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Freelance and Travel Writing Workshop, 28 nights from $3800AUD 

Tokyo, Japan


Tokyo is the world’s most populous city, and is an alluring mix of tradition and modernity. Grannies soak their bones beneath tiled murals in communal bathhouses while salarypeople sip sake in smoky dens, and incense wafts from majestic temples just metres from throbbing nightlife strips.

Sink your teeth into the best bits of Tokyo with Astray, from the hedonistic buzz of Shibuya to the quaint winding laneways of Nippori. Over the course of four weeks, you and a team of other creatives will be living in an adorable family-run guesthouse and attending daily journalism workshops taught by passionate freelancers. You’ll refine your writing skills, learn how to pitch and get published, penning two stories and putting together an eBook guide to the city. 

You’ll also be wrapping your tongue around the Japanese language — learning the basics so that you can order food and drinks, get around and make pals with people on the street. In your free time, you’ll be singing your heart out at karaoke, slurping ramen in tiny eateries and maybe even zooming out to the fabled snowy mountains one weekend.

Learn what you don't get taught at uni

This program provides practical, real-world experience, and has been designed to be a bridge between writing privately and entering the workforce as a freelance writer. Applicants vary in levels of experience — some are fresh out of high school, others are in the throes of a journalism degree, some are studying something super random and others have never been to uni. Maybe you’ve filled eight travel journals over the last five years; perhaps the only writing you’ve ever done is graffiti on the back of a toilet door. We cater to all ability levels, and though experience helps, it’s not at all necessary — we’ll teach you everything you need to know, and guarantee that you’ll have a wealth of new skills and confidence (plus a fantastic story worth pitching) by the end of the week. In fact, many students often keep writing for us on a freelance basis once the course is over.

What you get

    • Daily writing, editing and freelancing workshops. Classes go for between two and three hours each weekday. Click here for a subject breakdown.
    • 30 hours of Japanese language lessons
    • A half-day Japanese cooking class
    • One month’s accommodation in a traditional family-run guesthouse in either Arakawa or Kuramae.
    • 24-hour support, care and mentoring
    • Potential university credit via the Work Integrated Learning program: if you’re a journalism, media or communications student, enrolment in the program gives you the potential to receive a full subject’s worth of university credit. So far, we’ve had students from RMIT, Wollongong University, Charles Sturt University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, UNSW, QUT, the University of Queensland, Curtin University and more receive credit, as well as those attending schools in New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

Dates and Cost

Next program: January 15 – February 12, 2023

  •  $3800AUD for a shared room

Once you get in to the program, a $500 deposit will be required to confirm your place, and the rest will be due eight weeks before the program starts. If we have to cancel, the program is fully refundable. If you have to cancel, the program is fully refundable less the deposit until six weeks before. Payment plans are available and can span for up to six months after the program finishes.

Travel respectfully and sustainably

We’re determined to encourage a culturally relative approach to travel, which is why we make language classes a compulsory element of the course, support locally-owned businesses and partake in cultural activities. We’re also fiercely committed to social justice and supporting diversity in the work we publish, giving space to voices that have been traditionally excluded from mainstream media and building an accessible community around storytelling.


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Astray is run by a team of writers who mostly live, work and play in lutruwita/Tasmania. With reverence, we acknowledge the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the rightful custodians of the land, which was stolen and never ceded. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.