International exchange in Tottori Uni.

Report on the Educational Kyoto Trip



Preparations for the Study Trip

The Kyoto Study trip for the international students was organised by Tottori University and took place on the 5th and 6th of March, 2015. The international students were accompanied by Associate Professor Dagnachew Aklog and Ms Chie Uraki from the International Affairs Division. The trip participants were also supported by the Japanese students of Tottori University.

In my opinion, the success of a trip depends on the organisation that takes place prior to the trip. In these terms Kyoto study trip was organised, managed and carried out very thoroughly. An orientation meeting was held a month before the trip. During the orientation the programme of the trip and the rules were presented and clearly explained. For the first day of the trip, 5th March, all the international students had the same schedule. However, the second day of the trip, 6th March, was planned to be spent in groups. For this purpose during the orientation, the Japanese students, Kyoto trip supporters, presented their suggested sightseeing sites and activities. After the suggestions were considered, international students were divided into 4 groups according to the sightseeing suggestions of their preference. As a high school teacher in my country, I have organised many study trips; thus, the observation of the trip management gave me many good tips to be taken into consideration.

What is more all the students were provided with an informative brochure with the schedule of the trip,  names of all the participants, rules, tips on what to take on the trip, useful and educational information about Kyoto, description of the  sightseeing sites, explanations on how to pray in a shrine and a temple, Kyoto souvenirs. As far as I am concerned the brochure was very well organised and the information was essential for the participants. The brochure itself was not only informative but also colourful which is always enjoyable.

The First day of the Trip

The trip started by the explanation of the schedule, self-presentation of each participant and games that broke the ice and enlivened the atmosphere. Therefore, the way from Tottori to Kyoto passed very quickly and cheerfully.

For the first day the must-see sites were wisely chosen. Firstly, Kiyomizu-dera, officially Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera, an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. The temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site. I was impressed by the picturesque scenery around the temple and the cultural difference from the religious point of view, since it was my first visit to the temple. I observed the way people behave in the temple and tried to pray according to the Buddhist customs. June san and Rio san helped me to discover the world of temples which I am very grateful for. I had a great opportunity to compare and contrast Catholic customs with Buddhist ones. I strongly believe that visiting a temple for the first time needs assistance of the Japanese people because many questions arise and it is important to regard the worshiping place with all the due respect. On Kyoto trip, the international students were fully assisted in this matter.

Another important must-see place we visited was Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), which is acknowledged as a National Special Historic Site. To my mind this is the jewel of Kyoto, the beauty of the temple literally took my breath away, I could not help taking a number of photos so as to memorize the moment I saw this jewel!

As far as my sightseeing experience is concerned, the objects that had been chosen for the for the first day of the trip were worth visiting, considering the fact that the most of the participant had visited Kyoto for the first time.

The day full of history and temple customs was finished at Utano Youth Hostel. I would like point out that the choice of the hostel was very reasonable. Firstly, it had neat and beautiful Japanese style rooms and bathroom. Secondly, the food was delicious. Finally, there were a lot of recreational facilities in and around the hostel; such as games, a hall for entertainment activities, cosy lobby,   tennis courts. Talking about the entertainment activities, Japanese student did a great job by playing team building games with the international students. I truly enjoyed the games and got to know the participant of the trip better.


The Second day of the Trip

The final day of the trip was spent in groups according to the sightseeing choices. My group leaders were June san and Rio san. As our group had the biggest number of members – 9 international students, Aklog sensei kindly joined us and helped the Japanese supporters to coordinate the sightseeing day.

Since it was the sightseeing plan of my choice to state that I enjoyed every moment of the day would be to state nothing at all! First of all we were given a special brochure with detailed explanations of every activity of the day; therefore, we could not only enjoy but also learn a little more about the culture and history of Kyoto.

The sightseeing started with Ginkaku-ji (The Silver Pavilion), a Zen temple along Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama). It was important for me to visit this temple so as to compare it with Kinkaku-ji. I found it interesting that the Silver Temple has actually no silver on it. Our group leaders provided us with some reasoning considering this fact. The natural scenery around the temple made me feel peaceful and cleared my mind, I only wish we had had mre time to admire the nature of Ginkaku-ji.

The key activity of the day was the actual involvement into the cultural art Sensu ( a traditional fan folding craft). Every member of the group discovered an artistic side of their personality while thinking about which picture to draw on the fan, what colours to choose, how to decorate. I was excited by observing the group mates working on their fans. I recommend this activity to every person who would like to experience a Japanese traditional craft and create a unique souvenir!


The trip was finalised by a tremendous quantity of outstanding Buddhist statues that we observed in Sanjusangen-do temple、 a Buddhist temple in Higashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan. 


Final Comments

I would like to thank the international Affairs Division of Tottori University for organising the Kyoto trip that helped the international students to get to know the culture and history of Kyoto. In my opinion the trip is both educational and recreational. I recommend all international students to join the trip in the future.


Precious Moments of the Trip