Summer Abroad Japan

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Design Japan

Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan

Arrive Date:  June 21, 2020   End Date:  July 20, 2020

Program Overview

Japan is a fascinating country with a rich design culture. We will explore Japanese modern life in many wards of Tokyo and consume the history of ramen and old candy packaging while eating Japanese noodles in a replica of old Tokyo town. We will delve into the old world of wooden temples, the serenity of the bamboo forest, and other moments of austerity in and around Kyoto. We will immerse ourselves in Japan’s wealth of culture through multiple, conceptually linked projects focusing on the fundamental choices designers make in translating concepts into effective graphic form through a design process rooted in research and initial concepts and extending to project prototypes. There will be generous amounts of free time to explore and taste all the richness of Japanese culture.

Taught in:  English

Max Enrollment:  30

Program CoordinatorSarah Wiens


Design (DES) 116. Visual Communication: Graphic Design Studio (4 units)


Design (DES) 199. Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates (4 units) 

Available only for students who have already taken DES 116


Design (DES) 198. Directed Group Study (4 units, Pass/No Pass grading only)

Program Highlights

  • Explore the world’s largest wooden building and climb through Buddha’s nostril of enlightenment.
  • Learn the process of making ice cream and see it packaged while touring a Japanese factory.
  • Taste and experience the history of the Japanese aesthetic through a unique ramen museum.
  • Visit the rich castles, temples, museums and old towns that Japan has to offer.
  • Experience the soothing rejuvenation of a cup of tea at the hedgehog or cat cafe.

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