Culture Classes

Participants have a wide range of choices for learning Japanese culture. The culture classes are taught by qualified and well-experienced instructors.

  • Calligraphy
  • Flower arrangement
  • Folk music & Japanese traditional musical instruments
  • Igo
  • Japanese cooking
  • Japanese dance
  • Kimono culture & etiquette
  • Koto (Japanese harp)
  • Tea ceremony
  • Traditional confectionery making

Activities in the Local Community

Many of the optional activities allow participants to meet local Japanese people and experience Japanese society outside of the classroom and homestay settings.

  • Appearance in local radio/TV shows
  • Appearance in the outdoor spectacle of Hakodate history
  • Club activities at high schools (Judo, Kendo, Kyudo)
  • Elementary school visit
  • Exchange with disabled people
  • Guided tour of the Jomon Archeological Site with students from Hakodate University
  • Participation in the Hakodate Port Festival
  • Prosecutor's office and court visit
  • Soba and Mochi making hosted by Hakodate Rotary Club
  • Writing an article in Japanese for a local newspaper and STEP-UP, a monthly cultural information magazine
  • etc.

Most of the culture classes and extra-curricular activities are scheduled in the afternoon, and a few of them on weekend. They are run on a sign-up basis. If the number of people who sign up exceeds the maximum capacity, we use a lottery system to choose who can participate. Venues vary by classes or activities. If the venue is not HIF, participants are responsible for transportation fees to get there. A handout in English and/or a translator is available for some classes or activities, but not all of them.


日本語テーブル is a Japanese conversation table where participants can practice their Japanese with local people in Hakodate. Sometimes the 日本語テーブル time is devoted to making origami and playing Japanese games.

Japanese Movies & Books for Extensive Reading

Participants have a chance to watch a variety of Japanese movies in Japanese with English subtitles. Also, a collection of Japanese books for extensive reading is available in the student lounge.


Comments from Alumni

  • Name:
    Silin Chen

    I think being able to join HIF is a very precious opportunity for me to be totally immersed in a Japanese-study environment. more

  • Name:
    Jack Conklin
    University of

    The HIF program is a great opportunity to improve your understanding of both Japanese and Japanese culture. more

  • Name:
    Laura Li

    One of the greatest things that I've learnt during my stay in HIF is "thinking in Japanese". more

  • Name:
    Meera Santhanam
    University of

    This program provides the perfect amount of structure - it's enough so that every day you are kept busy with classes, talks, and ... more

  • Name:
    Yuancong Xie

    HIF was an amazing opportunity to immerse myself in an all-Japanese environment. more

  • Name:
    Xinyu Zong
    Franklin &

    HIF has been the best experience of my life. I woke up every day looking forward to host mom's breakfast and playing with her 4-year-old son. more

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Transcripts for Alumni