Last week, we organised a cultural trip to Shirakawago and Takayama for international students. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this trip was a twice yearly event, and this spring semester, we had the opportunity to restart the tradition. The trip was defined by amazing food, beautiful scenery and uniquely Japanese experiences. “The Japanese style hotel, the traditional antique shops, the tea shops, and Sarubobo making experience were the most memorable," said Oumaima Benkhdija, a Class of '24 MBA candidate from Morocco.
One highlight was staying at a traditional Japanese ryokan hotel serving a banquet dinner featuring shabushabu hotpot with the regions famously succulent Hida beef. For Oumaima and her MBA classmate Nadia, who is also a JICA student from Morocco, said that it was their first time trying this very traditional style of Japanese cooking. The ryokan was equipped with a public onsen bath, which was also a relaxing new experience for some.
“The Japanese style hotel, the traditional antique shops, the tea shops, and Sarubobo making experience were the most memorable.”
Another highlight was the “Sarubobo” making experience; the baby monkey lucky charms famous in the region. Students put their sewing skills to the test to assemble their very own lucky charms; a perfect souvenir for family back home, made with love.
Interactions with not only the local culture, but also locals themselves (thanks to our Japanese-speaking peers) helped provide an immersive experience for those new to the country.