Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan – Tour of Food Culture, Literature and Films

Virtual Info Session recording  

If you were unable to attend the virtual info session on January 15, check out the recording.

Watch the session


About the program

Students will take two courses concurrently during the Summer 1 term: JPST370 and JPST395. These two courses provide students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural heritage of Japan while exploring two fascinating subjects: Japanese Food Culture and Film Adaptations of Japanese Literature. 

In the Japanese Food Culture course, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture and society through the lens of culinary traditions from sushi and ramen to traditional tea ceremony. Through hands-on experiences and visits to local food markets, schools, and local families, you’ll understand the historical and social contexts that have shaped today’s Japanese food culture.  

In the Film Adaptations of Japanese Literature course, you’ll explore the world of Japanese storytelling from the written word to the screen. You will read translated selections of renowned classic, modern and contemporary literary works, and examine how they have been brought to life in film. By analyzing the artistic choices and cultural implications of these works and their adaptations, and engaging in discussions about their creative interpretations, you will gain insights into the nuances of Japanese literature and its transformation into cinematic art. 

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General Timeline

Course Dates: May 13 – June 20, 2024. See details below for in-country dates

Weeks 1-2 (Canada): May 13-25, 2024 (online and some synchronous sessions) – students should be available during this time for synchronous sessions.

Weeks 3-4 (Japan): May 26-June 8, 2024

Week 5 (online, asynchronous): June 8 -20, 2024

  • students are welcome to travel independently after the program. Week 5 will be online and asynchronous therefore there will be flexibility to finalize the coursework


Week 1-2 (online, synchronous)

Before departing, you’ll engage in pre-trip reading, attend online lectures, and participate in discussions to set the foundation for your adventure. 

Week 3 (tokyo, Japan)

After arriving in the bustling capital of Tokyo, the first week will be a blend of academic pursuits and cultural discovery. Half of the week will be dedicated to JPST370. Through interactive classes and expert-led tours, you’ll gain valuable insights into the historical, social, and cultural significance of Japan’s diverse food culture. Evolving as a unique gastronomic journey, you will visit local markets, restaurants, and even schools, immersing yourself in the authentic flavors of Japan and understanding the role of food in shaping the nation’s identity. 

The other half of the week will be dedicated to JPST395, where you’ll discuss literary works, and compare their adaptation to film in both group and individual activities and formats. You will then go out into the field and visit the settings of these works, as well as tour renowned museums and cultural sites (tentatively including the Ghibli museum and the Murakami Museum) related to the works, further deepening your understanding of Japan’s literary heritage and its portrayal in cinematic art. 

Week 4 (kyoto, japan)

In our second week in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, you’ll continue your studies while also having the opportunity to meet and interact with local university students. These interactions will foster cross-cultural exchanges, enabling you to gain a firsthand understanding of modern Japanese life and forge lasting connections with your peers from Japan. You will also visit some of the famous and beautiful historical sites that appear in Japanese literature and film, as well as the Toei Film Theme Park where you can imagine yourself starring in a samurai movie. 

Week 5 (online, asynchronous)

After the trip, the learning journey continues as you return home with newfound knowledge and experiences. You will be provided with dedicated time to work on individual and group projects and assignments, allowing you to further reflect on and apply the insights gained during the trip. 

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Eligibility and Prerequisite

This program requires students to be at least at third year standing (ie. completed Year 2 by May 1st, 2024). 

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Program Fees

Program fees: $3,400-3,900*.

*The final program fee depends on the number of students in the program.

Note: The program fee will be offset by $1,000 for UBC students through our Go Global Award. If you have any pass/fail courses, we will assess your average with advice from your faculty.

Included in program fee Not included in program fee
  • Accommodations (dorms & hotels, shared rooms)
  • On-site group transportation
  • Some meals
  • Entrance fees
  • Guest lectures
  • Go Global fee
  • Flight
  • UBC tuition
  • Remainder of meals
  • Health or travel insurance
  • Immunizations (if necessary)
  • Visas (if necessary)
  • Personal spending money for communications, snacks, and souvenirs, etc.

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JPST 370 (3) – Japanese Food Culture

if you have taken this course previously, please reach out to Mayu Takasaki ( to discuss

JPST 395 (3) – Film Adaptations of Japanese Literature

Participating in this program means that you will register and complete both courses

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Program Director Bio

Mayu Takasaki (she/her) was born and raised in Japan. Mayu brings a deep-rooted understanding and appreciation of her native country’s language and culture to the classroom. Holding a Master’s degree in Japanese Linguistics from the University of Toronto, she has taught Japanese language for over 18 years in Canadian universities. Her culinary curiosity and love for food led her to explore Japan’s food history and culture. Recognizing the profound significance of food in any culture, she has been offering this course since 2018 during the Winter terms. 




Nina Langton (she/her) was born and raised in the Okanagan and first travelled to and fell in love with Japan at age 18. Since then, she has studied and taught Japanese literature, language and culture, receiving a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Japanese Literature from UBC Vancouver, and teaching at UBC Okanagan and the former Okanagan University College. Cinema is a relatively recent interest, and being able to combine both literature and film in a single course taught in Japan is a dream come true! 

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