This Geography & Science Disaster Relief school/university trip shows students the reality of living on an island prone to natural disasters and the community efforts to repair, rebuild and rebound. Here’s our Disaster Prevention & Relief short-term study abroad program at a glance:
- Day 1 in Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, batting cages
- Days 2-4 in Kesennuma (hit by the 2011 tsunami): Rias Ark Museum, aquaculture farm, Koyo High School’s emergency planning, Seiryoin (Soto Buddhist Temple that served as an evacuation site in 2011) volunteering, Kesennuma Port guided tour, Oikawa Denim Factory, sushi-making class
- Day 5 in Fukushima: Fukushima Daichi Power Plant tour
- Days 6-7 in Tokyo: Sensoji Temple, Asakusa, Meiji Shrine, Harajuku District, Shibuya Crossing, school visit, Tokyo National Museum
- Day 8 in Hakone: ropeway, Lake Ashi cruise
- Days 9-10 in Hiroshima: Miyajima island, peace talk by A-bomb legacy successor at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum
- Days 11- in Kyoto: Kiyomizu Dera Temple, Higashiyama District, calligraphy lesson, Fushimi Inari Shrine, International Manga Museum, Arashiyama District, Arashiyama Monkey Park, Tenryu-Ji Temple, Daisen-In Temple meditation class, Golden Pavilion, Gion District
Like what you see? Discover Japan’s thriving culture and disaster prevention & relief efforts in our detailed itinerary below! But remember, all our school trips and university study abroad programs are completely customisable.
*Prices based on groups of 20 students and 2 free teachers.
✓ All accommodation costs
✓ Full board meals for the entire trip
✓ All transportation costs, including airport pick-up and drop-off
✓ All activities listed in the itinerary
✓ 1 free teacher per 10 paying students
✓ 24-hour emergency contact support during the trip
✓ Detailed pre-departure summary & briefing
✓ Full financial failure protection
✓ Public liability insurance
✓ Our trips are fully risk-assessed
Day 1: Batting Cages
Step off the plane and meet your guide at the airport before transferring into the city. After your trip briefing, take in the cityscape as you witness the incredible view from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
Call in at the batting cages to experience one of the most popular sports in Japan: baseball!
Day 2: Kesennuma’s History
Jump on a bullet train to Kesennuma. Once you’ve got there in the afternoon, take a tour of the town that was badly hit by the 2011 tsunami. Visit the Rias Ark Museum to learn about how the town rebounded. Then, stop by an aquaculture farm, which has developed sustainable methods to farm oysters and scallops. Go out on boats to harvest the catch from the offshore beds, then assist with processing the catch.
Day 3: Volunteer Day
Head for Koyo High School, which was formerly an industrial high school located near the seafront. Learn about the robust emergency planning that saved students after the tsunami.
Visit Seiryoin, a Soto Buddhist Temple with a 460-year history, which served as an evacuation site during the disaster. Take part in volunteer work such as setting up for the musical events which are regularly held here, cleaning the temple or basic maintenance.
Day 4: Swordfish & Sushi
Listen up as you embark on a guided tour of Kesennuma Port. Observe the auction and tuck into a breakfast of sashimi, whilst learning more about efforts to make the town’s fishing industry more sustainable and attempts to use tourism to stimulate the local economy.
Head to the Oikawa Denim Factory to see how swordfish are used in the production of denim.
Enjoy a sushi-making class led by a master sushi chef, and then eat your culinary masterpiece for dinner. Hear how the restaurant was rebuilt after the disaster from the chef and owner as you eat.
Day 5: Fukushima
Hop on the train to Odaka Station. Tour the area of the Fukushima Daichi Power Plant, which suffered a devastating nuclear meltdown as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The tour is arranged by the prefectural government, and we will only visit areas which pose no risk of radiation exposure. Learn about the accident, evacuation, response and subsequent rebuild.
Return to Tokyo.
Day 6: Culture in Tokyo
Admire the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa and explore the district’s charming streets.
Marvel at the contrast between tradition and modernity in the Harajuku area. Wander through the forest until you reach the Meiji Shrine, then move onto the Harajuku shopping district to see maids, punks, goths, and fashionistas – anything goes in Harajuku!
Watch the city light up at night and head for the Shibuya Crossing. Apparently, it’s the busiest intersection in the world!
Day 7: School Visit
Make lifelong friends at a local school. Typically, you’ll take a tour of the school, join various lessons and play sports and team-based activities.
Visit the Tokyo National Museum to stand in awe of one of the world’s largest collections of Asia’s artworks and archaeological objects.
Day 8: Hakone
Head for Hakone, one of Japan’s best-known and most-loved onsen (hot spring) resort destinations. Take the ropeway over Owakudani. If you’re lucky and the skies are clear, you could even spot the magnificent Mount Fuji.
Swap blue skies for pristine waters, as you hop on a luxury pirate ship and enjoy the stunning views across Lake Ashi. Today, you can also sample black eggs – a local delicacy coloured by the sulphuric spring waters they’re cooked in!
Day 9: Island Day
Catch a bullet train and race across the country to your next destination, Hiroshima.
Explore Miyajima, an island where tame dear accompany you as you explore stunning shrines, beaches and waterfalls. Just offshore, you’ll see an enormous torii gate standing in the sea, one of the most spectacular sights in Japan.
Day 10: Hiroshima’s Past
Learn about the tragedy of the atomic bomb and the city’s subsequent recovery and pacifist mission at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park & Museum. Listen to a peace talk by an A-bomb legacy successor – they’ll present the A-bomb survivors’ experiences, the reality of atomic bombing and the desire for peace.
Board a bullet train to Kyoto.
Day 11: Shrines & Temples
Walk through quaint side streets to the 1,200-year-old Kiyomizu Dera Temple. Here, you’ll enjoy postcard-worthy views over Kyoto. Stroll around Higashiyama District, before experiencing traditional Japanese culture first-hand with a calligraphy lesson led by a Japanese master of calligraphy in her personal workshop.
Visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine, a major Shinto shrine complex in wooded hills. To get onto the beautiful walking trails at the back of the complex, you’ll pass through corridors of thousands of bright red gates.
Day 12: Mischievous Monkeys
Pick your way through the International Manga Museum, home to over 300,000 publications. Watch one of the manga artists stationed there, deep in concentration as they create their art.
Visit the Arashiyama District, on the Western outskirts of Kyoto. Navigate through lush bamboo forests before beginning the 30-minute climb up to Arashiyama Monkey Park. Then, move on to the Tenryu-Ji Temple. Dare to look into the temple’s Dharma Hall to see the dragon’s eyes on the mural – they’ll follow you like the Mona Lisa as you walk past!
Day 13: Golden Pavilion
Tap into your inner peace as a Zen Buddhist monk guides you through a meditation class at the Daisen-In Temple. Refreshed, explore the temple and enjoy an informal tea ceremony with volunteers from the temple.
Time for Kyoto’s most iconic site: the Golden Pavilion. Walk around the lake and be mesmerized by the shimmering golden reflection of the pavilion on the water. Later, stroll through the grounds of the imperial palace, before exploring Gion District where you can learn more about geishas or watch a traditional Japanese performance.
Day 14: Home Time
It might be home time, but it’s not over. Japan’s inspirational reaction to disaster will follow you back to the classroom…and beyond!