School trips to Japan - Tokyo, Kyoto , Osaka by Maikoya

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School Trips to Japan Overview

A school trip to Japan is one of the most rewarding things for educators because students from all ages and educational levels gain valuable life lessons and grow mentally in the land of the rising sun. Japan is not only the third largest economy but also the birthplace of unique values and concepts embraced all around the world including but not limited to the zen, ikigai, manga, anime and martial arts. Japan is also safe and always amaze young learners with the abundance of unique educational activities and engaging facilities.

Example Japan School Trip Itineraries and Experiences

Most school trips to Japan tend to be from the US, UK and Australia and last around 7~10 days. Most student trips include a direct flight to the Narita Airport in Tokyo and departure from the Kansai Airport in Osaka. School trips usually include 4 days in Tokyo, 4 days in Kyoto-Osaka Area and 1 day in Hiroshima. Most school trips usually include a 4-day Hotel stay in the Shinjuku District of Tokyo and a 4-day Stay in the Shin-Osaka Area of Osaka (Osaka is only 15 minutes from Kyoto and Osaka Hotels are a bit cheaper).  A Typical Japan Trip Itinerary looks like

  • Day 1-Tokyo: Landing at the Narita Airport and Checking at the hotel
  • Day 2-Tokyo: Meiji Jingu, Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo Tower
  • Day 3-Tokyo: Tsukiji-Toyosu Fish Market , Sushi Making and Origami at Maikoya , Shinjuku Gyoen, Tokyo Metropolitan Building
  • Day 4-Tokyo: One day getaway to Nikko Toshogu Or Fuji Mountain Area
  • Day 5-Osaka: Checking at the Hotel at Shin Osaka, Osaka Castle, Calligraphy Experience at Maikoya, Dotonbori Food Tasting
  • Day 6-Osaka (Kyoto): Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kiyomizu temple, Gion District, Meet a Geisha at Gion Geisha Museum
  • Day 7-Osaka (Kyoto): Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Nishiki Food Market, Kyoto Tea Ceremony, Samurai & Ninja Experience
  • Day 8-Osaka (Nara): Nara Day Trip or Mount Koya Day Trip
  • Day 9-Osaka (Hiroshima): Day trip to Hiroshima, Miyajima Shrine, visit the Atomic Dome and the Peace Memorial
  • Day 10: Free time, shopping, Taking off from Kansai International Airport

Samurai & Ninja Museum with Experience in Kyoto

This is the best possible museum tour  for any school trip bundled with hands on experiences as it appeals to all students from all ages. The fact that this museum is located right next the the Nishiki Market, one of the oldest markets in Japan, makes it a must do tour activity for any school trip. The ticket includes -crash course on Japanese history -Dressing up as a samurai - putting on a ninja bandana and throw ninja stars -use a ninja blow gun -watch a samurai show. This group activity can be jointly participated by up to 100 students. You can reserve by clicking on this link more info

Samurai & Ninja Museum with Experience + Tea ceremony Value Package

This is an ideal cultural experience package for school trips. The value combo includes the samurai history crash course, samurai and ninja experience, samurai show and a hands on traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Since the venue is right next to the Nishiki market and Gion Geisha District, the guides can also give your student group a free walking tour of those attractions. This activity can be jointly participated by up to 50 students. You can reserve by clicking on this link or email us to get more info

Tea Ceremony with or without Geisha for School Groups

Tea Ceremony is a perfect school trip activity as it includes so many different cultural aspect of the Japanese culture and a hands-on ancient ritual. Students learn about zen, harmony, turn taking, silent communication, Japanese architecture and Japanese food culture in this simple experience. This activity can be combined by kimono wearing, Gion walking tour and watching/talking with a real geisha. Maikoya is the only place that provides these experiences 365 days a year with a reasonable price. email Maikoya and they will provide a school discount coupon for this special tour and activity.  This activity can be jointly participated by up to 50 students.For more info

Hands on Cooking Experiences in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka

If you are looking for hands on experiences for your school trips to Japan you may consider a cooking class in Tokyo or Osaka as Tokyo has limited landmarks and Osaka is considered the kitchen of Japan. A sweets making in Kyoto may also be fun. Maiko Kitchen in Osaka can accommodate up to 40 students for takoyaki making and okonomiyaki making. Maiko Kitchen in Shinjuku and Maikoya Cooking in Kyoto can accommodate 50 students. For more info


Guided Walking Tours in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima

Maikoya can arrange private certified tour guides that can show you around. Popular tour guide routes in Tokyo are Asakusa, The old and new Fish Market, Meiji Jingu/Shibuya and Imperial Palace. Popular tour guide route for Osaka is Osaka Castle, Shinsekai and Dotonbori walking tour. Popular walking tour route for Kyoto is Kiyomizu temple, Gion and downtown Kyoto walking tour. If this is your first school trip to Japan You can ask Maikoya to introduce you a professional tour guide.For more info

Half Day City Scavenger Hunt in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto

Many school trip organizers and teachers consider a scavenger hunt as a discovery learning method. It can be complicated such as the Tokyo Metro city pass with many challenges or simple such as asking students to take a picture of 5 major landmarks and post them on the group messaging platform. The earliest team wins. Maikoya organizes city scavenger hunts in major Japanese cities and acts as a judge and beginning/ending point.For more info

Half Day Japanese Culture & Zen Workshop in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto

As an expert in the area of school trips to Japan we have a package program called half day culture & zen training. In osaka we hold this session in a Buddhist temple, in Tokyo and Kyoto we hold these sessions at our cultural facilities. Your host will introduce you to the basics of Shintoism, Buddhism and the philosophy of Zen. Then you will have the zen calligraphy experience as a group, followed by a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a zen meditation experience. Very special learning experience for exchange student groups. For more info

Other cultural School Trip Group Activities

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum: A must do on every school trip’s list to learn about the effects of mass destruction weapons and the destruction of wars. Swing by the Sadako Memorial, dedicated to a Japanese girl who believed folding 1000 origami cranes would heal her wounds from the atomic bomb.
  • Ghibli Museum in Tokyo: This is an OK for anime fans but most groups skip this as the tickets tend to be a bit expensive.
  • Kobe Earthquake Museum: Great to learn how disasters affect communities and the importance of infrastructure on city planning
  • Disneyland in Tokyo or Universal Studios in Osaka: Good option if you have younger kids in the group but usually people want to do “Japanese things” while in Japan and skip these two options especially if there is limited time for the whole trip.
  • Campus visits / School Visits: Japanese universities tend to have small campuses but “usually” have some type of cafeteria called “shokudo” open to public. Waseda University in Tokyo, Kwansei Gakuin University in Osaka and Doshisha University in Kyoto have spacious campuses with a garden.
  • Company Visits: Toyota Factory Tours in the Aichi prefecture are popular but you can look for company museums such as Cup Ramen Museum, Suntory beer factory museum, Kao Museum etc.
  • Visiting Recycling Facilities: Many public recycling facility accept visitors, the most famous one is the Maishima Incineration Plant in Osaka near the Universal Studios Japan.

Frequently asked Questions about School Trips to japan:

When is the best time for a school trip to Japan? End of May would be best as it is not so hot, not cold, not too crowded and season when other schools are open. October would be the 2nd idea season as it is when you can see the fall leaves and hotel prices would still be ok. Many schools who are concerned about budget tend to come to Japan in January and February because it is when the flights and hotels are cheapest.
What is the cost of a school trip to Japan? In average, a school trip tour to Japan costs around 3000 USD (+- $1000) for 10 days depending on the departure point, hotel quality and the season. Usually the the flight, hotels and food/transportation/activities are allocated for one third each. We do not organize an entire school trip but we can introduce you some tour agencies specializing in educational trips to Japan.
Can I visit a Japanese high school? If you contact with any high school English teacher or the education department of any municipality, they would happily invite you to an English class as a guest, since students and teachers like interacting with foreigners. Without an appointment, you cannot enter high schools but you can enter university campuses.

What else you should know about School Trips to Japan

The age group and the background of the students you are bringing to Japan are very important. In general it is good to share basic manners and etiquette with your students in advance. Also please be aware of these

  • Restrooms near landmarks. In Japan there are no public restrooms but these 3 options are usually safe: Train station restrooms, Convenience Store Restrooms and Franchise Store Restrooms (e.g. Starbucks)
  • Closest train station EXITS (sometime you may need to walk 10 minutes extra if you get out from the wrong exit at the train station)
  • Closest restaurants that can accommodate your group. Many restaurants in Japan are small and you may need to confirm availability during the peak seasons (Cherry blossom etc.)
  • JR Pass almost all school trip organizers get a JR rail pass for the students
  • Awareness of national holidays and peak seasons. If you travel during any national holiday or the peak tourism seasons keep in mind that the hotel costs may skyrocket.
  • Awareness of Seasonal changes. June&July: It rains a lot, March&April: everywhere gets crowded, January&February: It would be cold to walk outside, August& Early September: it feels super hot because of high humidity, March&September: Japanese schools are closed in case you are planning to visit a sister school, October&November some hotels are expensive because of the Fall leaves season.
  • Pocket Wi Fi : Even though Japan is a developed country it is not like the US or Australia where you can easily get public Wi Fi. So, you may want to get a pocket wifi for each student or have them share.
  • Walkie Talkies for Student leaders: Students may get easily lost as Japan is a crowded country, A walkie talkie set can easily solve this problem without the limitations of the wifi.
  • Health Insurance: It is always good to have health insurance for students and also a plan to what to do if a student is slightly hurt or has a fever. Remember there are very few effective OTC drugs in Japan and you may not be able to enter the country with some prescription drugs.
  • Other things you may want to keep in mind during your preparation: How to prepare  , Surprising things about Japan, Etiquette and Manners in Japan, Signs for travelers to Japan .