What is the role of a counselor?

Every TOKIHA counselor brings a passion for both teaching and learning from others, the creativity and curiosity to implement diverse and inspiring workshops, and above all, the empathy to support camper's aspirations.

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Counselors are college students from any institution, any country.

For several months in preparation, the counselors communicate with others from different backgrounds, brainstorm ideas about workshops, and work together to ultimately create the ideal summer camp that spark the hearts of campers. Every counselor will be responsible to design, prepare, and facilitate workshops through small-group collaboration.

A workshop, we define, is a framework designed so that the campers can grow as individuals. Simultaneously, it is a place where the counselor can showcase and share with the campers something they themselves are passionate about or were liberated by.

Camp experience cannot be merely summarized by interactive workshops. Camp as a whole is a single dialogue working with each individual’s self-actualization, both campers and counselors. The underlying role of every counselor is to initiate it, guide it, and recapitulate it.

Example Workshop

Synchro Challenge

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Synchro Challenge workshop in 2016 Fukuoka Camp, for example was designed by Sustainable Environmental Design, Environmental Science, Linguistics, and Sociology major counselors (Sho, Maria, Xenia, Shadia).

In the three-stage game, campers were placed in groups of three, each given a certain inhibition on their physical ability. The fourth member of the group would remotely communicate with the other three via cell phone to instruct them on clearing the missions that she receives from a counselor.

The purpose of this workshop was to exhibit that we each have individual talents and shortcomings. It's not just how you individually shine, but how your differences can work together with others to complete a mission and create a whole community.



Recruiting and Admission

2017 October

15  :: Application Opens


6 :: Application Closes & Individual Interview Starts

20:: Group Interview Starts


31 :: Counselor 2018 Announced


Preparation and Team Bonding

2018 January

22 :: Preparation Period Starts (Weekly in-person meetings for Berkeley counselors, remote check-ups for other counselors)


17 :: 1st Simulation

25-4/1 :: Spring Camp (Optional)


19:: 2nd Simulation


30 :: Campers Announced

Onto the Tour and Camps


24 :: All Counselors arrive in Tokyo (Haneda/Narita)

28-29 :: 2-Day Camp in Fukushima


2-8 :: 8-Day Camp in Kanagawa

10-13 :: On-Site Prep in Ibaraki

14-19 :: 6-Day Camp in Ibaraki

20  :: Counselors leave Tokyo (Haneda/Narita)



Do counselors have to be able to speak Japanese?

Absolutely not! All aspects of the program, including the preparatory and camp period, are in English. We are also staffed with bilingual counselors who can assist non-bilingual counselors.

Do counselors have to have teaching credentials?

No. Counselors are undergraduate students from any university in the world. In the past we have had counselors who study Mathematics, Computer Science, Film, English, Biology, Sociology, Psychology, Environmental Science, Design, and so on. However, it definitely does not hurt to be majoring or interested in Education or Teaching!

How much do I have to pay to be a counselor exactly?

TOKIHA covers the accommodation for the entirety of the program, the meal cost during the stay at campsites, and the partial transportation cost during the program. In addition, TOKIHA will subsidize the flight cost for at least ¥80,000 (or higher depending on how many sponsorships we receive by the program date, we will increase the subsidy) upon the successful completion of the program. With that said, counselors will have to book the flight, prior to disbursement of subsidy, on their own and email the receipt & itinerary to us by April 30th, 2018. The food cost during the stay outside of campsites and the personal trips that you may plan are on your expense.

I am currently not enrolled in college. Can I still apply?

Absolutely yes! If you recently graduated, are taking a semester off, or are not enrolled for whatever reason, you are still eligible to apply! One thing we do care is that, for most cases, we ask that all counselors to be able to attend meetings and put enough time into the preparation.

I have never been to Japan. What are some travel tips I should be aware?

First and foremost, you will need a passport. If you don’t have a passport, you would need to obtain one. You will also be entering Japan with a visitor’s visa. Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa. We will assist you on the way; however, it is counselor’s responsibility to get it done on time. Other than that, although during the summer season, Japan may be quite humid and hot, most past counselors say that Japan is an easy place to travel to and that they had enjoyable time.

What do we look for in counselor applications?

We look for collaborative skills. When it comes to designing workshops with peers, it is crucial that they are open-minded to critiques and disagreements. We also want counselors to have their own unique perspectives and passions to share in the camp-making.

Where do high school students “campers” come from?

TOKIHA has supports from the various public and private institutions including the governments and boards of education. We work with them to advertise to schools in Japan.

I have conflicts with the dates. Can I skip the preparation period and/or camp dates?

Unfortunately no. We require that all counselors be with us from the first day of the preparation to the last day after the cleanup and review. However, there is an option to participate only in one camp (look on the application), but you will be eligible for only half the subsidy.