Higher Geography Trip to Japan

Dates: 8 February - 16 February

Teacher: Mr McConnell



Geography pupils set sail for Japan!

Preparations are well underway for the upcoming Geography trip to Japan. Over seven days, eight pupils and two members of staff will travel over 1000 miles to visit this fascinating country. Pupils will experience Japan’s famous cities, fascinating historic areas and volcanic regions, getting a real flavour for the geography of this unique and diverse country.

Keep up-to-date with all the exciting adventures through this blog!


We have arrived!

On Saturday 9 February, the Higher Geography trip to Japan commenced – first stop was the airport where everyone was present, correct and rearing to go!
After a very long flight, the group arrived in Tokyo and headed North on the bullet train after devouring a delicious box lunch. As the journey on the train continued, the geographical landscape began to change from urban to rural, with increasing snow cover. Everyone was quite sleepy from all the travelling, but excited to meet their host families and begin exploring Japan.


Snow, sledging and reflecting.

The group visited Kunohe and were made to feel like V.I.P’s. Dollar pupils had the opportunity to bond with their Japanese hosts through the Kanjiki snow shoe walk followed by sledging –  soon enough everyone was singing Queen songs at the back of the minibus together!

The group also viewed the new tsunami defence wall in Noda town, and heard some of the real-life experiences of the 2011 tsunami disaster. Everyone then reflected on how amazing it was to see and hear how a community has managed to rebuild itself since then.

Now everyone is heading back to Tokyo on the bullet train – which is reaching speeds of up to 199mph.


Sushi, sightseeing and earthquake safety.

The group visited Tokyo today, to take in some of the spectacular urban geography of the city. The first visit was to the Imperial Palace, with pupils noting its imposing defence walls. Next on the agenda was a visit to the Buddhist Asakusa Temple.

Pupils also visited the earthquake and life safety centre, which allowed everyone to experience a magnitude 7 earthquake. This was followed by an information session on what to do if they ever experienced an earthquake in reality.

On their extensive travels around the city the group also had the opportunity to see the 634m high Skytree, as well as the construction area for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Food was served Japanese style, with the group enjoying ‘shabushabu’ pork for lunch followed by sushi for dinner.

After a very busy day, everyone has now headed to bed for some much needed rest before Mount Fuji and Kyoto beckon tomorrow.


Time to relax.

After a busy few days, the group enjoyed some relaxation time in the foothills of Mount Fuji. After visiting the sulphuric outpourings inside the crater at Owakudani, everyone had the opportunity to truly relax by experiencing a traditional Japanese Onsen bath in Yugawara.

Pupils also managed to see the spectacular views up to Mount Fuji from the window of their bullet train to Kyoto.

The group are now settling down to spend the night in Kyoto.


Tranquil Kyoto.

Today, the group experienced the tranquillity of the historic temples, gardens and markets of Kyoto whilst the snow fell gently around them.

The pupils have managed to pick up some Japanese phrases and have been using them appropriately to interact with the locals and tourists. This has come in useful as the boys’ bunny hats have attracted a lot of attention!

Everyone feels that their chopstick use is getting better and better, which means our meal times are getting quicker.


A day in Hiroshima.

The group have now reached Hiroshima, and have had a day of contrasting moods. The afternoon was spent in the peace memorial park and museum and pupils reflected on the devastating consequences of the atomic bomb which dropped on 6 August 1945. This message of peace was not lost on pupils who are living in an increasingly fractured world.

Pupils also spent some free time in the main shopping area of Hiroshima city centre, culminating in what was the culinary highlight of the trip for many – okonomiyaki. The evening was spent in a karaoke booth for an hour and a half – and nobody held back from singing, dressing up and getting fully involved!


We’re Coming Home!

This will be the final blog entry for this trip. We hope you have enjoyed reading about the Higher Geography pupil’s adventures during their visit to Japan.

On Saturday morning, the group visited the island of Miyajima and marvelled at the tori gate that appeared to be floating in the sea. The views from the Itsukushima Shrine were fabulous. However, pupils were most interested in the incredibly tame deer roaming the island.

Everyone has had an incredible week in Japan, and on Saturday we began the long journey home, staying the night in Wakayama before boarding the plane on Sunday morning.