2021 Pen-Pal Program  交換日記

Due to the global pandemic, travel aboard programs were cancelled this year. Instead of traveling, we are piloting an online pen-pal program between Corning and Kakegawa, Japan. We hope you will create connections, learn something new, smile, and maybe meet your pen-pal on a future annual trip to Japan! Can't travel? Hosting here in the USA is an option too!

Families and individuals of all ages are welcome to participate! Each month, we will have a topic for you to discuss with your pen-pal. You can share pictures, ask your own questions, and share your interests and hobbies. We will do our best to match pen-pals with those of similar age and/or interests.

Students should seek parent permission and discuss what is appropriate to share prior to joining this program as a family.


Interested? Click the link below to add your contact information. We will send you an e-mail with details on the program and arrange an information session for participants by early April 2021.

Travel to Japan (2020 and 2021 Postponed)

If you are looking for an affordable way to visit a foreign country, this may be the opportunity for you! The Sister Cities Association of Corning, NY is looking for students, age 14 and up, interested in a one to two week visit to Japan during the summer of 2020.

We are looking for student ambassadors to represent the Corning area and the United States of America who have an interest in understanding the views and lifestyle of the Japanese.

Kakegawa, Corning’s Sister City, is a small city on the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo. In this Sister Cities’ exchange trip, students stay with host families in Kakegawa, immersing themselves in Japanese family life and culture for three to four days, and then spend time in a traditional Japanese town before returning home.

Your homestay family will almost certainly have school age members who will become friends and show you details of their life and interests. A chaperone will accompany you on the trip and any side trips.

The total cost of the trip including hotels, trains, food, entertainment, and airfare is estimated to be about $2500. Additionally, membership in Sister Cities Association at the “Family” level of $25 is required. Most costs in Kakegawa will be covered by the host family. Financial awards may be available.

This trip provides a rare opportunity to sample Japan as a family member rather than a tourist, to experience aspects of both ancient and modern Japan. Exact dates of the trip are determined each year but normally are in early July.

  • Fall 2021 - Fill out the Interest Form

  • January 2022 - Trip Information Meeting at Corning Painted Post High School Room D-130

  • March 2022 - Application Due & Recommendation Forms (Passport Information also Due)

  • March 2022 - Culture and Language Preparation Meetings begin, Copy of Passport, Photo Release, and $25 Family Membership Due 

  • April 1, 2022 - Book Trip & Payment Due

  • June - July 2022 - Trip

  • July 2022 - Trip Debriefing / Report

  • March 2023 - Sister Cities Annual Meeting Trip Presentation

Here's what we did in 2019

We proudly sent a high school senior and a college student to Japan in July of 2019 accompanied by a father and daughter chaperone team. They enjoyed sights in Kyoto, Nagoya, and enjoyed the home-stay program we offer to citizens of the Southern Tier. 

From August 6-14, 2019 we hosted our largest number of Kakegawa visitors of all time! 13 students and 4 adults traveled from Japan and were hosted by Corning area citizens where they visited the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning Painted Post High School, Corning Community College, The Benjamin Patterson Inn, and Niagara Falls. They also visited a local equine facility in which they interacted with horses, learned about Native American Peoples, made beaded necklaces and ornaments at Hands on Glass, and even volunteered at the Foodbank in Elmira.

Although 2020 trips have been cancelled due to COVID-19, we are looking forward to future travelers and generous host families. We hope you will consider traveling with us when conditions are safer.