(Please check-out the itinerary for this trip to see what sort of things we’ll do, plus see photos from the 2009 Japan trip here!)
Experience Japan with Worldschool Travel Tours in summer, 2010 when the festivals are happening and fireworks are flying! This trip is especially for homeschooling and unschooling young adults and teens who want a real adventure and taste of Japanese culture!
I tried to offer a trip like this for summer 2009 but in the end there just weren’t enough people. But the Japan in Autumn, 2009 trip is full and I know a bunch of people who will be interested in this trip!
As on the November, 2009 tour we’ll be seeing Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima, Himeji Castle, and Mino “Monkey Mountain”.
We’ll have a Japan Rail Pass and travel from city to city on the Shinkansen “Bullet Trains”.
And on this trip we will:
-See numerous beautiful temples and shrines along with the lovely gardens and bamboo groves that are often next to them.
-Eat real Japanese sushi, “tako yaki” (fried octopus dumplings), miso soup, fried udon and soba with teriyaki, and other great foods you might not have heard of like “oden”, “nabe”, “katsudon”, and maybe some “natto” (slimy fermented soy beans) if you dare!
-Soak in relaxing “onsen“: traditional Japanese hot springs both right in the city and outdoor in the mountains.
-See a couple impressive castles in Osaka and Himeji.
-See manga shops, wildly dressed Harajuku girls, and intense video game arcades.
-Encounter tame deer in Nara.
-See people walking around on the street in majestic kimonos about once a day or more including in the crowded intersection in Shibuya, Tokyo. (You can’t see any kimonos in this photo but I have a short video from my camera where you can: will try to upload it!)
Because it’s the summer we’ll also be able to wear and see many people in “yukata”: light, casual, summer kimonos. And we’ll go to some of the many festivals Japan has in the summertime.
I have to say I’m not much of a fireworks person but the fireworks I saw in Osaka, Japan when I lived there in 2004 just amazed me. I’m looking forward to seeing them again and know people will love them!
Here is the basic info:
Worldschool Travel Tour: Japan in Summer, 2010
Dates: July 20th-August 10th, 2010 (three weeks)
Cost: $4,000 with airfare from San Francisco, lodging, and a Japan Rail Pass
Estimated expenses during trip: $1,000
Group size: 5-6 young adults, plus a parent/child pair to help with chaperoning
Recommended age range: 15-20 years old
I’m now offering the opportunity for a parent and younger child to come on the tour if the parent is willing and able to help with chaperoning in exchange for a discount on the cost of the tour!
I’ve also raised the price to $4,000 because of increased airline costs and the flight will leave from San Francisco.
We’ll be staying in youth hostels and guesthouses that are clean and comfortable. But we may share dorm rooms with other travelers and they will not be fancy hotels.
I don’t include food in the cost of my tours because I want people to have the experience of buying basic things and understanding their value in the country. But we’ll almost always eat together and probably cook some meals together after shopping at a Japanese grocery store!
A down payment of $1,250 will be due by February 15th, 2010. Another $1,250 will be due by April 1st, 2010. And the final payment of $1,500 to complete the $4,000 total will be due by May 15th, 2010.
I try to make these trips as affordable as possible. I really encourage the young adult travelers on my tours to earn money of their own for the trip. For some families this is the only way they can afford it. But I think everyone can benefit from the empowerment and financial independence that can come from working and making your own money. It’s something I’ve gained a lot from besides money!
Awhile ago, I wrote a blog post about this with many practical tips: Earning Your Own Money For Travel.
There are people on my trips who have paid for them completely with the money they earned themselves. Another person reached out to her friends and family for contributions to financing this dream come true for them: traveling in Japan.
I may write another post with more information about raising money because I know many people are intimidated by the subject.
You can also read my post: Preparing for Travel in Japan. That has recommendations from cool Japanese movies to watch, books to read, Japanese language help, packing list, etc.
If anyone has any questions about this or future tours (I’m working on planning more now!) please feel free to comment here or e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you! Arigatou gozaimasu!
Addition: I just created a Worldschool Travel Tours fan page on Facebook! You can join and follow our progress on the November, 2009 Japan trip and get updates about the summer 2010 Japan trip and other upcoming tours.