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Garden, Temple, and Dojo: Embracing Japanese Arts and Culture
Kyoto, Japan; Nara, Japan; Tokyo, Japan; Utsunomiya, Japan
Program Terms: May Experience
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Restrictions: Furman applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
The application period for this program has not started.
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Faculty-led Language of Instruction: English
Faculty Director or Program Advisor: Izumi Tokunaga - Japanese, Mark Stone - Philosophy Areas of Study: Asian Studies, Japanese, Philosophy, Religion
Type of Course Credit: Furman course credit Credit Hours Per Term: 2 credits
Applicable Financial Aid: Study Away Scholarship Housing: Dormitory/ Residence Hall, Hotel
Program Description:




Japanese gardens, Zen Buddhist temples, and colorful Shinto shrines express a cultural philosophy that connects aesthetics with ethics, beauty with practice. This program provides a unique opportunity to explore and embrace the connections between Japanese arts and self-development through experiences and travel to Tokyo, Utsunomiya, Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara. After visiting Tokyo, spend time at an internationally recognized dojo learning and practicing Aikido, a martial art that encourages personal well-being and harmony in daily life. Learn to meditate and to use Kiatsu to promote health. Participate in Japanese tea ceremony and experiment with the basic elements of calligraphy. Try your hand a Japanese pottery and take a class in Ikebana, flower arranging. The program concludes with a week of travel to Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara to visit places of religious, cultural, and philosophical significance.


Garden, Temple, and Dojo: Embracing Japanese Arts and Culture
This course examines the cultural and philosophical context of the Japanese Arts. Students have a chance to learn about and experience a variety of arts and explore the connections between these arts and the Japanese religious traditions of Zen Buddhism and Shinto. It involves an introduction to and practice of the disciplines of Ki-Aikido, which include Aikido arts, meditation, and Kiatsu. The study further includes opportunities to experience tea ceremony and Japanese calligraphy. Students travel to visit significant temples and shrines in Tokyo, Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara. (2 Credits)


The essential qualification for students is a willingness to embrace the practice element of the Japanese Arts. At Ki-Aikido International Headquarters especially the emphasis will be on practice with respect to Aikido, meditation, Kiatsu, and the cultural activities of tea ceremony and calligraphy.

This May Experience is intended to attract students who are interested in Japanese studies, who have participated in the Japan Summer experience, who have taken the Realizing Bodymind course, who have enjoyed one or more of the FYS/FYW courses related to Japan, who have trained with the Furman Aikido Club, or who have always wanted to travel to Japan. Though it may be more attractive to student who are Asian Studies majors or who have already had some experience in Aikido or other Japanese Arts, it is not restricted to them.


Accommodations & Meals: At Ki no Kenkyukai International Headquarters, the accommodations are dormitory like rooms. The meals are served in a communal dining area. All meals are included in the budget for this part of the trip. Ki no Kenkyukai has facilities for all the activities that we will do there. There is also a common area where students can study, journal, and socialize. There are also laundry facilities there.
The other accommodations are hotels arranged by the travel agent. They include a breakfast meal. Most other meals will be included in the cost of the program, but students will be responsible for the cost of some of their own meals.


Aikido training is an athletic activity that involves a low degree of risk. At the introductory level at which we will be training there is little if any chance of injury.


Approximately $4,999
This includes:
  • Visits to significant temples, shrines, and gardens (Tokyo, then later in Nikko, Kamakura, Kyoto, and Nara)
  • Visit to Ghibli museum
  • Sumo tournament
  • Aikido training at Ki no Kenkyukai International Headquarters – Ki training focused on calmness and bodymind oneness, Aikido arts, meditation, Kiatsu – a practice for healing and health, tea ceremony, calligraphy
  • Visit to Mashiko, famous for its pottery and the Japanese potter Hamada, chance to make a pot
  • Ikebana class in Tokyo
  • Shopping excursions in Tokyo and Utsunomiya


  • Textbooks for the course (about $60)
  • Visa related costs for students whose citizenship is not from a country for which there is a reciprocal Visa agreement with Japan
  • Shopping for souvenirs or gifts
  • Personal snacks or toiletries
  • Non-program sightseeing

This program is currently not accepting applications.