• With no shortage of cultural experiences and opportunities, your semester at Kansai Gaidai will be one of the most memorable of your life! Live with locals, speak Japanese daily, and take truly unique courses focused on Japan’s cultural, political, and economic impact on the world. 

• Experience Japan and Asia from multiple perspectives by taking classes in the social sciences, humanities, business, and economics complemented by Japanese language and culture classes.  

• Kansai Gaidai’s international student team offers endless ways to integrate into the local culture, from weekend visits with Japanese families to learning traditional Japanese dancing. 

• ISEP students are eligible to receive a merit-based scholarship of $7,000 if they maintain a GPA of 3.0 while at Kansai Gaidai. 


Integrate into Japanese culture and take coursework exploring Japan’s impact on the world at Kansai Gaidai University, known worldwide for its high-quality Asian Studies program. Live in Hirakata, a safe, traditional, and family-oriented community nestled between Osaka and Kyoto. In town, explore ancient tombs, Buddhist temples, and Shinto shrines. Catch the train to Osaka or Kyoto when you’re ready for big city crowds and tourist sites. Join in on Kansai Gaidai’s MANY programs and activities to experience Japanese culture, including cooking classes, day trips, and trying on kimono. 


Choose between a modern campus residence hall or a homestay with a local Japanese family. The Global Commons Residence Hall is modern and bright. All students live in a single room with a desk, bed, closet, bookshelves, refrigerator, and air conditioning. The building features an inner garden, karaoke rooms, a gym, lounges, and study rooms. Each floor has a local Resident Assistant to assist residents and organize fun activities. The Global Commons house an even mix of Japanese students and international students, making it easy to meet other study abroad students and make friends with locals. For true cultural and language immersion, consider a homestay! Living with a Japanese family will help you understand the daily life, values, and customs of Japanese people first-hand. Please be aware, host families are often farther away from campus, and may require up to a one-hour commute to Kansai Gaidai. Discounted commuting passes are available. 


Living on campus? Prepare meals in the fully equipped and modern kitchens in the residence hall. Groceries are easy to purchase from supermarkets and convenience stores within walking distance. If you choose a homestay, your host family will prepare two meals (breakfast and dinner) on weekdays for you and three meals per day on weekends. Plus, enjoy delicious local and international specialties in the two campus cafeterias, grab something quick at the convenience stores, get a coffee, or even stop by McDonald’s. Japan is well-known for its delicious cuisine, so be sure to explore the restaurants and local dishes. Some must-try foods include Okonomiyaki (savory cabbage pancake), Kushikatsu/kushiage (fried foods on a stick), Takoyaki (fried octopus ball), Yatsuhashi (sweet confection), and Kaiseki ryori (multi-course meal highlighting regional and seasonal ingredients). 


Kansai Gaidai offers great opportunities for you to connect with locals! Join the popular “Speaking Partner Program” to practice your Japanese. The Weekend Home Visit program connects students living in the residence halls with local Japanese families on the weekends. Taste homecooked Japanese cuisine, discuss social and cultural differences, or play video games with the children. Learn more about Japanese culture through Kansai Gaidai’s “Experience Japan Program,” which offers cultural activities like cooking lessons and calligraphy, and day trips to Samurai movie sets. Join a club (which are a big commitment in Japan) to practice Japanese tea ceremonies, calligraphy, flower arranging, or Koto, the Japanese harp.  


While at Kansai Gaidai, you’re just 30 minutes away from Osaka, 40 minutes from Kyoto, and four hours from Tokyo by train. Kyoto has some of Japan’s finest Japanese art collections, historic temples and shrines, and preserved architecture. Osaka, a center of pop culture, is a major business center known for its large and colorful street signs. About 2.5 hours away, Hiroshima and Miyajima are critical must-sees for understanding Japan—the Peace Museum explores the impact of the atomic bomb, and Miyajima offers a peaceful place to reflect after visiting. For a unique cultural experience, check out the National Sumo Tournament held in Osaka every March 


Join other students and stay fit through Japanese martial arts! The on-campus Nakamiya Gymnasium and Student Club Building offers Karate, Kendo, and Shorinjikenpo dojos, in addition to standard fitness facilities. Keep your mental health in excellent shape too—counseling is available in English by appointment for an affordable fee. 


Students attending KGU for the Spring semester can apply for a credit-bearing internship extension into the early part of summer term. Build your resume while living and working in Japan! Internships are competitive and selective. Prospective interns will complete the application and selection process during the spring semester at Kansai Gaidai. 

What We Love About Kansai Gaidai

The Kansai region is more laid back than the frenzied pace of metropolitan Tokyo, and it’s easy to travel to other parts of Japan. On campus, Kansai Gaidai has well-developed programs to help international students integrate with local students and even local families. Japanese and Asian Studies majors and minors will love the fascinating courses available at Kansai Gaidai. The classes weave Japanese history, culture, and politics into coursework relevant for the 21st century. 

Kansai Gaidai University Merit Scholarship 

ISEP students who have a 3.0 GPA in the two prior semesters before studying abroad and who maintain a 3.0 GPA while studying at Kansai Gaidai are eligible for a $7,000 scholarship at the conclusion of the semester or academic year that they study abroad. The merit scholarship is automatic if you meet the criteria. Learn more. 

See budget and estimated expenses. Please note, this budget does not include the $7,000 merit scholarship. If you are eligible for the scholarship, you can expect to receive it at the end of your program, offsetting the total cost.

Program Website

Course Description

Learn Japanese and take fascinating courses focused on Japan’s history, culture, arts, politics, and economy. As an ISEP student, you’ll take a Japanese speaking course and a kanji course. Courses are available for every level of Japanese language experience. In addition, Kansai Gaidai offers a unique opportunity for students to learn about Japan and Asia from a wide variety of perspectives with course offerings in social sciences, humanities, business and economics. All subject-matter classes are conducted in English making it possible for student with no previous Japanese language experience to participate.  

Several courses in the Asian Studies Program are effectively supplemented by outside field trips. Past classes have visited sites like the Kyoto National Museum, Takarazuka Theater, and many temples. 

Credits Earned 

Students who complete the program in good standing can expect to earn 14-20 credits which ISEP recommends is the equivalent of 14-20 U.S. Credit Hours. Each Japanese language class is usually worth 5 credits. Social Science classes are generally worth 3 credits each.  

If you use financial aid, please speak with a qualified financial aid advisor to understand your academic obligations and the requirements for using financial aid. 

The chart below provides examples of some of the more popular classes students have taken in the past at Kansai Gaidai.  Use this to get you started on planning your own study abroad experience in Japan! 

Sample Classes Available: 






Social Sciences 


Japanese Studies 


Studio Art 


Levels 1 – 8 

5 credits 


International Business Law 


Society, Health, & Wellbeing 


Fashion in Japan 


Advanced Ceramics 


Marketing Across Cultures 


Global & Transnational Sociology 


Principles in Japanese Arts, Design, & Aesthetics 


Manga Drawing 


Kanji & Readings 

3 credits 

Levels 1 - 8 


Management Across Cultures 


International Relations of Asia 


Gender & Sexuality in Japan 


Japanese Harp 


Human Resources Management 


Politics and Security Challenges in East Asia 


Japan & Globalization 




Corporate Strategy in East Asia 


Global Diplomacy & Asia 


History of Modern Japan 




For detailed instructions on how to search for all available courses, please click on the "other academic conditions" dropdown link below.

Website for Course Availability

ISEP STUDENT SERVICES OFFICER Rachel Brown 703-504-9994 | Thanks for your interest in ISEP Study Abroad! I’m your Student Services Officer and main point of contact here at ISEP. As you search for programs, I'll be available to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact me at any point in your search process for help, tips or advice.

Kansai Gaidai University

Kansai Gaidai University was originally established in 1945 as a small, private language school. Today, the school prospers as a private, nonprofit institution with 13,000 students. Kansai Gaidai provides excellent...


(in English)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Area Studies:

    Asian Studies Japanese Studies

  • Business

    International Business/Trade/Commerce

  • Communication

    Intercultural Communication

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures Recommended!

    Japanese Language and Literature

  • International/Global Studies: Recommended!

    International Relations and Affairs Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution

  • Language and Culture Recommended!

  • Philosophy and Religious Studies:

    Buddhist Studies Religious Studies

  • Social Sciences:

    Anthropology Sociology

  • Visual and Performing Arts: Recommended!

    Art Studies Film Studies Studio Arts

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 3 or higher
  • TOEFL iBT Score: 80
  • Institutional TOEFL Score: 550
  • LPR Required
LPR = ISEP Language Proficiency Report

Special Application Instructions

Students are required to submit an internal application following their placement which is required of the host institution. Instructions will be sent by the ISEP Host Coordinator by email. 

PASSPORT: All students must have a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a valid passport, we suggest you start the application process as soon as possible.

VISA/RESIDENCE PERMIT: Most students attending this program will be required to obtain a visa/residence permit. For more information on the process and estimated cost, please review the ISEP Country Handbook here.

Other Academic Conditions

Students are required to take a minimum of 4 classes (14 semester credits).  Japanese language classes are 5 credits and Social Science electives are 3 credits each.   

The mandatory Japanese language classes consist of three 90-minute periods each week, supplemented by laboratory and homework assignments. Japanese Kanji and Readings classes meet two times each week, 90-minute per session. All other classes are conducted in two 90-minute sessions per week, supplemented by extra contact hours in the form of field trips, research assignments, etc. 

Students must register for courses during the orientation period at the beginning of each semester. Please note that Kansai Gaidai does not accept any preregistration. Students may add, change, and/or drop courses during the respective designated periods set for the said semester. We recommend students preview the course catalog and review syllabi to identify a course list prior to participation. 

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent according to their university's grading system. Please note that there is no flexibility regarding this requirement. 

Students are not required to have a certain level of Japanese proficiency to attend Kansai Gaidai, but Kansai Gaidai still requires an ISEP Language Proficiency Report as an assessment of your language ability. KGU encourages students to have some background knowledge in Japanese before attending if possible – students with no background at all should consider self-study.

Merit Scholarship (ISEP Direct Only) 

ISEP Direct students enrolled in the Kansai Gaidai Asian Studies Program may be eligible to receive a US$7,000 scholarship at the end of each semester under the following conditions: 

• Students must have maintained a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA for the two semesters prior to enrolling at Kansai Gaidai 

• Students must also maintain a 3.0 GPA during their stay at Kansai Gaidai 

• Full Year students whose GPA is less than 3.0 at the time of applying to Kansai Gaidai are not eligible to receive the scholarship for their first semester. However, if they complete their first semester at Kansai Gaidai with a 3.0 GPA and maintain a 3.0 GPA for the second semester, they will be eligible to receive USD $7,000 at the end of the second semester. 

Please note that Kansai Gaidai disburses the scholarship directly to the student. 

Semester & Prices (based on your filters)

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Kansai Gaidai University

Hirakata, Japan



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