Short-Term Programs

Japanese Language and Cultural Immersion Program: Advanced (J-CIP:A)

* This video was produced in February 2016.

Program Overview

The Japanese Language and Cultural Immersion Program: Advanced (J-CIP:A) is an intensive course in Akita studies taught entirely in Japanese, established by AIU in cooperation with The Australian National University.

Picture of Australian National University students visit Akita Sato no ie

Sato no Ie, one of Akita's historical preservation resources, continues to teach the preparation of traditional foods.

Curriculum Contents

Akita is emblematic of Japan's rural areas. Dependent for a long time on agricultural as the core of its economy, Akita was one of the first prefectures to experience population decline, long before Japan as a country did. As such, it has been a case study for the effects of rural depopulation and rural rehabilitation efforts.

Picture of classroom winter program Japanese Language and Cultural Immersion Program Advanced

Classroom lessons are linked with program excursions to provide both academic and personal experience.

Students in this program study Akita's unique situation and cultural assets in the classroom, then interact directly with their subject matter through research visits and excursions. Students visit schools and cultural landmarks, and, as a culminating experience, take part in a two-night homestay while helping a local community set-up and execute its annual winter festival.

Japanese Language Ability
Picture of akita neburi nagashi kan Akita International University

Students visit the Neburi-Nagashi Kan, a museum of Akita History.

Japanese language ability demands on students are heavy, limiting this course to students with advanced (N2 to N1 level) Japanese. The program offers additional language instruction, such as courses and practice in the most polite keigo forms of speech. Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to develop their abilities in all four language skills - and learn to speak the local Akita dialect, as well!

Course & Credit Details

JPL 472 Japanese Language and Cultural Immersion Program is an intensive, advanced Japanese language course, worth six AIU credits. All participating students will receive a completion certificate as well as an official transcript sent to their home institution after the conclusion of that program.

What You Can Expect

Who better to describe the program than past participants? Check out the student interviews in the video above and this student voice article by a 2017 participant.

Program Schedule: 2023

Program Dates: Thursday, January 5 - Friday, February 10.
Throughout the program you will have classes and activities an average of 5 days per week.

Download the detailed schedule in Japanese here.

Unique Characteristics

Picture of kiritanpo sato no ie Akita

Students experience making Akita's traditional kiritanpo, pounded rice wrapped around a stick and grilled over a fire.

This is a small, intensive program that will maximize your participation and interaction with your classmates, AIU students, and the local community.


Program participants live in one of the on-campus housing with AIU degree-seeking students as roommates/suitemates.

Unique Excursions
Picture of students with Shiraiwa elementary school students

Students visit the Shiraiwa Elementary School, in the same village where they will join the illumination festival, for a day of cultural exchange with students.

The program includes bus tours to Akita's culturally significant sites, all of which are directly related to the course content, to add a hands-on element to the curriculum.

Additionally, Students also visit a rural elementary school to interact with local students and experience that community. But, of course, the highlight trip of the program is. . .

Shiraiwa Homestay and Illumination Festival

Picture of Shiraiwa Tokasai Illumination festival

Students hike the snowy mountain to help villagers stake then light hundreds of torches in the shape of a mythical kirin.

Participants spend three days living with host families in the rural Shiraiwa Community while helping them to prepare and execute their annual winter illumination festival.

Living with Japanese families and experiencing rural family life, hiking up a mountain in the snow to plant hundreds of torches in the shape of a mythical kirin and joining the festival activities is the most memorable and exciting part of this program. It is truly an experience of authentic Japanese culture no other program or trip could offer.

Picture of Shiraiwa Illumination Festival volunteers

J-CIP:A Program participants (with the banner) and villagers from Shiraiwa prepare to kick off the winter illumination festival.

Center for International Affairs
Akita International University
Yuwa, Akita-City 010-1292 Japan
Tel. +81-(0)18-886-5927, +81-(0)18-886-5937
Fax. +81-(0)18-886-5853
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Office Hours (Mon - Fri) 9:00 - 12:00 and 13:00 - 17:00