This summer, five Illinois State geography students will participate in a three-week exploration of Japan with Professor RJ Rowley. Students earn three credits toward their geography major in this short-term study abroad. The course provides students with an opportunity to gain firsthand understanding of the geography of Japan.

Japan Explorations revolves around a north-to-south survey of the country allowing students to observe diverse local and regional cultures throughout Japan. Using the dense network of trains (bullet train and local transit), participants will travel to a number of sites. Students use Japan as their “text” to learn more deeply about core geographic principles and how they are manifest in that country. Students complete on-site analysis and discussion about the cultural, historical, and agricultural landscapes we visit as well as major cities and geographic differences between regions of the country.

Travel sites include the historical capitals of Nara and Kyoto, traditional and modern Tokyo, symbolic Mount Fuji, sacred space in the Hiraizumi World Heritage Site, memorial landscapes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, agricultural landscapes in Iwate Prefecture, coastal Kesennuma, medieval Japanese castles, as well as Osaka, Kobe, and Fukuoka, among other cities.