Kyoto Startup summer School 2018

Come Join the Future Change Makers.

August 19th - September 2nd, 2018


KS³ Program Modules

Kyoto Startup Summer School is composed of different modules taught and facilitated by our diverse teaching team members. While the detailed program for KS³ 2018 is not finalized yet, here are some exciting modules we are planning to incorporate:



Learn the different startup skills and gain the necessary entrepreneurial mindsets.



Sessions covering various relevant must-know startup topics.

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Startup Weekend

Super intense 54 hours to start your entrepreneurial journey with local members.



Interactive sessions with trailblazing entrepreneurs.

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Panel Discussions

Discussions and conversations with some of the most interesting people in the industry.

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Company Visits

Check out the high tech companies and startups in the Kyoto region.

The global community


Since it's inception in 2016, over 100 people from 26 countries have been involved in Kyoto Startup Summer School, the most international program of its kind in Japan. 

Come join our community of innovators in the intense two-week program that brings together world-class entrepreneurs and educators.


The Awesome Team

The wonderful workshop facilitators, lecturers, and supporters of KS³ 2018, in alphabetical order.

  Aki Saarinen  CEO,  Reacktor Japan

Aki Saarinen
CEO, Reacktor Japan

  Anja Svetina Nabergoj  Lecturer,  Stanford d.school  Professor of Entrepreneurship,  University of Ljubljana

Anja Svetina Nabergoj
Lecturer, Stanford d.school
Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Ljubljana

  Anteo Quiroz  Innovation Coach,  Kromatic

Anteo Quiroz
Innovation Coach, Kromatic

  Bjoern Eichstaedt  Managing Partner,  Storymaker

Bjoern Eichstaedt
Managing Partner, Storymaker

  Evgeniia Filippova  Senior Scientist at the Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics,  Vienna University of Economics and Business

Evgeniia Filippova
Senior Scientist at the Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business

  Isshu Rakusai  Co-Founder and CEO,  NOTA INC.

Isshu Rakusai
Co-Founder and CEO, NOTA INC.

  Jouni Laitinen  Investor Operations Lead,  Slush Tokyo

Jouni Laitinen
Investor Operations Lead, Slush Tokyo

  Julio Terra  Director of Design and Technology Outreach,  Kickstarter

Julio Terra
Director of Design and Technology Outreach, Kickstarter

  Kenshin Fujiwara  CEO,  Hacarus

Kenshin Fujiwara
CEO, Hacarus

  Kyohi Kang  Co-Founder and CEO,  Atmoph

Kyohi Kang
Co-Founder and CEO, Atmoph

  Mark Lozano  Digital Marketing Strategist

Mark Lozano
Digital Marketing Strategist

  Maxwell Weiss  Managing Partner,  Millennium 7 Capital

Maxwell Weiss
Managing Partner, Millennium 7 Capital

  Naoko Minami  Assistant Director,  KYOTO Design Lab , Kyoto Institute of Technology

Naoko Minami
Assistant Director, KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology

  Phillip Seiji Vincent  Managing Partner,  Plug and Play Japan

Phillip Seiji Vincent
Managing Partner, Plug and Play Japan

  Sabrina Sasaki  Marketing,  Makers Boot Camp

Sabrina Sasaki
Marketing, Makers Boot Camp

  Satoshi Kabasawa  Chief Habitat Officer,  Sunbridge Global Ventures

Satoshi Kabasawa
Chief Habitat Officer, Sunbridge Global Ventures

  Shin Yamashita  Technical Staff,  KYOTO Design Lab , Kyoto Institute of Technology

Shin Yamashita
Technical Staff, KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology

  Sushi Suzuki  Associate Professor,  KYOTO Design Lab , Kyoto Institute of Technology

Sushi Suzuki
Associate Professor, KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology

  Tom Foley  Founder and CEO,  Silver Egg Technology

Tom Foley
Founder and CEO, Silver Egg Technology

  Tomohiro Inoue  Technical Staff,  KYOTO Design Lab , Kyoto Institute of Technology

Tomohiro Inoue
Technical Staff, KYOTO Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology

  Tugi Guenes  Storyteller / Community Manager,  Sunbridge Global Ventures

Tugi Guenes
Storyteller / Community Manager, Sunbridge Global Ventures

  Yan Fan  Co-Founder & CTO,  C  ode Chrysalis

Yan Fan
Co-Founder & CTO, Code Chrysalis

  Yuji Fujimura  Evangelist,  Autodesk

Yuji Fujimura
Evangelist, Autodesk


Where is KS³?

Kyoto Startup Summer School is based in Kyoto, the city of tradition and innovation in Japan.


Kyoto was once the capital and the largest city in Japan, a vibrant imperial city full of craftsmen, artists, and merchants. While it lost both titles to Tokyo in recent years, Kyoto remains the cultural heart of Japan with over 2000 temples and shrines.

In addition to being the center of tourism in Japan, Kyoto is an important hub for the information technology and electronics industry in Japan. This is the city where alongside traditional craft workshops, one can find world class companies and startups. It is also the home to Nintendo and birthplace of Super Mario and Pokemon. In recent years, the IoT movement is gaining traction, building on the city's existing expertise.

Kyoto is also a university town boasting 37 universities and 140,000 students which creates a dynamic city life. This is the city where you can find some of the best food in Japan from cheap student ramen restaurants to Michelin-starred establishments.


Come join us... Next Year!


Application Closed for 2018

Kyoto Startup Summer School 2018 Applications are now closed. Thank you to everyone who applied and if you haven't heard back from us yet, you should be hearing soon. If you missed your chance this year but want to join in the future, please leave us your e-mail and we'll get back to you when the 2019 applications open.


Questions you might havE

Answered before you even ask them! Some might call this the FAQ section.


What does the tuition cover?

There are many costs involved in running KS³ such as the honorariums for the lecturers and materials for the workshops. Much of the cost is covered through the partnerships, but we want you to contribute to running the program as well.

Will housing be provided?

No. Being a popular tourist destination, there are no shortages of hotels, guesthouses, short term rentals, and hostels in Kyoto to fit all budgets and needs. We're sure you'll find one that fits your budget and need.

Will food be covered?

For some of the events such as the mixer, there will be food and drinks provided, but you are mostly responsible for your own nourishment. Don't worry, there are plenty of affordable ramen restaurants and student eateries in/near the school.

What can I expect for daily expenditures?

Despite the long surviving stereotypes from the 80s and early 90s bubble era, Japan is no longer an expensive country to visit. These days, the cost of living in Kyoto is on par with similarly sized Western European or North American cities and definitely cheaper than any Nordic countries. For a bed in a hostel, expect to spend between 2000-3000 yen while a single in a guest house can go for 5000 yen and hotels slightly above that (of course you can splurge too if you have the means). Obviously sharing housing with people will make it cheaper, and in the years past, participants have shared larger AirBnBs to save lodging costs. Cheap lunch and dinner can be had for 300-600 yen though your satisfaction will be higher if you spend a bit more. Transportation within the city is about 200 yen per trip. 1 USD is roughly 110 yen and 1 EUR is roughly 135 yen (or for those mathematically challenged, just lop off two zeros).

Why is the Startup Weekend fee separate? How much will it be?

While the Startup Weekend Module is an integral part of KS³, the organizing body is slightly different and the fees will have to be charged separately. In the years past, we've done our best to reduce the cost (5000~6000 yen) which does include all meals for the weekend (7 meals).

Are flights to and from Kyoto covered?

You wish :). You are responsible for making your own arrangement to come to Kyoto for the duration of the program. There are no airports in Kyoto and the closest international airports are in Osaka (Kansai International and Osaka Itami) which are well connected to the rest of the world. Airports in Tokyo are more than three hours by train and not recommended because of the distance and cost.

Can I get a refund for partial participation to the program?

No. There will be no refund on partial participation, early withdrawal, or absence from the program.

If I've been accepted and made my payment, but my plans change, can I get a refund?

Except in extreme cases, refunds will not be provided after the payment has been made.

Can KS³ issue visas?

If you need a visa to come to Japan, we can provide the required documents for you to apply for a visa, but it's your responsibility to get one. Do check out the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website.

What's the difference between early and regular application? Is there any advantage to applying early?

Those who apply early will find out earlier if he or she is accepted to the program, giving more time to plan for the summer. Besides that, there is no difference in eligibility or pricing for the two different applications. Sorry, no early bird discount.

Do I get Kyoto Institute of Technology student status or units?

No. Technically, you'll be considered a "workshop participant" and not a student of the university. However, you will receive a certificate of completion from the KYOTO Design Lab.

I'm still new to university without any useable skills for starting a company, can I still join?

Of course! Entrepreneurship like engineering and design is another skill for your future, and this is your opportunity to learn.

I don't speak English very well, can I still join?

Sure. However, in order to get the most out of KS³, you should have basic English skills in order to understand the workshops/lectures and be able to do team work.

Do I have to attend all the sessions to be part of KS³?

Yes. Participants are expected to attend all the the sessions unless they have a reasonable excuse (e.g. illness). The certificate will not be issued to those who clearly did not take part in KS³, even if they were accepted.

I'm applying with a friend. How can we make sure we both get in?

We can't guarantee that we accept everyone applying together, but we will take it into consideration. On your side, you can help us out by writing the best application you've ever written :).


Got other questions? Feel free to e-mail sushi@kit.ac.jp





If you always dreamt of starting up but lack the confidence or skills, you’re in the right program. KS³ will push you out of your box, test your boundaries, hone your skills while creating new ones, and allow you to innovate freely. You'll be surrounded by people from different walks of life with different pains and passions but with the same entrepreneurial mindset. Good luck, have fun and welcome to the best entrepreneurial program of your life!
Vikki Daet
KS³ participant 2017



Whether you want to start your own journey into entrepreneurship or just like the way they get things done and want to try they're techniques for yourself, KS³ is well worth your time! Not only will you learn skills that you can incorporate into any business situation, but the people you meet and the setting you'd be working in will fill you with an energy that makes you ready to take on the world!
Jamie Evans
KS³ participant 2017
United Kingdom



KS³ gave me an awesome, international network. I learnt so much about different types of start-ups, and loved learning about the Japanese culture at the same time! Can only recommend!
Henriette Friis
KS³ participant 2017


KS3 is a wonderful opportunity for any aspiring entrepreneur to learn and practice the most essential skills and mindsets of entrepreneurship — all in a condensed timeframe of two weeks. On top of that, they get to meet people from all around the world which broadens your horizons and helps in facilitating innovation.
Anja Svetina Nabergoj
KS³ workshop facilitator 2017
Lecturer, Stanford d.school
Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Ljubljana



KS³ was a great opportunity not just to learn about entrepreneurship and creating my first business, but it was also a great opportunity to meet fellow aspiring entrepreneurs and make lifelong friends. The hurdle to starting a company definitely went down after KS³.
Shun Tamaki
KS³ participant 2016
CEO, Kyoto Teahouse


Special thanks to these amazing companies and organizations for making Kyoto Startup Summer School 2018 happen.


The Organizing Team












About the KYOTO Design Lab

KYOTO Design Lab (D-lab) is the platform for Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT) to facilitate collaborations in the fields of architecture, design, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Since its inauguration in 2014, the D-Lab has played the role of incubator where various areas of expertise come together to discover and solve social problems through ground work research and development.

D-lab bases the project execution on participatory learning approach and aims for societal implementation of innovation through international programs such as workshops and joint projects with prominent researchers, designers, architects, and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

D-lab’s location makes it the natural incubator for innovation across disciplines. The ancient capital’s deeply rooted networks of traditional makers with their centuries-old knowledge and skills base sit alongside those focussed on Kyoto’s more contemporary aspect as the home to new technology-based industries and start-ups.

Backed by the research excellence of the Kyoto Institute of Technology, D-lab facilitates this crucial meeting of both worlds to ensure that hands-on innovation can take place.