Study for the summer in Kyoto, Japan!

Kyoto, home of Pasadena City College's Summer 2020 Study Abroad program, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. As a historic center, Kyoto has it all -- classical Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, traditional tea houses, atmospheric gardens, and a thriving geisha culture. Spend your summer studying anthropology and the humanities, and experience Kyoto's compelling culture first-hand. 

Explore Kyoto's unique culture with PCC Study Abroad! Visit the magnificent Nijo Castle. Stroll the lantern-lit streets of the historic Gion District. Meet the sacred deers of Nara and explore Todai-ji Temple. Experience a traditional tea ceremony and sample regional culinary delights at a kaiseki dinner. Immerse yourself in the ancient culture of Japan's "thousand-year capital".

The summer 2020 Kyoto program is cancelled due to COVID-19.

Program Dates

Jun. 29 to Aug. 7, 2020

  • June 29 - July 9: program starts at PCC
  • July 10-11: en route to Japan
  • July 12 - August 7: program continues in Kyoto

Program Fee

  • $5,140 with airfarePrice based on 20 students. Excludes airline taxes & PCC tuition.

Info Sessions

Meet the faculty & learn more about the program at an Information Session! 

Program Dates

  • June 29 – July 9: Program starts at PCC
  • July 10: Group flight departs U.S. for Japan
  • July 11: Arrive in Kyoto, transfer to accommodations
  • July 12: Orientation & City Tour
  • July 13: Classes resume in Kyoto
  • August 7: End of program. Group flight departs Kyoto for U.S.

Program Fees

  • $5,140 with airfare

Excludes airline taxes & PCC tuition. Based on a minimum enrollment of 20 students.

Program Includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare between Los Angeles (LAX) and Kansai (KIX) international airports
  • Accommodation in multi-bedded studio apartments
  • Welcome & farewell dinners
  • Guided sightseeing tour of Kyoto
  • An evening walking tour of Gion
  • Guided tour of Fushimi Inari shrine
  • Full-day excursion to Nara
  • Travel pass for JR trains, trams, subways & buses in Kyoto metropolitan area
  • On-site faculty, student support staff member, and 24-hour emergency contact service
  • Accident and illness insurance
  • Liability insurance

Program fee does not include:

  • Mandatory U.S. government and airline-imposed departure taxes, fees and fuel surcharges of $525 (subject to change)
  • Meals other than those listed
  • Optional weekend trip to Hiroshima ($525)
  • Optional medical insurance upgrade ($65) and optional personal effects coverage ($90)
  • Passport and visa fees, if applicable
  • PCC course registration fees
  • Textbooks
  • Personal expenses
Item: Fee: Deadline:
Enrollment Deposit $450.00 Due immediately upon acceptance into program
Balance of Fees $4,690.00 May 15, 2020
Airline Tax (estimate)     
$525.00 May 15, 2020
Optional Upgrades: Fee: Deadline:
Medical Insurance Upgrade $65.00 May 15, 2020
Personal Effects Coverage $90.00 May 15, 2020

*Airfare for student participants is offered on a space-available basis. Airline tickets cannot be arranged for students applying after Thursday, April 16, 2020. Land-only packages, without airfare, may be offered to students accepted into the program after April 16, 2020. Airline taxes are subject to change.

All students must submit the $450 deposit when enrolling online. Subsequent payments may be made by check or credit card. Checks should be made payable to “AIFS.” You may also use American Express, MasterCard or Visa.

Please note: A $35 returned check fee will be charged on all checks returned by the bank for insufficient funds.

AIFS Transportation Package

Tickets purchased from AIFS are exclusively on scheduled airlines (not charters). They are not endorsable to another carrier. Flights are not necessarily direct or non-stop, and frequent flyer miles are not applicable. The AIFS Transportation Package includes round-trip ground transportation between Kansai Airport and your accommodations on the regularly scheduled program dates.

AIFS Airfare Regulations

Return must be to original U.S. departure point. Tickets are subject to airline availability. No refunds are available for any unused portion of ticket. Tickets cannot be rerouted, and stopovers are not permitted. Once in Kyoto participants may be able to change their return date, but only if that date is available and in the same class of service in which the ticket was booked. Only the ticketing agent can provide this information. Participants are subject to agency and airline-imposed change fees and space availability. Group round-trip ground transportation to and from the airport in Japan is on the regularly scheduled program dates only.

A minimum of 10 participants is required for the AIFS group flight to be offered.



Participants must enroll in both classes for a total of six units.

Course # Course Name Units
ANTH 002 Cultural Anthropology 3
HUM 001 Introduction to the Humanities 3

* All courses are CSU/UC transferable.* Honors Program credit for those who qualify

ANTH 002 - Cultural Anthropology: This course will focus on the study of Japanese society and culture from an anthropological perspective.  We will start by learning how anthropologists do what they do by reading the work of contemporary anthropologists who work in Japan.  From there we will study Japanese culture as a set of values and behaviors.  We will learn about the complexities of Japanese food, including the historical development of Japanese cuisine as well as the seasonal cycle and complex symbolic meanings behind the food.  We will take a class field trip to Kyoto’s 400-year-old Nishiki market, which houses over 100 food stalls on a covered street.  Our stay also coincides with Kyoto’s biggest annual festival, the Gion Matsuri, which includes many opportunities to partake in street food and other culinary delights. We will study the history and evolving nature of ie (the Japanese family system), urbanization, and the importance of maintaining connection to furosato, one’s home village. The course will cover the practices and beliefs of Buddhism and Shintoism, Japan’s two main religions.  Visits to temples and shrines, as well as other important religious sites will complement readings and lectures.  We will examine several Japanese expressive arts in depth, including the famous tea ceremony, which originally developed during the time that Kyoto was Japan’s cultural and political capital, during the Heian period (794-1185). Students of Japanese culture have long asserted that the tea ceremony is the quintessential constellation of Japanese values and aesthetics.  We will also study the Japanese art of furoshiki (cloth wrapping), reading an ethnographic study about it, observing demonstrations, and learning the art ourselves as part of our course. The course concludes with a look at contemporary Japan and the challenges Japanese people face as they look toward the future.  

HUM 001 - Introduction to the Humanities: The course offers an overview of the history, art, literature, and culture of Japan from its ancient past to the present day.  We will begin by studying early history including the prehistoric, classical, and medieval time periods.  We will do a day trip to the nearby city of Nara, which served as the Japanese capital during the Nara period, from 710-794.  Kyoto succeeded Nara as capital during the Heian period (794-1185) and together these two periods saw a flourishing of Japanese arts as Buddhism transformed Japan, spreading from China. In both Nara and Kyoto we will visit numerous sites, including temples, shrines, museums, and other historical places connected to our readings.  Much of our course will focus on modern Japan, from the Meiji period (1868-1912) to the present. We will study the townscape of Kyoto itself, including the growth of Kyoto as a tourist destination and the preservation of the machiya, the traditional wooden house that is common throughout Kyoto.  With Kyoto as our classroom we will take walking tours around the city and immerse ourselves in Japanese art, aesthetics, and design.  Some of Japan’s most famous traditional arts and crafts were developed in the Kyoto area and surrounding Kansai region. At Kyoto’s Museum of Traditional Crafts we will see demonstrations from artisans still practicing these ancient arts. We will study a variety of art forms including shigaraki pottery, nishijin-ori silk-weaving, cloisonné enamelwork, and shibori resist dying all by taking fieldtrips to various museums and contemporary schools dedicated to these beautiful arts.  We will study the aesthetics and philosophy behind traditional Japanese gardening by visiting famous temples and gardens, including the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Saihō-ji, Kyoto’s famous moss garden.  Finally, we will focus on contemporary Japanese art and culture.  For the anime and manga enthusiast, we will visit the Kyoto Manga Museum and the anime shops on Kyoto’s Teramachi street as we study the rise of “soft power” in Japan since the 1990s.

Program Faculty

Dr. Derek Milne, Anthropology

Dr. Derek Milne has taught Anthropology at Pasadena City College for 15 years and served as the PCC Honors Program Coordinator since 2012.  He received his doctorate from UCLA where he has taught courses as a lecturer since 2012 and was a Visiting Researcher in 2017-18.  He has done long-term fieldwork with Diné (Navajo) American Indians in the U.S. Southwest, studying religious healing and various medical and public health-related topics.  Since 2015 he has done field research in Papua New Guinea, focusing on sorcery and witchcraft beliefs.  In 2018 he was awarded PCC’s Risser Outstanding Teacher Award and he has previously led two PCC Study Abroad programs to Oxford, England and Florence, Italy.  Dr. Milne is a life-long “Japanophile.” Japan is his favorite place to visit in the world and even his dog is Japanese.


Meals & Accommodations

Accommodations in twin or triple-bedded studio apartments in a centrally located apart-hotel within 30 minutes commute to the study center. Each studio is equipped with linen, laundry facilities, and Wi-Fi. Weekly cleaning service is provided.

Self-catering studios include kitchenettes for meal preparation, with cooking equipment, plates, glasses, and utensils.

Excursions & Activities

Orientation Program

  • Orientation program upon arrival covering topics such as general acclimation to Kyoto, safety and security issues, cultural differences, travel, money and cultural activities
  • Local area walking tour covering housing and classroom location and local amenities

Local Activities

  • Half-day sightseeing tour of Higashiyama district
  • Guided tour of Nijo Castle
  • Guided tour of Fushimi Inari
  • Evening walking tour of Gion
  • Traditional Japanese cooking class
  • Welcome & farewell dinners, and much more!


Full-day guided excursion to Nara, known for its Daibutso (Great Buddha), temple, and sacred deer. Visit includes a walking tour of the historical park and entrance to the Todai-ji (Great Eastern Temple).

Optional Weekend Trip ($525)

Three-day excursion to Hiroshima by high-speed train. Two nights' accommodation in a twin-bedded, centrally-located hotel (Japanese or Western-style) on a bed and breakfast basis. Entrance to the Peace Park and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum; a full-day excursion
to Miyajima with entrance to Itsukushima Shrine; and a stop at Himeji Castle on the return back to Kyoto.

Financial Aid may be available to those who qualify. Grants, loans, and scholarships may be used to pay program fees.

Apply immediately. You should allow up to eight weeks for your financial aid request to be processed.

More About Financial Aid options at PCC

Apply to Study in Kyoto!

The summer 2020 Kyoto program is cancelled due to COVID-19.

To be eligible for the program, you must be at least 18 years old on the date of departure. All adult students and varied educational backgrounds are welcome! You do not need to be a current PCC student to join the program.

More Information

Contact Professor Andrea Murray, Study Abroad Coordinator

  • (626) 585-3365
  • Appointments available upon request. Please send request to