WIT Tohoku Trip ~ US-Japan Collaboration for a Resilient Civil Society

About the program

Are you interested in making a difference and contributing to the US-Japan relationship?
In the Tohoku Trip hosted by WIT, a Japanese nonprofit, you can spend a weekend to meet with mission-driven entrepreneurs who are tackling social issues and exchange ideas and resources to solve and overcome challenges.
Join us to get inspired by how local communities and entrepreneurs have been transforming the adversity into opportunity seven years after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.


November 10th Saturday – 12th Monday, 2018

Nov. 10 Sat. 7:56 am: Depart Tokyo Station by bullet train (Shinkansen) to Hanamaki, Iwate.
Field visits and idea exchange with local entrepreneurs in Iwate (e.g. a nonprofit supporting local women and newborns babies)
Local tour in and around Ichinoseki
Enjoy Tohoku food, hot spring, and stay in Iwate!
Nov. 11 Sun. Field visits and idea exchange with local entrepreneurs in Iwate. (e.g. a local entrepreneur incubator and brewery
Tour local communities.
Enjoy Tohoku food and stay in Iwate
Nov. 12 Mon. Depart Iwate for Tokyo in the morning. Arrive in Tokyo in the afternoon.

*Interpretation between Japanese and English is available during the trip.

During your visit to Tohoku, you will:

◆  Learn about the ongoing restoration process from the triple disasters of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear incidents, and the social/nonprofit sector in Japan.
◆  Have an opportunity to use your skills and experience to exchange ideas and collaborate with local entrepreneurs in Iwate.
◆  Meet with a diverse group of people across different sectors (nonprofit, business, and public) from Japan and the U.S.

Testimonials from the participants of the past Cross-Border Learning Journeys

◆  “Professionals from different cultures and languages gathered for the Cross-Border Learning Journey, and despite these differences, everyone was genuinely curious to learn about Mammaru Mama’s work and gave me invaluable advice. Thank you so much!” – Miyoko Sato, Executive Director, Mammaru Mama (one of the social entrepreneurs participated)

◆  “After meeting and engaging with Tohoku social entrepreneurs of Tohoku, all of whom are dealing with such complex social issues in their work, I was reminded of a quote by Courtney Martin that says, “don’t go because you’ve fallen in love with solvability.” The diversity that each individual of this program brings forward is incredible. It’s also hard to believe that this was WIT’s first-ever Cross-Border Learning Journey, given how seamless and successful this program was this year. This was also the first time for me to meet a range of social entrepreneurs and professionals from various backgrounds in one convening. The Cross-Border Learning Journey is truly a unique and special place and community.” – Geoffrey Hoefer, Omomuki Foundation (one of the US participants)

◆  “In the 10 years I’ve been running this business, I’ve participated in a lot of workshops; however, the Cross-Border Learning Journey exceeded my expectations and it was the first program ever that allowed me to reaffirm and work towards the dream I’ve always had for Meiten. There was extreme value in engaging with such a diverse and global group, as they helped me realize my dreams once again.” – Wataru Kainuma, CEO, Urushi Rocks (one of the social entrepreneurs participated)

Learn about Past Learning Journeys

– An article written by a US participant and a journalist, Nancy Matsumoto: Growing Social Impact Ventures
– An article written by a US participant and a journalist, Lori Matsukawa: A Tale of Three Towns
– Reports of 2016 Cross-Border Learning Journey with Pictures:

Program fee

$650 (Early bird rate: $600. Stipend up to $600 is available for eligible participants) + Each participant pays their own transportation, accommodation, and meal expenses.

*Apply by September 7th for early bird rate. (General application due is October 7th.)
*Program fee is per person. Estimate amount for the transportation, accommodation, and meal expenses is $570. Please see the note (1) below for details.
*USJC members and TOMODACHI alumni may be eligible for a stipend. Please see the note (2) below for details.

How to Apply

Please sign up from this Sign Up Form. Apply by September 7th (23:59 PM US Eastern Time) for the early bird rate. Application due for the regular rate is October 7th.
Please notify in the sign-up form to be considered for a stipend (discounted program fee).
Once we receive your application, we will reach out to you to schedule a 30-min individual call to know more about you and answer any questions you may have.
Please email Mio Yamamoto, WIT Executive Director, at if you have any questions about the trip.


*1  Estimate out-of-pocket expenses per person are as follows: Transportation: $200 for JR East Pass and $50 for local bus and taxi. Accommodation: $260 for two nights. Meal: $60 for Saturday and Sunday (excluding beverage).
*2  Stipend: USJC members and TOMODACHI alumni may be eligible for a stipend to cover part of the program fee (up to $600), thanks to generous funding support from the U.S.-Japan Council. Who will be eligible for the stipend and the specific amount will be determined based on the participants’ needs. Participants who receive stipend will be required to submit a report to USJC and WIT after the trip.
*3  Deposit: Once WIT confirms your registration for the trip, please pay a non-refundable deposit of $200 by September 20th (early bird rate) or October 20th (regular rate) via Paypal.
*4  Minimum number of participants for this trip is 10. The trip can be cancelled if the minimums are not met.
*5  Details of the trip content and costs are subject to change.