(707) 347-9339 info@sebastopolwf.org

Takeo Program Information

Current programs

j02The program’s main activity is a middle school student exchange.  The exchange group consists of approximately 18 student ambassadors per city, selected in Sebastopol and Takeo.  The participants are in their 7th or the 8th grade year of study when selected during the fall application period.  Each group cycle lasts 2 years; in the first year, Takeo students visit and stay with their Sebastopol counterparts, and in the second year, Sebastopol students visit Takeo.  American and Japanese student ambassadors are paired with one another or matched in small groupings and homestay at each other’s houses for approximately 11 days in spring, experiencing their respective cities, cultures and lifestyles.  The student exchange offers adult cultural exchange opportunities, as well, by means of hosting visitors and traveling as part of an adult group or as a chaperone.

j04Many Sebastopol students, families, and citizens have had the unique opportunity to gain rich cultural experiences through the program, whether in Takeo or in Sebastopol.  They have created lifetime friendships bridging the Pacific Ocean and become part of the people to people diplomacy movement.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant shutdown, our program has been postponed. Our current group of students who hosted a Takeo student in March of 2019, are still waiting to visit Takeo when it is deemed safe to travel internationally. SWF and Takeo World Friends are closely watching the updates and travel restrictions. We are committed to resuming our program and organizing our current students’ travel to Takeo as soon as possible. We now hope to go in Summer 2021.

For more information, please contact us at takeo@sebastopolwf.org.

History of the Takeo program


In 1985, Sebastopol, California, and Yamauchi, Japan, signed a sister city charter as members of the Sister Cities International.  Shortly after that time, Sebastopol World Friends began organizing regular cultural exchanges between the two cities in collaboration with Takeo World Friends (formerly Yamauchi World Friends).

In 2008, Yamauchi merged with its neighboring towns and formed the new city of Takeo.  In 2011, a new sister city agreement was signed in Sebastopol by the mayors of both cities.

j05In 2011, SWF received grants from Sister Cities International and the Japan Foundation to organize a Sustainable Development study tour. Eight citizens from our community visited Takeo to learn their best practices in the field of sustainable development.

In 2012, in response to our community’s interest in sustainable development, SWF hosted a delegation of five college students studying fair trade at Kagoshima University in Kagoshima Prefecture on Kyushu Island, Japan From the success of this experience, a new program was developed in collaboration with Kagoshima University Global Institute Center in 2017, and SWF has hosted several student groups through this program since then.

The year 2015 marked the 30th anniversary of this sister city relationship.  

Be a Student Ambassador to Japan

Sebastopol World Friends invites Sebastopol students and their families to learn about the sister city exchange program with Takeo, Japan.  7th and 8th grade students who are attending a middle school in Sebastopol or living in Sebastopol are eligible to apply for the 2019-2020 cycle.

The application process and the hosting and travel overview are presented at the information meetings.  Students and parents/guardians are both encouraged to attend one of the following meetings.

  • Thursday 10/4 at Twin Hills Middle School (6-7pm) 1685 Watertrough Rd. Sebastopol
  • Tuesday 10/9 at Brookhaven School (6-7pm) 7905 Valentine Ave. Sebastopol
  • Wednesday 10/10 at Analy High School Library (6-7pm) 6950 Analy Ave. Sebastopol
  • Thursday, 10/11 at Hillcrest Middle School (6-7pm) 725 Bloomfield Rd., Sebastopol

Financial assistance and a full scholarship are available.

For more information, visit www.sebastopolwf.org or contact takeo@sebastopolwf.org 707-484-0245.

Download informational flyer here

Connect globally. Thrive locally.

Want more information?

Have questions about the Takeo Exchange Program, Please get in touch. We’ll be happy to help.

Takeo Blog

Thank you!

Thank you!

Thank you so much for joining us at the Sebastopol World Friends Friendship Celebration - Where Sushi Meets Borsch on Sunday, April 23 at St. Stephen’s Church in Sebastopol. Approximately 150 guests enjoyed the program and the harmony of sushi and borsch, SWF’s...

Reflections on the recent Takeo visit

Reflections on the recent Takeo visit

I was pleased and honored to be invited to visit Japan as a member of the SWF adult delegation. Japan is a modern industrial and commercial success. We experienced and saw the private lives of the Japanese middle classes. Lives that reflect ancient traditions, ancient...

Sebastopol World Friends return from Takeo City with presence

Sebastopol World Friends return from Takeo City with presence

Sebastopol World Friends recently returned home from their trip to Takeo City, Japan in which 18 middle school students, three chaperones and 12 adults from the community visited the town’s sister city to celebrate the 31st year in unity.

“It shows other ways of being in the world,” Sebastopol Councilmember Patrick Slayter, who attended as the city’s liaison, said. “That’s a really important lesson learned only through the exchange.”

Out and About

Out and About

In a nutshell, the trip has been exhilarating, exciting, and extremely fun!! Today we shadowed at our students' school and the teachers and students greeted us so warmly. It was really cool to spot all of the differences as well as the similarities between our two...

Middle School Shadow Day

Middle School Shadow Day

What I learned from shadowing at a Japanese middle school…

Kids are able to have fun without being disrespectful or rude. They knew when they could or could not mess around and when the teacher started the class, they all go quiet.

The were so kind and showed so much hospitality. The whole school came out of their classrooms to give us a warm good bye.

Welcome to Takeo

Welcome to Takeo

Today in Japan we had lots of fun. We did origami, and played lots of games. Who knew that the Japanese played Uno and Life? We went to the Welcome dinner, and did the dances. One thing I will remember is doing Zumba with Takeo World Friends.