Ryukoku University

Kyoto is home to many of the most famous temples and shrines in Japan, so it is only fitting that students study at Ryukoku University, founded in 1639 as a Buddhist institution of higher education.

Virtually untouched in World War II, Kyoto has the largest concentration (20%) of Japan’s national treasures including Nijo castle, Ginkaku-ji and Kyomizu-dera, and was the imperial capital for over a thousand years. Ryukoku is home to over 19,000 students across three campuses in Kyoto and welcomes over 500 international students a semester. Join a club to learn a traditional art or a sport and enjoy the field trips, festivals and cultural activities on offer!

Key information


Kyoto, Japan


English, Japanese


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



2020-21 applications

Applications for Winter 2021 exchanges are still open. First come, first considered for remaining spaces!

University-specific additional requirements

Two references required - see the Eligibility section below.

2021-22 applications

Opens Nov. 1, 2020

Program details

Areas of Study:

Ryukoku offers the JEP (Japan Experience Program) Kyoto. This program is a combination of Asian studies & Japanese language courses, and can accommodate students from beginner to advanced Japanese. Placement tests will be done during orientation, typically a week before the semester starts, to confirm that students are in the correct level of courses.

  • Flyer & courselist for JEP-E (beginner level Japanese)
  • Flyer & courselist for JEP-J (intermediate/advanced level)

If interested, exchange students attending the JEP program can also take regular undergraduate course options at Ryukoku. A sample list of English-taught courses is available online here. Please note the exact course offerings may change from year to year. 

Students who meet the language requirements and get permission from the professor may be able to enroll in regular courses offered in Japanese from the faculties as well.


Course Requirements:

4 Japanese credits = 1 UCalgary half-course equivalent (3 units). Most courses are worth between 1-4 credits, so when your grades are transferred back to UCalgary, multiple courses at Ryukoku may be combined to equal one UCalgary half-course. Some language courses at Ryukoku may be worth 2 credits to a UCalgary half-course.

Exchange students at Ryukoku are required to take minimum 16 credits per semester. 

The academic year is divided into two semesters:

  • Fall Semester runs from mid September to early February
  • Spring Semester runs from early April to early August


Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. Ryukoku has a cost of living estimate on their website.

Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations etc in your budget planning.


Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

Our office administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.

Students can apply to live in one of Ryukoku's five dormitories, located near all three campuses. Most residences have a local Japanese student “tutor” living there to help international students with daily life.

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at UCalgary, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-).

Students wishing to take classes taught in Japanese must meet the language requirement set by the program, which will be determined by a language proficiency test taken at the beginning of the term. Traditionally, students who have completed Japanese 331 and/or 333 can consider this option though some students can manage with just Japanese 303.

Visa Restriction: Japanese citizens with only Japanese citizenship are not eligible for this partner. Japanese citizens with dual citizenship need to speak with the exchange advisor before applying. 

Application requirements

An academic reference is required for a complete application. Please note that while only one reference letter is required for our application, Ryukoku will require both this reference and a second Japanese language reference from a different referee to be submitted on specific forms with their application. You will need to get these reference forms filled out later during the application process. 

Have questions?

Study Abroad 101

Please watch this YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how an exchange might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this exchange program, you can meet with the specific advisor for this program by booking an appointment through the link below. Appointments are currently on zoom.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Read through the list of appointment types to select the most appropriate type and view available times.

Book an appointment

The exchange advisor for this program is: Kathryn Bauer

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.