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What Happens?

The program of activities onboard is exhilarating, varied and challenging. The SWY core structure consists of;


  • Pre-departure orientation and Official local visits (Tokyo)
  • Local Homestay Program in a Japanese prefecture with a host family


  • Lectures, Seminars, Discussions on World events
  • Letter Group Activities
  • Voluntary Club Activities
  • National Presentations
  • Japan Expo
  • Port of call activities
  • Marine Affairs and Drills


  • Post program evaluation
  • UK and Global promotion of SWY for local youth integration and future participants
  • International informal and formal exchanges
  • Sponsorship and development of local business and educational networks

A typical day at sea (note: no two days are ever the same)

7.45 – 8.30 Breakfast
8.45 – 9.20 Hoisting of National Flags/Morning Assembly
9.30 – 10.15 Ice breaker
10.30 –11.15 Lecture/Seminar
11.30 – 12.15 Follow up discussion
12.30 – 14.00 Lunch
13.30 – 14.00 National Leaders meeting
14.15 – 15.00 Sports and Rec 1
15.15 – 16.00 Sports and Rec 2
16.15 – 17.40 Club Activity
17.50 – 18.30 Letter Group Meeting
18.30 – 20.00 Dinner
20.00 Freetime!

Youths are split into letter groups (A-O), with one person from each of the 15 participating countries & about 5 Japanese youths per group.

This group serves as your basic unit of organisation for carrying out activities during the program .

You meet every morning and afternoon, introduce your home country, learn about new cultures and discuss selected topics, anything from global ‘hot’ issues to geography to politics to film & music – ITS UP TO YOU. You administer your group, organise sports, icebreakers and team-building exercises and try to make your group the best possible (beware sports day!)


Lectures & Seminars

7 international speakers live onboard with you to present and discuss their specialist fields. Previous topics include;

  • UN Volunteers
  • African Studies
  • Educational Studies
  • Japanese Society
  • Globalisation
  • Psychology
  • Environmental Studies

Seminars were opportunities to broaden international perspectives, brainstorm and discuss issues pertinent to the topic. Affiliated with the United Nations University, lectures qualify as UN University lectures and you even get a certificate from them to say so!


Club Activities

Participants get the chance to learn and share common hobbies and interests during official scheduled times, often overflowing into free time and holidays. You can choose any group and get the chance to demonstrate the fruits of your labour at Exhibition day.

Many activities centre around Japanese culture, some are musical and some sporty.

Previous clubs include;

  • Wadaiko (Japanese Drums)
  • Sado (Tea Cermony)
  • Kitsuke (Kimono wearing)
  • Japanese martial arts (Kendo, Judo, Shorinji Kenpo)
  • Soccer
  • Languages
  • Press club
  • Dance, music and theatre

National Presentations

Set as a 30 minute stage show, each country presents their own political, social, cultural and historical background to its fellow participants. It allows for personal reflection and recognises new or forgotten aspects of each nation.

The British delegation unites to show and tell aspects of British culture. Preparation and planning is done at home, with practice, costumes and effects continuing onboard.

You will be amazed at all the things you didn’t know!

Port of Call Activities

Upon arrival at each port of call, previous participants (known as ex-PY’s) come aboard the Nippon Maru to explain the forthcoming activities in their country, provide cultural information and give travelling tips to its visitors.

For 2 or 3 days, participants break from their onboard activities to experience a selection of educational, governmental and social activities in the visited country and as such often include;

  • Local institutional visits (schools, governmental)
  • Heritage site visits
  • Cultural institutions/Local exhibitions
  • Guided Tours
  • Sports Activities
  • Integrated community activities/meetings with local youth
  • Free time.

Port of call activities give a snapshot into local life and youth development. Likewise Embassy Officials (eg. British Embassy Official for that country) and local Youth leaders are invited aboard the Ship to discuss and promote SWY goals/future ambitions , with a view to gaining wider exposure in that country and back at home.Fijipool