Wednesday | November 22nd 2017 | Hiroshima
For the last big IES Abroad Tokyo field trip, we went all the way to Hiroshima by shinkansen. Our first day here we were guided by a survivor as we ventured through the A-bomb museum. It’s hard to capture the emotions of the overall experience into words, so I’ll simply say this: history is important. History must never be forgotten. It is irresponsible to overlook one’s history for the past is constantly informing the present, which in turn affects our future. The rest of our time here consisted of exploring, exploring, and exploring! We even got to meet up with students from Bunkyo University (Caleb was a former teacher here) as we explored Miyajima Island.
P.S. For those traveling around the Kansai region, if you are short on time, consider cutting out Nara because there are deer on Miyajima Island.
Saturday | November 25th 2017 | Osaka
As the rest of the group went back to Tokyo, I decided to take the weekend to explore Osaka and Kyoto since I was already in this area. Some of my friends who did not go on the Hiroshima trip were already in Osaka so I stayed in their Airbnb for the night, easy!
Sunday | November 26th | Kyoto
After Osaka, I spent a day and a half in Kyoto doing some solo adventuring. Given my fascination with temples and autumn leaves, known as kouyou or こうよう, I knew I had to explore Kyoto.
To be completely honest, Kyoto was so full of tourists that it was a little hard to truly bask in the beautiful scenery, say in comparison to Nikko.
Nonetheless, this week long adventure of traveling was ridiculously fun. Traveling through Hiroshima allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese history, and the close quarters brought all of IES Abroad Tokyo even closer. In Osaka, I ate — I mean, I was only there for a night. In Kyoto, I took too many pictures. And visited too many temples. My feet hurt so badly by the end of it. But it was all worth it!
General advice about travelling in Japan —
Shinkansen — In my opinion, this is the best option available. It’s fast, comfortable, and easy to use. The downside would be the expensive price, but because I was able to get a student discount (gakusei waribiki or がくせい わりびき) through KUIS, I saved a lot of money.
Plane — Some of my friends opted for air travel because it’s a relatively cheap and fast option. I didn’t go with this because of the added stress of going to an airport, flying on a plane, checking luggage, etc.
Overnight bus — The absolute cheapest option when travelling around Japan, but it’s definitely the most uncomfortable, and takes the longest. You simply might not have enough time to fit in an 8-hour bus ride, so plan accordingly.
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Hailing from Southern California, I traveled the (not so) great distance of seven miles to attend Occidental College in Los Angeles. At Oxy, my coursework in American Studies and Sociology allows me to explore American history, literature, and culture. While abroad, I aim to broaden my understanding of the American experience, improve my Japanese, and grow as an individual.