|The 2012 program (20-31 August) has been successfully completed
with eleven students from Taiwan, Indonesia, Myanmar and Mexico
(according to their personal identities)
studying in Taiwan, Thailand and Mexico.
Thank you very much for your participation and support.
An outline of the 2013 Summer Course
submitted to the UMAP International Secretariat in January 2013
(pdf, 63 KB)
|There have been a few cases where the UMAP web site does not effectively
allow the initial applications to this UMAP program. In such a case, please
directly contact Niigata University at (with c.c. to ) so that such students are also included in the list of applicants.
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.
Niigata University applies for the UMAP Super Short Program Scholarship. If the Scholarship is provided for
this Summer Course, 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. Decision of which universities should be provided with the Scholarship
will be made by the UMAP Board in late April 2013.
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
This is a program for undergraduate students. Graduate students are not
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
- Application is open until Wednesday, 15 May 2013.
- Applicants submit the following documents:
- An application form to Niigata University (by 15 May 2013)
- Some personal data such as health check results (after officially admitted and by Thursday, 8 August)
- 2 photos (hard copy. by 15 May 2013) (for a student ID issued by Niigata University, as well as for a Certificate
of Eligibility for Stay in Japan with a student visa as required)
- Application form for a Certificate of Eligibility for Stay in Japan (only
those who must apply for a student visa; by 15 May 2013) - Niigata University requests the Immigration Bureau to issue certificates
of eligibility of the applicants for a student visa to Japan with which
applicants can obtain a visa at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate without
cumbersome procedures and documents.
- Documents on financing etc. which should accompany the application for a Certificate of Eligibility
for Stay in Japan (only those who must apply for a student visa; by 15 May 2013)
Once an applicant has received the Certificate of Eligibility for Stay in Japan from Niigata University, he/she applies for a Japanese visa at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate. It takes 3-4 weeks before a Certificate of Eligibility is issued after a committee of Niigata University has formally decided on admission of the applying students. It takes further about a week before a visa is issued by the Embassy or Consulate. In total, it takes 1.5- 2 months after submission of a formal application document
to Niigata University before the applicant gets a visa. (This is why the application for the program is closed so early as in
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
||Mon. 19 Aug
||Tue. 20 Aug
||Wed. 21 Aug
||Thu. 22 Aug
||Fri. 23 Aug
||Environmental Problems and Development of Policies in Japan
by Prof. Miyata (syllabus)
|No official activities
||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
Example of the 2012 Friday program.
(pdf 332 KB)
||Lecture 2. The period until the Second World War
||Lecture 6. The period until 1986
||Lecture 4. The period until the 1973 Oil Shock
||Lecture 7. The period since 1987
|Orientation on the
(Date and time as
well as the venue
will be adjusted to
||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
|Disaster prevention and recovery measures by Prof. Marui Hideaki
||Key to Japan: economy, governance, society and culture by Profs. Awamura
Minoru and Adachi Yuko
||Asia-Pacific International Relations and Japan by Prof. Zhang Yun
||Japanese management by Prof. Sakikawa Takashi
|Visit to natural disaster-related areas
(to be confirmed)
|Visit to a private manufacturer
(to be confirmed)
|Visit to a few institutes
(To be confirmed)
|Visit to a private firm
(to be confirmed)
Example of the 2012 visits during the 2nd week (pdf 100 KB)
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 the least costly
if you use a 'JR East Pass "Flexible 4-day" type for Youth' (12-25 years of age) which allows you to take Narita Express and Jo-Etsu
Shinkansen trains without additional payment for express fees. 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)
|Arrial at Narita Airport
Because the train stations there are quite simple, please simply follow
the signs in the airport to train stations. Two things you should keep in mind are that there are individual train
stations under Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and that each of the train stations
under Terminals 1 and 2 is shared by JR East and Keisei with separate gates
and ticketing offices and vending machines. You may keep it in mind also
that long distance tickets, including one to Niigata, allows unlimited
number of breaks on the way. If you buy a JR ticket to Niigata, you can
go out of train stations on the way, while tickets of Keisei, which is
short, does not allow such stops. At the JR station, you can buy a JR East Pass.
Time table of JR Narita Express from Narita Airport
Time table of JR express (red), rapid (blue) and local (black - You must change trains on the way at Chiba to a rapid train, which may not be easy because not all trains go to Tokyo from Chiba.) trains to Tokyo (in Japanese only) from Narita Airport (Terminal 1. Trains depart Terminal 2 in two minutes.): Weekdays; Saturday, Sunday and holidays
Time table of Keisei Skyliner express (2,400 Yen. Seat resarvation obligatory)
and ordinary Access express (Access tokkyu, 1,200 Yen. No seat reservation.
No toilette.) from Narita Airport (Terminal 1)
Time table of Keisei ordinary express (1,000 Ye. No seat reservation. No
toilette.on Keisei Main Line from Narita Airport (Terminal 1)
|Arrival at Haneda Airport
Because train stations are quite simple, please simply follow the signgs
in the airport to train stations. There are separate stations of Tokyo Monorail and Keikyu in the International
Terminal where you arrive. If you take the Monorail, it takes you to Hamamatsu-cho. If you take Keikyu, you get off at Shinagawa. A few of the Keikyu trains go to the other direction (like Yokohama)
of Shinagawa. Be sure to take a train that goes to Shinagawa.
Because Tokyo Monorail is now a subsidary of JR East, there is a JR tiecketing
office (Travel Service Center) in the Monorail station at Haneda, where you can buy a JR East Pass.
Either at Hamamatsu-cho or at Shinagawa, you take a JR Kiehin Tohoku Line or Yama-no-te Line train to get off
and to take a Jo-Etsu Shinkansen train at Tokyo station. From Shinagawa, it is also possible to take a Tokaido Line train going
to Tokyo. This may be faster because Tokaido Line trains stop only at major
stations on the way to Tokyo.
The Shinkansen at Shinagawa is owned by JR Tokai, not JR East. Therefore
the JR East Pass is not valid for it.
|Taking a Jo-Etsu Shinkansen train from Tokyo (central) train station to come to Niigata
Tokyo train station is complicated. One reason is that there are separate gates for Shinkansen. And the gates for Shinkansen are also problematic because there are separate gates for Jo-Etsu Shinkansen, Tohoku Shinkansen, and Nagano Shinkansen owned by JR
East (its corporate color is green) and gates for Tokaido Shinkanse owned by JR Tokai (also called JR Central; Its corporate color is orange). Furthermore, the tracks of Sobu and Yokosuka Lines coming from Narita Airport are deep in
the ground in front of the original Tokyo station. Therefore it takes ten minutes or more to transfer from the train from Naria to a
Shinkansen train whose tracks are on the other side of the station.
Here are illustrations of Tokyo station with some explanations: pdf (2.3 MB), jpeg (1.1 MB)
The last page of the following pamphlet of Tokyo station has a better map
of the station: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/routemaps/pdf/tokyo_station_guide.pdf (so large as 12.6MB)
Arrival by Shinkansen
at Niigata train station
Take the smaller West Exit
(in the direction to Tokyo)
at Niigata train station
|Arrival at Niigata Airport
Niigata Airport is very small (compoarison chart of Narita, Haneda and Niigata Airports - jpeg 356 KB) although it is still an international airport. There are
only one exit for domestic arrivals (such as from Narita - Immigration
procedures are done at Narita.) and only one exit for international arrivals (such as from Seol or Shanghai). There is only one bus stop in front of the small airport building. There are more frequent express buses and infrequent local buses. The express takes 25 minutes to Niigata train station without stopping on the way. The local takes 35 minutes frequently stopping on the way. Both cost 400 Yen. Buy a ticket from the vending machine in front of the bus stop or pay
cash to the driver as you getting on the bus. All the express buses have
baggage storage, while a few local buses may not.
Here is a map of the first floor of Niigata Airport: pdf (63 KB); jpeg (186 KB)
domestic arrival exit
international arrival exit
Express bus to
Niigata train station
A local bus to
Niigata train station
|From Niigata train station to Niigata Keihin Hotel
Whether you arrive at Narita Airport, at Haneda Airport or at Niigata Airport,
you eventually arrive at Niigata train station either by Shinkansen train
or by bus.
You are supposed to check in at Niigata Keihin Hotel on the arrival at
Niigata train station. It is within a few minutes' walk from the local
bus drop off in front of the Bandai Exit, from the express bus stop in
the South Exit area (There is no South Exit of the train station, but the
area between East Exit and West Exit is called South Exit.), or from West
Exit of the train station (You should take the West Exit in the direction of Tokyo if you have arrived by Shinkansen.)
Here are maps of the area between the train station and Niigata Kehin Hotel: pdf (989 KB), jpeg (600 KB)
As you get out of the West
Exit of the Niigata train
station, walk to the left side
of Yodobashi Camera.
(The shop was already closed
when this photo was taken
Left side of Yodobahi
Then turn to the right.
Now you walk to the
pedestrian bridge over
the rail road tracks.
At the end of the pedestrian bridge, you see
Tokyu Inn in front of you. There is an elevator
to the ground in your right. There are also stairs
to the right. The stairs (and also an elevetor) in
the building in your left are shorter to the tround.
On the ground, walk to
Tokyu Inn. Then in front
of Tokyu Inn, turn to the
left. Then take the first
alley in your right. In 80 meters in your right, you will find Niigata
- Niigata Airport (airport code: KIJ)
- Korean Airlines (carrier code: KE) (Daily flights between Niigata and Seoul and many flights to many places
from Seoul. Usually it requires long connecting time at Seoul for Asian
flights, but its arrival into Niigata is convenient.)
- Bus departure time table at Niigata Airport (Written in Japanese but still useful to check the departure times. The
destination of all the buses is Niigata train station (South exit for special
express direct buses (25 minutes - red in the time table with no number;
suitable for passengers with large baggage) and Bandai main exit for ordinary
buses (30 minutes - green in the time table with no. 331; with no baggage
storage on most buses); Both cost 400 yen.)
- Narita Airport (airport code: NRT) (Busiest international airport of Japan and the main
entrance to Tokyo.)
- Keisei Railways Skyliner express trains connecting Narita Airport and downtown Tokyo; much cheaper (2,400 Yen,
approximately 40 minutes to downtown Tokyo; seat reservation obligatory)
and more frequent (usually every 20 minutes) than JR. There are also further
cheaper and frequent (every 20 minutes) ordinary express trains (tokkyu: Access Express (60 minutes) or Limited Express (70 minutes)) services at 1,200 or 1,000 Yen only.)
- You may check the plans of major train stations of Keisei main line because they are a bit complicated in order to separate passengers for
ordinary trains and for express trains (with express tickets) and also
passengers for the main line and for the Narita access line (shorter but
200 yen more expensive) with automatic ticket gates.
- Haneda Airport (airport code: HND) (Urban airport of Tokyo. Numerous domestic flights
and also some international flights especially late arrivals and early
departures of a day. Late arrivals do not connect to the trains to Niigata
within the day.)
- East Japan Railways (JR East) connecting Narita Airport and Tokyo as well as Tokyo and Niigata by super express trains (Jo-Etsu Shinkansen; mostly every hour)
- JR East Pass (especially relevant is the "Flexible 4-day" type for Youth (12-25 years of age) which costs only 16,000 Yen for unlimited ride on
almost all JR East trains on four different days. Even if you use it only for a return trip between Tokyo or Narita and Niigata,
this is the least costly train ticket.)
- Maps of major train stations (if you simply want to know the plans of stations)
- Lines and train station maps (if you know or are interested in lines, too)
- The last page of the following pamphlet of Tokyo station has a better map
of the station: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/routemaps/pdf/tokyo_station_guide.pdf (so large as 12.6MB)
- Last Shinkansen train to Niigata of a day: departure from JR East (green, NOT ORANGE) Tokyo station at 21:40 and from Ueno station at 21:46; arrival at Niigata at 23:59 (Non-reserved seats are available. ) (Subject to change)
- Railways map of Tokyo and its vicinity (JR East web site, pdf 205 KB) and JR lines map for Tokyo and its vicinity (JR East web site, pdf 2.2 MB) for reference to transfer from Narita Airport
or Haneda Airport to Tokyo train station
- All Nippon Airways (ANA; carrier code: NH) (It has a daily flight between Narita (Terminal 1) and Niigata. Departure
from Narita at 17:40; arrival at Niigata at 18:45 as of March 2013 and
subject to change. If connected from/to ANA international flights, the return flights between Narita and Niigata costs 10,000 yen (5,000 Yen one way) only. Immigration procedures must be completed at Narita before taking this
- China Eastern Airways (CES; carrier code: MU) (It connects Niigata and Shanghai (Pudong) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday
and Saturday. From Shanghai it has flights to many places.
- EVA Airways (carrier code: BR) It had direct flights between Taipei and Niigata from January to March
2013 on Wednesday and Saturday. However, the company states that the service
will be resumed in December 2013 only. It seems that the flights to Niigata
are primarily targeted at Taiwanese skiers. But it is worth checking whether
EVA provides services for summer vacationers.
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 http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/routemaps/pdf/tokyo_station_guide.pdf (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.)
JR East Jo-Etsu Shinkansen page
(Living in Niigata)
(Study in Japan in future)
(Announcement for regular students of Niigata University)
- Please apply for the two classes in a usual way. However, the credits from
the second week class with Q may not be counted as credits required for
graduation while the credits from the first week class with G are counted.
Students can take either one or both of the two classes.
- (Additional information will be posted when available.)
Questions and answers on the basis of the questions received in 2012
- Q1: How much is the minimum cost to stay in Niigata for this program?
- A: It is not easy to estimate the actual expenses, but I try to calculate
the minimum for a 12-day stay with 11 nights without no trips outside Niigata:
(a) Accommodation at the hotel that Niigata University has reserved for students (11 nights
from 20 August): 41,600 Japanese Yen
Please refer to: the information of the reserved hotel above.
(b) Meals and drinks: 1,500 - 2,000 JY per day x 12 days = 18,000-24,000 JY
Breakfast is free if a student pays by Japanese Yen cash. Otherwise, a breakfast at the hotel costs 700 JY.
(c) Commuting between the hotel and Niigata University by train: 230 JY one way x 2 x 10 days = 4,600 JY
If a student does not want to walk for twenty minutes from Niigata Daigaku Mae train station to Niigata University in the summer heat, he/she can take a bus at 460 JY one way.
(d) Miscellaneous expenses: Probably 1,000 JY per day x 12 days = 12,000 JY
(e) Totall: approximately 80,000 JY (Some contingency should be added to this in reality.)
If a student buys souvenirs, then expenses for them must be added.
If a student visits somewhere outside Niigata on the weekend, then the
travel costs and entrance fees as appropriate must be added. The transportation
cost depends on where he/she goes, e.g. 10,000 JY one way to Tokyo by Shinkansen
(non-reserved seats available), 9,500 JY for a return discount ticket by
bus (reservation obligatory and perhaps fully booked in summer), or 2,300
JY by local trains per day by a special discount ticket "Seishun Ju-hachi Kippu" on certain conditions.
If a student drinks and eats with friends, then he/she should expect 3,000-3,500
JY or so at a place near the University or 3,500-4,000 JY in a downtown
area including the area where the hotel is located. (Please note that only those at 20 or over in age are allowed to drink alcohol in Japan. Also, please seriously take note that younger people who are not used
to drinking alcohol drink too much thus to cause problems)
Travel expenses to come to Niigata
Of course, the transportation from the student's home to Niigata is extra
and large. Please check it at the web sites of major air carriers or at
a travel agent. Please note that because early to mid-August is one of the busiest periods in Japan, early booking is very preferable and saves costs.
- Q2: Does Niigata University accept a faxed or scanned copy of Financial Support Statement?
- A:Yes, Niigata University accepts both faxed and scanned statements.
- Q3: Does Niigata University accept students for this program from such universities
that are not hosting USCO Program C but A only?
- A: Because Article 6 of the USCO Pledge Agreement revised this year (2012)
provides, "After [a UMAP member university] hosts or participates
in program A (UME), undergraduate or graduate students can be accepted
as exchange students to Short-Term Exchange Programs, Program B (UBE as
UMAP Bilateral Student Exchange Program) or Program C (USC or UMAP Student
Exchange on Special Courses)", it is understood that students from a university participating in Program A are accepted to both Program B and Program C, including this Summer Course,
even if that university is not hosting a Program C course.
- Q4: Is the Financial Statement used not only for visa purposes but also for
selection of scholarship grantees?
- A: The Financial Statement is used for visa purposes only. The selection of scholarship grantees is done on the basis of each applicant's
capabilities and positive attitudes with due consideration of the objectives
of UMAP such as the balance or diversity among countries/regions and universities.
- Q5: When is the document for visa application sent to me by Niigata University?
- A: On 27 June, Niigata University requested to the Immigration Bureau in
Niigata to issue Certificates of the Eligibility of the students for Stay
in Japan for with a Japanese student visa. It may take some time before the Certificates are issued because many such requests have been submitted to the Bureau, not only for those students coming for the Summer Course but also for those coming for the Autumn Semester starting in October or late September. As soon as the Certificates have been issued, Niigata University sends them to the students' universities so that students apply for a Japanese student visa wit the Certificate at a Japanese Embassy or Consulate.
Students can apply for a Japanese visa without such a Certificate. But
it is not easy because the students themselves must justify their eligibility
for the visa. On the other hand, because the Certificate has been issued by the Japanese Immigration Bureau
at the request of the hosting Niigata University, visas are almost automatically
- Q6: Am I allowed to stay sufficiently long in Japan when I enter Japan?
- A: A visa is a formal permission for a person's entry into Japan. Stay permit
is another, although they are closely interrelated. A stay permit is granted
at the entry into Japan on the basis not only of the visa (or of the visa
waiver agreement between Japan and the person's country/area) but also
of the actual need of the person's stay, such as the date of his/her return
flight. Unless the date of the booked return flight is unreasonably late, you will be allowed to stay at least until the date of your booked return flight.
- Q7: How can I get to Niigata if I arrive at Narita International Airport (Tokyo International Airport at Narita - airport code: NRT)?
- A: Unless you take a domestic fight to Niigata from Narita (There is one flight a day leaving Narita terminal 1 at 17:40 to arrive
at Niigata at 18:45 (NH3239). The flight from Niigata departs at 15:10
to arrive at Narita at 16:20 (NH3240). Discount is available for connection
between NH international flights to this domestic flight if both are booked
simultaneously (Only 10,000 Yen for a return trip). See All Nippon Airways'
web site: http://www.ana.co.jp/asw/index.jsp?type=de ), you must first go to a starting point in downtown Tokyo (Narita is not
in Tokyo actually.) to Niigata. The two major starting points to Niigata
are JR (Japan Railways) Tokyo station (first floor map) for Jo-Etsu (NOT TOKAIDO) Shinkansen bullet train, which takes mostly a little longer than two hours and 9,760 Yen without seat reservation, mostly two services an hour, and Ikebukuro station for a regular express bus to Niigata, which takes 5 hours 20 minutes and 5,250 Yen, every hour at 00 minutes,
but does not allow boarding without advance booking. Express bus tickets can be bought from machines at Seven-Eleven and similar
stores including Lawson in Narita Airport Terminal 1, 5th floor but the
exclusively used Japanese language may be a problem.
Jo-Etsu Shinkansen timetable
Regular express bus timetable (In Japanese only. First table from Niigata to Ikebukuro, second table from Ikebukuro to Niigata) Ikebukuro map
The most frequent and reasonable between Narita Airport and downtown Tokyo
is to take Keisei railways going to Ueno via Nippori both in downtown Tokyo. It has mainly three
types of services, i.e. (i) Skyliner express on Keisei's Narita Access
Line (new short-cut line) which takes 36 minutes to Nippori or 40 minutes
to Ueno and 2,400 Yen, every 20-40 minutes, (ii) ordinary Access Tokkyu
(express) also on the Access Line which takes 55-70 minutes and 1,200 Yen,
every 30 minutes, and (iii) ordinary express (Tokkyu) on the Keisei main
line through more populated areas which takes 70-75 minutes and 1,000 Yen,
every 20 minutes.
The Access Tokkyu departing up to 15:50 (16:29 on Saturdays, Sundays and
holidays) do not go to Nippori and Ueno. Passengers must change trains
See Keisei's web site: http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/index.html and http://www.keisei.co.jp/keisei/tetudou/skyliner/us/nrt_access/tokkyu.html.
From Nippori or Ueno, you go to Tokyo (11 minutes, 150 Yen from Nippori)
or Ikebukuro (12 minutes, 160 Yen from Nippori) on JR Yama-no-te Line (circular
line whose trains bear light green belts).
There are also less frequent JR rapid trains from Narita Airport to Tokyo which takes 84-90 minutes and 1,280 Yen, every hour almost at 00 minutes.
If you come to Niigata by JR, you can buy a through ticket at 10,920 Yen
including a non-reserved seat on Shinkansen. There are more frequent express
trains with obligatory seat reservation on JR but they are very expensive
(1,260 Yen for the express charge plus regular fare).
The least expensive ticket to make a return trip between Narita or Haneda
and Niigata is the Flexible 4-day type of the JR East Pass for Youth (12-25 years of age). This Pass allows unlimited ride on almost all trains of JR East including
Shinkansen on different four days at 16,000 Yen. Although it is valid on four days, only a trip from either airport to Niigata and another trip from Niigata to the airport save almost 4,000 Yen compared to almost 20,000 Yen in purchase of ordinary tickets between the airport and Niigata. The Pass is valid also for the Tokyo Monorail running between Haneda Airport and JR Hamamatsu-cho station which is six minutes away from Tokyo station. The Pass can be purchased both at JR Narita Airport stations at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and at Tokyo Monorail Haneda Airport International Terminal Building station. See: http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass/index.html
- Q9: How can I directly arrive at Niigata Airport (airport code: KIJ)?
- A: There are three major ways, i.e. (i) Korean Airlines (KAL or KE) connecting Seoul and Niigata every day, (ii) All Nippon Airways (ANA or NH) domestic flight connecting Narita and Niigata every day, and (iii) Japan Airlines (JAL or JL) domestic flights connecting Osaka and Niigata a few times a day. There are also a few China Eastern (MU) flights a week from Shanghai (Pudong), China.
The Japan Airlines international flights to Osaka arrive at Kansai International
Airport (KIX) to the south of Osaka but its domestic flights to Niigata
leave from Itami domestic airport (ITM) to the north of Osaka. Therefore
passengers must move from Kansai to Itami on land.
Because the smallness of Niigata Airport, there are several merits in arriving
at this Airport, including: (a) You will not be lost because it has only
one exit for international arrivals and one exit for domestic arrivals.
(b) It does not take time for immigration and Customs procedures. (c) You
can easily find the bus going to Niigata train station as you go out of
the airport building. One weakness is that currency exchange is limited with only one small bank office open from
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. week days only. Not only those arriving on Saturday and Sunday and after these office
hours on weekdays, those arriving a weekday's daytime should be cautious
because delays in their flights may not allow you to change money.
Bus departures from Niigata Airport to Niigata train station (subject to
change): 7:40BX, 8:15B, 8:30, 8:40BX, 8:50, 9:00BX, 9:10, 9:20B, 9:30, 9:50, 10:10B, 10:20, 10:50, 11:10, 11:20B, 110:30, 11:50, 12:10, 12:20B, 12:30, 12:50, 13:10B, 13:20, 13:50, 15:10B, 14:20, 14:50, 15:10, 15:20B, 15:30, 15:50, 16:20, 16:30B, 16:50, 17:10B, 17:20, 17:50, 18:10, 18:20B, 18:30, 18:50, 19:10B, 19:20, 19:40, 20:00, 20:10B, 20:20, 20:40 (B: Local bus no. 331, to Bandai Exit of the train station, stopping at all bus stops and taking 30 minutes. X: Weekdays only. All the others are express with no number but with baggage storage going
to the South Exit of the train station and taking 25 minutes. All bus costs
400 Yen to the train station.)
Express bus departures from the South Exit of the train station: 6:30-10:30: every twenty minutes; 11:00, 11:30, 11:50-13:30: every twenty
minutes; 14:00, 14:30, 15:00, 15:30, 15:50, 16:10, 16:30, 17:00, 17:30,
17:50, 18:10, 18:40
Local bus departures from the Bandai Exit of the train station: 6:57X, 7:27X, 7:37(Saturday, Sunday and holiday only), 7:57X, 8:27-13:27: every hour, 13:57, 14:27-19:27: every hour (X: weekdays only)
Niigata train station vicinity map
- Q10: When do you give me the UMAP Scholarship?
- A: On your arrival at your hotel, we pay to you the 800 US dollar scholarship
in Japanese Yen cash before you check in to the hotel. According to a major local bank in Niigata (Dai-shi Bank), the cash exchange
rate as of 3 July (2012) is for 76.53 Yen against one US dollar. Then the
800 US dollar is 61,224 Yen. Of course, this is subject to change. (Note
for 2013. Since December 2012, Japanese Yen substantially depreciated.
One US dolllar is approximately 95 Japnese Yen as of 12 March 2013.)
- Q11: What can I do on Saturday, 18 and Sunday, 19 August?
- A: There will be no official activities on these two days. What to do or what not to do is totally up to you. Some may want to visit downtown area of Niigata City to see the life of local people, a few historical buildings such as the
old Customs building, or Buddhism temples. Others may want to visit a beach or some other coast. Still others may want to go beyond the Niigata City area such as Yahiko Shinto Shrine. Some may want to visit Sado Island.
Some may want to go much further, like Tokyo, etc., some of which may involve one-night stay or a night train (to Tokyo only and seat reservation obligatory) or night bus (to Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe). Holder of the JR East Pass flexible
4-day type may utilize it for such a trip. With that Pass, students may
go to the northern end of the Honshu Island (Beyond that, the Pass is not
valid because the Island of Hokkaido is covered by JR Hokkaido.) But it
is not valid to the west beyond Tokyo because the Tokaido Shinkansen is
owned by JR Central (or Tokai) and West, not by JR East.
For some of the day-trips, some discount tickets of JR (Japan Railways)
may be cost-effective, particularly Echigo One-Day Pass for 1,500 Yen and Echigo Two-Day Pass for 2,500 Yen. For longer trips outside the areas (a larger area by the
Two-Day Pass), Seishun Ju-Hachi (18) Kippu of JR for five day x person trips at 11,500 Yen may be quite useful.
- Q12: What is the dress code?
- A (Revised on 7 August 2012): There is no dress code in the Niigata University campus. In addition, there is no official occasion planned in the campus. Even if there is a formal occasion, these days we are usually allowed
to omit a jacket and a tie because of the reduced electric power supply
since operation of all the nuclear power plants - about 30 % of Japan's
power generation capacity - had to be suspended after the Earthquake and
I was like this as a graduate student in USA in summer. This is OK also
at Niigata University.
However, in the following visits out of the campus, we have advisory:
On Friday, 24 August, whole day: In the morning we visit the former chemical plant from which
organic mercury was released into the river to cause Minamata Disease in
Niigata. If it is sunny and hot, some students may need a hat or a cap.
In the afternoon, we listen to a volunteer witness who has been suffering
from Minamata Disease in some way. Sincere attitude to respect and to listen
to him or her is important.
Examples of photos there: http://www.sukima.com/15_kantou/09tanbo.html, http://nagaoka-pic.net/scenery/scenery-page.php?lv=010205
On Monday, 27 August, after 10 a.m. until late afternoon, we visit a hilly rural area which was hit by an earthquake in 2004. You should be prepared to sun heat with a hat or cap, slippery slopes
with appropriate shoes, etc.
On Wednesday, 29 August, in the afternoon, you visit the head office of the Kameda Seika Co. Ltd., a major producer of rice cracker. Dr. Zhang who takes you there, requests that you do not wear shorts, sandals, or tank tops.
Web site: http://www.kamedaseika.co.jp/en/enIndex.html
On Thursday, 30 August, in the afternoon, you visit the head office of the Corona Corporation, a major manufacturer of kerosene heating appliances of Japan. The same as above applies.
Web site: http://www.corona.co.jp/en/index.html
On 27, 29 and 30 (addition on 8 August), in production plants, we are not allowed to take photos or video or to
record voices. Also, for safety reasons, you must wear appropriate shoes.
- Q13: Do I need a power converter for my electric appliances?
- A: Japan's electric voltage is 100 volts only (with 50 Hertz frequency in Eastern half of Japan, including Niigata,
and with 60 hertz in western half of Japan including Nagoya, Kyoto and
Osaka). Capabilities to different voltages is up to individual electric appliances.
Please check your appliances. In general, power suppliers and chargers
of mobile appliances such as lap top PCs, digital cameras, cell phones,
etc. automatically adapt to different voltages of the world these days. Here are examples of my lap top PC and cell phone, both of which are automatically capable to voltages between 100 and 240 volts.
But sometimes crucial is the differences in the shapes of power outlets and plugs. The Japanese are the same as those used in USA and different from those used in most other countries. Also, most Japanese electric outlets lack ground connection.
In case your devices do not accept the Japanese electric power, you need a power converter, which you can find at least at shops in international airports, and at some travel goods shops and some electric appliance shops in major cities. But they are usually a bit expensive - probably around 40 US dollars for one with a small capacity. Converters for plugs are also available at international airports and major electric appliance shops. The simplest one to adapt from one shape to another may cost 2 US dollars or so while those adaptable to various shapes may cost about 30 US dollars.
Ground connection problem may be solved like this:
For more information of electric power and plugs/outlets, one information
source may be: