Tour Highlights: CSD Japan

The first-ever HOT tour to Japan for high school students was a smash hit! The whirlwind tour covered four major areas: Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Hiroshima. The CSD students were enthusiastic for everything Japanese – history, art, food, and architecture. The students learned about the history behind Shinto and Buddhism religions by visiting the shrines and temple such as Sensoji in Tokyo and the Fushimi shrine in Kyoto. In the historic Higashiyama, Kyoto, the students donned kimono and they looked sharp in the picture with a five-story pagoda behind them. In Hiroshima, they ate the local soul food okonomiyaki made right front of them by small restaurants owners. Throughout the trip, they explored everywhere, from arcades to stores, and from museums to restaurants, trying out new dishes. Some highlights included:

  • Going up the world’s tallest tower, Tokyo SkyTree, at 634 meters (2,080 feet).
  • Eating Japanese cuisine made by the Deaf owner of Fusao, an izakaya near Shinjuku, Tokyo
  • Exploring the alleys of the old fish market of Tsukiji and sampling a wide assortment of fresh sushi and cultural delicacies such as wagyu (Japanese beef)
  • Marveling at the cutting-edge art at the new Team Lab Borderless exhibit in the glitzy Roppongi district, where you can interact with the art
  • Passing through the thousand red-orange torii gates in Fushimi, Kyoto
  • Bowing to the polite deer of Nara, the capital of Japan before Kyoto (710-794 CE), and then passing through the nostril of one of the largest Buddha statues in the world in Todaiji Temple
  • Taking in the resplendence and opulence of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), once a villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu who saw a brutal civil war erupt in Kyoto
  • Wearing kimono and walking through the cobblestoned pathways of the old Kyoto, Highashiyama
  • Learning from the horrors wrought by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 by seeing the A-Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
  • Seeing the floating Shinto torii at low tide in the mountainous island of Miyajima
  • Riding the smooth and sleek shinkansen, the Japanese bullet train that travels at 200 miles per hour

The trip was a busy adventure and an education of the Japanese way of life, such as customs and mannerisms that is very distinct from the Americans’. Cherry blossoms’ pink petals flowered throughout the tour. The students also learned how to navigate the complex Japanese train and subway system, gaining confidence. Lastly, we hope the students went back with a greater appreciation of the Japanese way of life!

Hands On Travel is a 100% Deaf-owned tour operator company that is truly proud to provide inclusive and accessible tours in sign language around the world since 2002.

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