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Gilston Visits Japan

Gilston’s biennial Japan Tour was held over fourteen days in the September holidays. Students from Years 5, 6 & 7 participated in the tour which took in the sights at five cities throughout Japan. From bullet trains to sashimi, castles to kendo, we managed to fit it all in, together with a three night homestay and school visit with our sister-school in Narita.
Beginning in Tokyo, the group enjoyed the big city sights and attractions, both modern and traditional.  A day in Disneyland was much anticipated and certainly lived up to expectations, while the markets revealed some exciting and unusual finds. Students and teachers enjoyed a night out at a Teppan restaurant in Ikebukuro and also belted out some tunes in a Karaoke lounge in Akihabara.
After the bullet train ride to Kyoto, the tour really began to explore the traditional temples and castles of the old Capital. The ninja-proof floors of the Imperial Palace couldn’t be beaten no matter how hard we tried; the Golden Palace was awesome but no match for the old fashioned slide at the Monkey Park or the rubber ninja stars at Eigamura; and the deer roaming wild in Nara were hard to resist!
A last minute addition to the Hiroshima leg of our journey with the opening of Himeji Castle was a real treat, taking in the amazing hilltop castle and the stories of the warlords for whom it was built. Following a sombre visit to the Peace Park in Hiroshima, our day on Miyajima Island, relaxing on the beach with a few bouts of Sumo and sword fighting was just the recharge we needed.
Three nights of Homestay and school visits completed our tour with friendships forged and return visits promised. As always, our hosts at Kobayashi JHS had kept us busy with primary school visits, a meeting with the Mayor and some last minute shopping before departure.
The next tour will be organised for students in Years 5 & 6 in 2016.