Phase 2: Two Weeks in Japan 

From Theory to Practice

Guided by their teacher, NP:J participants explore two of Japan’s most significant urban centers—Tokyo and Kyoto. These two cities represent uniquely contrasting facets of Japan’s national character. On the one hand, the rhythm of traditional Japanese society is well-preserved in the former capital of Kyoto. Tokyo, on the other hand, is a bustling metropolis where change is a constant.

Building Blocks

The group utilizes “building blocks” to design a plan of study to follow while in Tokyo and Kyoto. Building blocks are the tools with which the group customizes its itinerary while in these two cities. These blocks are a selection of sites grouped by area and the time it takes to visit them. The study group combines several building blocks to create a unique itinerary for each study day.


Seven days of the NP:J program are spent living with a Japanese host family—adapting to their everyday life and routines, sampling their foods, and meeting their friends. This is a unique opportunity to live another culture as a member of a family. The most powerful experiences could very well be the meals shared, unassuming after dinner talk, and being shown what family means in another culture.

Host Schools

Students and teachers also have the chance to study with new friends when attending a Japanese school. History, art, politics, government, sociology, and language come to life as never expected when immersed in Japanese culture. Students’ thoughts and insights also carry new weight during school visits—after all, they enjoy a unique point of view as a rare representative of the U.S.

Hands-on Activities

While in Japan, the group also participates in activities such as the historic walking tour in Kyoto, the Zen experience, or Japanese paper making. These hands-on activities clearly delineate Phase One theory and Phase Two practice.

Host Communities

Host community locations range from as far north as Hokkaido or as far south as Okinawa. Teachers may request to be hosted by a particular school or in a particular town. NP:J staff does their best to accommodate such preferences.


 "It Was Really Welcoming."


Sample Study Day—Building Blocks

The NP:J building blocks provide a comprehensive, descriptive listing of a wide variety of sites in the Kanto (Tokyo) and Kansai (Kyoto and Osaka) regions. These sites include those of historic, architectural, religious, artistic, culinary, technological, and economic interest. Each group may select NP:J-recommended itineraries or design its own sequence of sites for each study day. Each recommended itinerary requires about a full day to visit all sites. Sample building blocks follow.

Western Tokyo

Meiji Shrine • Takeshita-dori • Ura-Hara • Omotesando • Imperial Palace Ginza-dori

Anime Tour

Ghibli Museum • Nakano Broadway • Tokyo Tocho • Shinjuku


Minatomirai Area • Cup Noodle Museum • Red Brick Warehouse • Yokohama Chinatown


Zen Meditation Class • Kinkakuji Temple • Ryoanji Temple • Nijo Castle

East & Central

Tea Ceremony Class • Ginkaku-ji • Kiyomizu Temple • Gion Area • Scenic Train Ride


Yuzen or Wagashi Class • Tenryu-ji • Togetsukyo Bridge • Scenic Train Ride


Move on to Phase 3: Follow-on ActivitiesClick here