Yamanashi Gakuin University, International College of Liberal Arts

International College of Liberal Arts (iCLA) Logo

International College of Liberal Arts (iCLA) is an exchange destination for University College Utrecht students at the Yamanashi Gakuin University in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.

International College of Liberal Arts interesting for all fields, since it is a liberal arts college.

Semesters available

We recommend going in Spring, since that semester aligns better with the UCU academic year. Do note that you will have to arrange for housing yourself between the UCU Fall semester and the start of the semester at iCLA Yamanashi.

Number of places available

2 per semester

Academic calendar

Fall Semester: Late August to late December
Spring Semester: Late March to Early August

Language of instruction

All courses are taught in English. Japanese language skills are not required. However, international students are encouraged to learn Japanese while they are here. 

Application deadlines

Fall Semester: April 15
Spring Semester: October 15


Course offerings

Full-range liberal arts curriculum taught in English from Global Business & Economics, Political Science, Interdisciplinary Arts (Language Arts, Arts, Performing Arts, Music), Japan Studies, Psychology, Data Science, Quantitative Reasoning, Natural Sciences, Sociology, Health & Physical Education. Japanese language courses from beginning-to-advanced. Japan Studies "workshops" in Shugendo, Judo, Karate, Aikido, Koto, and Fuji Culture. Humanities “workshops” in Acting, Directing, Drawing, Graphic Design, Painting & Sculpting, and Archeolinguistics. World/National championship martial arts instruction in Karate and Judo. Average class size is 20 students. Find course catalogue here

Course levels

Undergraduate freshmen to seniors (1st year to 4th year). iCLA is a 4-year liberal arts college.

Credit system

Students receive 3 credits for standard courses and 1 credit for workshops. 15 credits at ICLA convert to 30 ECTS, so you will have to take a minimum of 5 standard courses.

Please note that iCLA offers a range of non-academic courses/workshops as well (like Japanese traditional music and martial arts). You are free to take these courses, but be aware that they will likely not transfer back to UCU for credit.

Grade system



Exchange students at iCLA normally have a room in new, internationally- integrated dormitories on campus with other degree- seeking and exchange students (no reservations are required). Students live in a single bedroom with max. of 7 other unit mates of the same sex in the dormitory towers, which are connected to the classroom and faculty office buildings. Meals served 3 times per day on weekdays. Meal plans are required unless you have religious or medical reasons.


The fee inclusive of room, utilities, meal plan, cleaning and rental items, and student insurance costs amount to about ¥115500/month (€730). Mandatory Japanese National Health Insurance is about €15 a month, and since you will likely need a visa, keep in mind the costs associated with this process.


Comprehensive orientation programs for all international students upon arrival and departure. All international students are also assigned a faculty advisor. 


Yamanashi Gakuin University is located in Yamanashi prefecture a few kilometers from  the center of Kofu, a city of roughly 200,000 inhabitants. Kofu has a historic castle, temples and other sights, but the area is relatively rural (for Japanese terms) and offers many natural sights. It is close to mount Fuji, which can be seen from the campus. Tokyo is about 90 minutes away by train, or 2.5 hours by bus. Find out more about Kofu here

The climate is much hotter than Utrecht in summer and much colder in winter. Occasionally the city will by blocked in by snow during the winter months. Japan frequently experiences earthquakes. 

Student life

iCLA is located on Yamanashi Gakuin University’s campus. iCLA has about 300 degree and non-degree seeking students, over 70% of which are international. The university proper has almost 4,000 students, nearly all of which are Japanese. Yamanashi Gakuin is prestigious for sports and offers a wide range of sports clubs: soccer, swimming, field hockey, baseball, softball, tennis, wrestling, etc. 

At iCLA there are also a number of social and cultural clubs, as well as frequent cultural events. 

Exchange students have the opportunity to participate in our “iEXPerience Program”. Going beyond the traditional four walls of the classroom, iEXP deepens student participation in study abroad through explorations of the local Yamanashi area and engagement in fieldtrips and workshops. Each program event incorporates interdisciplinary academic input from our faculty and local professionals, adding an extra-curricular dimension to iCLA’s liberal arts program.

Student experiences

Previous students are enthusiastic about the quality and range of classes at iCLA, especially those focusing on Japanese culture and arts. Classes are very small and personal, and the workload is lower than at UCU. The community at iCLA is small and tight-knit, but the students at Yamanashi Gakuin University speak little English, which limits opportunities to make friends outside iCLA. Yamanashi prefecture is a beautiful area, although it is quite isolated from Tokyo and the rest of Japan. Definitely visit natural hot springs (onsen) in the mountains!  

More information

For information about the requirements for studying abroad, the application procedure and more, go to UCU's Study abroad page. 

You can browse through all UCU exchange destinations and UU exchange destinations in the exchange catalog.