Program Overview

Sometimes referred to as the “Cultural Capital” of Japan, Kyoto combines tradition and history with all the conveniences of a modern city. You’ll study at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (colloquially Kyoto Gaidai), a contained language-focused campus in the northwest of the city that boasts four diplomatic consulates within its walls. After class, travel across the river to Gion, an old artistic neighborhood with winding narrow streets, hidden shops, and geikos – geishas of Kyoto dedicated to maintaining traditional flower arrangement, tea ceremonies, and Japanese art.

GPA Requirement
Application Deadlines
Spring: November 1
Fall: April 1
Avg Course Load
5- 6 courses (15+ US credits)
Language(s) of Instruction
Japanese and English
  • Live in a young, active city where 10% of the population are college students
  • Explore new and old traditions in the "cultural capital" of Japan
  • Learn Japanese, one of the world's most important languages, in an immersive setting
  • Some of the most delicious food in the world
  • Easy access to cities like Osaka, Kobe, and Nara
Your Journey Begins Here
  • Connect with your friendly Global Advisor to ask questions and find the best fit program. Start planning for on campus processes, and apply by the application deadline.
  • Meet your Program Enrollment Coordinator to finalize acceptance paperwork, housing, courses, flights, visas, and payments. Attend one our our LIVE pre-departure orientations.
  • Fly away! You'll be greeted at the airport (comforting after a long flight!) and experience a robust On-site Orientation and La Vida Local Curriculum with your Site Director.



The Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (KUFS) is your gateway to Japan. Dive into Japanese language and culture with other students from around the world. Founded in 1959, KUFS was originally a foreign language university. Now, KUFS houses a Center for Global Studies and a Center for Japanese Studies. You’ll find a dynamic learning environment in a fascinating city filled with Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and modern buildings.

The Japanese Studies courses provide a solid base for understanding Japanese language and culture. Many former KUFS international students are so inspired by Japan that they return to live and to work there after graduating. You’ll have your pick of engaging, creative courses. Furthermore, you’ll have hands-on experience with traditional Japanese arts, including calligraphy, tea ceremony, kimono wearing, ikebana, and dance.

Accredited by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan. Also recognized by Japan University Accreditation Association; Japan Institution for Higher Education Evaluation (JIHEE).


Now the fun part! You get to pick the courses you will take abroad. Review the course information on this page. Once you’ve decided which courses you want to take, fill out the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet in your online portal.


Make sure to talk with your home university about course approval and get additional classes approved before you go abroad. For example, if you are taking 4 classes abroad, we recommend getting 8 approved. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.


If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, do not despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, there are additional application materials that you can submit to make your case for acceptance.


World Languages


Social Sciences

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Choose Your Courses

Choose your courses, making sure to get them approved by your home university and then fill out the Course Selection Worksheet in your portal.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CISabroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.

Yokoso to Kyoto

Yokoso means “Welcome” in Japanese. The day starts out in Arashiyama, located only about 30 minutes from KUFS housing and famous for Zen Temples and Gardens, the Monkey and Bamboo Forests, and so much more! We first enter Tenryu-ji Zen Temple, a serene temple with gorgeous views of the Zen garden and koi pond. We’ll then head into the Bamboo Grove of Arashiyama for a stroll through the serene forest. We’ll then take a break for some matcha ice cream. You are then free to roam – check out the monkey park in the forest, relax by the Katsura river, or freshen up for the night to come. Later on, we meet up in Gion, the Geisha district of Kyoto. This is where we have our Yokoso Dinner at an Izakaya restaurant tasting a variety of Japanese food dishes. We’ll then enjoy a walking tour of the area covering Pontocho dori, along the Kamo gawa river, then to check out a Geisha’s home, then over to the famous Yasaka Shrine, then to Hanamikoji dori all the way into Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto and home to over twenty different shrines.

The Nara Experience Tour

Every Semester, students join an exciting excursion to nearby Nara, the first ancient capital of Japan. Nara’s ancient history is considered very significant to the foundation of much of Japanese culture. Such cultural aspects of Japan such as Sumo wrestling and Sake were birthed in Nara. Many historical monuments are registered as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. Every semester, May in the Spring semester, and November in the Fall semester, we set out for a day of culture and exploration to this wonderful city and prefecture. Included in this excursion are round trip transportation, lunch, snacks for the deer at Nara Deer Park, a visit to Todaiji Temple, a mid-day soft cream snack, and the private night at Kashihara Shrine including a special dinner.

Temple Hopping

This excursion takes us into the history, culture and beauty of seasons in Kyoto. We start off at the famous Ginkakuji Temple, walking the path through the inner Shrine taking in all the beautiful natural settings that fill the property. Next, we walk along the Philospher`s Path to Honen-in Temple, quiet and scenic. Next stop is Anraku-ji Temple, featuring an amazing Japanese garden. Then it’s onto Eikan-do Temple, famed for its beautiful foliage. The last stop on the Path is Nanzen-ji Temple, full of beauty and amazement. We’ll rest our feet for a bit before we make our way to Chion-in Temple for their special night time “Light-up” event. We finish off the tour walking to nearby Gion for some free time enjoyment.

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team

Travel Tip: We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us be it through a phone call, email or personal visit, you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Julia Sementilli
Senior Program Enrollment Coordinator

Travel Tip: Be open to meeting new people! Some of my favorite memories while traveling include meeting people in hostels, or by getting involved at my school abroad. You never know who will be a lifelong friend! Try all of the local foods, even if you don’t think you will like it. Write everything down in a journal- you will appreciate those stories later!

Learn more about Julia

Alexandra Woolner
International Operations Manager - Asia and the Pacific

Travel Tip: Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.

Learn more about Alexandra

Student Feedback

Everyone within the program had their hearts, heads, and souls in the program, and it made me feel so welcomed and so happy. The students, teachers, directors, and all the people I met in passing on the trip taught me so much about myself and inspired me to be better and think bigger.

Caitlin Haggerty, Semester in Japan, Stevens Institute of Technology, Information Systems

Program Fees & Dates

Advisor Tip: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Fall 2020
    Application Deadline
    April 1
    September 2 (Estimated)
    January 21 (Estimated)
  • Spring 2021
    Application Deadline
    November 1
    March 22 (Estimated)
    July 17 (Estimated)
    $12,590 (Estimated)
  • Spring 2020
    Application Deadline
    November 1
    March 23
    July 18

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.


Optional Elective Course: Teaching English and Professional Development in Japan
(Currently offered during summer only. Consider extending your stay!)
Summary of Program:

  • Semester-long, plus one extra week at the end
  • Training course in theory and practice of teaching the English language in Japan and other Asian countries
  • Three stages: series of lectures, group discussions, peer activities, real-world teaching observations, and teaching demonstrations
  • 18 hours of instruction
  • 34 hours of practical teaching experience
  • One week of classroom teaching in Tokyo
  • PRE-TESOL Basic Certificate and letter of recommendation post-completion

Learn more here!

Interested in extending your stay? You could earn up to a $1,000 discount!

Many students wish they could extend their time abroad. It’s often easier to do so before your program starts, rather than when you’re on site. From doing a full-year program to adding an internship or even combining two programs in different countries, there are many ways we can help you. Ask your global advisor for more info.

Program Inclusions

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • CIS Abroad Comprehensive Academic and Cultural Orientation in Tokyo
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Excursions to Osaka, Gion, and Nara
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Predeparture orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • On-site support
  • Kyoto University of Foreign Studies Transcript
  • La Vida Local cultural program