Japan: Kyoto Program - Discover Beautiful Harmonies in Japan

golden japanese temple



SUMMER 2020 ONLINE  - July 13 - August 13, 2020

Program Description 

Did you know that in May 2019, Japan started a new imperial era called Reiwa, “Beautiful Harmony?”  In fact, Wa in Reiwa denotes not only “harmony” but also “peace,” “conforming unity” and even “Japan.” In the Kyoto Program, you will see how this idea of Wa is deeply woven into Japanese culture and society. Immerse yourself in the lives of a Japanese family, company and school to observe and feel Wa among people. Enjoy visual Wa in color, nature and architecture. Savor the palatable Wa of Japanese cuisine.

Highlights of the program are:

  • Staying with a host family for two weeks in Kyoto
  • Learning the Japanese through daily encounters with natives
  • Visiting over five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kyoto, Uji, Nara, Himeji and Hiroshima
  • Visiting a company to learn business practices
  • Visiting a school classroom to experience daily school life
  • Getting first-hand experience with cultural practices, such as tea ceremonies, washoku (Japanese cuisine) cooking, zen meditation, kabuki theatre, and pop culture
  • Time to explore Tokyo, the host city of the 2020 Summer Olympics, for two days

Participate in the Kyoto Program to discover your own “Beautiful Harmonies” in Japan!


JPN 160 Special Topics in Japanese Studies (3 units)

This 25-day summer program (June 4 – June 28) introduces students to the culture and history of Japan, and helps them improve their language skills. One of the characteristics of Japan is the traditional spirit of Wa, meaning “harmony” or “peaceful unity.” The main objective of the course is to understand how this idea of Wa is deeply woven into Japanese culture and society. The students will learn about the culture and history through lectures as well as workshops. They will also visit various historical and cultural sites in Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Hiroshima and Tokyo to engage in direct observation. Such field trips will facilitate the students’ deeper understanding of what they have learned from the lectures and readings. This course can be substituted with JPN102 (Japanese Culture) for Japanese majors and minors. (Prerequisite: None; No prior knowledge of Japanese is required.)

Course Learning Outcomes (CLO) 

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

CLO 1: Demonstrate basic knowledge of Japanese culture and society (traditional performing arts, Japanese arts, architecture, Japanese garden, tea ceremony, Washoku [Japanese cuisine], Haiku poetry, pop culture, family life, customs, and manners, etc.), and the history (6th century-Present) of Japan. 

CLO 2: Demonstrate improved Japanese language and social skills.

CLO 3: Demonstrate cross-cultural awareness and understanding. 


Manami Iwata

Program Leader: Manami Iwata
Manami Iwata is a lecturer of Japanese in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at San Jose State University. She led the 2017 summer homestay program in Kyoto. Born, raised and having worked in Japan, she has travelled extensively throughout the country. When she was a college student in Japan, she participated in a homestay program in California. Her homestay experiences had truly set the course of her life. She is very excited to lead the Kyoto Program again and provide the students with life changing experiences of homestay and travel in Japan. 


Email: manami.iwata@sjsu.edu


It is important to note that each program's total cost will vary depending on the location and the package it offers.  

$750 SJSU Special Session Tuition ($250 per unit)
$200 Administrative Fee 
$3,235 Program fees, lodging, class materials and class related tours approximately*
$4,185 Total Program Cost


* Not included in program fee: lunch on weekdays during homestay, meals during hotel stays, airfare, and personal expenses during free days 




Check out these additional resources for your program.

  • Itinerary
  • Info sessions