Quarter Abroad Japan - On Site

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Japanese Language and Culture in Kyoto


Students will live in residence halls adjacent to the Kyoto Seika University campus. UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


The residence halls have kitchens where students can do their own cooking. Also, inexpensive meals can be purchased at university dining facilities for prices ranging from $2-$5 dollars. Students can purchase a prepaid card if they like.

Excursions and Day Trips

In the past, students have done the following field trips (and more!) as part of the Kyoto Quarter Abroad Program:

  • A hands-on workshop on manga production at the Kyoto International Manga Museum.
  • A boat trip to the island of Chikubushima, in the middle of Lake Biwa, home to one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan.
  • A workshop covering the basics of noh drama at the Kawamura Noh Theater.
  • A hike through the holy mountains of Kibune and Kurama, followed by a soak in an open-air natural hot spring (onsen).
  • A trip to the Wakayama Fish Market, which included a demonstration of how to carve up a 60-kg. (130-lb.) tuna into appropriate sushi/sashimi  portions.
  • A hike through the Arashiyama Monkey Park, which included a feeding of the monkey that roamed the premises.
  • An overnight trip to the center of esoteric Shingon Buddhism in Japan, Mt. Kôya, which included monastery lodgings and a tour of the largest and most historic cemetery in Japan.
  • An overnight trip to the Grand Shrine at Ise, the center of the Shinto religion for the imperial family.
  • A tour of the oldest brewery of soy sauce in Japan.   
  • A day trip to the historic port town of Nagahama, on the shores of Lake Biwa.
  • A day trip to Wakayama Castle, tour of the garden grounds and castle keep.
  • An evening trip to the Kyoto Botanical Gardens to see the night-lit cherry blossoms in full bloom.

Possible future trips include:

  • A day-long walking tour retracing some of duels of the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645)
  • A tour of the Gekkeikan sake brewery and a demonstration of ancient brewing methods.
  • A trip to Osaka to see a Hanshin Tigers baseball game.
  • A trip to the National Bunraku Theater in Osaka to see a performance of traditional puppet theater.
  • A tour of a green tea facility in the town of Uji, and a workshop and demonstration of the tea ceremony.

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible. However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About Japan

Currency: Yen

Language Spoken: Japanese

Weather and Climate

Springtime in Japan is relatively mild.  Rainfall is moderate and the days are often clear.  In general, you can expect it to be cooler (at least in the daytime) and wetter than Davis would be during the spring. 

Research Your Destination

One of the best ways to start researching Kyoto is to read Japanese newspapers (available in English).  Here are some links to some of Japan's newspapers:

Newspapers and Magazines

Keeping in Touch

Since communication options can vary dramatically from country to country, Summer Abroad advises checking with the instructor or the Program Specific Guide for advice about what might be the best option for your particular program.

Calling the U.S. from Abroad

Many U.S.-based long distance phone companies provide special services that make it easy for you to phone home from abroad. Some provide toll-free access numbers that connect with an operator in the U.S. Some provide the means to charge long distance calls to a credit card or to a third party. Some provide better long distance rates. Others provide access to emergency, medical, legal, translation, and entertainment information. Students are encouraged to investigate these options before departure and to shop for the best services and rates.

Global Cell Phones

Most cell phone companies can sell you a special global cell phone with the option to add more minutes as needed. Also, most cell phone companies can unlock your cell phone for global use, but this requires a trip to a provider at your destination who will give you a SIM card and sell you minutes. Check with your cell phone provider for more information. Global cell phones are also available through travel agencies and online. Be sure to check the policies for both incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

Cell Phone Rental

Some students choose to rent a cell phone that works at their destination. Some companies will ship the phone directly to the student in advance of the program dates—and include a packet for sending the phone back when they return. Interested students can locate service providers via the Internet.

Phone Cards

Many travel agencies and specific phone providers carry great options for phone cards. Check the rates available from your long distance provider. You can often buy phone cards on site.


Skype is a computer program that you can download for free that allows you to talk (for free) on the phone over the Internet with anyone else who has Skype. Go to www.skype.com to download the program. For an extra fee (as low as .02 cents/minute) you can enable your Skype to call land lines instead of just other computers. You will need a microphone and headset so that you can talk to the person on the other line. Skype also includes a chat option for instant messaging.

Instant Messaging Systems

Instant messaging systems are also a great free way to communicate with people back in the states. There are numerous options for messaging systems from AOL Instant Messenger to Yahoo Messenger. Just about every messaging program can be downloaded for free online.

Internet Access

Computer and internet access varies by program. Information for your site will be listed in your Program Specific Guide.

Internet access is offered in all the countries we go to, but the reliability of it differs from program to program. Internet can be accessed through internet cafes. Some programs also offer access through the dorms or on-campus computer labs. Internet cafes are very reasonably priced and often times have various instant messaging programs installed and headphones available to chat with loved ones. Relying on internet cafes may reduce worry of bringing your own laptop with you. You can upload pictures at most internet cafes, but remember due to the speed of some connections, it may be a better idea just to bring multiple memory cards to avoid spending your whole day on the computer.

Cultural Learning

Living in a new culture can be exhilarating, rewarding, and stimulating. It can also be frustrating. It is one thing to tour a country, but it is quite another to live and function according to different norms. It is important to be open toward a new culture, to try to discard stereotypes, and to learn as much as possible about the culture before departure. If you educate yourself about the country you will be visiting, you will better understand and appreciate your new surroundings!

Even with preparation it is likely that you will experience "culture shock." Recent studies show that there are distinct stages of culture shock. Some of these stages include: awareness of the host culture and preparation, initial euphoria and excitement, irritability phase during acclimation, gradual adjustment, and adaptation to culture. Upon return to the United States, many students face "reverse culture shock."

There are some things you can do to minimize your cultural adjustment. Keep a sense of humor! Treat yourself to an occasional U.S. indulgence like a favorite food, or purchase a U.S. magazine or newspaper. Avoid other Americans who are overly negative or who complain a lot. Keep healthy. Above all, don't be afraid to try new activities!

Resources for Further Study

Ethical Considerations in Study Abroad