2016 Educators' Study Tour to Japan for Middle and High School Educators & School Administrators

Tour dates: July 2– July 23, 2016
Onsite Pre-Departure Orientation: June 30–June 1, 2016

Application Deadline: March 24, 2016

Please read the qualifications and application requirements below carefully before you apply. 

Sanjusangendo in Kyoto, 2015. Photo by Kazuko Minamoto.

Program Description

The Educators’ Study Tour to Japan offers educators nationwide the opportunity to travel to Japan for three weeks to experience Japan first hand and bring their experiences back to the classroom. The program is open to middle and high school classroom teachers, librarians and school administrators (principals, assistant principals and department chairs), and includes an intensive pre-departure orientation and a study tour to Japan in June–July for the cost of $1,200. Eight to 10 participants will be selected for the program through a competitive process. Demonstration of a firm commitment by the participants and the school administration to foster and sustain education about Japan on campus is essential. This program is open to all public, private and parochial middle and high school educators in the United States. Both individuals and interdisciplinary teams from the same school are welcome to apply.

This three-week study tour acquaints participants with Japanese society through a wide range of site visits in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Aichi and Wakayama. Homestays with families and school visits are significant parts of the program. The tour focuses on K–12 school visits to help participants have a better understanding of Japan’s education system as they meet with Japanese educators. Opportunities also include Japanese school connections and meeting atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An optional visit to a part of the Tohoku region hard hit by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami is also included.

Applicants must have the following qualifications:

* Full time middle school or high school classroom educator, librarian or school administrator (principal, assistant principal or department chair accepted)
* Teach about Japan
* Minimum of three years of teaching experience
* Experience in interdisciplinary teaching preferred
* Commitment to attend all pre-departure orientations in their entirety and the post-trip sessions in person or via Skype
* Demonstrate school-wide commitment to further promote education about Japan
* Continue teaching or serve as a school administrator for 10 years and at least two years at the present school in which you teach
* Proven ability to work cooperatively as a team member
* Proven ability to be open-minded and adjust quickly to unfamiliar situations
* Applicants with no previous experience in Japan are given first priority
* Excellent health and an ability to sustain a rigorous daily schedule in hot, humid weather

Interview Process

Interviews take place between April, 5 and April 15, 2016. Applicants in the New York metropolitan area will interview at Japan Society, New York (333 East 47th Street, New York, NY 10017). Applicants from outside the New York metropolitan area will interview via Skype, telephone or another arrangement to be determined.

Preparation, Orientation & Post-Trip Follow-Up

Pre-departure orientation: Study Tour members are required to participate in an intensive two-day pre-departure orientation at Japan Society in New York, Thursday, June 30 – Friday, July 1, 2016. Teachers who are outside the New York metropolitan area must arrive no later than Wednesday evening of June 29 morning, June 26. In addition, each participant will be expected to engage in online training beginning late April, 2016. Both online and onsite orientations will include targeted language training, introductions to Japanese history, culture and educational systems, and a discussion session about travel arrangements. Participants are required to attend all pre-departure orientation sessions, including a dinner meeting the evening of Thursday, June 30.

Post trip debrief and follow up:

1. Post-trip meetings: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 and spring 2017 (TBD).

Tour members are required to participate in post-trip follow-up meetings at Japan Society, New York. Participants from the New York metropolitan area will attend in person, while those from outside the New York metropolitan area will participate via Skype.

2. Submit a written teaching unit based on experience in Japan by Thursday, October 6, 2016.

3. School visit
* New York metropolitan area educators: A member of the Japan Society Education Team will visit each teacher’s school during the 2016–2017 academic year.
* Educators working outside of the New York metropolitan area are required to submit a video of a relevant lesson, to be followed by a Skype call with members of the Japan Society Education team during the 2016–2017 academic year.

Points to Consider When Traveling to Japan

*July in Japan is usually extremely hot and humid.
*The main flavors of most Japanese food, including soups and vegetables, contain bonito (fish) extract. Substitutions and alternatives are not typically available.

The program fee for the orientation and tour is $1,200. Participants will be responsible for the cost of any meals not taken with the group, personal shopping, incidental expenses and any supplemental travel insurance beyond what is provided. Japan Society will provide:

* Orientation materials
* Round-trip economy airfare between New York and Japan
* All in-country (Japan) travel expenses
* Hotel expenses (all hotel accommodations are double-occupancy rooms)
* All meals, with the exception of a few lunches and dinners during free time
* Basic travel insurance

Important Dates in 2016

Application deadline: March 24, 2016 (Thurs.)
April 5 (Tues.) – April 15 (Fri.)
Participants are required to attend the tour and all of the sessions below:
By the morning of June 29 (Wed.), out-of-town participants must arrive in New York City
Pre-departure orientation: June 30 (Thurs.) and July 1 (Fri.), 10 am–5 pm
First group dinner: June 30 (Thurs.), 6–9 pm
Tour in Japan: July 2 (Sat.)–July 23 (Sat.), 2016
Post-departure follow-up meetings:  August 10 (Wed.), 2016, 1–4 pm and spring 2017 (TBD)
Deadline for the first draft of the assignment: October 6 (Thurs.), 2016


Required Assignment—A Teaching Unit
Each individual applicant or team applicant will submit a teaching unit, which can be worked on at the follow-up workshop on August 10, 2016 at Japan Society. The purpose of the Lesson Plan Unit is three-fold: 1 Program participants focus on important areas of study about Japan that only an intensive program such as the Educators’ Study Tour can provide; 2 Refine and present a clear teaching unit consisting of scholarly research, photos, maps and other resources;3 Provide other educators access to Japan-related teaching resources via Japan Society’s website for educators. The deadline to submit the first draft of the assignments is October 6, 2016. Assignments will be returned for corrections and must be resubmitted by November after all corrections are made. Japan Society reserves the right to make decisions as well as to edit the posted lesson plans.


You can apply by mail or online.

1. Applying by mail. Click here for an application.
Note: we suggest you open the application forms with Google Chrome or Internet Explore in order to directly fill in either General Application Form online, print the form and mail your application to us.

A complete application includes: 1 An essay (maximum three pages) explaining in detail how the applicant currently utilizes Japan in the classroom, the specific goals to be achieved through this study tour, and the likelihood of having an impact beyond your own classroom; 2 Application form (included in this document); 3 Resume of education, professional experience and community service; and 4 Three confidential letters of recommendation (in sealed envelopes signed across the back by the recommender).

All application materials, including the three letters of recommendation, should be submitted in a word processed format in one envelope. Japan Society is not responsible for materials sent separately. Applications should include one original of the entire application and four photocopies of 1, 2 and 3 in an 8.5 μ 11 in. format. No materials will be returned to the applicant.

If you are applying as a team, each applicant must submit all of the above-mentioned items, including individual essays.

We accept three letters of recommendation for a team that clearly state qualifications for each applicant and those as a team. Please submit all of the required materials in one envelope. Applications from teams of two to three teachers are accepted. Applications submitted by a team are reviewed in light of both individual and team qualifications. Therefore, it is possible that not all team members may be accepted.

All application documents should be received by 5 pm, Thursday, March 24, 2016.

Send application materials to:

Kazuko Minamoto
2016 Educators’ Study Tour to Japan
Japan Society, New York
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017

2. Applying online. Please click here to apply online.

Program content subject to change.

View the 2015 Educators' Study Tour to Japan for Middle and High School Educators


Generous support for the Educators’ Study Tour, Professional Workshops for Teachers, and the Junior Fellows Leadership Program is provided by the United States-Japan Foundation.

Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Chris A. Wachenheim, the Wendy Obernauer Foundation, James Read Levy, and  Jon T. Hutcheson.  

Images: © Kazuko Minamoto/Japan Society

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