2019/2020 Counselor Application
Apply if you are a compassionate college student at American Institution interested in education! Applications for TOKIHA Summer Camp 2019 have closed. Applications for TOKIHA Summer Camp 2020 will open in September 2019.

More info on being a counselor Here

Info Session at UC Berkeley
Info Sessions for TOKIHA Summer Camp 2020 will occur later in the Fall.

More info to come.

TOKIHA Medium Blog
Want more TOKIHA? Check out our Medium blog! Started in 2018, it features past camp reflections, insights into the everyday lives of TOKIHA counselors, and campers sharing their unique perspectives and experiences. We recently posted two spotlight articles featuring this year’s directors! Read them here.

What is TOKIHA?

Derived from the Japanese word “Tokihanatsu 解き放つ,” meaning “to release,” TOKIHA is an educational initiative that strives to spark self-discovery, inspire the pursuit of passions, and ultimately liberate the mind through peer dialogue and collaboration.

Starting from 2016, our experimental summer camps have since introduced unique opportunities to over 150 participants to empower themselves and their communities.

In prospect, we aim to create impact not only through summer camps, but also through various projects that encourage people to both live in the present and make a valuable impact in the future.

Learn More about Our Story →

Our Projects


How can we create the space to foster collaboration and introspection? We hold camps in the peripheral areas of Japan, in pursuit to answer this question. No two camps are the same. Every year, we reimagine the ideal summer camp from scratch with the chosen counselors from schools like UC Berkeley, Stanford, UC Davis, UCLA, and so on.


Join Us!

Counselors Application: Closed

Applications for TOKIHA Summer Camp 2020 will open September 2019

Click to learn more about becoming a counselor →


How is A summer camp a "liberation?"

People often assume that change is incredibly difficult. But we are hoping that all the participants grow, without realizing, at their own pace. When they do realize how much they have changed, they are liberated from that initial assumption.


TOKIHA Camps are spaces of self-discovery where people reflect on their past experiences, perspectives, and even identities. A week-long program in an enclosed environment creates an opportunity for 40 campers and 10 counselors to share new ideas, to rethink the surrounding norms, and to enliven this once-in-a-lifetime summer camp.

Along the way, we inspire the high school students, known as “campers,” to step out of their comfort zones, to spark their motivation to chase a dream, and to grasp a little bit of courage even for something as seemingly simple as asking a question. We aim to empower them to express themselves and their ideas in ways that traditional systems do not allow.

For college students, known as “counselors,” this is a chance to exercise their potentials as educators, mentors, and peers in a unique, two-way learning experience. Every year we repurpose the camp from ground-up, and together create a deck of original workshops. These interactive workshops encompass many different perspectives and fields of interest, leaving rewarding experiences to themselves and enjoyable takeaways for participants.

The camps, which are entirely run in English, are conducted by counselors who keep a close-knit "family" of 8 campers per 2 counselors. These families engage in team bonding activities and then join back together as a group to participate in workshops, guest speaker presentations, and valuable moments during campfires, night walks, and free interactions.

2019 Camp

will be in Mito and Tsukuba cities, Ibaraki Prefecture

60 campers and 10 counselors

We will invite 60 campers and 10 counselors from the pool of applicants to attend the TOKIHA Summer Camp 2019. TOKIHA is planning to expand so that we can accommodate more people, more dialogues, more liberating moments!


Camp Location

The campsites, located in the vast outskirts of the city on the Kanto Plain, provides the space of reflection and possibility. TOKIHA Summer Camp 2019 will be held at the Mito-shi Shōnenshizen no Ie (Mito City Shonen Nature House).


2019 Counselors


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 campers’ aspirations.

Application Period: October 10th - 23:59 October 27th, 2018.

For more info, contact us at

Act 1.JPG

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

Synchro Challenge 3.JPG

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

October 10th, 2018

Application Opens

Infosession at Berkeley

October 27th, 2018

Application Closes

Individual Interview Starts

December 14th, 2018

2019 Counselors Announced


Preparation and Team Bonding

January 28th, 2019

Weekly In-Person & Remote Meetings Start

March 17th, 2019

1st All-Day Simulation Occurs

May 25th, 2019

2nd All-Day Simulation Occurs


Summer Camps and Events

August 1st, 2019

All Counselors Check-In To Meeting Point Near Tokyo, Japan

August 3rd, 2019

First 3-Day Camp Starts

August 8th, 2019

Second 3-Day Camp Starts

August 13th, 2019

5-Day Camp Starts in Mito, Ibaraki

August 18th, 2019

All Counselors Check-Out from Meeting Point Near Tokyo, Japan



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.

I will be unable to attend the info sessions. May I still apply to the program?

Yes, it is quite alright that you cannot attend the info sessions. You are still welcome to apply by the due date!

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. 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.

Our Purpose

How can we create a new educational experience that vitalizes people by equipping them with more imagination rather than burdening them with more knowledge? How can we design it to be more empathic and flexible to the needs?

Our purpose is not to challenge or to revolutionize the current system, but to empower people to become more enhanced for the current world needs. In the world that faces more uncertainties than ever, individuals predictably encounter the internal challenges regarding, for example, confidence and self-actualization, as well as the external challenges regarding, for example, school and career.

The name of our organization “TOKIHA” comes from a Japanese word “Tokihanatsu 解き放つ” meaning to unleash, free, or liberate. What constrains each person is different and personal to the individual; however, the feeling of being freed from those rigidities is universal. TOKIHA creates the space where we can share this feeling and build together the experimental ways that the individuals’ challenges can be addressed.

Our Vision


In the multiplicity of the changing world, we recognize that the desire for liberation can be found universally among all cultures and groups. This desire can even carry beyond summer camps.

For now, we are starting small. We are focusing on Japan and its cultural and societal framework. We are working, as digital nomads in Berkeley and Japan, with the Japanese local high school students and the current environment that surrounds them. With two camps in place, we are planning to expand to a few more locations while sustaining the quality of the program.

Our Team