Japan possesses a long history, a complex geography, and has its distinctive cultural heritages. Today, Japan has the third largest economy and the tenth largest population in the world. It has countless ties to the United States through the rapidly globalizing economy and world culture. The clashes between enduring traditions and widespread Western influences, combined with its large population and economy, have made Japan an intriguing subject for social and cultural studies.

This class is intended for students from multiple disciplines interested in learning about the rich cultural traditions of Japan and its evolution in contemporary Japanese society. It will encourage students to learn broadly in the context of a rapidly changing civilization and develop an understanding of the class material by direct contact with the people, places, cuisine, art, architecture, religion, and social customs that serve as our unwritten text.

In today’s Japan, some cultural traditions are still readily visible and pronounced, while others are subtle and nuanced. The class will provide opportunities for students of diverse majors to work together to navigate a likely foreign cultural landscape through experiential learning, to broaden their exposure to the interaction of cultural traditions and modern society across different geographical areas, and to analyze the core themes of the course through multiple field research techniques such as direct observation, informal interview, photo voice, and journal keeping. \

It is intended as a travel course with a rotating itinerary that covers diverse regions in Japan. No Japanese language skill is required to enroll in this course.

This course fulfills the CS, ITL, and GH requirements.

Course code and title

MLA/GEO 675H BS-J1 Discovering Cultural Traditions in Modern Japanese Society




Estimated travel dates

June 5-20, 2025

Estimated costs

$3,950 + optional campus meals

Information sessions

  • Noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, David A. Straz Jr. Center (DSC) 299