Japanese Culture and Civilization Course in Tokyo, Japan

Video and Photos

Exploring Ikebukuro with fellow KCP students!
Selfie from a KCP field trip to the Imperial Palace
Tokyo Disney Sea with an Old friend from Kobe Japan .
Making good use of my time and studying .
Out for a hike with some friends .

About

Head over to Tokyo to study Japanese! The KCP International Japanese Language School is multicultural and offers an Intensive Japanese Language course and a Japanese Culture and Civilization course. Between classes, students can take part in cultural immersion activities. These may include a tea ceremony, learning to play traditional instruments, cooking Japanese food, and more. Connect with students, explore Tokyo, and practice your Japanese today!

Questions & Answers

All class instruction is in Japanese, but supplementary instruction may take place partly in English if needed.
Based on the eligibility page of their website, the only requirements are that you have to be at least 18 years old, you must be prepared to spend 3-6 hours to study outside of each class, and you must have completed high school.
Hi Nathan, KCP (strongly) encourages you to learn the beginning 2 syllabaries, hiragana & katakana, before you attend, but they have a Level One class for beginners. They still go over hiragana & katakana in Level One, but it's only for the first few days, so either you study it ahead of time or you do lots of memorization that first week. If you're curious, the textbook we used when I attended...

Reviews

95%
based on 20 reviews
  • Academics 9.6
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 20
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Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Your Experience is What You Make of It

KCP was absolutely incredible as far as academics and just general experience especially, even though, as everyone says, it is a lot of work, in class and outside of class. Realistically, though, learning language takes a lot of work, so I think it's appropriate. The teachers and staff are, for the most part, absolutely incredible, and genuinely care about you. Most of them make class entertaining, even, which I think takes a lot of effort, and without taking away from the lesson. They put in so much time, and most of the teachers really make sure all of the class is engaged and speaking for the majority of the class. Don't be afraid to ask questions after your classes! I found some of the most helpful times were when I did.

Most of your classmates will be from Asian countries. My class was primarily from Korea and China, with one guy from Taiwan, which means you will really need to use your Japanese, because even though a lot of them know some English, it's limited. If you test into any level above 1, then I think you have to put more effort to connect to your classmates who are not English-speaking, because a lot of them are already friends from level 1. However, I was able to hang out with them outside of class eventually, and it was really a rewarding experience! Both just for having great friends and fun, as well as helping with my Japanese. I even had to learn more kanji to get my Chinese-speaking classmates to understand what I was saying in Japanese, because sometimes, if they didn't know the word I was using (or if I was mispronouncing it or something), I would write the kanji, so that was kind of a fun challenge.

The way the classes are organized, is Monday through Friday, you meet with your regular classmates, which are primarily from Korea and China, and on the weekends you have the option of the culture class, which includes school trips, which is only English-speaking students. Since you have a lot of time outside of class on the trips to bond with English-speaking students, it's easier, but getting connected with your non-English-speaking classmates Monday - Friday, especially if you are higher than level 1, is difficult. KCP knows this, so they host the BBQ, during school hours, a couple weeks after class begins. This is the only school-required trip/bonding opportunity that you'll have outside of class with your classmates that don't speak English. Initially I was dreading this BBQ, but, it actually really helps with connecting with your classmates who are non-English-speaking. Keeping this in mind, you get out what you put in. I had an English-speaking classmate who didn't speak as much to his classmates who were not English-speaking, and I feel, he kind of missed out on connecting with some of his classmates for the rest of the time in class.

I found my own housing, because for me, I thought KCP housing was pricey. However, this decision also will change your experience a lot, because for me, I had to work pretty hard to get community, whereas a lot of the students who lived in the dorms had a lot more community. When you're in Japan, the community doesn't come to you, so you really have to seek that out. Some of the people I knew who had host families had a great experience with it, and others, not the best, so it's kind of hit-or-miss with that. As for the people I knew in the dorms, they definitely had more community, but some of them also had more drama, so...I guess you have to pick and choose.

The culture trips were loads of fun. I audited the culture class, because I didn't need the credits, so I just went on the trips. They were really incredible, and pretty well-planned! The only thing that is a bit funny, is they only pay for your fare (train, subway, etc.) one-way, so sometimes I would walk home to save money, and I lived pretty far. (Japan is a lot safer, so even for females, so you can usually do this, but be careful regardless.) Definitely the favorite of most people was the overnight Yamanashi trip. I would say be careful with spending money, because a lot of my classmates spent too much in the beginning, and were tight on money at the end of the three month period, and most of us didn't have a visa, so we were unable to work.

The one thing I wish I had maybe done more was take advantage of some of the clubs that KCP offers outside of school. They have a whole bunch, some of which you have to be in a certain level to be in, because the vocabulary is more difficult. KCP tries to make extra opportunities for Japanese speaking, too, such as a Japanese cooking class, where we teamed up with local Japanese university students, and learned how to make oyako-don.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe a way to help students who are discouraged. Some of my classmates definitely got discouraged, and some of the English-speaking students felt pretty lost, having it be their first time in another country. Some of them it was even their first time living on their own.
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Kaisu
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Intensive learning at KCP

KCP's Japanese course is an intensive learning experience with more emphasis on learning Japanese than having lot's of free time - however, if you spend your time wisely you can both learn Japanese and get to know Tokyo while studying at KCP International Japanese language school. It came to me as somewhat of a surprise that the pace of the course was so intensive and that I, with minimal Japanese skills was at class with students some of whom had studied Japanese for two years in China or Korea. Then again, had this not been the case I don't think I would have learned as much as I did.

I started with little to none Japanese skills and while my first three weeks were a little rough balancing between fun free time activities and sightseeing in Tokyo and catching up with the basic Japanese skills, studying at KCP was a good learning experience and I gained what I wanted: good basic Japanese language skills to build up on.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I really liked the visit the school organized to see Kabuki theater at the National Theatre as well as participating in a tea ceremony.
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Kumiko
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The greatest educational experience I've ever had!

I feel like I learned more refined Japanese at KCP than 3 years at American school. KCP teaches you grammar that is useful in daily conversation and since it's located in Japan, you can use what you learn in class literally right after is school is over. Since the main classes is only in Japanese, it forces the mind to start thinking quickly in Japanese to only respond in Japanese. It sounds scary at first but I am honestly grateful for this style because the rest of the country is in Japanese so it's realistic.

Everyone at the school from the teachers to the office staff were willing to go above and beyond to make sure any problem was 100% addressed and solved to the best of their ability. There was a point where everyone started to become like friends or even family and I found myself enthusiastic every single day - even on weekend classes - to spend time with them.
I'm so sad that I was only able to spend a short time at KCP but so happy for the long-lasting memories I'll have of it!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely hang out with the other international students more. Since the American program has a lot of other classes and programs outside of the regular classes, we tended to hang out a lot more. I wish that I made friends with my classmates more and hung out with them outside of school more. Hanging out with them made me understand other cultures besides Japanese which was an amazing opportunities.
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Jordan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you want to have the experience of a lifetime - look no further!

I completed 6 months at KCP. I love the teachers, the staff, and the friends I have made here. One day I needed to visit the doctor and I was accompanied the entire way there and my appointment was fully set up by the school staff. This school will take care of any of your needs including doctors visits, discounted rail pass tickets, any mail that you receive that you have a question about, etc. The staff is very friendly and helpful. The classes are a small enough size that everyone can get enough attention and they are typically set up in a “U” shape to get everyone comfortable with speaking Japanese and becoming friendly with one another. I had a fantastic time at this school and although the classes weren’t a cakewalk, I came to Japan with no Japanese background and now feel comfortable speaking in conversations with people and will continue my study at home!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Study hiragana, katakana, and some kanji before arriving. Also, get familiar with the layout of your neighborhood, the train systems, and things near the school/your home before you arrive. It will make it easier to adjust and understand how to get around Tokyo!
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Sasha-Rae
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Next Step

KCP is not only an immersive Japanese language program, it is incredible teachers, unlimited support, opportunity, and lasting relationships that span beyond just the school time. For me, KCP gave me the opportunity to live in Japan and really choose if Japan was really where I wanted to be in the future and if Japanese was really one of the languages I would choose to pave that future. I lived in an apartment/dorm for three months and every morning went to the station pretty easily to get to school. School was a blast, I made so many friends in and outside of class and the lessons were more beneficial than any program or class I’ve ever seen personally in America.
Every lesson, and as a matter of fact in the whole school, you are only to speak Japanese. That alone helped more than I realized at first but instantly was grateful towards it helping my comprehension and speaking skills. Most every weekend, there were culture excursions that taught me more about Japanese culture, society, and history. Learning a language is not only about the language but about the society it comes from and KCP gives that opportunity to every student besides being able to live there in general and explore for yourself.
The work was challenging and definitely showed me where I need to improve to become fluent in Japanese as well and ALWAYS the teachers and staff were so eager to help. Even during our first school trip out to the park for a BBQ, everyone was so helpful and being shy wasn’t a problem at all. It actually gave me more reason to push myself so that I could make the memories I have today and will forever hold with me. I’m so grateful to KCP, so grateful for everyone I met and who helped me along the way, I’m excited to go back and actually live in Japan after I earn my bachelor’s degree.
Anyone who wants to learn Japanese honestly, you wil not regret KCP and what it can teach and give to you for life.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe more culture excursions. Other than that, everything was already given to you and self-experience is up to you.
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Jacobo
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

You only get out what you put in!

The course is definitely as challenging as everyone is making it out to be.
All classes are completely in Japanese and your classmates are mainly from other Asian countries so you're in a place where you've got to use everything you've got at your disposal. This makes it challenging, but you'll quickly find yourself understanding more and more through the immersion offered.
There is English support available should you need it and the supplementary classes and clubs available have a lot tailored to what you may be keen on.
The school events including school-wide bbq and the American program weekend trip were especially great to spend time with fellow classmates and learn more about the local culture here in Japan.
The workload is high, but try not to get too discouraged, what you'll learn is very useful for your Japanese goals.

What would you improve about this program?
If possible, a bit more assistance for students who may be struggling, feeling a bit lost being away from home could be helpful. It's many people's first time out of their home countries so it can be a bit overwhelming.
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Angelica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer in Tokyo: festivals, friends, and furigana

My experience at KCP was amazing. Because I was in a dorm so close to Tokyo, I was able to attend many festivals throughout the summer, such as the Umi no Hi lantern festival at Odaiba and the Adachi Hanabi (Fireworks) festival. Some friends and I even bought yukatas (lights summer kimonos) and learned how to wear them properly through a free class at KCP. Then we were able to wear them to a few different festivals, which was fun.

I was also able to meet a lot of new people through the program. Because I was in a dorm with a lot of other American students, I had to purposely get to know some of the international students from other countries (China, Korea, Taiwan, etc.), but I'm so glad I did. Not only are they really cool people I'll keep in touch with, but because we didn't speak each other's languages, we had to practice our Japanese skills in class and over dinner.

I really appreciated the cultural aspects encouraged at KCP. Through the summer short-term program, we took a day trip to Yamanashi prefecture, which was a highlight of my trip. We saw Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san), went to a replica traditional Japanese village, ate at an all-you-can-eat peach farm, and learned some zazen meditation at a Buddhist temple. I also joined the newspaper club at KCP and was able to write and publish an article about a festival in Japanese by the time I left. Some friends and I took a free Japanese brush calligraphy class during our time there. It was so cool to be able to write some of the kanji we had learned in the traditional style.

There's plenty to do in Tokyo, and you'll definitely be close to a lot of it. Because KCP is located in Shinjuku, most of what you want to do will probably be within half an hour's train ride of the school. I would suggest making a list of things you want to do during your time there as you could fall into a school routine and miss out on some of the amazing aspects of living in or near Tokyo.

What would you improve about this program?
I don't think it's a criticism of the program, but be prepared for rigorous coursework. You'll definitely learn something new every day, so make sure you read ahead in the grammar notes (the only materials printed in English) as those will explain new vocabulary words and detailed grammatical points.
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Violetta
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best language school in Tokyo

I studied at KCP for 9 months, and I will recommend the school to anyone serious about learning Japanese. I had friends in other language schools around Tokyo, but from what I can gather KCP is by far the most academically rigorous.
The workload is not for everyone though, and if you just want to come to Japan to slack off and have fun I don't think this school is for you. My favourite things about KCP were the fact that most of the student population are Chinese and Korean, so you're forced to from the beginning to speak Japanese to them to communicate and you get to learn simultaneously about their culture while learning Japanese.
Also, there are field trips every term and they really serve the bring the class together. Everyone would always look forward to them, and though you might not be able to communicate well with your classmates, you can create great friendships. If it wasn't for KCP I wouldn't have met Tete, my Chinese friend, who during the term break took me to her hometown in Chongqing in China and gave me a tour. KCP is also like a school; there are clubs and it's in a dedicated multi-storey building with a cafeteria. Highly recommend.

What would you improve about this program?
As a western student coming into the very Japanese-like schooling system is a culture shock. Especially with how students are treated regarding their status in the school versus their home institution. Just be warned there is the cultural difference and that it is nothing personal, and something you can get used to easy once you accept it. It would have been good to get a warning though.
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Brittney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Dream Turned Reality

It had always been my dream to study abroad in Japan and Park University and KCP made it possible for me. The KCP program is very intensive and is not for people who are not serious students. You will be challenged. I highly recommend knowing Hiragana and Katakana before you go, and maybe some basic vocabulary to build upon. My favorite memories in the program were with my host family. I stayed with a 70 year old woman and her cat, and she really made my experience so much better. She would help me with my Japanese if I didn't understand something and she would bring me tea/coffee and treats while I was studying. We would have "tea time" after dinner every night and have some really good conversations. She was one of the best people I have ever met! This was truly a lifechanging experience and I would recommend the homestay option!

What would you improve about this program?
Additional help for people with no prior Japanese experience, it was very, very difficult for the students who didn't know anything prior.
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Emphasis on Quality

In everything KCP International does, it focuses on quality. The staff at KCP International go above and beyond to provide you a thorough education, enlightening cultural experiences, and additional aid wherever you may need it. How much you learn in the classroom is balanced out with the help sessions outside of class, and your exposure to all the details of culture is complemented by a friendly staff that can help you through any experience you may have trouble with.
First of all, the Japanese language education I received at KCP International is beyond any previous education I had ever had. The program is so thorough that if you take 2 years’ worth of classes at KCP (the entire duration of all the classes within the program), even if you started with no experience, you can become well on your way to becoming fluent. Not only do they teach the basic grammar and Kanji, they also help students with their pronunciation and intonation, which is an aspect of Japanese of which there is little emphasis in American education. In five years of Japanese in the American education system, I hadn’t learned half of what I did at KCP in one semester. While that sounds intimidating, it’s very possible to do. With 3 hours of full immersion classes a day, you’re sure to become intimate with the language. One part of KCP classes that can be frustrating yet is meant to help you achieve is a mixed classroom; you have students from all over the world together in each classroom. Therefore, not everyone in class is going to know English, and some may have no knowledge of English at all. Furthermore, the teachers ask you to sit next to someone who doesn’t speak your native language. While you can’t rely on your English at all, your Japanese becomes much better because you have to rely on it instead. It’s meant to dissuade you from using your native tongue during class, when those around you might not understand you. Since you’re in the same level as others around you, you learn Japanese with them, so when you speak to each other you’re speaking on the same level. It’s the best way to practice your Japanese. The teacher gives you plenty of opportunities to practice with your neighbor, who may change over time. When the classwork gets stressful or you don’t understand it when explained in Japanese, you can always go to the English help sessions during the week, during which a teacher explains the content from class in English and can offer further aid if needed.
Next, the cultural excursion classes are incredibly fun. They occur on the weekends, and they are conducted fully in English, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on any details. The commute to new locations is covered one way, and teachers/staff act as tour guides to explain the inner workings of the city while giving “insider tips” that you can’t just learn from anyone. Plus, they make sure you have fun! There are excursions for everyone. Whether historical, travel, or pop culture-based, KCP takes students on a variety of eventful, eye-opening excursions to museums, shrines, shops, and even other cities on occasion. If you have the chance to take the cultural excursions, please do so! You get chances to go places that would otherwise be very difficult to arrange on your own, and they add a fun and educational element to your study abroad.
In the case that problems occur, rest assured that KCP International has had students with probably at least similar problems in the past. If not, the staff is trained for a variety of circumstances and put forth a personal effort to make sure you are safe and satisfied. Whether it’s getting a package shipped back to your home country or taking care of an illness, the KCP staff are patient and selfless when it comes to assisting students with their problems. They are very knowledgeable of the areas around the school and the dormitories, so they can direct you and even accompany you to places you need to go to in some instances. No problem is too insignificant for them, and they treat you with respect throughout.

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Nathan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent School

I was very impressed by how much my Japanese language skill increased during my time at KCP. It was always fun to go to class and I received help whenever I needed it. The culture class was very interesting and exciting as we got to go on class trips throughout Tokyo and experience the culture first hand. My favorite memory from the culture class was our trip to Kamakura because we got to experience so much in the short time we stayed there. After completing KCP I now want to continue advancing my Japanese language skill and also want to return to Japan to visit my friends that I have made throughout my study.

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James
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Time in Japan

While I was only able to stay for 3 months, my time in Japan learning at the KCP Institute was probably one of the most (and will continue to be) memorable events in my life. While the program was difficult, having acknowledged this beforehand was what I feel was the key to my successful trip. I feel that it is necessary to schedule out your time, ensuring that enough time is dedicated to school work, to get the most out of this program. If you are able to do this, everything should go quite smoothly and you will be able to enjoy your time there. Beyond the classroom, being able to explore Tokyo was amazing. Even if you are a person who prefers to stay inside, try to get out at least 2 times a week. Being in the biggest city in the world is not a chance you should pass up. What I found that really helped with this was to make friends and make excuses to go out to eat, check out an arcade, or just walk around. Ultimately, make sure you don't end up leaving with regrets. Partaking in this program is a great chance to become more independent and learn about yourself.

What would you improve about this program?
I would say the chance to talk with more locals or maybe other Japanese students could really help in learning the language, but other than that, not much else.
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Vivian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

KCP Japan

I spent Fall 2016 in Japan with KCP, and it was the best choice for my study abroad! If you want to learn Japanese, I highly recommend this program. You will be living and going to school in the middle of Tokyo, which makes the immersion experience so much more interesting. You will learn a lot in the intensive language program, so you will have to study a lot outside of school. This program is not for people who just want to goof off. However, I managed to balance my studies and still go out and see everything Tokyo had to offer as well! The teachers are kind and understanding, and they genuinely want you to succeed. I also recommend making use of the English Support lessons, where everything you learn in regular class can also be explained to in English, just to make sure you understand. The administration is also wonderful, and they will not hesitate to help you with any aspect of life in Japan. For my entire time in Japan, I felt supported both in my academics and in daily life. As for other activities, KCP has a variety of clubs that you may take part in as well. I was in the Koto club, where I took lessons every week. I never expected to get the chance to be able to learn a traditional Japanese instrument as well. KCP was a rewarding experience, and I've already begun signing up to go back fro an extended term next year. This program is for anyone who is willing to put the work in and who wants to learn Japanese in the most efficient way.

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Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Unique Experience!

Through KCP I got to meet a bunch of international students and converse with them solely in Japanese. My language skills improved a lot through the rigorous yet rewarding course. While only taught in Japanese, the teachers (I had Kimbara, Yamada, and Kohiyama) are great at explaining new concepts for even beginners to the language. While I made time to study, it was easy to find a balance to have fun. My favorite aspect was getting close with my host mother; we would drink together and watch sports on TV. It was the absolute best! For those really wanting to improve their Japanese and maybe even attend Japanese university, go to KCP!

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe shorter lectures for the culture classes.
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Kailin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Experience

I went through 3 levels, with 10 different teachers, and I never had a teacher I didn't like! Every single person who works at KCP is willing to take time out of their day to help you. I had friends who struggled with conversation skills and our teacher would stay after class just to practice with them for 15mins a day or so. When I had a cold I was afraid to go to the doctor's by myself, so someone from KCP escorted me. I lived in a dorm, and my dorm manager was super nice! She always threw small parties at the dorm and invited me. I've studied abroad twice before, and KCP is the best experience I've had.

What would you improve about this program?
When I got to Level 3, we started doing reading practices. We'd read a short story, and then answers questions based on it. Most of these stories were nonfiction and some of them were historical/scientific. They used a ton of vocabulary that seemed like it was a bit above my level. I wish they'd chosen easier readings.

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About KCP International

KCP International Japanese Language School provides students with a unique opportunity to learn Japanese through immersion. While most students are from other parts of Asia and instruction is in Japanese, English-speaking staff are available to...
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