Posted on 22 October 2018
In the September school holidays, 17 Japanese students from Year 10 and Year 11 travelled to Japan as part of the biannual Japan Tour. The two week trip saw the students indulge in one week of travel and sightseeing, followed by a one week home-stay with families from Ormiston College’s sister school, Kanagawa Gakuen.
During the week of travel, we visited Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima, Nara and Osaka. Within these world-renowned towns and cities, the students explored many UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Himeji Castle, a national treasure that has never been destroyed by wars or natural disasters, Kinkaku-ji, a golden temple, Kiyomizu-dera, where students had the opportunity to become involved in traditional practices, and Todai-ji Temple, home to the world’s largest wooden buddha. Students also had the opportunity to visit the Owakudanai volcano, cruise Lake Ashinoko, visit the Deer Park in Nara, feeding and patting the deer, as well as visiting many other temples.
During our day trip to Hiroshima, we visited the Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum. The students viewed the Atomic-Bomb Dome, reflecting on the horrific incident that occurred during World War II in 1945. We also had the opportunity to listen to personal recounts from those who witnessed the bombings, an emotional experience for all. To show our support in Japan’s hope for world peace, we hung a thousand paper cranes at Sadako’s Statue in the centre of the peace park on behalf of Ormiston College.
Throughout the first week, students took part in many cultural experiences, including travelling on a bullet train, traditional Japanese dining, karaoke, table tennis tournaments, hot spring baths, and sleeping on a futon on tatami mats. Students tasted a range of Japanese foods including raw fish, ramen, and okonomiyaki, a savoury pancake.
The second week was an eye-opening experience for many students. After meeting students and teachers from Kanagawa Gakuen, the group separated across Yokohama as they arrived at their host family’s homes. The students spent the weekend visiting many attractions with their host sisters, before experiencing a typhoon on Sunday night. As well as living with their host families, the students went to school with their host sister, participating in English Communication, Home Economics, Calligraphy, Chemistry, PE, and dance classes. Later in the week, students visited Tokyo Sky Tree and Kamakura. These were beautiful sightseeing spots, and involved more cultural experiences, as well as a trip to Shibuya, the world’s busiest crossing.
The 2018 Japan Tour was a memorable experience, with many new friendships made and many cultural experiences explored. All students were very sad to leave their host families, but had become much more determined to work hard in their Japanese studies, so they could soon return to Japan.
We would like to thank Mrs Carson and Mrs Middleton for making the Japan Tour such an enjoyable experience.
Chante and Olivia
Senior School Students