to become a symbol of peace. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park stands as a solemn reminder of the nuclear attack and is a humbling place of remembrance.
Beyond the city, visit the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island, one of Japan’s most iconic sights. A beautiful contrast of Shrine and nature, its Torii gate appears to float on the water at high tide.
For a deep dive into Japanese language and culture in a city that signifies resilience and peace, the SANKO Japanese Language School Tokyo offers a comprehensive study abroad program for international students.
Beyond the Cities: Cultural Immersion Across Japan
Students recommended a range of experiences beyond the main cities. The city of Nara, home to many ancient temples and the Todaiji Temple housing a giant Buddha statue is a worthwhile visit. For a change of scenery, Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, is famed for its natural hot springs (onsen), ski areas, and the stunning Lake Toya.
Japan offers a world of experiences to any student willing to explore its rich cultural tapestry. Whether exploring the vibrant streets of Tokyo or the traditional tranquillity of Kyoto, immersing yourself in Japan’s culture will undoubtedly enrich your study abroad experience.
Ready to experience it firsthand? Learn more about studying abroad in Japan, including Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, for a cultural experience that is genuinely unique.