On Saturday, 14 April, 31 students and 4 teachers assembled at the airport for the Northholm Grammar School tour to JAPAN!!! For some students, this was their first trip outside Australia and everyone was excited about the prospect of being able to experience Japanese culture and food first hand. Our first meal together was at Ginza at a Sushi restaurant, where students were shown how to fillet a fish.
They learnt how to make their own sushi and to our surprise everyone was keen to eat wasabi and raw fish. Students soon learnt how to negotiate the crowds, move on and off the metro in Tokyo using their Suica cardsas we visited the sights with our local guide over three days of sightseeing -Meiji Shrine, Harajuku Takeshita Street, The Imperial Palace, Shibuya crossing, Tokyo Skytree, Asakusa and Disneyland! Students gained an understanding of the size of Tokyo from the top of their hotel, the Sunshine City Prince Hotel, when we caught the lift to the 48th floor one evening to see all the light!
Our next adventure was to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto where we kicked off our sightseeing with a bike ride through Gion. Fortunately some of the blossoms were still out and the scenery was amazing. We stayed at the Sparkling Dolphins Inn, a traditional Ryokan, and students soon learnt how to change into slippers as they entered the foyer. Our adventures continued with a tour around Kyoto which included seeing the Kinkakuji Temple, Heian Shrine, Nijo Caslte, Kiyomizudera Temple, Ryoanji Temple and lunch at a local Japanese restaurant. The following day, we went by train to Nara where we walked through beautiful forests and visited amazing temples and shrines.
A highlight of the trip for many was the day we spent at Universal Studios, where students enjoyed rides and attractions, such as Harry Potter World! Our final destination was Hiroshima where we visited the Peace Park and museum. Students learnt about the devastation of the bombing of Hiroshima first hand. We also visited beautiful gardens and the castle. Our final day was spent exploring Miyajima Island.
Unfortunately it was raining but that did not stop us catching the cable car and walking to the top of Mount Misen past more temples and shrines in a whiteout! We all arrived home safely with lots of souvenirs and plans to return again as soon as possible.
Rosemary Ramage, Head of Department for HSIE, Languages and Faith and Life.