How is A summer camp a "liberation?"

People often assume that change is incredibly difficult. But we are hoping that all the participants grow, even 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.

Example Workshop

Synchro Challenge


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.


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.

Counselors are college students from any institution

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.


Recruiting and Admission

September 19th, 2019

Application Opens

Infosession at Berkeley

October 19th, 2019

Application Closes

Individual Interview Starts

December 21st, 2019

2020 Counselors Announced


Preparation and Team Bonding

January 23rd, 2020

Weekly In-Person & Remote Meetings Start

March 21st, 2020

1st All-Day Simulation Occurs

May 23rd, 2020

2nd All-Day Simulation Occurs


Summer Camps and Events

August 1st, 2020

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

August 18th, 2020

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

August 3rd, 2020

First 3-Day Camp Starts

August 8th, 2020

Second 3-Day Camp Starts

August 13th, 2020

5-Day Camp Starts


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 March 31st. 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 Japan may be quite humid and hot during the summer season, most past counselors say that Japan is an easy place to travel to and that they had an 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 middle and high school student “campers” come from?

TOKIHA has supports from various public and private institutions including 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.


2019 Counselors

Past Gallery