Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Announcing a Study Trip to Japan for High School Teachers
Announcing a Study Trip to Japan for High School Teachers

Announcing a Study Trip to Japan for High School Teachers

  • April 12, 2016

Announcing a Study Trip to Japan for High School Teachers

  • April 12, 2016

A Two-Week Immersion Experience in
Japanese History, Politics, Foreign Relations, Economics, and Culture

June 20-July 4, 2016

Japan on Globe

Sponsored by

Foreign Policy Research Institute
Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania


logoUPenn CEAS Logo






Application deadline:
Priority Consideration: April 29, 2016
Final Consideration: May 15, 2016

Click Here to Apply

What You Get

  • Two-week study tour of Japan
  • $750 towards your roundtrip flight from the U.S. to Japan
  • Hotel accommodations (generally with an assigned roommate)
  • Most breakfasts and dinners plus some lunches
  • Travel costs within Japan
  • Admissions to attractions
  • Educational materials
  • Free on-line course in advance of the trip with FPRI and CEAS scholars
  • Follow-up support from FPRI and CEAS

Who is Eligible?

You must be a history or social studies teacher or curriculum coordinator at a middle school or high school, with intent to remain at your current school at least through 2017. You must be in good health, appropriate for a strenuous 14-day study tour of Japan requiring extensive walking/hiking and travel on public transportation with a rigorous daily schedule in some remote areas.

A Word about the Sponsors

For the past 25 years the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a Philadelphia-based think tank, has reached out to educators across the United States. Through its Wachman Center for Civic and International Literacy and Butcher History Institute, FPRI has managed 55 programs training educators in American and world history and international relations.  More than 1,000 teachers from 750 schools in 47 states have participated.

Similarly, for the past fifteen years the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for East Asian Studies has partnered successfully with the US–Japan Foundation in the Phila-Nipponica Project to prepare educators in Philadelphia-area schools to convey knowledge and understanding of Japan to their students and colleagues.


Japan has been the world’s second largest economy for most of the previous three decades. Since the end of World War II Japan has been protected militarily by the United States, and as a result focused its attention on the economy and other matters. However, the times are changing. China is now the world’s second largest economy, and it and North Korea have also assumed aggressive postures towards Japan. Many in Japan now wonder if U.S. protection is sufficient. Japan’s commitment to peace since 1945 is self-evident, but should its constitution be changed to reflect the realities of the present uncertain times? Politics and economics are heavily intertwined as we look at Japan in the late 21st century. Yet, as modern a country as Japan is, one must be carefully grounded in Japanese culture and tradition to comprehend the manner in which political and economic changes unfold.

We are therefore pleased to offer teachers an opportunity to participate in a comprehensive educational program that will include a two-week study tour and a series of online lectures in advance of the tour.

We arrive and depart from Narita, and during the trip make good use of our Japan Railpasses (one week of the two-week tour), supplemented by additional train, bus, ferry, and taxi travel as needed. Accommodations will be modest and evocative of each location. Most breakfasts and dinners will be provided, sometimes with Japanese guests. These meals will offer opportunities to experience local cuisine and customs together. The sites on the tour are chosen to exemplify important cultural, economic, and political locations in modern Japan.

Tokyo will be the first and last stop of our tour. It is the political center of Japan and a critical economic center as well. Tokyo will afford us cultural, political, and economic sites. Visits to many of the following will be attempted: Subaru, Sony, Tsukiji Market, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U.S. Embassy, Parliament, Emperor’s Palace, Ginza, Asakusa, Meiji Shrine. 

After leaving Tokyo, we will turn to a cultural emphasis, going to Nikko and Kyoto. Nikkō is home to a mausoleum site dedicated to the first shogun of the early modern era, and a popular tourist destination today. In the Edo period, visits there were required of all the daimyo warlords, and many of their retainers. The nearby Kegon Waterfall will also be visited.

Our third stop will be Kyoto. Sites visited will most likely include Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Kiyomizudera, Arashiyama, Nijo Castle-Palace, Fushimi Inari-taisha, and Ryoan-ji, with a Zen meditation session at the Shunkō-an subtemple of Myōshinji.

At our fourth stop, Kobe, the focus will be on economic development. We will tour Kobe port to observe ship building, the fashion industry, and the development of modern sites for tourism. We will also visit the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution: Kobe Earthquake Museum and Fukiai High School. Between Kobe and Hiroshima we will make a brief stopover in Himeji, to see the best of Japan’s late medieval castles.

Our fifth stop will be Hiroshima. Sites visited will be economic and political including Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) and Peace Museum. We will also visit one of the best girl’s schools in Japan — Hiroshima Jogakuin.

Our sixth stop will be Matsuyama. We will go to the Dogō Onsen spa, to experience one of the most famous onsen in Japan. Finally, we will return to Tokyo.

Interaction with Japanese citizens, including teachers and students, will be a highlight of our study tour. You will savor the “banquet,” a group dinner that we hold in Hiroshima, where we meet English teachers and other local citizens and discuss a wide range of issues.

Logistical constraints and other factors may require alterations in the scheduled itinerary. The food provided in Japan is appropriate to Japanese culture. We will always try to accommodate vegetarians. We cannot make special accommodations for vegan, kosher dietary requirements, lactose intolerance, gluten-free, or nut allergies.

After the Trip

As teachers begin to teach their new Japan topics and courses, they are also expected to participate in transmitting their knowledge and lesson plans to other teachers through internal school meetings and at teaching conferences. The CEAS and FPRI project staff invites participants to all events related to Japan at Penn and elsewhere, lending videos and materials, and sending faculty and graduate student lecturers to speak to their students. CEAS and FPRI will post lesson plans on their websites. In addition, some teachers will hold educator workshops at their schools, some will arrange special events engaging teachers and students, and others will form clubs as well as teach courses. Teachers will be encouraged to present papers on their lessons at academic and pedagogical conferences.


  • Please apply online here.
  • Submit your personal statement, recommendation, and resume via the application link above.
  • You will be asked to make a $100 deposit upon acceptance into the program, refundable upon submission of a lesson plan based on the trip.
  • You will be expected to pay the cost of the flight to and from Japan, less the $750 subsidy we provide.

Questions? E-mail Paul Dickler at

This project was made possible thanks to the support of the United States-Japan Foundation.