Oral tolerance is thought to play a role in preventing allergic responses and immune-mediated diseases. An improved mouse model of the oral tolerance to Japanese cedar pollen (JCP) as antigen was developed in order to detect induction of the tolerance, and the immunological characteristics of this model were also elucidated. Oral tolerance was induced by C3H/ HeN mice given an oral administration of 10 mg JCP 7 days before immunization with an i.p. injection of 0.1 mg JCP in complete Freunds adjuvant (CFA). The effects of oral JCP on systemic immunity were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of immunoglobulin (Ig) levels in serum collected on day 7 or 14 after immunization. Oral tolerance to JCP was adequately induced on day 7 after immunization and was more effective in C3H/HeN mice than in BALB/c mice. The tolerance was primarily concerned with the decreased serum levels of antigen-specific IgG. In these mice, oral administration of JCP also suppressed various immune responses to the antigen including delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), total IgE level and anti-JCP IgG1 level. The suppression of these immune responses by the oral antigen was associated with a significant reduction in interleukin-4 (IL-4) production. These findings therefore indicate that this C3H/HeN mice model has potential use in detecting the induction of oral tolerance by JCP, and suggest that this tolerance model may be effective in the treatment and prevention of allergic responses caused by the antigen.