The Japan Study Mission is an amazing journey into the world of Lean thinking. It is not orientated toward any specific kind of business or type of manufacturing. Rather, it is to gain a deep understanding of the philosophy that has allowed the Japanese culture to be revered as the best manufacturers in the world. From start to finish the Japanese are laser focused on precision and quality. If we can understand WHY the Japanese think this way, we will unlock the SECRET FORMULA to answer every question about how to build excellence into our life and organization. We will go to the source and visit grade schools which will give us a window into the early training of their children. We will also visit the Toyota Techno Museum, the birthplace of the Toyota Motor Company. This mind-blowing place will chart the entire history of the Toyota Production System, including the original workshop where Sakichi Toyoda developed his first automobile as well as the production of the circular loom. Along the way, we will also visit Toyota car manufacturing plants and their suppliers.
Meet the Team
|Paul Akers – Leader
Entrepreneur, president of FastCap, author, speaker & Lean maniac.
|Mami Takahashi – Co-Leader
A native of Japan; has traveled extensively throughout the world and was educated in the United States & Canada; is fluent in Japanese, English, and Korean; has organized Lean Study Missions in both Korea and Japan over the past 12+ years.
|Mr Amezawa – Speaker & Lean Adviser
Former president and CEO of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky and vice president of Lexus.
|Mr Yoshino – Speaker & Lean Adviser
Former leader of the original Toyota plant and head trainer of NUMMI union workers.
|Mr Umemura – Speaker & Lean Adviser
President of Mifune, a Tier 2 Toyota supplier of metal stamping.
Hilton Nagoya. Hotel provides toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, Qtips, blow dryer, shampoo, conditioner, soap, robe, slippers, umbrella & hot pot. 110 plug in power is available. Free wifi is available in the hotel and on the bus. Laundry service is available for a fee. In room mini bar is available for a fee you pay at checkout. Hilton Nagoya has a great gym, tennis courts, swimming pool and sauna. Bicycles are available at no charge. Gym is open 24 hours; pool is open 6:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. If any of you were interested in the Lean Health side of Paul’s life are welcome to join him in his workout every morning from 5:30 a.m.- 6:00 a.m and then join him afterward for breakfast where he will discuss healthy eating.
Morning and evening meals will be at the Hilton Nagoya. They have a great buffet with very healthy selections…lots of fish and vegetables. Lunch will be on the road. Healthy snacks will also be provided.
Business casual (e.g., no jeans, no t-shirts, no tennis shoes). Long sleeve shirt required when visiting Isuzu Steel (for safety purposes). Warm coat need in cold months. We will be outside from time to time.
WhatsApp will be the communication tool prior to, during, and after the Japan Study Mission. So if you have not already done so, please download this App or order to be kept in the loop on all important details for this trip.
You are responsible for your own travel arrangements. Book your flights into Nagoya, Japan. The airport code for Nagoya is NGO. You will find the best flights stop over in Seoul Korea (ICH), Shanghai (PUD), Narita , Tokyo (NRT), or Haneda, Tokyo (HND). Paul recommends using the Skyscanner App to book your flight. It’s amazing. Do not make airline reservations until you receive the go ahead from Paul. Please watch the videos below to learn how to get to and from the Hilton Nagoya via bus & train. Please note that they speak very little English.
We recommend you convert at least $50 to Japanese yen upon arrival at airport. You will need cash for bus or train. Most major stores accept credit cards.
Be careful with data roaming. You could end up with a $1,000 bill. Utilize the free wifi at the hotel and on the bus.
Share your photographs and videos from the trip using #japanstudymission or on the WhatsApp group. Any images or videos posted to the WhatsApp group or using the #japanstudymission hashtag may may be used on Paul’s blog/social media/etc.
$5,200 US (includes everything except airfare and transportation to and from Nagoya airport). Upon acceptance, mail or wire transfer $5,200 US to FastCap. A $500 discount will be applied to each individual when sharing a hotel room (please indicate this on your application). Participation is limited to 17 per session and is first come, first serve based on the non-refundable payment. Your position is not secure until 100% payment is received.
Additional questions? Contact Paul via Voxer (paulakers or firstname.lastname@example.org) or WhatsApp (+13609413748).
Videos & Resources
Please watch these video prior to your trip to Japan:
Want to go to Japan?
Who should go?
Google Earth Overview
Catch the bus or train at Nagoya Airport
Catch the train at the Nagoya Airport
Catch the bus at the Nagoya Hilton
Catch the train at Nagoya Hilton to Nagoya Airport
Catch the train at Nagoya Hilton to Tokyo
Common Japanese Words
Japanese Lean Word
Understanding Japan Tips
How to order at Kura Sushi
- Amazing Rest Stop
- Lean Laundry Mag
- Team 15 Recap
Apps referenced during trip:
|My Fitness Pal||Voxer||Zero|
Books referenced during trip:
Every applicant is required to produce a 1-2 minute video stating why you want to go to Japan and why you should be accepted on the trip. The curious need not apply; only those who are serious about moving to the next level. Videos should be sent to Paul via WhatsApp (+13609413748) or email (email@example.com) for registration approval.
After obtaining Paul’s approval, complete the registration form below.
Install WhatsApp (if you have not already done so).
Wait for Paul to give you the go ahead to purchase airline tickets.
Watch videos in preparation for the trip.
Complete this Application
Additional questions? Contact Paul via Voxer (paulakers or firstname.lastname@example.org) or WhatsApp (+13609413748).
If you are looking for the most amazing business learning experience, the Japan Study Group is a must. Three days completely change my vision on how to identify waste and deficiencies in our company. This is an experience like no other. It’s not what you will see, but how Paul will help you see it. Paul did an amazing job at demonstrating how really simple lean is. The Japan experience is great, however the Japan experience with a an amazing leader is off the charts.
Chief Executive Officer
The study tour to Japan with Paul is truly transformative. You will recalibrate your thinking and never look at your company, your country or yourself them same way again. Jam packed, each and every minute, with value added tours, ideas and information. And, the new friends I made on the tour and the learning we shared with each other was fantastic. Also, a note to Paul. I hate to say this because I may want to go back to Japan on another tour with you some day, but I looked at some other groups that make Lean study trips to Japan and their prices are much higher. You definitely provide a great value for the cost. You could raise the price you charge and still give a great value. If you do raise your price, I want a discount on my next tour with you! Ha!
If you don’t go, you won’t know! The Japan Study Mission was truly an experience of a lifetime. It defines Going to the Gemba in a capacity that can only be understood by using your big eyes and big ears. This trip is not for the dabblers, it’s for the bravest, thirsty few. Keeping up with Paul and his passion for showing lean will keep you on your toes! Grateful and appreciative of my Lean learning experience from the man himself!
Walters & Wolf
Las Vegas, NV
Aspiring Lean Zealot
To put into words of what the study mission to Japan with Paul has meant for me. I went to Japan with the intention to learn my next evaluation in the lean process but I got so much more from the experience. The understanding of why the Japanese follow lean and also on so many levels . The experience can’t be gained from a book or a seminar it is truly life changing . You will definitely come away totally exhausted, eager to go home and get started, full of questions and answers but for me I came home with validation and a sense friendship.
Elphinstone Pty Ltd
The Japan Lean Study Mission tour was amazing and incredibly rich with learnings that I would not have gotten elsewhere. It totally exceeded my expectations since every second of the tour we learnt something either directly from Paul, an invited speaker, a plant tour, eating out or even just driving and walking around Japan to see how seemingly Japan’s society operates and integrates. Seeing how much attention to quality (details) is given and the amount of respect is planted into each human being in Japan, almost since they were born, just totally transformed my mind and views about Lean. On this tour I truly learnt what Lean really is about and received new inspirations and ambitions to transform other people around me. I can’t say how thankful I am to just being able to spend time with an amazing and humble person like Paul and learn everything I can from him related to lean and health.
Paul, I wanted to thank you for this amazing, incredible “Lean Tour” (not “Tour about Lean”!). Mamie and you did a fantastic job for putting everything together. The all tour was seamless, intense, very educative, mind blowing…..The group was great (everybody humble), everyone could share their challenges, experiences and eventually helping each other. Everywhere we went to, there was something to take. During this trip I collected so much informations and have seen so many different processes.I can tell you, I came back to the U.S with a different way to look at what is around me. Of course, I will spent my energy on focusing to improve Snapcab. As you know, we already have a great leadership with Glenn, Joe, Caleb and everybody around. But it is still a daily challenge for continuous improvement and creativity. With all the visits and your teaching, I have a lot more tools to work with. Also, you inspired me to make changes (kaizen) in my community, school, neighborhood …(I already started with my wife and my 2 girls). Many times during the tour you said “Japan is all about QUALITY”, I agree. But I also believe, to get to their level of quality (of life and products), we have to start by respected each other better, respected the environment better, respected the material better….
Thanks again Paul for mentored (mentoring) this “life changing tour”
My experience on the Japan Study Mission with Paul Akers was mind blowing. It raised my level of awareness of Lean to a whole new level. I would strongly recommend this trip to anyone wanting to take their business to the next level. I came back with lots of practical tips that I was able to implement very quickly and we have already seen dramatic results.
Seating Matters Ltd.
Amazing experience! The opportunity to visit Japan with Paul was so much more than what I was expecting. A great opportunity to see Lean at its finest and experience the culture that makes it all possible, this tour gave me a whole new outlook on what is possible. A true life changing experience
The Closet Doctor
This is no thematic tour about Lean. It is a LEAN Tour. Every single second of it. Get ready to experience Lean far beyond manufacturing and embark in a journey that will change your life.
This was by far the best lean (study group) tour or any tour for that matter that I have ever been on! It was not only educational but through actual live examples and constant dialog, it challenged ideas and beliefs that I have grown comfortable with stimulating me to change my opinion and understanding of many lean concepts. Awesome, well organized and fast paced trip. The content throughout the experience was of the highest caliber and the first hand explanation by actual high level Lean implementers made it credible and valuable! No BS here, all “rubber meets the road” and solid practice. I loved it and would highly recommend it to any one serious about improving their organization and life as well!
My lean trip to Japan was life changing.
It has shown me how to better myself as a father, Husband and as a business man.
Through my experience I now will view people and situations differntly in order to make the world a better place.
Hill Street Grocer
Paul’s trip is a educational powerhouse of learning experience that will pay dividends the rest of my life. It opened my eyes to opportunities within my business that were right under my nose the whole time I️ just had to view them them through a different vision.
Hardware Sales Inc.
It is pretty simple. I think it was the best money I’ve ever spent on our business. And I’ve got a million dollars of equipment, so it isn’t like I haven’t invested in our business. I think that trip will be paying itself forward for years.
Ted Pancoast Woodworking
The opportunity to learn from Paul Akers is it itself life changing add to this 2 Toyota master instructors and visiting Toyota and Toyota tier 2 suppliers and the whole experience becomes invaluable, an absolute must do experience.
Simply put, these three days with Paul in Japan, visiting world class companies, learning from lean masters and gleaning insight from Paul along the way, has transformed my thinking. I, and our company will never be the same.
Goba Sports Group/Dongguan Shenshui Fitness Equipment
Whilst our (Hill Street Grocer) is still in the infant stages of our lean journey, the Japan Study Mission afforded us the chance to really absorb ourselves. Paul has been(and still is) very inspiring. The opportunities and experiences had are second to none. I can’t recommend this tour enough. You will never look at another process without attempting to make it more Lean.
Hill Street Grocer
I’ve been following Paul Akers for 10 years, but had never previously met him in person. What I experienced during this trip validated my intuition. Paul is a true lean leader with an unquenching thirst for learning, improving, and sharing. This experience was worth every penny! I plan to send team members, executives, and family members.
Trinchero Family Estates Winery