Japan Travel Course

Dressed for a Japanese banquetSpring 2023

March 9 - March 20

Dr. Kailai Huang


Course Description

This travel course combines classroom learning with a 12-day trip to Japan. The travel component of the course will focus on the main island of Honshu, where the ancient capital Kyoto and the world’s largest metropolis Tokyo are located. From these two base-cities, high-speed and local express trains will take us to castle towns, country trails, and the evocative city of Hiroshima. Before the travel, weekly meetings will introduce students to the basic information about Japan’s history, culture, and society. Students are required to keep a journal during the trip and complete a reflective final project based on their Japan experience. 

Course Objectives

  • Cherry blossom in Tokyo's Ueno ParkStudent will further understand the interconnection and divergence of world’s societies learned in Human Heritage courses.
  • Students are expected to gain a deeper knowledge of Japan’s various blends of ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity.
  • Students will appreciate the distinct Japanese aesthetic values presented in arts, cuisine, architecture, and religion.
  • Students will develop a new perspective on the challenges and advantages of globalization. 

Trip Particulars

The shrine torii gate in Miyajima

The estimated cost per person is $2,890 (subject to change due to the airfares and the exchange rate at the travel time). This cost includes: 

  • round-trip international airfares to Japan and airport transportation. 
  • a Japan Rail Pass that covers all train travels. 
  • ground transportation (bus, subway, and train) on the days with scheduled activities.
  • all admissions based on our itinerary.
  • 10 overnight stays, mainly in western-style budget hotels or traditional Japanese inns (sleeping on floor futon). Depending on lodging facilities, it can be two, three or four people sharing a room.
  • breakfast in most days and a full-fledged Japanese-style dinner banquet.

Not included: lunches and dinners (estimated daily food cost $12-15) and personal expenses. 

Nagasaki's Dutch Trading PostTravel Course Itinerary

Japan just reopened to international travels. The information about transportation and some sites of interest will become available soon. A full-fledged itinerary and course syllabus will be posted in a later time. 


Dr. Huang riding with students in a speed trainContact information

Dr. Kailai Huang

History and Political Science
(413) 662-5426

I have been taking students to Japan for 16 years and teaching Japanese history even longer. I continue to be amazed by Japan’s juxtaposition of and interplay between tradition and modernity. I am very excited that Japan is reopening after the COVID hiatus, and you are considering joining this travel course!