Encinitas youth can apply for visit to sister city in Japan

Local ninth and tenth graders can apply for a spot on an upcoming trip to Encinitas’ sister city in Amakusa, Japan.

A delegation of three students and one adult chaperone will travel to Amakusa from approximately July 27 to Aug. 5, soaking up the city’s culture.

The trip typically entails participating in a welcome celebration, hanging out with host families, practicing writing Japanese characters, participating in a tea ceremony and going on a dolphin-watching tour. That’s according to Nick Buck, recreation supervisor with the Parks and Recreation Department, who will serve as the chaperon.

Encinitas and Amakusa set up a Sister City Program in 1988. The cities partnered as an outgrowth of a major triathlon and because they’re both easy-going coastal areas, according to a history of the program on the city’s website.

Every two years, Encinitas students visit Amakusa to “foster mutual understanding, respect and goodwill,” state’s the city’s website. Amakusa youth will likely visit Encinitas in summer 2017, as the cities typically alternate years, according to Buck.

Only ninth and tenth graders (entering tenth or eleventh grade in fall 2016) living in Encinitas can apply. They must submit a 500-word essay on why they’d like to visit Amakusa and how their experience can benefit the Sister City Program. Students don’t have to speak Japanese to be eligible.

Download an application and find further instructions by visiting The city must receive essays by 6 p.m. on April 22.

Buck said the trip is currently slated for July 27 to Aug. 5, but could be moved up or back a day or two depending on travel accommodations.