Japan: Japanimation | Anime & Manga

Arts and Social Change

Express yourself in the anime and manga capital of the world. Develop your illustration skills and design techniques with behind-the-scenes insight from industry experts.









Program Description

Experience Japanese culture through anime and manga. Work with professional artists from the Japanese art scene as well as student animators in Tokyo. Take introductory classes at a local anime school to practice your character development, animation, manga techniques, voiceover recording, and animate your own character in the process. Immerse yourself in Japan’s vibrant pop culture through visits to museums and neighborhoods synonymous with “Cool Japan.” Broaden your perspective on Japanese culture during your homestay on Hokkaido, Japan’s second-largest island, known for its natural beauty and the Ainu culture. Take a cooking class with local college students and create a Japanese family crest. Visit a Buddhist temple and study the art of Japanese calligraphy as you share daily life with your host family.

The program begins and ends in Tokyo, one of the world’s most populous and vibrant cities. Play games in the arcades in Akihabara, the city’s anime, manga, and tech district. Wander through the busy market streets of Ameyoko, ride the escalators at Ginza’s skyscraping department stores, and peer into your future as you consult the (written) oracle at Sensō-ji, the oldest temple in Tokyo. Discover more of Japanese history by visiting shrines and hot springs or participating in a traditional tea ceremony.







Program Fee:


(does not include airfare)
Group Airfare Cost:


Depart/Return City:

Los Angeles


Tokyo, 3 days


Tomakomai, Otaru, Bihoro, or Nanae*, 7–9 days

Other Accommodations:

Hotels and/or hostels

Sample Itinerary

    Days 1-4

    Orientation in Tokyo

    • Learn about the history and culture of Japan
    • Get to know other members of your group during activities and group discussions
    • Visit famous sites and museums throughout both cities
    • Explore diverse neighborhoods, navigate the city using public transportation, and sample Japanese cuisine

    During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in centrally located hotels and pensions.

    Days 5-17

    Animation and Manga Study

    • Participate in drawing and animation workshops at an anime school
    • Work with Japanese instructors and student animators to hone your skills
    • Learn about character design, coloring, basic animation, and voiceover techniques and create and animate your own character
    • Visit nearby towns and see local museums
    • On the last day of classes participate in a showing of your animation with your group and students from the school

    During this period, you and your group will stay in a youth center and a hostel.

    Days 18-27


    • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Japanese family and community
    • Do activities with your host family
    • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
    • Visit nearby schools and temples
    • Experience onsen (hot springs)
    • Learn about traditional Japanese culture

    During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Bihoro, Yubari, Tomakomai

    Days 28-29

    Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Tokyo

    • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

    During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

    Day 30


    Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

Itinerary is subject to change.

Past Group Leaders

  • Christy Bahr

    A native of the Pacific Northwest, Christy Bahr graduated from University of Washington in 2008 with a BA in international studies and a BA in Japanese. Christy’s interest in Japan started at age nine when her family began hosting Japanese exchange students. She traveled to Japan for the first time in high school and completed a one-year study abroad in Tokyo during her time at UW. Following graduation, Christy moved to northern Japan to work with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program for five years as a an international relations coordinator, assistant language teacher, and prefectural advisor.

    Before leading an Experiment program, Christy traveled the world on a 105-day voyage with Peace Boat, a Japanese NGO, where she worked as a language interpreter. During her time on Peace Boat, Christy led sightseeing and exchange tours in the 17 ports of call including Madagascar, Argentina, and Easter Island. Christy has traveled to 25 countries in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Christy enjoys running, photography, and playing the violin. She is currently pursuing an MA in international education at New York University.

  • Andre Martinez

    Andre Martinez, a native of Denver, Colorado, graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2014 with an MA in Japanese language and culture with a focus on medieval and early modern illustrated fiction. Prior to entering graduate school, Andre taught a multitude of courses in Japanese language, art, history, and culture in middle and high schools in the Denver metro area. Upon entering the university’s Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, he continued to teach advanced and beginning courses in Japanese as a teaching assistant.

    Andre began studying Japanese at the age of 14, he attended high school in Japan, and he received his BA in graphic design from Tokai Daigaku, a Japanese university. Besides his passion for the Japanese language, Andre also holds an undying love of Japanese traditional movement: he has studied kendo, kyudo, karate, kenjutsu, and jujutsu. When he isn’t sharpening his pen or sword, Andre enjoys gliding around town on his skateboard.

  • Marcus Williams

    A native of New York City, Marcus graduated from Haverford College in 2012 with a BA in East Asian studies. In 2007, he went abroad for the first time to Japan as a representative of his high school, helping to build communication between his home school and a partner school located near Tokyo. The following year, he was invited to participate in an internship for teaching English at this partner school. While in college, Marcus returned to Japan for a semester of study in Nagoya. Along with his love of learning language, Marcus also enjoys computing, drawing, writing stories, running, and making music. After leading one of the summer 2014 Japanimation groups, Marcus has begun working at a charter school in Brooklyn, teaching Japanese language to middle school students.

  • Serena Winchell

    Serena Winchell is a native of Red Hook, a small town in upstate New York. In 2006, she graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a double major in German language and literature and Asian studies. While at SUNY New Paltz, she studied abroad for one year at the Universitaet Wuerzburg, in Bavaria, Germany. She then continued on at her alma mater to receive her MSEd for TESOL in 2008. Upon receiving her New York State teaching certification for TESOL, Serena spent four years teaching English in Japan with the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in Shirakawa-shi, Fukushima Prefecture. A survivor of the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, Serena spent much of her time volunteering and raising funds for the relief effort. Upon returning home, Serena has made it a goal to promote understanding about Fukushima’s dilemma while at the same time encouraging tourism to her beloved second home. In her free time, she enjoys studying languages, watching anime, singing karaoke, playing the hand bells, and baking.

Student Voices

  • It has been almost two months since the first day I embarked on my adventure to Japan. I remember the first night I came home and how I felt that everything was a dream. I walked into my room and felt as if I had never left. But, during the next week, I received calls and emails from my experiment family and experienced the Experiment once more.
    It’s still overwhelming to think back on what we did because our home-stay week was very full. We canoed, went to a hot spring, played park golf, attended Japanese schools, tried kitsuke, attended a tea ceremony, made key chains, tried many different foods, and so much more. Our week was surreal and passed by so quickly that it didn’t seem a day had passed when we had to leave for Sapporo. However, we established family bonds with our hosts and I will try my best to make mine stronger.
    Yoyogi was a dream come true. We had two weeks to “taste” anime school, but I feel as though I fulfilled a life-long dream. I will not be an animator any time soon, so I am extremely grateful to have gotten the chance to try animating. Our instructors were wonderful and allowed us to develop however we wanted. We were also told how japanimation is produced. After learning how painstaking the process is, I have developed a new respect for the artists. I hope that I might join them in the future.
    What else did we do? We had language classes in the morning. Again, our instructors were very patient and adjusted lessons according to our varying levels. They made it more than a regular class by teaching us games and songs as we learned. I am also very grateful for these cultural lessons (which I have also been sharing with kids at home).
    In addition to the time with my Experiment family, I also deeply enjoyed the time with our language partners. They didn’t treat us like kids and we didn’t treat them like chaperones. Always eager and friendly, they shared their daily lives with us. Even though there was a language barrier, I felt that they really became ‘one of us’ and that made the experience all the more memorable.
    We left Sapporo to spend our last few days in Tokyo. During that time, we moaned about how we didn’t want to leave and that we “wished we could stay forever!” Now that I think back, I would take that statement back. I am glad to have left because now I have a wonderful memory to turn back to and a new goal to work towards: to return with everybody some day.


Pre-departure Documents

Summer 2018

Congratulations on your upcoming Experiment summer on the Japan: Japanimation: Anime & Manga program. Visit our pre-departure page for information about our expectations, communications, and travel planning. In early 2018, our summer international information will be published in a secure page, found in the Parent Portal.

In early spring 2018, the following program-specific documents will be linked to this page:

Many questions can be answered by reviewing these materials, but please do not hesitate to contact us if further information is required. To submit or update your domestic travel and emergency contact information, please login in to the Parent Portal.

Important Passport and Medical Information

If you do not yet have a passport, or if you have not applied for one, you should do so immediately.

If you have not had a physical with your doctor since June 2017, make an appointment as quickly as possible, as your health form must be filled out based on a current physical.

Please bookmark this web page for easy use in the future.