KAKEHASHI Project Japanese Study Tour

Photo of a traditional Japanese style house by a forested lake with the words, Japan Study Tour: The Kakehashi Project

OverviewImportant Dates | Funding and Costs | Requirements | Sample Program Schedule

Applications for the program closed at noon on September 9.

Travel dates were October 31 - November 8, 2016.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and the Japan Foundation selected the University of Montana and the Mansfield Center to participate in the KAKEHASHI Project grant, which sent 23 undergraduate or graduate students from Montana to Japan for a 10-day guided culture, education and policy exchange program run by the Japan International Cooperation Center. This opportunity exposed students to Japan’s rich culture, history, society, politics, and economics. The group was joined by other university students from the United States and across the world in Tokyo and rural regions to participate in this international education program.  

Check out what students had to say about their experience at the UMT Kakehashi 2016 Blog.

If you have any questions about the program, please email Caitlin Sager at caitlin.sager@mso.umt.edu.

Program Overview

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan launched the “Japan’s Friendship Ties Programs” to promote people-to-people exchanges between Japan and countries across the world and to encourage an understanding of Japan’s economy, society, history, diverse culture, politics and diplomatic relations among participants. The North American regional component of this exchange program is called “The KAKEHASHI Project”. 

This opportunity is designed for adventurous and mature students who have a serious interest in Asia but have not done a study abroad in or have not traveled to Japan for an extended period. The trip will include meetings with government/business officials, culture tours and walking tours, lectures on Japanese society, and the opportunity to travel extensively in Japan, including in Tokyo and to other prefectures. The program may include visits to farms and rural prefectures.  The program will be most suited for students who study international business, economics, public policy, sociology, foreign affairs, energy, or agriculture, but it is open to students from all backgrounds and majors.


The KAKEHASHI Project is designed to support the following objectives:

  1. To promote mutual trust and understanding among the people of Japan and the USA to build a basis for future friendship and cooperation.

  2. To promote a global understanding of Japan’s economy, society, history, diverse culture, politics and foreign policy, with a particular emphasis on its industry and local products. 

  3. To contribute to finding and fostering more experts on Japan and contribute to facilitating the diplomatic and economic relationships between Japan and the USA

  4. To disseminate information on Japan’s attractions through social media and other communication platforms.

All participants are expected to support these program goals.

Important Dates

  • August 19: Applications open

  • September 2: Introductory Meeting for Interested Applicants (location and time TBA)

  • September 9: Application Deadline

  • September 16: Student Delegates Announced

  • September 23: First Mandatory Orientation Meeting

  • Early October: Second Mandatory Orientation Meeting

  • October 31 - November 8: Program Dates. View the Sample Program Schedule

  • November: Mandatory Return Meeting. Date TBA

  • May, 2017: Completion of after-program survey

Program Funding and Costs

The following expenses were paid for by the program sponsor:

  • Round trip international airfare from Missoula, Montana to and from Japan (economy class)
    • Excess baggage fees are the participant's responsibility
  • Accommodation in Japan (rooms will be shared with one or two other students of the same gender)
  • Meals in Japan within the Program
  • Transportation and admission fees for scheduled activities in Japan

Participants were responsible for all other costs, including:

  • Passport fees
  • Vaccinations
  • Excess baggage
  • HTH Worldwide Health Insurance (applied for through the Mansfield Center, total cost $22.50)

Program Requirements


  • Students who have had little to no travel and/or study abroad experience in Japan

  • Demonstrated interest in Asia and/or Japan, especially in areas related to business, economics, political science, international relations, energy, and agriculture

  • US citizen or US permanent resident

  • Must have a passport or must have applied for an expedited passport

  • Responsible team player willing to travel in large groups who is adventurous, willing to try new foods and cultural experiences, respectful to foreign cultures, and has a strong desire to promote intercultural understanding  

  • Willingness to share overseas experience through social media, blogging, report writing and/or public programs

  • Enrolled in the University of Montana

Japanese Health Entry Requirements:

Participants who are running a temperature greater than 100.4 F on the day of departure will not be allowed to travel to Japan. Participants with the following symptoms will be evaluated by supervisors (in consultation with a doctor if necessary) to determine if they may travel to Japan or not: feeling feverish or chill, sore throat, cough, stuffy or runny nose, headache or muscle ache.

Program Rules

Once Accepted into the Program:

Certain paperwork is required by the KAKEHASHI Project sponsors shortly after applicants are accepted into the program.

If an applicant is accepted into the program, they must confirm their participation and provide the Mansfield Center with 1) the required paperwork which will be provided with their acceptance letter (including a KAKEHASHI Project entry form, a photo, and a signed letter of understanding), 2) the payment for the HTH Health Insurance, and 3) a completed health information form within 3 business days of their acceptance. Applicants who do not confirm their participation and provide these materials may lose their place in the program.

If you are unable to submit these materials within 3 business days, you must contact the Mansfield Center at (406) 243-2965 within 3 business days and make arrangements to have your material submitted by no later than September 14.

During the Program, Participants Must:

  • Attend all the programs planned by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) and follow the instructions given by JICE
  • Complete all pre-departure forms and paperwork for both the University of Montana and the KAKEHASHI Project
  • Obey all Japanese laws while in Japan
  • Submit two blog posts on their experiences to the Mansfield Center program blog, one during their program and one after their return, and share their findings and experiences with family, friends, schools and communities through presentations, social media, blogging, and other forms of communication.

During the Program, Participants May Not:

  • Change flights designated by the program
  • Change accommodation designated by the program
  • Be accompanied by someone
  • Travel to third countries on the way to Japan or back to the USA

After the Program, Participants Must:

  • Return to the U.S. on the scheduled group flight. Participants may not remain in Japan after the program
  • Complete the questionnaire sent to participants six months after the program
  • Share their experiences in Japan with their family, friends, schools, and communities

Participants that do not follow these rules or cause hindrance to the program may be dismissed and are responsible for leaving Japan at their own expense.