Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Beppu, Japan

The exchange agreement

The exchange agreement between the University of Lethbridge and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University was signed in 2005.

Semester dates

Fall semester
Late September – early February (students are required to stay for the full semster)
Orientation: mid-September
Suggested arrival: mid-September
Spring semester
Late-March –late-July
Orientation: mid-March
Suggested arrival: mid-March
APU Summer Quarter Program
early June –  early August (8 weeks)

The country

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.

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).

For more information about Japan see sites such as en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan.

The city

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.

For more information about Beppu, visit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beppu

The university

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.

For further information, check the Ritsumeikan University website, the International Program's website.


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).

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.


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.

Visa requirements

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.


Based on comments from our previous exchange students to Japan, the costs for the exchange are approximately as follows:

  • Housing: ¥200,000.00 (C$2,094.81) for six months
  • Home-stay: Only short-term available (free). Home-stay is available over holidays, long-weekends and at special events throughout the year. A home visit program is also available for students to connect with local families.
  • Monthly food costs: ¥40,000 (C$419)
  • Textbooks: ¥6000 per month
  • Health Insurance: ¥15000 per year (optional)

Student contacts

"A great place to experience different cultures from all the world."

Nan Zhou, UofL exchange student to APU

Former and current U of L exchange students to the APU, as well as our current incoming exchange students from Beppu are happy to talk to students interested in the exchange. To request their contact information, please email int.programs@uleth.ca.