Pre-College Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Join us in Tokyo for an insider’s experience of Japan on this Pre-College summer program for high school students. Broaden your horizons with in-depth, field-based seminars and elective workshops as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of instructors and students from around the world. Choose a seminar and dive deep into your subject matter through engaging discussions, site visits, and hands-on projects that immerse you in Japanese life.

High School

Grades 9–12
Motivated rising 9th graders will also be considered


June 25 – July 15, 2023


21 days


$7,990 + airfare & lunches

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Safety in a Time of COVID-19

Since Putney’s founding 72 years ago, we have approached each participant’s summer experience with the same attention to safety and security that we give our own children. This summer is no exception. Please read our FAQ to learn more about Putney’s 2023 programs.

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Our Tokyo Campus

Experience Tokyo’s neighborhoods, museums, markets, and restaurants from our centrally located residence. With a population of 13 million, the capital city of Tokyo is a fast-paced study in contrasts, where centuries-old traditions meet cutting-edge modern technology. Meet with artists, business leaders, designers, and tech innovators and learn how Tokyo’s dynamic growth defines its success.

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Choose a seminar and dive deep into a subject that inspires you, from Anime to International Business, Fashion Design to Technology & Innovation. Putney seminars combine experiential learning and global perspective, and are intentionally designed not to be like school, where learning is classroom-centered and text heavy. Instead, Putney Pre-College students learn by doing. Cap off your studies with a final project or installation to share your work.

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Afternoons & Excursions

Take part in a traditional tea ceremony, try your hand at woodblock printing, or join locals for a run in the East Gardens of the Imperial Palace. Sample sushi, ramen, and traditional Japanese sweets known as wagashi, and explore the tradition and ceremony of sumo wrestling while attending a match.

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“Lucas had such a great experience! We had heard great things about Putney and we couldn’t agree more. We will be the first to sign up our younger son for the Tokyo program in 2022.”

— Alyssa & Adam Shapiro, New York, NY


Putney Pre-College Tokyo brings together motivated and like-minded high school students to grow intellectually and personally as they immerse themselves in a subject, experience a new culture, learn from inspiring instructors and guest speakers, prepare for college, and make lasting friendships along the way.

Accommodations & Meals

In Tokyo, we stay in an international student residence in dormitory-style suites with ensuite bathrooms. Students have access to common space for class, community meetings, and socializing. Leaders reside in the same residence as students throughout the program. Each day we begin with breakfast at our residence. For lunches, seminars or small groups may eat together either at restaurants or head to a local market to shop for a picnic. Dinners are taken in restaurants or at our residence. Please note that lunches are not included in the tuition.


Find a community of like-minded peers, invested in personal and intellectual growth. Like you, they are curious about the world and eager to have a positive impact on it. Everyone attends Community Meeting each evening, where the group shares ideas, successes, and goals, and sets plans for the coming day. Become part of a community that supports and nurtures your interests, and make lasting friendships along the way.

Guest Speakers

Gain inspiration from the experiences and perspectives of industry leaders and professionals. Guest speakers bring to the program diverse backgrounds with high-level, real-world experiences and insights. Whether a young entrepreneur or an expert in the traditions of sumo, each speaker structures their workshop or lecture to relate to the seminars and their area of expertise.


In addition to your in-depth seminar, explore other interests and topics in elective workshops offered by instructors and students alike. Tap into the unique knowledge, skills, and abilities of your peers and instructors to expand your Pre-College experience, learning on topics ranging from the best ramen ingredients to the art and history of the Samurai sword.

“Every day I would wake up in the morning knowing I was going to have a grand new adventure. Our leaders were fantastic—we had very adventurous classes and workshops that brought us all around Tokyo.”

— Alexei B., Brooklyn Friends School, New York, NY


Choose a seminar and explore Tokyo through the lens of your chosen course. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with local experts, and field trips. Tokyo’s rich historical and cultural background combined with its leading-edge technology and innovation make it the perfect setting for our field-based seminars. Our dynamic seminars are designed to encourage hands-on, place-based, collaborative learning.

Anime & Illustration

This interactive, hands-on course introduces you to the world of Japanese anime and manga. Develop your illustration and design skills as you learn from skilled instructors and guest artists steeped in Japanese animation techniques. Read more

Fashion Design & History

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Tokyo redefined its presence on the fashion scene with the emergence of street fashion. In this course, explore street fashion’s historical roots, and the political, social, and cultural factors that helped it take shape. Read more

International Business & Trade

What makes a business succeed in today’s market and what are the steps taken between identifying a need and opening your (real or virtual) doors? What are the key similarities and differences when comparing business management in the West to the way it is approached in Japan? Read more

Japanese Cuisine & Culture

Nothing quite conjures Japanese cuisine like the image of sushi, that quintessentially Japanese meal. There is much more to Japanese cuisine than sushi, however. Read more

Japanese Language: Out of the Classroom

This seminar is open to students with at least two academic years of Japanese study who wish to improve their language skills by focused study and daily interaction with native speakers. Read more


Designed for photographers of all skill levels, this course teaches the basics of photography and composition before diving into more advanced shooting techniques and editing instruction. Read more

Technology & Innovation

With robots staffing the reception desks of Canon, 3-D technologies creating zoos and aquariums at the Sony Museum, and high-speed train lines connecting it to the rest of Japan, Tokyo is a global leader in technology and innovation. Read more


Our Pre-College instructors are accomplished academically and professionally. They bring to each seminar deep content knowledge and experience in their field, as well as enthusiasm for their subjects, a passion for teaching, and a proven capacity to connect with and inspire students. They are dedicated and caring individuals who also live in dormitories with students, sharing in their lives and fully participating in extracurricular activities.

Meet Our Instructors

Day in the Life

Due to the dynamic nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Tokyo.

Daily schedule

8 AM • Enjoy breakfast with your group at the residence

10 AM • Meet with your seminar and visit cultural centers and parks in the city

2 PM • Break for lunch out with friends and instructors

4 PM • Visit an arcade or specialty museum, like the Ramen Museum, and explore different neighborhoods

6:30 PM • Convene for Community Meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule

8 PM • Eat dinner out in small groups and go to a sumo competition in the city


Outcomes & Final Projects

The Pre-College Tokyo program is designed to immerse students intellectually in their chosen seminar topic as they prepare academically and socially for the college experience. Over the course of their three-week Pre-College seminar, each student develops a final project based on their particular interests, which they present to peers and instructors at the end of the program. Display your photography in a pop-up gallery, present your findings from your International Business seminar, or prepare a feast to share with your group.