Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This is the program brochure page.
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description



alley with bikes



With a focus on modern cultural immersion and engagement, students will examine the ways in which concepts of individual and national identity and cultural environments inform each other. Students will read and analyze modern travel and food writing to learn literary strategies that they will then employ when reflecting upon and documenting their experiences as individuals studying in Japan. Students will engage in a variety of creative non-fiction writing and cultural engagement assignments while abroad.

Quick Facts

  • May 21 - June 6, 2021

  • Experience life in Tokyo, Japan

  • Study the anime of Studio Ghibli and the anthropology of Japanese society.

  • Read modern travel and food writing and learn creative non-fiction writing techniques. 

  • Travel to places inspired by Ghibli films and explore the neighborhoods of Tokyo.

  • Earn 6 credits

Application Requirements

To apply for this program, click the "Apply Now" button above. This will generate an online application with the requirements listed below. Please also refer to the "Academics" tab for specific eligibility information.


vending machine

cats in kimonos

Location Details

Tokyo is unique, you have to experience it to believe it. While it is incredibly crowded, with a population of roughly 13 million, it is extremely clean and very safe compared to most other metropolises. Trains run on time, space is used in creative and ingenious ways, and the variety of shopping and entertainment available is astounding. Japan might be considered the vending machine capital of the world (there are even vending machines on Mt. Fuji) yet customers in stores are treated royally, and clerks try to be as helpful as possible. Despite the crowds in Tokyo, it is possible to find quiet oases, pockets of nature to enjoy, and vestiges of the past, if you know where to look.

 Program Activities

  • Edo Tokyo Museum: Through art, detailed dioramas, replicas, historical artifacts, and more, this museum shows how the lifestyles of the local population have changed throughout the centuries, from the Tokugawa feudal era to the Meiji Restoration to the postwar era.

  • Ghibli Museum: Step into the whimsical world of Studio Ghibli, the production company behind groundbreaking animated films such as Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke. Learn about the history of Ghibli, animation techniques and technology, and get inspired. The museum also offers exclusive viewings of Ghibli short-films which cannot be seen anywhere else.

  • Seiseki Sakuragaoka: Visit this suburban city known as the inspiration for Whisper of the Heart.

  • Tokyo Sky Tree: View the spectacular Tokyo cityscape from the highest broadcasting tower in the world and visit a Ghibli character shop underneath the Sky Tree. Students will have a chance to investigate the commercial side, with shopping and dining in the surrounding Solamachi shopping area.

  • Inokashira Park: Stroll through the park and consider why Hayao Miyazaki chose this location to build the Ghibli Museum. View attractions including a temple dedicated to the Buddhist goddess Benzaiten, a lake, and a zoo. Located near Kichijoji Station, an area famous for youth culture.

  • Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum: This 17-acre museum features restored and relocated buildings of great historic and cultural significance. The museum has five spots referenced in Spirited Away.

  • NI-Tele Really Big Clock: View the clock designed by Ghibli founder, Hayao Miyazaki

  • Totoro forest in Saitama: Visit this location associated with My Neighbor Totoro. May include a visit to Kurosuke's house. Round-trip public transportation included.

  • Egawa Coastline: Visit this location said to be mirrored in Spirited Away. Includes round-trip public transportation.

  • Sushi Cooking Class

  • Guest Lectures

  • Life Safety Learning Center: Recommended for all first-time visitors and run by the Tokyo Fire Department. The center was established to help teach the public about fire safety, disaster safety, and other health and safety related matters. Through an earthquake simulation and other interactive exercises, and an informative video, learn in an engaging way how to respond to earthquakes and other disasters.

Visit this traditional onsen, said to be connected to the film Spirited Away. Walk to Koizumi falls, Hinatami Yakushi temple, and foot baths. Onsen entrance, group lunch, one-night ryokan accommodation and round-trip bus transportation included.

Visa Information

It is each student’s responsibility to independently determine if a visa is necessary for travel to any foreign countries visited on this program. Limited information may be provided by the ASU Study Abroad Office, your faculty director, and/or partner organizations/institutions. Where visas are required, failure to obtain a visa may result in your inability to participate and, ultimately, your withdrawal from the program, subject to the terms of the Study Abroad Withdrawal Policy

Consult this page for additional information regarding visas. If you need assistance securing a U.S. Passport, visit the ASU U.S. Passport Acceptance Office in Tempe.

PLEASE NOTE: Visa requirements for non U.S. citizens may differ from those for U.S. citizens; students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact their International Coordinator and begin independently researching the visa requirements for their nationality as soon as possible.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Open to Barrett Honors College students only.

  • Students will need to complete HON 171 or HON 370 with a C or better or currently be enrolled in one of these courses. 


Students must take both of the below courses for a total of 6 credits:

  • HON 394: The Anime of Studio Ghibli as an Anthropology of Japanese Childhood (3 credits)

  • HON 386: Writing about Self and Place (3 credits)





Faculty Directors

Dr. Abby Loebenberg
Honors Faculty Fellow and Senior Lecturer
Sage South 169
Office phone number:480-965-2359 

Dr. Jacquelyn Scott Lynch
Honors Faculty Fellow and Principal Lecturer
Sage North 110B
Office phone number: 480-965-2359




Program Housing

Students will be staying in hostel accommodation in Tokyo with breakfast included, only sharing rooms with other students on the trip. Tokyo public transportation is included for the duration of the program. There are three group meals included. On our overnight trip to Shima students will be staying in a traditional Japanese guesthouse called a ryokan. As with all study abroad programs to large cities students should prepare to walk more than they would normally and bring comfortable footwear and clothing. 

Special Considerations

Below you will find information that may help you in planning for your study abroad experience. Early discussions and planning can help to support you in having a positive experience abroad. We invite you to meet with the International Coordinator for this program to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.

Physical Considerations

Study abroad participants may find themselves walking or taking public transit abroad more frequently than they are accustomed at their home campus.

Disability Accommodations Abroad

Individuals with disabilities can and do study abroad, but may find accessibility and accommodation in one of more of this program’s locations very different from the United States. In Japan, older buildings are not likely to have been retrofitted for accessibility. Most tourist attractions have been retrofitted with ramps for wheelchair users and public transit is accessible. At major train stations, airports, and hotels, travelers with disabilities should encounter few accessibility problems, although many smaller stations are inaccessible to those who cannot climb stairs. There is good availability of accessible hotel facilities and public restrooms. Ryokans are not usually a good fit for wheelchair users as the tatami mats cannot support a wheelchair. If a student has a physical disability and would like to participate on this trip, we can research alternative accommodation whilst in Shima. We do encourage anyone with any type of disability to speak with the faculty directors and your DRC coordinator so that we can discuss your concerns regarding general accessibility and also the extent to which you would need accommodations for the physical or visual aspects of the course material. 

In general, the Study Abroad Office cannot guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites on this program. Any student who anticipates needing any kind of special accommodation due to a disability should contact the ASU Study Abroad Office early in the planning process to investigate the availability of accommodations (including accessible facilities) on this specific program. Contact the Disability Resource Center and your Disability Access Consultant to include them in the discussion; be sure to give your Disability Access Consultant permission to speak with the Study Abroad Office on your behalf. You can find additional information and resources on our Students with Disabilities page.

LGBTQIA Students Abroad

Students of diverse sexual orientations or gender identities will find that the social climate, laws, and norms of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. If you identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student - or if you are still exploring your identity - you may face unique challenges when traveling abroad.

We encourage students who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community to visit the U.S. Department of State website for helpful information about laws and attitudes in this program’s locations, including pre-travel tips and advice on staying safe while abroad. You can find additional information and resources on our LGBTQIA Students page.

Gender Identity Abroad

When traveling abroad, you may find different gender roles and norms than you’re used to. It’s possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on your (or their) gender identity.

You can find additional information and resources on our Gender Identity Abroad page.

Racial and Ethnic Minorities Abroad

Students of different ethnic and racial backgrounds may encounter unique challenges transitioning from life here in the United States to life as a student living abroad, including but not limited to access to personal care products and services. In Japan, the population is ethnically homogenous, so some students may experience more attention, comments and questions, both positive and negative. 

You can prepare yourself for the situations you may experience by researching the ethnic composition of your host country and exploring its history of racial and ethnic relations. We encourage students to start that research on our Racial and Ethnic Minority Students page.


Cost Information

The Program Fee for Summer 2021 is TBD.

Program Fee includes: one group airport transfer upon arrival and departure, shared accommodation, daily breakfast in Tokyo, a welcome and farewell meal, a group lunch in Shima Onsen, academic visits, cultural excursions, in-country transportation, Tokyo transportation card, ASU faculty support, tuition for six upper-division honors credit, and international health insurance. Not included: Airfare, passport & visa fees, some meals, personal expenses, and miscellaneous items.

Faculty Directed program participants are also responsible for paying a non-refundable $50 Application Fee, in addition to the Program Fee listed above. All other costs associated with participation in the program are the responsibility of the individual student. Be sure to reference the program Cost Sheet for information on program fees and any additional estimated expenses.

The program may allow for time which can be spent in non-program activities. Participants may wish to travel, sight-see or participate in activities or events in which they have a personal interest. Please note that the participant is fully responsible for making arrangements and for all costs of transportation, lodging, food and additional expenses that may be associated with any non-Program activities.


Funding Your Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is an investment in your future, which requires careful planning and management. However, the personal, academic, and professional rewards that you will gain from this experience will last a lifetime. You should carefully consider costs, budgets and financing when selecting and preparing for your experience abroad. If you have questions at any step of the process, we encourage you to reach out to your International Coordinator for guidance.

Steps to Financing Your Study Abroad Program

  1. View the program Cost Sheet to find a breakdown of program expenses.
  2. Attend a Financing Your Study Abroad Workshop.
  3. Consider your Financial Aid options.
  4. Search and Apply for Scholarships and Grants.
  5. Exhaust your options by exploring Additional Funding Resources including our Community-Based Funding Guide.
  6. View our  Financing Your Study Abroad Program Handbook for more information, including Payment Information.

Unique Funding Opportunities for This Program

  • Barrett Honors College has its own Travel Grant that is needs based. Stay alert to Honors-L for application details early in the fall semester.


Links to Additional Resources

*The ASU Study Abroad Office does not officially endorse, administer or monitor the content of these links.

Dates & Deadlines

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.