Japanese Sister City Program

Exchange Program

Independence High School & College Students have a travel opportunity for a two week home-stay in Japan.

American Ambassadors

Travel Opportunity to be a Student Ambassador to our Sister City Higashimurayama

You Are Invited to apply to the City of Independence’s unique program for cultural exchange. If you like to meet new people, are interested in foreign cultures, and would like to be a part of a world-wide association promoting peace and understanding then please apply. Up to ten students will be chosen as Student Ambassadors to represent Independence in our Sister City, Higashimurayama!


Candidates must be residents of Independence, going to Truman, Chrisman, Van Horn, or Fort Osage High Schools; or going to a private school, or are a home-schooled student. Candidates may also be college students going to a local college or attending an out-of-town college if their parents live in Independence. The age requirements are 15 years old or having completed their freshman year of high school up to 22 years of age. Students must uphold high personal standards of conduct and earn the recommendation of school officials.

Applications for the upcoming delegation will be accepted at the beginning of the school year and collected until the interview process begins. Students will have time to prepare for the trip by attending classes to learn about society and language. The escort and numerous guest speakers will assist in preparing the group for the trip.

Opportunities in Japan

When in Japan the Student Ambassadors will meet with the Mayor of Higashimurayama, City Council, School board, and other city officials. They will tour historical and present-day tourist locations, and have hands-on activities from the Japanese culture. Each student will live with a host family and experience real Japanese life. During this time the students will visit the Elementary Sister City School and the Junior High Sister School, as well as meet with and get to know the Japanese Student Ambassadors. For pictures of some of these events go to our photo album page.

By the end of the experience American students will have not only been able to visit Japan, but they will have a Japanese family, feel a part of the community and have friends for a lifetime. The same opportunity is given to the ten Japanese Student Ambassadors and these two groups will have been able to spend many weeks together between the exchange programs. Students are not required to host a Japanese student but it is available and highly suggested for a full experience.

  • Download an Application for Student Ambassadors
  • Download a Student Delegate Conduct Agreement

American Host Families

Be a Host Family, Host a Sister City Student from Higashimurayama

Families, preferably with teenagers at home, can host one of the Higashimurayama Students for their stay in Independence. Families will not only give them a place to sleep and live while they are here but also share their daily lives with them. Families are given time over a weekend to take their student to special events the family enjoys as well as attend the provided pot lucks, pool parties and events for the whole group that are hosting Higashimurayama students.

A full schedule is provided for the Higashimurayama during the day and the student only needs to be dropped off and picked up at specific locations, which often is the Sermon Center. Visiting Students tour Independence historic sites, Fire and Police Stations, schools as well as other planned events such as a trip to the Plaza or a tour of the Harley Davidson factory. Worlds of Fun, Baseball, water parks and boating are also planned into their days, and the Sister City Commission takes care of these activities for the host families.

Puppet Theater Higashimurayama Student Host Families

Host families can share home life, holidays, favorite sites in the Kansas City area that are not covered by the Sister City Commission and make sure the student gets to see things that are in their particular interest. It is a very rewarding time and learning experience and a wonderful time your family will never forget. Many families stay in contact with their host students for years to come.

  • Download Application to be a Host Family a Japanese Student
  • Download an Informational Form for Japanese Exchange


  • Download an Application to be an Exchange Chaperone