Your study abroad Japan
experience will not only take you to the world's tenth most populated country, but it will also take you to a land that values both deep-rooted traditions and modern-day progressions. Your semester abroad can include visiting Sens%u014D-ji, Tokyo's oldest Buddhist temple that features the Kaminarimon Gate, a massive entrance that is decorated with traditional paper lanterns and huge statues of Japanese gods. If you travel for a summer abroad you can walk along the streets of Ginza, a popular Tokyo destination full of shopping, fine food and coffeehouses. Whether you decide to study the ancient history of Japan or see how it has become an international icon for economic growth, your study abroad Japan experience will be unforgettable.
Study Abroad Programs in Japan
The Japanese have always been known for their dedication to educational excellence, so their study abroad programs demonstrate this while also combining hands-on activities in various academic locations.
Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, is home to the University of Tokyo. This university was the first-ever national university in Japan to offer a wide variety of courses to both graduates and undergraduates.
Known as one of the leading research universities in the world, it has three campus locations and has drawn over 2,500 international students each semester. It's also home to the University Museum, which has over 6.4 million items that students can use for their research.
Travel to the third largest island in Japan, Ky%u016Bsh%u016B, and visit Nagasaki Prefecture, which is home to Nagasaki University. This University is known for its Institute of Tropical Medicine, but it also offers courses in Education, Dentistry, Engineering and Environmental Studies.
With three different campus locations and an International Student Center that offers Japanese lessons to visiting students, Nagasaki University is an academic and cultural meeting ground for students that study abroad.
There are still many other study abroad programs you can join in Tokyo, Nagasaki and other Japanese cities.
Your Japanese Travel Options
With over 30 million residents, Japan offers many different ways to travel between cities. The most reliable way to travel is to use the network of railway systems that run through the four largest islands of the country - Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku.
Most of these trains are operated by Japanese Railways, a global train travel system that also offers services as far away as New York and Paris. You can either get a regular train ticket for a one-way travel, or you can get a rail pass which allows you unlimited usage on any of the Japanese Railways trains in the world.
Buses are the second most popular mode of transportation in Japan. Not only are they cheaper than train tickets, but they also offer routes through every major city in Japan. But even though they are more accessible than trains, they may also be more confusing to use because few offer directions and maps in English. You can go to the website Japan-Guide and read its "How to Use a Bus" page to get directions on properly using the bus system.
Of course you can always rent a car or hail a taxi for your travels in Japan. To rent a car you will need an international driving permit, which needs to be obtained before you leave for your study abroad trip.
Once you have that, you can rent a car from a company like Mazda Rentacar or Nissan Rentacar. Taxis are usually very expensive, so they should only be used as a last resort. You can use them to get to different train and bus stops, but you should never use them to travel long distances.
Finally, bicycles are a great way to get around Japan. Known as jitensha, bikes are used to travel to work, school and most other locations. If you buy or rent a bike, you can use it to ride to a train station if necessary and park it at any of the designated bicycled parking areas located outside of the station. You may even find a garage that is dedicated solely to parking bikes.
No matter how you travel in Japan, always follow health and safety guidelines to ensure that you are safe and protected in a foreign country. Anything can happen while you're traveling, so just be wise about where you go and how you get there.
Exchange Rates for Japanese Currency
Japanese currency is known as the yen, which literally means "circle." You should always know the exchange rate between U.S. dollars and any foreign currency before you travel so you will be prepared to make purchases without any trouble.
Here's what you need to know about the Yen:
# Coins = 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 Yen
# Bills = 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Yen
You can use a Japanese currency converter like the one here to compare other amounts of U.S. dollars against Japanese Yen.
Study Abroad in Japan Isn't Complete Without a Stop in Tokyo
You can't leave from your study abroad Japan experience without stopping in Tokyo, the capital city known for its amazing attractions and historical perspectives.
For a more peaceful and relaxing experience, you can visit Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park, which is home to over 2,800 plants and animals and features over 20 mountain peaks. If you prefer a more metropolitan feel you can visit Shinjuku, a bustling location full of skyscrapers, department stores, camera shops, restaurants and hotels.
Finally, if you're into technological gadgets, computers or anime, you can visit Akihabara Electric Town. This major Japanese shopping area has just about anything electronic that you would want to buy.
From televisions, video cameras and kitchen appliances to computers, stereos and cell phones, you'll be lost in wonder as you stroll through this fantasy shopping district.
Trish Smith is a copywriter for Green Student U
, Student Finance Domain
and Study Abroad Domain
, websites that are devoted to providing college students with helpful environmental, financial and study abroad advice.