Blog post 13
Written by Maeve O’Connor
Again, our early morning started in our ryokan – a traditional Japanese inn. After having our Japanese style breakfast, we headed out to make a placemat using Nishijin weaving.
In Australia, we think that on packed buses there are usually only ten people standing and all the seats are taken. In Japan, it’s a totally different story. As we experienced after weaving, the bus we caught to our next location was slightly smaller than the average Australian bus but had around 25 people standing, with all seats taken.
Finally, we arrived at Kinkakuji – the Golden Pavillion.
Kinkakuji temple was built as the retirement home for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. His grandson, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, built Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavillion).
With kin (金) meaning gold, the top two floors of the temple are completely covered in gold.
After our walk around Kinkakuji, we had green tea and traditional Japanese sweets while overlooking a part of the beautiful gardens in the area.
Afterwards, we went on a 25-minute walk to our next location: Ryoanji. Ryoanji is famous for its rock garden – we know it sounds boring but trust us, the area was incredibly pretty due to the Autumn leaves which flourished on the last part of our walk through Ryoanji.
After heading back to the ryokan, we ended our day with an hour-long “meeting” in Agnes and Mary’s room. Here, we shared a box of なまやつはし, which is sort of similar to mochi but with a filling inside, such as red bean paste or chocolate.
Blog post 14
Written by Maeve O’Connor
Today we went to one of the most famous tourist destinations in Japan: Fushimi Inari. We walked through the markets outside, had lunch and tried taiyaki (it was delicious!), before walking through the famous Torii gate pathways.
In the morning, we also tried Aizome t-shirt dyeing. First, we chose patterns and drawings, outlined them with wax, and then we each had a turn to dye the shirts.
We all had an obento for dinner, before meeting in Bridget, Mara and Phoebe’s room at the ryokan.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the day and hope to see the Torii gates again!
Blog post 15
Written by Pheobe Trainor
Today, on our last full day of the Japan Study Tour, nine students, teo dedicated senseis and I all left early from our Japanese inn to catch a train from Kyoto station to Nara – a well known town and the place of the famous Big Buddha. After we arrived at Nara station we caught a bus from the station to the main temple called Todaiji where the Big Buddha is located.
As we all walked towards the temple we were greeted by a swarm of deers, all very eager for food. We all spent a good 20 minutes feeding the deer – or in some cases running away from them. Once we were safe inside the temple we were able to see just how big, the Big Buddha really is. We were able to read about the history and making of not only Buddha, but the other four stunning statues. We were all also fortunate enough to go through the ‘Buddha’s nose’, with the promise of a long-lasting life once going through. The temple was a beautiful place to visit that not only gave us all a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and religion, but also a greater appreciation for the different types of beauty around the world.
That night after having a delicious dinner and looking at all the photos from the day – that did not do Nara justice – we all headed to our Christmas party at the Japanese Inn. At the party we were able to reflect on the trip so far, the experiences we have had and the knowledge we have learnt – all whilst giving out our Secret Santa presents and enjoying a delicious Japanese Christmas cake.
Overall today, as well as every other day of the Japan Study Tour has been a once in a life time experience – one that I’m sure none of us will forget. The amount of knowledge, insight and perspective we have all gained from the short amount of time we have spent in Japan is bound to help us, not only in our senior Japanese studies, but also beyond the school grounds in everything we do.
Blog post 16
Written by Cate Wheadon
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Today was our last day in Japan. Everyone was so sad to leave because of how much we had learnt over the past two and a half weeks. We have all developed a greater appreciation for the Japanese culture through the homestay experience and visiting many significant temples and shrines that enriched our understanding of Japan, having lots of fun along the way.
We started our day with a challenging yet rewarding craft activity, in which we used string and beads. Everyone was very pleased with their end product and some even put them on their phone cases as decoration.
After that, we had lunch in a street with many small restaurants and traditional Japanese desserts. Everyone enjoyed their final meal in Japan. We then made our way to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, which we walked around in for a little bit, admiring the masses of bamboo and taking in some of our last moments of sightseeing in Japan.
On our way back to our ryokan, we stopped by a temple across the road. There was a very large main temple with a few smaller ones scattered around the grounds. The familiar smell of incense greeted us as we walked inside of the temple, and the immediate reverence and serenity of people deep in prayer made us feel very calm. Visiting these sorts of temples shows the dedication to faith and worship that followers have towards their higher power.
And then finally, it was time for us to grab our bags and say goodbye to the lovely workers in the ryokan for their hospitality and generosity during our stay. We thanked them many times and then made our way to the airport.