Semester in Japan
Meiji Gakuin University

Most Affordable

Study in serenity on the outskirts of Tokyo with clear views of Mt. Fuji

Looking for a quiet campus setting but with easy access to bustling Tokyo? Our Semester at Meiji Gakuin University program offers all this and more! Enjoy a learning setting with spa-like vibes, including wooded paths, views of Mt. Fuji, and free access to the full health center. But no cultural #FOMO for you! With a quick 1-hour train ride, you’ll be in Tokyo city center, with close access to all the excitement you desire. It’s also the most affordable Japan semester option we offer.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English and Japanese
  • Average Courseload: 12-18 U.S. credits
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5
  • Visa Requirements: YES - Pre-departure


  • Idyllic suburban setting with wooded paths on a green, sprawling campus
  • Take in crisp and clear views of Mt. Fuji while you cozy up & study in the campus library
  • Register for a “buddy” to get paired with a local student
  • Choose from both Japanese-style and Western-style cuisine in the campus cafeteria at a very reasonable price
  • Enjoy an accommodating library with silent floors for optimal studying practice

Program Details

Meiji Gakuin University

Established in 1863, Meiji Gakuin University is one of the oldest Christian universities in Japan. Over its history, Meiji Gakuin University has maintained a global perspective with a local focus, placing a strong emphasis on international education and exchanges. Based on its philosophy of “Do for Others,” Meiji Gakuin University supports a variety of student life clubs and societies, volunteer opportunities, and cultural exchanges.

Meiji Gakuin University encourages curiosity through social, cultural, and academic exploration. The university’s faculty consists of unique individuals who are ready to listen to your thoughts and doubts, encouraging an interactive learning-teaching exchange. Expect a supportive environment where you can learn and practice Japanese while also leaning on English when you may need it. With around 12,000 students across two campuses in Tokyo and Yokohama, Meiji Gakuin University provides a comfortable academic and social base. Want to get involved on campus? Choose from rugby, soccer, break dancing, judo, fencing, competitive dance, sailing, lacrosse, karate, aikido, figure skating, Red Cross Society, tsunami relief, UN-NGO academy, and more.

Areas of study with at least 2 classes available

  • Communications

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Humanities

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study with 8 or more classes available

  • World Languages
  • Business

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Course Equivalency and Approval

In general, 4 credits at Meiji Gakuin University (MGU) is roughly equivalent to over 40 contact hours, or about 3 US credits. You should plan on taking a minimum of 12 MGU credits per semester, although based on US equivalency you would typically need 16 MGU credits to maintain full-time status in the US (12 US credit equivalency). The average course load for international students at MGU is 14 – 16 credits, but you could also aim for the 16 – 20 MGU credits range to transfer back 12 – 15 US credits.

Course Offerings

The International Student Program at Meiji Gakuin University (MGU) consists of:
1) A mandatory Intensive Japanese Language course divided into 5 levels (6 credits)
2) A selection of elective courses and seminars offered in English by various MGU faculties with a focus on Japanese social and cultural issues (2 credits per class)

Additionally, participants who are also holders of Level 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) are allowed to take courses instructed in Japanese at MGU with prior permission from the instructor.

Japanese Language Courses

Intensive Japanese Language Courses meet 6 times a week for 90 minutes each. There are also practical Japanese courses and Japanese literature courses.

Elective Courses Conducted in English

Course subjects offered in the past include:
Politics and Society
Contemporary Global Issues
International Relations
Gender and Society
Cultural Studies
Regional Studies
Community Development

Here is a list of the most recent course offerings: Exchange Student Course List and Syllabi

Please select the course lists for the Yokohama campus.

You can use the courses from previous terms as a good indication of what to expect for your semester, as they don’t typically vary too much from year to year. Once the new courses have been finalized they will be updated here. You can use the courses from previous terms as a good indication of what to expect for your semester, as they don’t typically vary too much from year to year. Once the new courses have been finalized they will be updated here.

Why Life in Tokyo

Huge, stylish, exciting, bold, and incredibly fun, Tokyo is a one-of-a-kind city. The Tokyo metropolitan area is the most populous place in the entire world, and it’s home to absolutely everything. You can step from a bustling market into a quiet park, from a frenetic dance club to a serene temple. The best thing to do in Tokyo is to embrace it all, including the food, the festivals, and the karaoke. It would take several lifetimes to explore all that Tokyo has to offer, but CIS Abroad will show you some of the best sites during your time in Tokyo. Every day will be filled with unforgettable sights and scenes, Tokyo style.

You can spend your free time visiting world-famous markets, shrines, and museums. For a more low-key experience, ride a bike around a quiet neighborhood, where you can interact with street vendors, food cart owners, and friendly residents. Your time in Tokyo will fly by, and we guarantee you’ll always want to come back. The city is that special!

Live The Local Life

  • Japanese Gardens in Tokyo

    The Imperial Palace Higashi (East) Gyoen (garden), Shinjuku Gyoen, Kiyosu Teien, Hamarikyu, Rikugien. Asianesque garden beauty is laid out and provides a serene feeling of Japan and Asia.

  • Mt. Fuji

    Ride the fastest Japanese train, the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Tokyo station to Shin Fuji station. At the station, you can see a dynamic view of Mt. Fuji. Climb up to the top of the mountain to see more amazing views of Japan. Take the Bullet train further to Kyoto city. Stay overnight in a Japanese inn, and walk around the ancient capital city.

  • Largest Fish Market in the World

    Be sure to go to Toyosu Fish Market in Tokyo. It is the largest fish market in the world. Try to get to the market early so you can watch the auction for freshly caught giant tuna fish. Enjoy the freshest sushi possible and/or the market's exceptional ramen!

  • Japanese “Onsen” (Hot Spring)

    Take a train to Hakone and Atami, less than one hour ride from Tokyo. In Hakone and Atami, there are a number of traditional Inns where you can enjoy hot springs and authentic Japanese cuisine. Tokyo has some good spots too.

  • Tokyo Sky Tree

    The world 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.

Off-Campus University Dorms


Students will stay in campus housing in Yokohama, within a 20-30 minute commute from their academic buildings. Rooms are single occupancy ensuite with shared dining/lounge hall and laundry facilities. Rooms come equipped with a desk, chair, closet, bed, linens, and internet access.


Included in the program is a meal plan at the dormitory cafeteria.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • BathroomEnsuite
  • Bed linens
  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • Desk
  • LaundryOn-site
  • Included
  • Single Room
  • Study Areas
  • Wi-Fi

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Welcome dinner
  • Excursions, like visiting famous shrines and temples and a traditional Tea Ceremony
  • Housing
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Meiji Gakuin University Transcript
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Predeparture orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • On-site support
  • The Local Life cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

You will be picked up at the airport upon arrival, get a lay of the land, touring apartments and visiting local convenient stores and markets for anything you may need. Shortly after you’ve settled in, explore nearby neighborhoods, familiarizing yourself with the subway and train systems. Orientation continues with an excursion and a welcome dinner the first week in the fun fashion district of Shibuya!

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

Though you’re not an astronaut returning from space, re-entering your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system, especially after having lived in the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo! We’ll walk you through some of the things to expect when readjusting to whatever you’re going back to (if you can actually pry yourself away from Japan) and rehash your time abroad so that you can remember the highlights.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad 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 Tokyo!

Yokoso to Tokyo!

Yokoso means “Welcome” in Japanese! So in this first activity, we will be doing our Tokyo Orientation and welcome meal while exploring both traditional and famously fashionable modern parts of the city! Let’s first show you how to take the famous Tokyo trains and travel to the popular Harajuku station and walk over to Meiji Shrine, one of the most well-known and peaceful Shinto Shrines in Tokyo and all of Japan! Let’s relax in the middle of the city at the most peaceful place at the Shrine, the Meiji Shrine Inner Japanese Garden which features a teahouse, bonsai tree display, lots of nature paths, a koi pond, and some traditional gazebos where we can chill out while digitally going over the Orientation PowerPoint. After this, let’s walk through the famous and fun Takeshita street in Harajuku and through the fashion district of Omotesando , and then over to the most famous fashionable area of Japan – Shibuya where we will cross one and only Shibuya Crossing and embark on a walking tour of central Shibuya – especially the dynamic Shibuya Center gai area- while also stopping at various places to eat delicious Japanese food. What’s on the menu? Let’s visit a standing sushi shop and try some of our own choices, then let’s make and eat okonomiyaki and learn about the importance of katsuo and dashi in Japanese cuisine, then let’s try some street food that everyone loves like kushiage – Japanese fried chicken, and various types of yakitori – different kinds of food on a grilled skewer. Finally, we will finish with obanyaki sweets for dessert while touring the underground food area of Shibuya station – Shibuchika! Let’s eat while learning and going around Shibuya!

Fall & Spring into Zen

Fall & Spring into Zen

Zen represents health in many settings through peaceful Japanese cultural practices. In this activity, we will have a healthy organic Japanese lunch. You can start off by nourishing your body and soul with healthy organic Japanese food! Then, we will go to the amazing Kodosan Temple for various peaceful and traditional activities. We will walk around the area, have a Japanese Tea Ceremony, learn and practice meditation, do Japanese calligraphy related to peaceful Japanese characters which you can take home, and more! You will learn even more about Asian massage, Japanese hot springs baths, ryokans, and other healthy Japanese practices to relax your mind and body.

Let's Do Washoku!

This is a Japanese cooking class where we learn washoku practices of how to prepare, cook AND EAT popular and healthy Japanese dishes such as nigiri sushi and miso soup! Washoku is defined as the cultural practice and tradition as well as skills related to the making, preparation, and consumption of traditional Japanese food. It’s also related to nature, traditional culture, using natural resources, promoting health and sustainability, and focusing on aesthetics. Let’s learn the careful and healthy cultural ways of making traditional Japanese food that we can take with us for a lifetime. It can change us all for the better! Dietary restrictions will be accommodated. 
Sayonara Tokyo Cruise

Sayonara Tokyo Cruise

We will finish off the semester cruising the night away on a traditional boat ride called Yakatabune!! We will reminisce on what we learned and our memories in Japan while watching the Tokyo skyline go by as we feast on many delicious Japanese foods! We’ll see the lights of Odaiba, the gorgeous Tokyo Tower at night, the brilliant Rainbow Bridge, and the towering Tokyo Sky Tree, all while remembering so many things we learned, things we did, and the people we met

Trip to Kamakura

Trip to Kamakura

Let’s go to the most famous city outside of Tokyo – Kamakura during the beautiful Fall season! This city is a very popular destination for its temples, shrines, and historical monuments. We’ll Fall into colors such as red Japanese Momiji maple trees as we visit the most famous shrine – Tsuruoka Hachimangu. Then, let’s have lunch at Komachi Street. We will then go to the famous Hase Temple (Hase Kannon Temple). Finally, we will visit and enter the Great Buddha statue

Tokyo Furusato Matsuri (Hometown Festival)

Tokyo Furusato Matsuri (Hometown Festival)

Let’s enjoy the biggest festival in Japan located indoors at the Tokyo Dome in January! This grand event is full of all the excitement of summer festivals in Japan and more including taiko drumming, bon dancing, festival floats, and features unique food, drink, and cultural goods straight from every prefecture in Japan! We can find the best things from every part of Japan in this event! Let’s enjoy one of the best things about Japan – festivals – even in January!

Site Director

Steve Hamade
Travel Tip:

I always try to adjust to the time difference prior to arrival by pulling an all-nighter either the night before my flight or during the flight as required. I used to always pick up a good book or two as well, but now I just carry my kindle.

Travel Tip:

I always try to adjust to the time difference prior to arrival by pulling an all-nighter either the night before my flight or during the flight as required. I used to always pick up a good book or two as well, but now I just carry my kindle.


Hailing from Toronto, I spent the first part of my life in Canada. Armed with a BA in Philosophy, I eventually joined the JET Programme as a Coordinator for International Relations (CIR) to explore my Japanese-Canadian heritage. I anticipated a brief 2-3 year stint, aiming to pursue an MBA thereafter, but shifted course and transitioned from rural Japan to Tokyo. My trajectory encompassed two roles in private education companies. I’m thrilled to be partnering with CIS Abroad. Family inspires me, and I’m a sports enthusiast who cherishes karaoke and onsen — major factors that tied me to Japan, along with meeting my wife and starting a business.

Your Support Staff

Advising and Enrollment
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!


Kaylee Klinger, our student advisor and 2x CIS Abroad alum, can help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal objectives. It’s not always an easy choice, but you can’t go wrong! Once you’ve decided, we’ll guide to you submit an online application.


Once you’ve submitted your initial application and the fee, you’ll be assigned a Program Enrollment Coordinator. We’ll work closely together to guide you through the enrollment process and prepare you for a life-changing experience!

Britni Purcell
Travel Tip:

Find ways to connect with your host community – the language, everyday activities, common gathering places. You’ll discover that you can gain the most genuine and life-long friendships just by trying to immerse yourself into the culture.

I highly recommend learning some of the language, even a few phrases, before going abroad for an extended amount of time. Don’t be afraid to mess up speaking – though you will likely say something wrong and hilarious (I’ve got too many instances in Korean to count), that’s part of the process and the locals will definitely appreciate the genuine effort!

Alexandra Woolner
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.

Dates & Prices

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

  • Application Deadline: Mar 15
  • Arrival: September 11
  • Departure: February 2
  • Price: $12,890 - $14,890
  • Application Deadline: Sep 20 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: March 29 (Estimated)
  • Departure: August 1 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,990 - $14,990
  • Application Deadline: Mar 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: September 9 (Estimated)
  • Departure: January 31 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,990 - $14,990 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

Price range:
FALL 2023
Low price: On-campus housing
High price: Off-campus housing
Off-campus university dorm – single room with meal plan: $12,990
Off-campus private housing – double without meals: $13,990
Off-campus private housing – single without meals: $14,990

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

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