Our Japan Tour blog continues with student reflections on the time spent exploring Yanagawa and having to say farewell to their host families as the tour group now travels to Hiroshima.
Aftyn Whitfield – 7 July 2017
Today we were greeted at our Sensei’s (teacher) house. Our first adventure for the day was taking a river cruise on the Yanagawa River. Not only did we sing traditional Japanese songs but learned about the history of both the river and the old castle that it guards. It was fascinating to learn of the river as a source of protection to a building.
For lunch we went to a special restaurant that served us cooked eel which is the Yanagawa local dish. Although it seemed a little weird at first, we all enjoyed it very much. After lunch, we met with some Yanagawa locals to try on yukata, which are light kimonos. They were so comfortable!
The absolute highlight of today was experiencing a traditional tea ceremony. This ceremony is the ritual of preparing and servicing Japanese green tea. The ceremony also includes Japanese sweets made from rice and sweet beans. It was amazing to experience this ceremony first hand, especially understanding the deep history involved. We were then shown how to play a traditional instrument called koto, which is a traditional stringed instrument and the national instrument of Japan. Later we departed with our host families for our last night with them.
Georgia Koetsveld – 8 July 2017
Today was a very sad for us as we said goodbye to our host families. We all felt so welcomed into their homes and sharing their lives for the brief time we did was an incredible experience and one that we will never forget.
After our goodbyes, we travelled to Hakata by a rapid train. From Hakata station we took a bullet train to Hiroshima. The bullet train was an amazing experience! Once we arrived, we dropped our luggage at the hotel and travelled by train and ferry to Miyajima Island. We saw the great Torii, the floating gate, Itsukushima Shrine and took photos with the deer that roamed freely on the island. The views were very beautiful. Now we are taking the train back to our hotel to freshen up and go for dinner. The weather was hot and humid but pleasant.