Niigata University emblem with the university name

Title: USCO Special Student Exchange Program (Program C)

page title: Summer Course at Niigata University: Lessons from Contemporary Japan

Monday, 17 (students' arrival) - Friday, 28 August (students' departure)

The 2015 Program is now over.
Thank you very much for your participation and support.

The information here is of school year 2015 and is porovided for reference puroposes only.
The 2016 program will be announced in late March or in April 2016. It is expected that
the organization of the program with the current two classes in two weeks in the second half of August,
the application period and other arrangements will not change.

For UMAP Program A (one semester or one year exchange), please check this page.

Of the 30 applications received in time, 19 students were admitted
after careful evaluation of the reasons for application and study plan of each.
12 of them were identified as students qualified for the UMAP Scholarship
(800 US dollars for each student; 12 students at Niigata University).
The other admitted students were in the waiting list for the Scholarship in the oder of priority.
In addtion, there was one regular student of Niigata University participating in the Program.

Here is the 2015 plan submitted to the UMAP Secretariat.

List of documents to be submitted to Niigata University (pdf, 25 KB)

Application form to Niigata University (Word, 32 KB)

Health check form (pdf, 18 KB)
(Any other forms are accepted so long as all the items in this form are covered.)
Financial statement form (Excel, 28 KB)
(Only for those who must apply for a visa)

Please submit your application through your university because the student exchange is
based on the agreement among UMAP member universities,
not on agreement between individual students and Niigata University.

Also, information of students' arrival at and departure from Niigata must be provided to Niigata University
by their home universities, not by individual students, at least three weeks before the Program.

Information of lodging
No dormitory is available in Niigata University for this program. There are no hotels or hostels nearby.
Therefore Niigata University eserved a few two-bed rooms and more single rooms
at a hotel in downtown Niigata near Niigata train station
as before.
The rooms were provided on the first-come first-served basis.

Cancellation or change is not possible after 31 July.
If you make your own arrangements, the home university must inform Niigata University
of your contact information during the program period.

Niigata University is pleased to host a UMAP Super Short-term Program, 2015 Summer Course at Niigata University: Lessons from Contemporary Japan, for undergraduate students on 17-28 August 2015 in addition to the USCO Multilateral Exchange (UME or Program A) and many student exchanges under bilateral agreements.

This two-week Program provides students with an opportunity to study lessons learned in Japan in historical and contemporary perspectives in terms of environmental policies, economic management, East Asian relations, and international development cooperation. In this regard, two classes will be given, i.e. Environmental Problems and Development of Policies in Japan by Prof. Miyata for the first week and an omnibus class, Japanese Experiences from Various Perspectives by several professors for the second week with two credits from each class. Each of these include not only lectures in class rooms but also one or two site visits so that students can effectively learn the reality of the "lessons". Students may choose one or both of these two classes.

Visits in the 2012 Program

Visit to the place where organic mercury
which caused Minamata Disease
was released into a river 
After a lecture by a Witness
of Niigata Minamata Disease
Visit to an Earthquake Museum
Visit to a village which suffered
from an earthquake in 2004

Visits in the 2013 Program

Visit to the place from which waste water containing organic mercury
released into the river without treatment, a lecture by a volunteer Witness
of Minamata Disease, and a group picture there.

A brief stop at the Yahiko Shinto Shrine on the way back from a visit to the Tsubame industrial materials museum

A small evening party
Visits in the 2014 Program

Visit to the former chemical plant that released mercury into a river,
which caused Minamata Disease in Niigata

Before listening to a lecture
by a Witness of Minamata Disease

Presentations by students in Prof. Sakikawa's class

Visit to an industrial museum of the crafts unique to the region, such as cutlery or tableware. Students had a hands-on experience of manufacturing spoons by themselves.
Visits in the 2015 Program
(added on 29 August)

Visit to the former chemical plant
that discharged waste water into
a river without any treatment from
this outlet.

Lecture by a volunteer Witness
of Niigata Minamata Disease

Visit to Yamakoshi village which was
seriously suffered from an earthquake
in 2004

Visit to the Economic Research Institute
for Northeast Asia (ERINA)
(The left photos with courtesy of a student)

Tuition will be waived. But students must cover their personal expenses including for accommodation, international transport to/from Niigata, local transport in Niigata, meals, medical insurance, etc. No accommodation is available in the campus during this period but a few two-bed rooms and more single rooms at a hotel will be reserved in downtown area of Niigata near the Niigata train station with breakfast, service and tax for the period (check-in on 18th and check-out on 29th August). Students are requested to inform Niigata University of their check-in and check-out dates as early as possible so that adjustments can be made to the room reservation. Also, total payment must be made by Japanese Yen cash at the check-in for a discount rate.). If one prefers a room with two beds (There are only a very small number of two-bed rooms in the Hotel.), such rooms are provided on a first-come first-served basis. If one books another place by oneself, he/she must inform the Niigata University of the booking.

To help students get a visa at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate in his/her own country, a certificate is issued by Niigata University.
(Note: Visa is not necessary for a short stay of the holders of certain passports. Please check the visa page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (visa waiver information: )AND the recent situation at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate because rules may change. The period of stay granted at the time of the landing permission for the visitors from the visa waiver countries will be "15 days" for Brunei, Indonesia, and Thailand, and "90 days" for other countries and regions.)

No pick-up service is any more provided either at the Niigata airport or at the Niigata train station because the total number of exchange students of various kinds far exceeds the capacity of Niigata University. Instead, more specific information of how to come to Niigata University or to the hotel will be provided. Because Niigata Airport is small, there will be no problem with the arrival at and departure from there. For those arriving at Narita or Haneda which are big, Niigata University will give them more intensive information.

Arrival at Niigata Airport
Express bus between Niigata Airport
and Niigata train station

Arrival at Niigata train station

Train to Niigata University
The 50-year old model in winter in snow in the left is being replaced
by the newly manufactured model in the right since Deceber 2014.
You may experienceboth 50 years old Japan and latest Japan on the trains.

Because this is a program under the USCO (UMAP Student Connection On-line) of the UMAP (University Mobility for Asia and the Pacific), students from those universities participating in the USCO are eligible for this program.

This is a program for undergraduate students. Graduate students are not eligible.

Language Proficiency requirement: TOEFL 500 (iBT 61) or equivalent (No need for a certificate. Student's declaration or his/her English language professor's declaration of his/her capability equivalent to TOEFL 500 is accepted.)

Medical Insurance: Students are required to purchase in advance an international travel insurance or another medical insurance valid for medical expenses in Japan (Students should expect up to 10,000 Yen for simple treatment at a clinic for a simple cold or stomach problem. There is no medical institution in Niigata to which payment is made directly by any travel insurance company. Therefore students must pay to the medical institution and request later for reimbursement to the insurance company. Most medical institutions do not accept credit cards or debit cards. Payment must be made by cash at most places.).

Syllabus of each class:

Please feel free to send inquiries to for administrative issues including application forms, visas etc. or for academic issues such as the classes.

The whole program of the Course

Classes usually start at 8:30. However, due to the late breakfast at the Hotel and the train timetable, the classes for this program will be delayed for 30 minutes than usual.

First week

Mon. 17 Aug Tue. 18Aug Wed. 19 Aug Thu. 20 Aug Fri. 21 Aug Sat.
22 Aug
23 Aug
Environmental Problems and Development of Policies in Japan
by Prof. MIYATA Haruo (syllabus)
No official activities 
1st period
Lecture 1. An outline of the history of the environmental problems and development of environmental policies of Japan Lecture 3. The period until 1969 Lecture 5. The period until 1979   8. A visit to the former pollution source (in the morning) and lecture by a Minamata Disease Witness at the Niigata Minamata Disease Museum (in the afternoon) on the bus of the University


(pdf, 309 KB)

(2015 visit to Niigata Minamata Disease Museum)
2nd period
Lecture 2. The period until the Second World War Lecture 6. The period until 1986
3rd period
Lecture 4. The period until the 1973 Oil Shock Lecture 7. The period since 1987
4th period
5th period
to night
18:45 Orientation on the whole program (Meet at the Hotel lobby.)
(Those who have not come by the time will be briefed separately.)

Second week
(Prof. Zhang's class and Prof. Miyata's class were swithed to each other's day (29 May). Further change made, 1 June.)

Mon. 24 Aug Tue. 25 Aug Wed. 26 Aug Thu. 27 Aug Fri. 28 Aug
Japanese Experiences from Various Perspectives
by several professor (Syllabus)
 No more formal activities
1st and 2nd
Experiences from Regional Disaster Prevention

by Prof. FUKUOKA Hiroshi, Research Institute for Natural Hazards & Disaster Recovery
Japanese Management
by Prof. SAKIKAWA Takashi, Graduate School for Management of Technology
Japan’s Experiences in International Development Cooperation
by Prof. MIYATA Haruo, International Exchange Support Center
Asia-Pacific International Relations and Japan
by Prof. ZHANG Yun, International Exchange Support Center
Afternoon 12:00-19:00
Visit to natural disaster-related areas: Orataru Museum for Reconstruction and Exchange and a few other places in former Yamakoshi Village
Visit to Tsubame Industrial Materials Museum
Meetings with former JOCVs (Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers)
ERINA (Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia) for a lecture by a researcher

Students must do some home work before coming to Niigata, especially for the following. Please check the syllabus:

Japanese companies and their management practices by Prof. SAKIKAWA Takashi, Graduate School for Management of Technology, Tuesday, 25 August:

Students are required to read part of the instructor's book before the class. Here is the class material:

Class participants are also required to choose a company based in their respective countries and to present a short case of the company by proving information on that company, such as its history, products or services, organizations, strategy, and other aspects. Thus, they will need to prepare for their presentation of a short case of their chosen company as well as to read a class material before the class. (The 2014 presentation photoes can be seen in the "Visits in the 2014 Program" above.)


One of the three cafeterias in the campus is open for lunch during the summer break. There is a University Cooperative shop and a "convenience store" Lawson in the campus, too. There are small restaurants, noodle shops and "convenience stores" adjacent to the campus. There are numerous places to eat (and more to drink) near the hotel in the downtown area.
A cafeteria in the University campus 


If you have any question, please feel free to contact for administrative issues including application forms, visas etc. or Prof. Haruo Miyata who coordinates the program at for academic issues.


(Preparations to stay in Niigata)

(How to come to Niigata)

It is recommended that students arrive at Niigata Airport. Because this airport is small with only one international exit, only one domestic exit and only one bus stop, passengers do not get lost. Also, they do not have to wait for a long time for immigration procedures. Take a bus (either express or local) from the Airport to Niigata train station. Arrival at this Airport may be either by an international flight from Seoul by Korean Airlines (one flight every day) or Shanghai by China Eastern Airways (Wednesday and Saturday only) or by a domestic flight from a major airport. However, it should be noted that Tokyo area has two airports (three if Ibaraki Airport is included.) with only Narita having flights to Niigata (by ANA) (one flight each day in late afternoon), that Nagoya area has two airports with only Centair having international flights, and that Osaka area has three airports with only domestic Itami Airport has flights to Niigata. Passengers may easily get lost in moving from an airport to another on land.
If you arrive at Narita Airport, take a JR train (either expensive Narita Express or reasonable but infrequent rapid) to Tokyo train station and then take a Jo-Etsu Shinkansen train to Niigata unless you take a domestic flight to Niigata moving from an international section in either Terminal 1 or 2 after immigration procedures to the domestic departure area in Terminal 1. This is the least complicated way to come. It is also reasonable if you use a 'JR East Pass (There is no more a "Flexible 4-day" type for Youth' (12-25 years of age) which offered very low-cost train travel in Eastern Japan until June 2013.) which allows you to take Narita Express and Jo-Etsu Shinkansen trains without additional payment for express fees on five different days at 22,000 Japanese Yen. If you use a regular train ticket, going to Tokyo by Keisei Railways via Nippori slightly saves money. However, changing trains in Tokyo may not be easy.
If you arrive at Haneda Airport near downtown Tokyo, take either Tokyo Monorail to Hamamatsu-cho or Keikyu train to Shinagawa and then take JR Yama-no-te Line or Keihin Tohoku Line to Tokyo station to take Jo-Etsu Shinkansen train to Niigata.
 Chart: How to come to Niigata from Narita, Haneda, and Niigata Airports:
pdf (565 KB); jpeg (183 KB)
More specific information is here.
Changing money into Japanese Yen may be done in your country at a better exchange rate. Currencies other than US dollar and Euro may not be exchanged or will be exchanged at a substantially weaker exchange rate because the demand for such currencies is quite small in other countries. However, if you want to exchange your money in Japan, please change money on arrival at an airport in Japan. In case you have failed to do so, please do so at a bank near Niigata train station open between 9:00 and 15:00 on week days only. It is also possible to change money at Tokyo train station near the Marunouchi North Exit from 7:30 to 20:30 if you pass through Tokyo station (See the second from the last page in (so large as 12.6MB).). You many not have sufficient time to go to a bank to change money during the class period and banks are closed on weekends except at major airports (The bank/money exchange in the Niigata Airport is open on weekdays only and between 9:00 and 15:00 only. Credit cards are accepted only at major business establishments. Foreign debit cards are not accepted for purchase at almost all places in Japan. But foreign ATM/debit cards are accepted for withdrawal by ATMs of the Seven Bank located at many of the Seven-Eleven shops.

(The direct flight between Taipei and Niigata twice a week by EVA Air is likly to be available in winter only.)

Map from Narita and Haneda Airports to Niigata

JR East Jo-Etsu Shinkansen page

(Niigata University)

(Living in Niigata)


(Study in Japan in future)


(Announcement for regular students of Niigata University)

Questions and answers on the basis of the questions received in 2012

Information of the 2014 program for reference

Information of the 2013 program for reference

Information of the 2012 program for reference



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