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  • Locations: Fairfax, Virginia, United States; Hiroshima-shi, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Tokyo, Japan;
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Hotel, Other Number of Credits Offered: 6
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Religious Studies, Integrative Studies, Japanese Studies Open to non-Mason Students: Yes
Program Description:

Japanese Arts and Well-Being



Japan, Summer 2020

Program Overview

Practice Japanese arts and mind-body techniques to enhance wellness and harmony in daily life and explore how traditional Japanese principles, practices, and values continue to shape contemporary Japanese aesthetic, business, and well-being practices, even as modern Japanese culture evolves through foreign contact and involvement.
Primary goal: Students will develop cultural awareness and awareness of self and others through mindfulness practice and global study and see every aspect of life as an artistic practice through which they engage in personal and community development.

We begin the course at Mason’s Fairfax campus with a week-long introduction to meditation, Aikido, and Japanese philosophy, arts, and history. Then we will spend three weeks in Japan, beginning with five days of intensive practice of meditation, Aikido, and other mind-body practices at Ki Aikido headquarters dojo in Tochigi. After exploring arts through practice in northern Japan and viewing arts, temples, and natural areas nearby, we travel to Tokyo, where we will study contemporary Japanese arts, business, and culture in historical and global contexts. Then, in Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, and Miyajima we will see various traditional Japanese arts and cultural icons as well as the devastating effects of the atomic bomb.

Program Highlights:
  • Guided tour of The Freer Gallery at the Smithsonian in DC, pre-trip
  • Five full days of traditional instruction in aikido, meditation, calligraphy, tea ceremony, and Japanese yoga in Tochigi, Japan
  • Visits to Mashiko and Nikko
  • Ten days in Tokyo, including:
    • Taiko drumming instruction and mini-performance
    • Sushi-making and eating at a century-old restaurant
    • Opportunities to meet with artists working in traditional arts forms and practice some of those forms
    • Discussion about the socio-economic history of Japan, traditional and contemporary Japanese art and architecture, and comparative martial arts with respected scholars 
  • Kyoto/Nara/Hiroshima trip including
    • Stay at a Buddhist temple
    • Tours of the sites of the ancient city that was not bombed during WWII
    • The Peace Park and museum in Hiroshima
    • World Heritage site at Miyajima


All undergraduate students are welcome to apply including students who do not attend George Mason University. Minimum 2.25 GPA.


6 credits

Students will choose two 3-credit course during the application process.

Course Options

  • RELI 341 (Global Perspectives on Spirituality and Healing) - Mason Core for Global Understanding
  • JAPA 240 (Introduction to Japanese Culture) 
  • INTS 399 (Integrative Studies - Study Abroad)
  • INTS 498 (Integrative Studies - Field-Based Work) - Mason Core for Global Understanding OR Arts [Must contact Program Administrator] 

Program Dates*

May 18 - 22: Fairfax, VA
May 23 - June 13: Japan 


Day 1 Fairfax, VA:
Meditation and aikido.
Day 2 Fairfax, VA: 
Meditation and aikido. 
Film Screening. 
Day 3 Fairfax, VA:
Meditation and aikido
Tour of Freer/Sackler Gallery
Day 4 Fairfax, VA:
Meditation and aikido
Film screening
Day 5 Fairfax, VA:
Meditation and aikido
Day 6 Travel day
Day 7 Travel day
Day 8 Travel day: Tokyo to Utsunomiya
Day 9 Shinshin toitsudo
Day 10 Shinshin toitsudo
Tea ceremony
Day 11 Shinshin toitsudo
Pottery studio
Day 12 Shinshin toitsudo
Day 13 Shinshin toitsudo
Tea ceremony
Day 14 Tour of temples and natural areas then travel to Tokyo
Day 15 Fukugawa Edo Museum tour
Noh presentation
Dinner: Guest speaker (Business)
Day 16 MinebeaMitsui site visit
Printmaking studio 
Dinner: Guest speaker (Comparative Martial Arts)
Day 17 Kathy Matsui/Goldman Sachs presentation: womenomics
Scavenger Hunt
Participant Observation Dinner: Robot Restaurant
Day 18 Subaru site visit
Studio Ghibli Museum 
Dinner: Guest speaker (Architecture)
Day 19 DT Suzuki Museum
Contemporary Art Museum
Day 20 Sumo Stable site visit
optional: Karaoke participant observation
Day 21 Taiko presentation and lesson
Fukuzushi site visit and lunch
Travel to Kyoto
Day 22 Zen temple presentation
Kyoto tour/discussion of effect of war 
Day 23 Kyoto tour/discussion of effect of war 
Day 24 Nara tour - ancient capital history
Day 25 Hiroshima museum, dome, and memorial visit
Miyajima visit and seminar
Optional dinner: Okonomiyaki
Day 26 Travel to Tokyo
Final Shinshin toitsudo class
Dinner/final presentations
Day 27 Departure day
* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Summer 2020: $5,500

Included: Tuition for 6 credits, accommodation in Japan, some breakfasts, some group meals, in-country transportation, international emergency medical insurance, required textbook and course packet.

Not included: Airfare*, passport and visa fees, some meals, parking and on-campus housing** for the first week of the program (May 20-25).

*Participants must arrange their own airfare, once instructed to do so by the Mason Global Education Office.
**GEO can assist with organizing on-campus housing and parking options. Contact the GEO Program Administrator for more information and pricing details.

Program Payments

Students on MasonGEO programs must pay the advertised program cost in order to participate. This cost will be made in three payments (Deposit + First Payment + Final Payment). Students using financial aid can provide additional paperwork in lieu of deposit and final balance payments.

Application Deposit: A non-refundable program deposit $200 must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

First Payment: A non-refundable payment of $1000 must be received by March 22, 2020. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee. Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

In the event that a student’s financial aid or VA Benefits is estimated to cover the entire costs of the study abroad program, the entire charge will be posted to their student account, since that is where the aid will be applied. In this case students do not pay their first payment through MasonAbroad. However students must submit their “Intent to Use Financial Aid” form by the first deposit deadline.​

Final Payment: The final balance payment is due by April 19, 2020. This is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $1200 you've already paid (Deposit + First Payment). Students who are using financial aid may have this payment deadline extended. See "Financial Aid" information below.

Financial Aid and VA Benefits: Students who intend to use financial aid or VA benefits to fund their program fees (partially or in full) must have the "Intent to Use Financial Aid" or "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form" completed and on file with the Global Education Office by the First Payment deadline. The "Intent to Use Financial Aid" form is available in the MasonAbroad application system once you have started your application for this program. If you are using VA Benefits please contact your program officer to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form."

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

March 8, 2020


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Intent to Use Financial Aid Form: For Mason students only. If you use financial aid, this form must be completed by your financial aid counselor and submitted by the 1st payment deadline.

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

  AimeeWeinstein Sharon Doettsch-Kidder headsho
Name Aimee L Weinstein, D.A. Sharon P Doetsch-Kidder, PhD
Phone 703-993-5903 703-993-1160

GEO Program Administrator

Name Andrew Miller
Phone 703-993-5013

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.