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

Renewal for 2014 will be done in due course.

An outline of the 2014 Summer Course
submitted to the UMAP International Secretariat in January 2014
(pdf, 17 KB)

An outline of the 2014 Summer Course with President's welcome message
(1 April 2014, pdf 167 KB)

Dates: Monday, 18 (students' arrival) - Friday, 29 August (students' departure)
First week: Almost the same contents as in 2013.
Second week: Some changes due to retirement of professors
UMAP decides to which unviersities its Super Short Term Program Scholarship
should be provided in mid-May.

The 2013 program (19-30 August) has been successfully completed
with ten students from Taiwan and Thailand.
Thank you very much for your participation and support.

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 small evening party
Latest informaiton, 4 March 2014
  • The Korean Air resumes its daily flights between Inchon and Niigata on 30 March 2014. (It suspended its daily flights on 27 October 2013 to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only.)
  • There has been a 3 % hike in the consumer tax from 5 % to 8 % since 1 April 2014.

Thai and Malaysian regular (not diplomatic or official) passport holders are now exempted from visa for their short stay for up to 15 days (Thai passport holders) in Japan starting on 1 July 2013. Please check the web sites of the Japanese Embassies in Thailand and Malaysia: (Thai) (English) (Japanese)

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.

Niigata University is pleased to host a UMAP Super Short-term Program, 2013 Summer Course at Niigata University: Lessons from Contemporary Japan, for undergraduate students on 19-30 August 2013 in addition to 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 culture. 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 Prof. Awamura and others 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.

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 2012 Program

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 15 single rooms at a hotel (same Hotel as last year's) have been provisionally reserved in downtown area of Niigata near the Niigata train station at 42,000 Yen including breakfast, service and tax for the period (check-in on 19th and check-out on 30th 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 without cancellation fee (No cancellation is possible after 31 July. Also, total payment must be made by Japanese Yen cash at the check-in.). If one prefers a room with two beds (There are only two two-bed rooms in the Hotel - one non-smoking and one smoking.), 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.

Information of the reserved hotel

As usual, a certificate of each student's eligibility for a Japanese student visa is issued by the Japanese Immigration Bureau as Niigata University applies for it on behalf of the student to help the student apply for a visa at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate in his/her own country. Usually allow for one and a half months after the deadline for application (15 May) before the certificate is issued. This may seem to be long but students themselves can avoid doing cumbersome procedures at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate in their countries and it takes usually only one week to get a visa after application because the Certificate is issued by the assurance by Niigata University. (Merits of the Certificate explained by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
(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 AND the recent situation at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate because rules may change.)

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
Arrival at Niigata train station

Express bus between Niigata Airport
and Niigata train station
Train to Niigata University

Train to Niigata University
in winter in snow 

Niigata University is honorably provided with the UMAP Super Short Program Scholarship. Lump sum 800 US dollars is provided to each of ten students selected by Niigata University on the basis of the balance among countries and universities, the students' achievements at their home universities and of the study plans in Japan on arrival at Niigata University. (This information revised on 6 June).

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. And applications must be made in the UMAP web site after approval and issuance of a pass word given by the student's own university.

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

Language Proficiency requirement: TOEFL 500 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 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. 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. No medical institutions accept credit card or debit card. Payment must be made by cash.).

Syllabus of each class:

Application/enrollment procedures and deadlines

Thai and Malaysian regular (not diplomatic or official) passport holders will be exempted from visa for their short stay for up to 15 days in Japan starting on 1 July 2013. Please check the web sites of the Japanese Embassies in Thailand and Malaysia: (Thai) (English) (Japanese)

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, the classes for this program will be delayed for 30 minutes than usual.

First week

Mon. 19 Aug Tue. 20 Aug Wed. 21 Aug Thu. 22 Aug Fri. 23 Aug Sat.
24 Aug
25 Aug
Environmental Problems and Development of Policies in Japan
by Prof. Miyata (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. Lecture by a Minamata Disease Witness at the Niigata Minamata Disease Museum (in the afternoon) and a visit to the former pollution source (in the morning) on the bus of the University

(Taken after the meeting with a witness of Niigata Minamata Disease in August 2012) of 26 July
(pdf 241 KB)
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

Mon. 26 Aug Tue. 27 Aug Wed. 28 Aug Thu. 20 Aug Fri. 30 Aug
Japanese Experiences from Various Perspectives
by Prof. Awamura and others (Syllabus)
 No more formal activities
1st and 2nd
Experiences from regional disaster prevention by Prof. Hideaki MARUI, Research Institute for Natural Hazards & Disaster Recovery Key to Japan: History, Economy, Governance, Society and Culture by Prof. Minoru AWAMURA and Prof. Yuko ADACHI, International Exchange Support Center Asia-Pacific International Relations and Japan by Prof. ZHANG Yun, International Exchange Support Center Japanese management by Prof. Takashi SAKIKAWA, Graduate School for Management of Technology
Afternoon 13:00-19:00
Visit to natural disaster-related areas: Ojiya Earthquake Disaster Museim and Yamakoshi Village
(to be confirmed)
Visit to the Brain Research Institute, School of Medicine
(to be confirmed)
ERINA (Economic Research Institute for Northeast Asia) for a lecture by a researcher
(To be confirmed)
Tsubame City Industrial Maerials Museum
(to be confirmed)


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 or Shanghai by China Eastern Airways 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), 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. 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.

(There was a direct flight between Taipei and Niigata twice a week by EVA Air in January - March 2013. However, EVA Air states that the service will be resumed in December 2013 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