Learn More About Our Program

There are two plaques commemorating the Sister City relationship between Kumamoto in Japan and San Antonio, Texas. These two plaques are located at the Kumamoto Garden at the SA Botanical Center.

Transform your knowledge of the world and of yourself through a summer exchange program to Japan!

Purpose: The scholarship is designed to foster broader world vision, leadership skills and to develop committed, long-term stakeholders in the community’s relationship with Japan started by the late Mrs. Naoko Shirane about 40 years ago. This program introduces students to the Japanese people, their history, culture and the industries impacting our community. The 17-day educational and cultural program acquaints 4 high school juniors with Japan's iconic cities, plus homestays with families in Kumamoto in conjunction with partner World Campus International.

The scholarship covers round trip airfare, ground transportation, lodging, food and entrance fees while in Japan. Following the tour, the Foundation provides letters of recommendation to accompany students’ college applications. The Foundation and San Antonio Education Partnership convene a seminar on scholarships and financial aid. Students are expected to promote the program during senior year and attend Japan America Society San Antonio events. All applicants must currently be a US citizen, and a junior in a high school located within Bexar County, Texas who expects to enter senior year in the fall of 2024. Each student is responsible for purchasing a valid US passport, travel insurance (approximately $60.00), a small gift for host families and any additional personal spending money while in Japan. The dress code and luggage requirements are detailed at the end of the application.


  • Personal Essay
  • A Letter of Recommendation from Guidance Counselor, Teacher, Administrator, or one non-relative.
  • Video Clip to introduce your self and why you applied.
  • Character – courteous, mature, flexible
  • Interested in submersion experience in Japan: experiencing Japanese food, ceremonies, language, travel, homestay and working for the success of the group
  • Before trip to Japan: Required to read materials and write essay on Japanese history, economy, trade, and culture provided t0 the students, the attendance at orientation meetings, Kumamoto En visit and factory tour.
  • Upon return to San Antonio: Be a willing exchange
    representative, speaking to groups of interested families and students, and interface with visiting Japanese student when in San Antonio.
  • Upon return, make a short video and write a one-page article on your experience to be published on the Shirane Foundation website, school papers, and newspapers.

October 15th call for applications. Deadline: January 12th, 2024

Announcement of 2024 Scholarship Recipients: February 9th, 2024


Overview of the Trip:

(some changes in the order of city visits may take place)

  • Sun. June 9- Depart San Antonio
  • Mon. June 10- Arrive Tokyo 
  • Tue. June 11- Visit Keimei Gakuen High School; the Shirane Family Tomb.
  • Wed. June 12-Meeting at Toyota Motor Corporation, Tourism Day: Imperial Palace, Asakusa District-Senso-ji Temple, National Museums, 
  • Thu. June 13-Shopping, Sightseeing day in Tokyo, Shinkansen to Nagoya
  • Fri. June 14-Meeting with Aichi Prefecture Governor Ohmura, School visit 
  • Sat. June 15- Visit Toyota Memorial Museum, Shinkansen to Kyoto
  • Sun. June 16-Sightseeing day in Kyoto, Kiyomizu temple, Kinkakuji, Ryoanji
  • Mon. June 17-Train to Nara: Todaiji, Nara Park, Shinkansen to Hiroshima
  • Tue. June 18-Peace Memorial Park & Museum, Miyajima, Shinkansen to Fukuoka
  • Wed. June 19-Toyota Lexus Factory Tour, Sightseeing in Fukuoka. Shinkansen to Kumamoto
  • Thu. June 20- Courtesy visit to City of Kumamoto. Students begin program with World Campus International and Homestay family 
  • Fri. June 21-World Campus International/Homestay family
  • Sat. June 22-World Campus International/Homestay family
  • Sun. June 23-World Campus International/Homestay family
  • Mon. June 24-World Campus International/Thank You Event, final night with Homestay family
  • Tues. June 25-Mornng Farewell to World Campus International. Depart Japan / Arrive San Antonio.                      

We make a difference by what you give

Donate Form

Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Billing Details

Donate quickly and securely with Stripe

How it works: A Stripe window will open after you click the Donate Now button where you can securely make your donation. You will then be brought back to this page to view your receipt.

Naoko Mitsui Shirane Foundation

Donate Form

Donation Total: $100 One Time