Explore Japan Trip for International Students (Winter 2014)

The Explore Japan Trip for International Students is held twice a year, in summer and winter, with the aim of offering international students an opportunity to experience Japanese culture and of building friendship among Hitotsubashi University students. This winter, 37 students, including 32 international students and 5 Japanese support students, visited Obuse in Nagano Prefecture.


The students visited Zenkoji Temple and then strolled down Nakamise Street. After that, they went to Gyokushoin Temple, a subtemple of Zenkoji Temple, where they enjoyed Buddhist cuisine and transcribed a sutra using a calligraphy brush. Some students had difficulty sitting on their soles while transcribing the sutra, as they are not accustomed to this practice, but they traced the model sutra with great earnestness.


Later that day, they were impressed by the omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) offered by the owner’s wife at Yudanaka Shibu Onsen Yado, the hot spring hotel where they stayed overnight. They enjoyed the outdoor hot spring while looking out at the snowy landscape.


Early the following day they visited Jigokudani Yaen-koen, a world-famous sightseeing spot. After watching snow monkeys enjoy the hot springs right before their very eyes, the students tried some local cuisine in Obuse and then viewed Ganshoin Temple’s ceiling painting of a Chinese phoenix by famed ukiyo-e artist Hokusai.


The students took many pictures of the cute snow monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen-koen, so they stayed there longer than scheduled. Walking around Obuse, they enjoyed the beautiful townscape that retains the feel of yesteryear and tried traditional Japanese chestnut sweets. Their trip of two days and one night was very fruitful thanks to the full schedule of events.


The international students on the trip were from many countries, including China, Korea, Taiwan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Germany, the UK, and Australia. Through this trip they discovered unique aspects of Japanese culture and history and developed friendships with students from different grades and majors. They learned not only about Japanese culture but also other countries’ cultures through this international exchange. The trip was a very meaningful one for everyone involved.





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