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Study abroad in Japan


Our summer study abroad program in Japan “Critical Studies on Food Systems & Sustainability” is based in the city of Osaka “the food capital of Japan”.  Students explore the food cultures and systems of contemporary Japan through interdisciplinary, and multisensory learning experiences. 

During this program, you will explore themes dealing with sacred sites and foods in the Kii Mountain range, home to the Unesco World Heritage pilgrimage site, the Kumano Kodo. You will stay in ancient Buddhist temples and study one of the Great Shines of Japan, the Nachikatsuura Shrine. You will also study the challenges facing agriculture in Japan and visit agricultural communities and assist in harvest activities.

The program includes a colloquia series with a focus on the above themes as well as nutrition in Japan and includes, among others:

  • The Geological Basis of Japanese cuisine by Tatsumi Yoshiyuki, Professor, Kobe Ocean-Botom Exploration Center, Kobe University
  • Food Tourism in Japan by Onoda Kinji, Professor, Osaka University of Tourism
  • Food and Environmental Design by Kitajima Akira, Professor, Kyoto University of Advanced Science, Department of Agriculture and Food Technology
  • Food Nutrition in Japan by faculty from the Department of Health and Nutrition, Osaka Aoyama University.

You will also learn basic culinary techniques through intensive cooking sessions, and they broaden and deepen their culinary experience by critically engaging in the culture and politics of sustainability in seminar sessions

Students in the field with vegetables
4-week full immersion program
Osaka, Japan


June – July, exact dates TBA


Home stays in Osaka


  • The Story of Food in Osaka: A Field Study (3 credits)
  • Culinary Practices and the Sensible World, From History and Politics to Tastes, Textures and Aromas (3 credits) 
  • Japanese Lexicon for Food and Business (1-2 credits)

See course descriptions


CREDITS: Up to 7 credits, please work with your home university study abroad office to assure full credit. Transcripts available from Portland State University.


ELIGIBILITY: Students interested in Japanese culture, language, or business. Prior language study is encouraged, but not required. Professionals and graduate students in food or environment-related fields are encouraged to inquire.


Professor Aiko Tanaka. See bio ›

Steve Nussbaum, Ph.D.  See bio ›


COST: TBA. Cost usually includes accommodations, transportation costs within Japan, instructional costs and some meals.


Contact us if you are interested in a four-week research internship following this program.

Alumni testimonials

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