Give your students an authentic taste of Japan. Japan‑in‑a‑Suitcase is a traveling educational program that gives elementary school students a chance to experience Japanese culture, customs, and contemporary life. Choose among four topics — each aligned to grade-level TEKS — that will ignite your students’ curiosity and open their minds and hearts.

“We really enjoyed having you and the wonderful presentation on Japan. Our students are still talking about it…We want to include this for next year. At lunch yesterday, the students experienced eating with chopsticks. Some of them did quite well! Even our principal received instructions on chopsticks from the participants. It was a fun conclusion to our introduction to Japanese culture.”

-Dallas teacher

Book or Volunteer:

Kamishibai: Japanese Storytelling

Pre-K – 2nd Grade

Why is there a baby in a peach? How did one-inch boy save a princess? Presentation includes an engaging Japanese folktale with picture cards, cotton kimono demonstration, plus a Japanese song or origami activity (K—2nd).

Teacher Materials (PDF)

Kids’ Arts in Japan: Origami and Calligraphy

3rd – 5th Grade

How does a flat piece of paper become a three-dimensional animal? Can a single word be a work of art? Students will learn the history of ancient art forms that are popular with children in Japan even today. They will make their own origami creations and write Japanese calligraphy with a brush pen.

Teacher Materials (PDF)

School Life in Japan

3rd – 5th Grade

Who cleans Japanese schools? Why isn’t there a cafeteria in most schools? Students will discover the answers to these questions and more through a presentation of Japanese school items. They will learn to count to ten and write simple Japanese “letters” with a brush pen.

Teacher Materials (PDF)

Daily Life in Japan

3rd – 5th Grade

Why do Japanese leave their shoes at the door? If there are no beds in a Japanese house, where do people sleep? Students will learn about Japanese homes, food, entertainment, and money. They will practice Japanese manners and create an origami chopstick holder.

Teacher Materials (PDF)


  • Maximum 30 students per presentation
  • Presentation length: 50 minutes
  • Maximum of 2 presentations per day
  • Between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm
  • Teacher must be present at all times during the presentation
  • $75 first presentation, $50 for second presentation at same school on same day


All presentations include:

  • Introduction to Japan’s geography
  • Basic Japanese words & greetings
  • Oral presentation with photos & objects
  • Hands-on activity
  • Teacher resource materials

Learning Partners

Japan-in-a-Suitcase is an approved program of Learning Partners – A  Program of Big Thought, a nationally recognized collaboration that provides high-quality arts and cultural activities to all Dallas Independent School District elementary students each year.



A native of Tokyo, Japan, Maki Hasegawa has been a Japan-in-a-Suitcase presenter since 2018. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of Japanese culture in classrooms throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area and with the community.