May 25 – June 2, 2024

This art-focused journey through Japan explores the fascinating dynamic between artistic expression and cultural identity. Participants will explore the heart of Kyoto, the artistic and ancient capital of Japan, learn about the history of Hiroshima, and explore the enchanting Miyajima island and Nara’s Todai-ji temple. Participants on this program experience firsthand how artistic expression both influences and safeguards cultural heritage and identity.

Trip Details

Global Pillars

To what extent does artistic expression influence and shape cultural identity, and how is it conserved and safeguarded?

What's Included

What's Not Included

Itinerary - 9 days

Travel from Los Angeles to Kyoto, Japan.

Arrive in the evening to settle in and discuss the cultural norms of Japan in preparation for your journey throughout the country.

Begin the day by learning essential phrases in Japanese that will help you to immerse yourself more deeply in the culture and language of Japan. Visit Nijojo Castle. Then, use your hands to practice traditional Japanese garment dyeing. Create your own handkerchief to take home.

Keep your hands active at the International Manga Museum through an interactive workshop that will invite you to create your own story under the guidance of a Manga-ka (artist).

Travel into the past by touring Kyoto’s famous temple known as the Golden Pavilion. Then learn about the significance of tea ceremonies in Japanese tradition by taking part in one. Taste matcha tea and the sweets that customarily accompany the tea.

Take a day trip to the city of Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital and home to the Todai-ji temple built in 752. At Todai-ji, see one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of Buddha and meet the local deer.

Continue your cultural exploration at Kinkoen where a master ink maker will lead a nigiri sumi (grip ink) workshop. Shape your own ink stick ornament to take home.

At the Fushimi Inari Shrine, stroll beneath 10,000 bright orange torii gates, one of the most iconic sights in Japan.

Later, at the Kiyomizu-dera temple, explore the picturesque architecture of Japanese-style gates, halls, and the Otowa waterfall. At the waterfall, visitors catch each of the three streams of pure water with ladles and pray for purification of their six senses and to make their wishes come true.

Stroll from Kiyomizu through the narrow streets of Kyoto to Gion (historic Geisha district) stopping at scenic points along the way.

Visit Kyotographie, an organization using old homes and temples as museums and art galleries transforming the whole city of Kyoto during an international photography festival.

Board the shinkansen (bullet train) to Hiroshima. Stroll through the downtown and meet with a local to learn about the history of the city, marked by the atomic bomb detonation of 1945. Spend the afternoon at the Hiroshima Peace Museum, taking in more stories of the devastating events and how the lives of the residents were changed forever.

On Miyajima island, famed for its giant torii gate, explore the city with a guided tour to take in the beautiful landscape and wealth of history and culture. In the afternoon, enjoy structured free time for souvenir shopping in small groups. 

Visit the small, historic community of Takehara where you’ll be welcomed by a traditional dance performance by a local dance group working to preserve the Takehara dance.

Spend your afternoon in an interactive workshop, learning to make a bamboo calligraphy brush with local artisans. Use the brush to create Japanese calligraphy designs. Then meet with a local taiko drumming group for a demonstration.

Cap off the day by singing your heart out with some karaoke, originally created in Japan.

Begin your journey home.

Health & Safety

Insight has delivered international trips for a wide variety of audiences, including both adults and youths, since 2013. Our top priority from start to finish is the health and well-being of our participants. In the event conditions change while on trip, Insight may need to adjust the itinerary to ensure participant health and safety.

As with all trips, risks do exist and participants will need to complete Acknowledgement of Risk documentation prior to departure. Insight will take every precaution to ensure this experience is truly unforgettable, all for the right reasons. To learn more about our health and safety practices, please contact us.

Please refer to instructions sent by your school.

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