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International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

In-person and virtual advising hours
Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m.

Walk-in advising hours
Mon - Thurs: 1 - 3 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843

International Education

O'Dowd Hall, Room 328
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2889

Office hours
Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

In-person and virtual advising hours
Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - noon and 1 - 4 p.m.

Walk-in advising hours
Mon - Thurs: 1 - 3 p.m.

Alex Zimmerman, Director
(248) 370-2843

An architectural building in Japan in front of a mountain.

Business and Culture in Japan

Experience the culture and business practices of Japan firsthand. See how organizations operating in traditional and modern spaces do business in a fast paced and changing environment. Get a chance to communicate and exchange ideas with Japanese business professionals.

Enroll in 2023 Summer I ML2900, attend class online for two weeks then travel to Japan for 11 nights! Travel dates are May 17 – 29, 2023. Application deadline and deposit: due February 15, 2023.

For more information, contact Program Director Michele Plattenberger at Plattenb@oakand.edu.

Apply NowMake a deposit or payment

Where you will be

The travel portion of the program begins with a flight to Tokyo. Japan’s busy capital mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. The opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is known for its towering gate and surrounding woods. The Imperial Palace sits amid large public gardens. The city's many museums offer exhibits ranging from classical art in the Tokyo National Museum to a reconstructed kabuki theater in the Edo-Tokyo Museum. The world’s most populous city also ranks in the top five safest cities on each aspect of the world. (The Economist: "Safe Cities Index" 2019).

Travel continues by bullet train to Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on Japan’s central Honshu Island. The city is known for well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums and regional handicrafts. Kenrokuen Garden, dating to the 17th century, is celebrated for its classic landscape designs incorporating ponds and streams. Adjacent Kanazawa Castle was built in the 1580s, after the defeat of the Peasant’s Kingdom, Japan's only Buddhist fiefdom.

Our journey continues to Hida-Osaka. Located in the north of Gero City, Hida-Osaka lies at the west foot of a sacred mountain, Mt. Ontake. There are more than 200 waterfalls with distinctive features spread across the gorges that have elevation differences of nearly 8,200 feet and create the spring water of Mt. Ontake.

Next, travel to Gifu, a city in central Japan. Gifu Castle overlooks the city from atop Mt. Kinka. A cable car connects the castle to Gifu Park at the foot of the mountain. Within the park, the Nawa Insect Museum displays thousands of butterflies and beetles. Streets are lined with traditional wood-latticed craft shops. The city’s Nagara River is known for its cormorant fishing and summertime fireworks displays.

Travel to Nagasaki Prefecture, on the west coast of Japan's Kyushu Island, known for its volcanoes, forested offshore islands and hot-spring spas. The capital city, Nagasaki, was partly destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945, an event commemorated by its Peace Park and Atomic Bomb Museum. The city's missionary past is reflected in its 19th-century churches and Twenty-Six Martyrs Memorial, honoring 16th-century canonized martyrs.

The final travel itinerary will be confirmed closer to the travel dates.

What you will do and learn

Students will enroll in ML 2900 Business in Japan, Summer I for 4 credit hours. While abroad, you will experience firsthand the culture and business practices of Japan and see how organizations operating in the traditional and modern spaces do business in a fast paced and changing environment. Students will have a chance to communicate and exchange ideas with Japanese business professionals while enhancing understanding of other cultures and cultural diversity.

  • Expand your global scope by exploring a variety of locations in Japan including rural, historic areas and densely populated city centers.
  • Analyze and critique Japanese design and think critically about the historical, business-related and aesthetic details of Japanese design and the organizations that produce, enact, market and sell them.
  • Visit landmarks known for their contributions to Japanese business and culture: the Kabuki-za/Minami-za Theaters, Ryogoku Kokugikan (the national sumo wrestling arena), Kinkakuji Temple, Meiji-Jingu Shrine, the Edo-Tokyo Museum, Tsukiji/Ohmi-cho Fish Markets, Harajuku, Shinjuku-gyoen/Kenrokuen/ Korakuen Gardens, etc.
What to bring

Students will attend a pre-departure meeting and receive a list of items to bring.


The course is open to any OU student regardless of Japanese language capabilities. Students who are studying business, engineering, finance and disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences can benefit from the course.


Program cost - $4,000

Meals - Some meals included

Transportation - Included

Housing - Included

Airfare – Included

Excursions – Included

Health Insurance – Included

Personal expenses - $200

Tuition for the course (4 credits) - Not included in the program price.

Financial Aid may apply.  Scholarships and program stipends available.

Have a question that is not on this list (please read through them all first!)?
Contact Plattenberger Sensee
Before going to Japan
What's the one thing I should know about what to expect while in Japan?
While Japan has an amazing public transportation system, it is also a country where you will do a lot of walking (to the train station from the hotel; from the train station to a destination; up and down stairs to get to train platforms, etc.). Depending on where we are, it is also quite hilly (67% of Japan's land mass is mountains). You could walk as many as 15,000 steps per day. You need to be prepared for this sort of exertion. When we travel between cities, changing hotels (which we'll do at least twice), you'll need to be able to transport your luggage - often this means carrying it up and down several flights of stairs as not all train stations have elevators in convenient spaces. I recommend starting a regular walking regimen to get yourself to a point where walking five miles in a single day is not an issue. Granted, that five miles won't happen all at once, but it's a reasonable estimate of the amount we might walk on certain days of the course. Japan is not ADA compliant (AMERICAN Disabilities Act). So, walking ability and stamina are imperative.
Is Japanese language a requirement?
Absolutely not!
How much coursework will be required for this program?
The intention of this program is for you to EXPERIENCE Japan and learn about different aspects of Japanese culture and business. While in Japan, there will be simple daily tasks that get you thinking about your experience (ex: social media check-in). After you return from Japan, a reflective essay is required as a Moodle submission asking about your overall experience, most impactful activity, etc., and general reflections from the trip. Your daily on-time and active participation while on the trip, social media post requirements, and reflective essay makes up your grade's general requirements.
How do I know if this course will apply toward graduation credits?
You must work directly with your advisor to do a detailed analysis of your program requirements to understand how this course would impact your degree requirements. All petitions for review must be completed before the end of Winter semester. Don't delay!
I've filled out the application for the program and have been approved. Does that mean I am registered for the class?
No. Registration for Summer session will open on March 15. You must register for ML2900 and pay the regular tuition rate for this 4-credit hour course. The course registration cost is in addition to the program fees. Financial aid will apply.
Do I need a VISA?
That depends. US citizens do not require a VISA to travel to Japan. If you are not a US citizen, please check this site to get a better understanding if a VISA might be required: https://visaguide.world/asia/japan-visa/do-i-need-a-visa-for-japan/
Do I need a passport?
YES!!! You will need a passport with at least ONE CLEAN PAGE and an expiration date of JANUARY 2024 or later! If you do not have a passport yet, work with your local post office to apply for one ASAP. If you need to renew or get additional pages, work with your local post office to understand the process required for either of these actions. Renewals are taking approximately six weeks at this time.
What is the Covid-19 protocol for traveling to Japan?

In January 2023, Japan announced plans to downgrade the legal status of Covid-19 to the equivalent of seasonal influenza in the spring of 2023. The exact timing and level of ease on restrictions are not yet confirmed. At this time (February 2023), all visitors to Japan are required to have at least three Covid-19 shots, or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of entry. We will continue to monitor this requirement as our travel approaches.

Do I have to register my vaccination card before I travel to Japan?

As of February 2023, all entrants must provide a valid vaccination certificate or a Covid-19 negative test certificate. A Covid-19 test must be conducted within 72 hours prior to departure. Because Japan recently announced that the Covid-19 virus will be downgraded to the equivalent of seasonal influenza in spring 2023, the requirements may change. We will continue to monitor this situation as our travel date nears (taken from: https://www.japan.travel/en/practical-coronavirus-information/travelers/)

Where do I go for help to pay for the trip?
We have worked very hard to maximize the benefits of this program while keeping program costs down to the bare minimum. We continue looking for ways to further reduce the prices for each participant. However, we recognize that this program is still quite expensive (your plane ticket is close to half the cost!). Don't forget that financial aid does apply to this program! But beyond FA, there is so much scholarship money that goes unclaimed! Click the following link to explore scholarship opportunities. Surely, there are at least two that you will qualify for: https://oakland.scholarships.ngwebsolutions.com/Scholarships/Search
What should I pack?
Travel within Japan can sometimes be burdensome as Japan is not ADA-compliant (AMERICAN Disabilities Act). There will be a lot of walking and a lot of stairs. It is recommended that participants pack a single roller carry-on with a versatile wardrobe and plan to do laundry while in Japan (hotels do have laundry services). Be sure to have your passport (with one clean page available and an expiration date of January 2024 or later), a comfortable backpack, and good walking shoes at a minimum! We will discuss all of this in detail at the orientation meetings before departure.
What medications are restricted when traveling to Japan?
OTC Drugs and medications that are prohibited in Japan may surprise you. It is a serious issue that you should pay very close attention to. You could be fined and put in jail if you bring illegal drugs/medications to Japan. It is *YOUR* responsibility to be aware of what is allowed and what you should NOT bring. Please do not take this lightly!!! This website can help guide you: https://jp.usembassy.gov/services/importing-medication/#:~:text=Many%20common%20medications%20and%20over,detention%20by%20the%20Japanese%20authorities.
What airport are we flying out of?
GREAT question! We are still monitoring prices on flights to get the best price. There are three airports we are looking at right now including Detroit Metro, Flint, and Canada. Stay tuned!
What date are we leaving/returning?
Our departure will be on Wednesday, 17 May, 2023 and will return to USA on Monday, 29 May, 2023. We will have 11 full nights in Japan.
While in Japan
Do I have to wear a mask when traveling to Japan?
In Japan, you will find that 99% of the people walking around the cities, riding public transportation, etc., are still wearing masks. We will follow the locals' lead on this. You should be ready and willing to wear your mask in basically all contexts where you are with other people (other than when we're eating). Being "with people" includes just walking down the street to the convenience store. Everyone you pass on the street will be wearing a mask, and you will be too. This is non-negotiable. Being a guest in Japan will mean following the lead of what the Japanese people around us are doing. So, get a stock of masks to bring and have on hand for regular use.
Do I have to participate in all activities according to the itinerary?
As part of your grade, you must be on time and participate in every planned activity for full credit. Free time will be available on certain evenings of the itinerary and toward the end of the program, where participants can make their own group plans to do other activities. All additional costs associated with your extra travel plans are at your own expense. Note: a rail pass is included as part of your program fees and may cover some of your additional travel expenses.
Am I allowed to go off on my own when there is free time?
If two or more program participants are interested in making arrangements to travel somewhere during their free time – then YES! Absolutely! You will communicate your general plan with the faculty leaders and maintain contact as much as possible. However, university policy is that participants on the trip must travel with at least one other companion from the program. Because safety is the highest priority for all of our participants, you cannot leave the group to travel alone. If you have changed your return flight plan and are staying after the program is over, you can travel freely after the scheduled departure time for the course.
If a few of us go off on our own at the end of the program, can we just meet you at the airport on the day of our return travel?
No. There is a mandatory final farewell dinner party on Sunday evening (location TBD but close to the departure airport). The entire group is expected to attend this event. This is part of the safety protocol to ensure all participants are accounted for and local to make the train for the scheduled departure check-in the next day.
How are we getting around while in Japan?
There will be a LOT of walking. Assume you will be walking about 5 miles/per day. Comfortable shoes are a must!
I want to stay longer. Can I change my return date?
Yes! Many participants decide to do this! Any changes to your flight travel are at your own personal expense.
How much cash should I bring?
Not all places in Japan accept credit cards and ATMs that take U.S. cards are not easy to find (do your homework in advance to know where to find free ATMs in Japan using your card!!). Therefore, it really is necessary that you do bring some cash with you. It’s best to make the exchange directly with your bank (or check CHASE bank) for best exchange rates. But how much to bring is really up to you and your budget. Costs are very high in Japan. It's not uncommon for someone to carry the equivalent of $300-$500USD in their wallet regularly. The great news is that Japan is a relatively safe place to travel.
Are credit cards OK to use in Japan?
In general, yes! We will be mainly in major cities. However, many places in Japan still do not accept CC. It is best to have some yen on hand because ATMs that accept U.S. cards are not easy to find (do your homework in advance to know where to find free ATMs in Japan using your card!!).
Are ATMs available for use in Japan?
Some ATMs in Japan will accept US credit or debit cards. Please work with your bank in advance to locate ATMs that will take your card in Japan (check the final itinerary as we get closer to the date to determine target locations).
Can I use my phone to connect with family while in Japan?
WiFi is typically available in hotels and many coffee shops. You are more than welcome to investigate access while in Japan. We are currently working on opportunities to support students with internet access, but this is not confirmed yet. Share information you have with us – we could all learn something beneficial!
What are the sleeping arrangements while in Japan?
In general, the price of the program is based on double occupancy for our hotel stays. This will be coordinated before we leave, at least for our initial organization. Rooms will be assigned based on the sex noted on your passport (M/F). We will be meeting via Zoom and at least once in person for pre-departure meetings and you will have the opportunity to meet others you will be traveling with. You can pick a buddy. If you have any concerns, reach out to Plattenberger Sensee and we will work it out.
I have a tattoo/tattoos. Is this going to be a problem in Japan?
In Japan, tattoos have traditionally been associated with the Yakuza (Japanese mafia). Modern Japan is getting more and more used to foreign travelers and seeing tattoos otherwise. However, there are still some locations where people with visible tattoos are not allowed. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that because we are working hard to be all-inclusive for this program and don’t plan to participate in those activities anyway!