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Study Abroad in Japan

Japan is an ideal place to explore a new culture in high school. With its intricate mix of tradition and modernity, Japan appeals to history buffs and futurists alike. By living with a host family and attending a high school abroad in Japan, you’ll be fully immersed in the Japanese language and culture, developing fluency.

Things To Know About Japan

Modesty, politeness, and social harmony are important parts of Japanese culture. But the Japanese are not quite the perfectionists they’re made out to be. For example, wabi-sabi, a subtle element of Japanese culture and aesthetics, roughly translates to an acceptance of life’s imperfections and impermanence.

Japan also has unique pop culture. Discover kawaii and other Japanese fashion trends. Listen to J-Pop (Japanese Pop music). And, of course, explore the birthplace of manga and anime.


The Asia Kakehashi Project+(plus) (kakehashi is Japanese for “bridging”) is to strengthen relations between Japan and the rest of Asia and G7 member countries. The program provides full scholarships for the high school students to live and study in Japan, while growing their global competence and becoming future leaders. Students will participate in a one-week international camp which will include engagement with Japanese high school students and a closing ceremony at the Ministry of Education in Japan!


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated high school prior to the start of the program
Minimum GPA 3.0
Age Range
15 years 7 months to 18 years 6 months at start of program
Language Skills English A1 Basic English is the minimum requirement if the participant does not speak Japanese.
COVID-19 Vaccine Strongly recommended, not required*
*AFS cannot predict and is not responsible for changes to host school or government health requirements which may change from the time of application and could impact program eligibility

Your Journey to Japan

Visa Information

AFS will provide visa guidance and support documents (if applicable). Visa processes can be lengthy and complex; you may be required to travel long distances to apply for the visa if there is not an embassy, consulate, etc. close to your home. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond a return date from your host country. We urge you to apply for or renew your passport as soon as possible if applying to an AFS program. We recommend not taking any trips (domestically or internationally) within 2 months prior to your AFS program as it may interfere with the visa application process and result in a late program start date.

Travel & Orientation

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience.

Also during this time, AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you. You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in Japan will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers…as well as your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on Japanese culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.


Your Accommodations

During your four months in Japan, you will either be living with a host family, or in a school dorm. Students participating in this program can be placed in a variety of areas, such as large cities, suburban towns, or rural areas. Short-term host families will be arranged during holidays and vacations for participants who are placed in dorms. If you are placed with a host family rather than a school dorm, you will find that most homes are fairly small, particularly those in large cities or suburbs. You may also be living in an apartment, which is common for many folks.


Meeting Your Host Family

Like anywhere in the world, all families in Japan are different. Nuclear families are common, but you might also find homes with three generations living together. Tradition and family values tend to be very important to the Japanese, as is respect for elders. Prioritizing community and saving face are mainstays of Japanese culture.

Japan_High School

Your High School in Japan

As part of the immersion experience, you will attend a Japanese high school with Japanese peers. All this will help you improve your Japanese language skills, your academic prospects and your intercultural fluency.

Japan_Teenage Life (1)

Daily Life

Teenage Life in Japan

As a teenager in Japan, most of your social life will happen at school. Many of our exchange students make friends and learn about Japanese culture by joining a club, such as calligraphy or kendo (a modern Japanese martial art).

Japan_Teenage Life

Foods You’ll Encounter

In most Japanese families, traditional food is important, and meals are communal. Get ready to enjoy some delicious green tea, rice, and noodles! (Food is generally cooked with meat, so vegetarianism isn’t very common.)

What's Included

  • 75+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 32,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Free Language Proficiency Testing: after your immersive study abroad experience, take an AAPPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages) language proficiency test to be able to add your language skills to your resume or possibly your high school transcript!
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Scholarships and Aid

We believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances. When you apply, we work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with available scholarships and aid. 100% of accepted applicants with demonstrated need receive funds.

Learn More

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Japan? YES. Visa.
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) In-person
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Average
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one. When you return home from your study abroad in Japan, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.

That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning. It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Japan.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.