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Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholarship for Unitarian Universalist Seminarians at Non-UU Theological Schools

Exterior photo of Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Suzuka, Japan.

Tsubaki Grand Shrine is an ancient Shinto shrine in Suzuka, Japan, and a historic interfaith partner of the UUA.

The Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholarship is available to Unitarian Universalist seminarians (in candidate status) attending non-UU theological Schools who have an interest in international and interfaith engagement. Scholarship recipients will be provided with funds to travel to the Tsubaki Grand Shrine (TGS) in Suzuka, Japan as well as room and board at the Shrine for two to three weeks, typically during July or August. (Starr King School for the Ministry and Meadville Lombard Theological School have similar programs.)

TGS is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, dating back to the first century BCE. The long-standing relationship between Unitarian Universalism and TGS has its roots within the International Association for Religious Freedom.

This scholarship was established by Guji Yukiyasu Yamamoto, the 97th guardian priest of the shrine:

  • to promote international and interfaith understanding;
  • to provide opportunities for Unitarian Universalist seminarians to develop a deeper understanding of shrine Shinto tradition, customs, and practices; and
  • to further develop close relationships between the Tsubaki Grand Shrine and Unitarian Universalists.

Application Procedure

  1. Complete an application form and submit no later than 5 pm eastern on February 28, 2020. You can submit via our online form below.
  2. The application must include an essay explaining your interest in this scholarship, your preparedness for an international interfaith experience, and how you expect this experience to inform your training for ministry.
  3. All candidates must include a letter of recommendation from an academic advisor and a minister in Final Fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The recommendation letter is due, via email to with the subject line: Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholarship Recommendation, by the application deadline. Applicants must be in "Candidate Status" with the UUA. No exceptions.
  4. All application requests MUST be complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Application Review

Applications will be reviewed and approved by the UUA’s Director of International Resources. 


Scholarship recipients will be in the position of representing Unitarian Universalism while they are visiting TGS and must be prepared to fulfill this responsibility effectively. The UUA’s Director of International Resources will provide preparatory materials for scholarship recipients.

Within one month of returning from their visit, scholarship recipients must submit a report about their experience suitable for publication to the UUA’s Director of International Resources and their academic advisor.

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2011 Tsubaki Grand Shrine scholarship recipient Christian Schmidt posing before a waterfall.

UU seminarians (in candidate status) attending non-UU theological schools who have an interest in international and interfaith engagement are invited to apply for this incredible opportunity.

2014 Tsubaki Grand Shrine scholarship recipient Ranwa Hammamy posing with with two miko (Haruna Ota on left, Seira Ueda on right)

Read personal reflections from previous Tsubaki Grand Shrine scholars.