Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Beppu, Japan

Important Information:

  • Semester Dates:
    • Fall semester: September - early February
    • Spring semester: March - late July
    • APU Summer Qurter Program: Early June - early August (8 weeks)
      •  students are required to stay for the full semester.
  • Language of Instruction:
    • All undergraduate subjects are offered in both English and Japanese.
  • ​Website: For further information, check the Ritsumeikan University website, or the International Program's website.
  • For further information, visit the International Centre for Students at the University of Lethbridge in SU060 or email us at outgoing@uleth.ca

Japan's population is over 126 million. Most Japanese reside in densely populated urban areas. Japan's capital city is Tokyo. The population of the Tokyo Metropolitan Area including the city, some of its suburbs and the surrounding area is approximately 12 million.

Basic English is widely spoken throughout the country, particularly in major cities and tourist centers. Announcements on public transportation are frequently made in both Japanese and English, and signs generally include decipherable roman characters or an English explanation.

In Japan, there are many fascinating places that you can enjoy for free. These include such diverse attractions as beer museums, food galleries, hi-tech consumer electronics showrooms, cosmetics factories and television studios. With so many different places to visit there's bound to be something of interest for everyone.

Traditional cultural pursuits such as sado (Japanese tea ceremony) and ikebana (flower arrangement) are much more than simple pursuits in skills. They embody spiritual ways seeking the traditional values of wabi (elegant stillness) and sabi (antiquated elegance with calm).

APU is located in Beppu, Oita, Japan (population: 400,000).

Beppu is the leading hot spring resort of Japan with as many as 104 public baths. In an excellent natural setting, 130,000 kiloliters of hot spring water (enough to fill 3,600 2-meter swimming pools) gushes out daily from approximately 2,700 sources scattered over an area of 50 square meters.

Since earlier times, Beppu has flourished as a hot spring resort and in 1950 was designated as an international spa tourist cultural city. The city boasts of its vast variety of hot springs categorized according to their mineral contents including acid, sulfur, salt, iron, and alum. Beppu has nine out of 11 kinds of hot springs designated in the international hot spring conference.

Eight areas with especially large amounts of gushing water, namely Hamawaki, Beppu, Kankaiji, Horita, Myoban, Kannawa, Shibaseki and Kamegawa, are called the "Eight Major Hot Springs Areas of Beppu". Each identified and characteristically different based on the mineral contents and natural surroundings. They serve as places for hot spring treatment, recuperation and recreation not only for tourists but also for local residents.

Ritsumeikan Trust consists of APU, Ritsumeikan University, Ritsumeikan Junior and Senior High Schools, Ritsumeikan Uji Junior and Senior High Schools, and Ritsumeikan Keisho Junior and Senior High Schools.

Ritsumeikan started as a private school in 1869 by Saionji Kinmochi, cosmopolitan and one of the most prominent politicians in the modern period of Japan. Located in Saionji's residence in Kyoto Imperial Palace, the school sought to foster young leaders in the new era. In keeping with this intention, Nakagawa Kojuro (who served as secretary to Saionji when the latter was Japan's Minister of Education) founded the private Kyoto Hosei School in 1900, predecessor of the present Ritsumeikan University.

In 1913 the school was renamed the private Ritsumeikan University, with Saionji's permission. SAIONJI's spirit of "liberalism and internationalism" still lives in the motto of Ritsumeikan Trust, "liberalism and vivacity."

After Second World War, Suekawa Hiroshi joined the university as president. With deep remorse over WWII and Japan's own 15 years of war (the Manchurian Incident, the Sino-Japanese war, and the Pacific War), "peace and democracy," based on the Constitution and the Fundamentals of Education Act, was held up as the ideal of academic affairs of the University.

Ritsumeikan University has graduated 290,000 students since its foundation 130 years ago, and 2,000 from Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), which opened in April 2000. Recent statistics show that APU has approximately 2,000 international students from 72 countries learning together with approximately 2,800 Japanese students.

Number of Students Enrolled

There are almost 6,000 students enrolled at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (as of May 2016).

Courses Offered

APU works on a quarter system. Japanese language courses run for the full semester while regular courses run for one quarter. Students will normally take around three to four regular courses a quarter (6-8 credits) and a four-credit Japanese course. University of Lethbridge students must attend courses over the course of two quarters (one semester).

Japanese language courses meet four times a week and are offered from foundation to advanced levels. Placement tests and an oral interview will be held after arrival to determine placement.

Please note that transcripts for fall semester will be ready at the end of March and spring semester transcripts are ready mid-September. This may affect those students attending APU in the spring and wishing to convocate in October. The University of Lethbridge’s document deadline for applications submitted to graduate is 31 August. Students should be aware of the applicable document deadlines according to the University of Lethbridge calendar.

Language of Instruction

Students who have no background in the Japanese language can study at APU without any problems. Students studying at APU for 1 semester or 1 year can choose to enroll as an English or Japanese basis student and take courses in the language of their choice.

  • Japan has more than 50,000 people that are over 100 years old
  • The average delay of a Japanese train is just 18 seconds
  • There are more pets than children in Japan
  • More paper is used for comics than for toilet paper in the country
  • ‘Karaoke’ means ‘empty orchestra’ in Japanese
  • There are almost 130 voice-acting schools in Japan, due to anime’s success
  • Bus drivers in Japan turn the vehicle off at red lights to reduce pollution
  • At some Japanese train stations, there are staff workers whose job is to help shove passengers inside the train, as they are so crowded
  • The most popular pizza topping in Japan is squid
  • The Japanese police have paintballs to shoot at fleeing vehicles so as to identify them easily
  1. Beppu Traditional Bamboo Crafts Centre: The hands-on crafts centre displays refined works from Edo-period masters as well as current examples of uses for this versatile material, which grows copiously in this region.
  2. Hells of Beppu: Eight hot springs that are particularly visually stunning. They are too hot and dangerous for bathing but are considered sites of scenic beauty. As their name suggests, some of the ponds look something like the Japanese afterlife.
  3. Beppu Beach Sand Bath: Several of Beppu's onsen offer hot sand baths. The original sand bath in town is on Shoningahama Beach at a spot where the sands are naturally heated by hot spring waters. Tourists have come here since the Edo-era to be buried in the sand. In 1986, the town built a small sand bath facility on the beach complete with showers.
  4. Takegawawa Bathhouse: The oldest onsen in town that first opened in 1879. The Takegawara Bathhouse looks something like a charming old ryokan. It offers both hot springs and sand baths.
  5. Takasakiyama Monkey Park: A mountainside park with around 1,500 Japanese Macaque, better known as Japanese Snow Monkeys. This represents around 10% of all the wild macaque in Japan. The park doesn't cage the monkeys but rather they stay for the free meals.

For detailed information about vaccination recommendations when going abroad, please visit the Government of Canada's website.

On-campus housing (AP House) is guaranteed for exchange students; therefore, students do not have any housing forms to fill in. All on-campus rooms are single rooms well equipped with a refrigerator, air-conditioning, private washroom, bedding, internet access and telephone. A 24-hr computer room, communal kitchens, and a real Japanese bath are also available in each building.


Fukuoka, Kyushu's largest city is located northwest of Oita Prefecture. As well as linking the islands of Kyushu and Honshu, Fukuoka is the centre of Kyushu's political, economic, and cultural activities. A convenient way of getting to Beppu from Fukuoka is by highway bus. From Fukuoka International Airport Arrivals, it is possible to take a bus almost as far as the APU gates. It takes approximately 97 minutes. It is also possible to take the non-stop bus from Hakata and Tenjin bus terminals in central Fukuoka. The Sonic Express train runs frequently from Hakata station and will take you to Beppu station in under two hours.

Bus services are operated by numerous bus companies, not only in big cities but also in regional towns. The bus fare varies depending on the bus company but it is usually around ¥200 for an inner-city ride.

U of L Tuition and Other Fees

The Tuition fee is paid to the University of Lethbridge according to the current fee schedule:

  • U of L 2017/2018 Undergraduate Program fees for Canadian students:
    • One course: $658.82
    • Two courses: $1,197.97
    • Three courses: $2,045.67
    • Four courses: $2,584.82
    • Five courses: $3,123.97
  • U of L 2016/2017 Graduate Program fees for Canadian students:
    • One course: $825.16
    • Two courses: $1,450.66

These fees are subject to change. Current U of L fees can be seen in the fees section of the academic calendar

Health Insurance

Non-Japanese students with a Visa are allowed to become members of the National Health Insurance system while they reside in Japan and are strongly advised to do so. After you have joined the system, initial charges for treatment and medication will be reduced to 30% of the amount due at the clinic or pharmacy after you have presented your proof of coverage. Monthly premiums are about 1,000 yen. (ca. 12.5 CAD)

Please note: The insurance incidental to the International Student Card is not widely known in Japan and will not be accepted at hospitals in Japan.

For a detailed description of the Japanese Health Care System, please click here.

Summary of Approximate Expenses


CAD 2,000


U of L Tuition

CAD 2,045.67

per semester, for three courses


¥ 200,000

for six months


¥ 40,000

per month


¥ 6,000

per month

Health Insurance

¥ 15,000

per year

Canadian Citizens require a visa to study in Japan.

Visit the Embassy of Japan in Canada website for information about the criteria for visa issuance as well as the application process.

For details on visa application, please contact:

Consulate General of Japan in Calgary
2300-450 1 St SW
Calgary AB T2P 5H1
CanadaTel: 1 (403) 294-0782
Fax: 1 (403) 294-1645
Website: www.calgary.ca.emb-japan.go.jp

Office hours for visa applications are: Monday to Friday 09:00–12:30 and 13:30–17:00.

All applicants must call the office to arrange an appointment to apply for a visa and submit all documents in person at the Consulate General of Japan at Calgary. Visa application appointments can only be arranged by telephone.