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The Yamasa Institute, Okazaki, Japan
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Location, Maps, Area Introduction

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Our students enjoy living in the historic castle town of Okazaki, in central Japan. Part of an extensive metropolitan area comprising more than 7 million people, Okazaki City is now a satellite city of Nagoya and forms parts of Japan's affluent manufacturing belt comprising Toyota, Okazaki, Gamagori and Toyohashi cities. It is a boom town, one of the fastest growing cities in Japan.

Okazaki is ideally placed to enable you to easily visit nearly ALL of the most famous places in Japan. Centrally located (see map) between Tokyo and Osaka & convenient to both, halfway between Shizuoka and the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, with easy access to Ise, the mountains and winter resorts of Nagano and Gifu and inland towns such as Takayama etc, the city also played a key role in the history of Japan as the birthplace and key stronghold of the Tokugawa Shogunate which ruled Japan from 1603 to 1868.

The population of Okazaki City is only 370,000, and while it is growing very quickly, the local area around Yamasa's campus still has a small town feel because the city is spread out, with low housing density, tree lined streets, numerous parks and large shopping malls. Okazaki is part of Aichi Prefecture, and local trains departing from the JR station just a 5 minute walk from Yamasa's campus arrive in central Nagoya only 28 minutes later - no reservations required. The population of Aichi Prefecture is now more than 7 million people, in an area approximately the same size as Greater London, Sydney or Los Angeles. All of the services and attractions of a large metropolis are close at hand.

Okazaki Castle - 15 minutes from Yamasa. The symbol of Okazaki and Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu's stronghold. Many local traditional crafts and products such as Hatcho Miso, Japanese sake breweries and fireworks (Okazaki makes around 70% of Japan's hanabi) have been preserved, and the city is prosperous as it is a key center for manufacturing & knowledge based industries. Local firms include Toyota Motor, Mitsubishi, Sony and Makita Power Tools. Okazaki City is also host to prestigious national research institutes as well as a range of R&D centers, laboratories and universities. Unemployment is always lower than the national average, and with fewer foreign students than larger cities to compete with, part-time jobs are usually easier to find than in Tokyo. Despite being part of Aichi Prefecture and less than 30 minutes from central Nagoya, the city has always had a strong independent identity. An outline of why the city has remained unique is located in the Okazaki City Introduction section.

Although it is a very modern city, in Okazaki you can also visit dozens of historic temples and shrines, participate in the festivals and explore the castle and town by bicycle or on foot. Not only did the city benefit from the patronage of the Tokugawa shoguns, but with its castle and important bridge it was also a strategically important post town (the 38th) on the ancient Tokaido highway linking Edo (now Tokyo) with the imperial capital in Kyoto. Unlike many Japanese cities such as Tokyo and Osaka that were almost completely destroyed during WWII, many of the buildings and heritage sites have been preserved.

For students, Okazaki City is safer, cheaper and quieter than crowded cities like Tokyo or Osaka, and more suited for study and a taste of the traditional Japan. Okazaki is a low-cost city. It is very important for students that rents are less than half that of equivalent accommodation in Tokyo and this is reflected in everything from the cost and spaciousness of our accommodation to groceries, entertainment and of course our tuition fees. One look at our programs will quickly dispel any notion that studying in Japan has to be expensive. There is absolutely no need to spend Tokyo or Osaka prices or the burden of commuting fares and time in order to study Japanese in Japan.

Autumn leaves in 
Higashi Park. One of the many parks in Okazaki. Also most students do not realise before they arrive that Japan has tremendous regional diversity. As well as the advantage of avoiding high costs, Okazaki's location makes it easier and cheaper to travel throughout Japan. While we recommend that every visitor to Japan should visit Tokyo and Osaka at least once, many students will quickly understand that visiting is more fun than enduring long daily commutes and high prices at a time when study is your main priority.

Wadaiko in Aoi Hall If living in Tokyo is one of your objectives, then it is easier and more effective to learn the language first in Okazaki before moving to Tokyo for work or university study later. If seeing Tokyo is one of your objectives, then it is easier to visit it. As most of Yamasa's programs finish by 1.30pm on Fridays at the latest, you can be in Tokyo long before sunset for a weekend trip. By contrast, if you study in Tokyo, there is no way you could do the same trip to Osaka, Kobe, Nara, Kyoto or the Japanese Alps in Nagano in the same time. A central location is an essential base if you want to see and enjoy as much of Japan as possible. Please click here for very detailed information regarding travel time and the fares between Okazaki City and other cities.

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Hattori Foundation (est.1919) - The Yamasa Institute
1-2-1 Hanehigashi-machi, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, JAPAN 444-0832
Tel: +81 (0)564 55 8111 Fax: +81 (0)564 55 8113 Email: Inquiries

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