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Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto

Program Type:Smithsonian Open Enrollment iconOpen Enrollment Learn More

Dates: July 6th - July 17th, 2018  |  Tuition: $3,690 Tuition Details

Service Hours: 20 Leadership hours

SSA Contact: 

Morrison Mast, morrison@SmithsonianSA.com, 202-792-8953

Enroll Now Make a Payment

Dear Families – Welcome to the homepage for the Japan: Tokyo to Kyoto Program! If this is your first time on this page, please read through the categories under Pre-Enrollment to learn more about this unique travel opportunity, or peruse the other categories as you like. Once you have enrolled, please check out the Post-Enrollment information. Around one month before departure, we will post the remaining information under Program Prep to review on a call with the entire group. We hope you will join us on the adventure of a lifetime in Japan!

Program Highlights

  • Try your hand at creating anime
  • Visit the Tsukiji Market
  • Explore the Harajuku District of Tokyo
  • Ride a bullet train to Hiroshima
View Full Itinerary

Smithsonian Student Adventures was created through a collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution and Walking Tree Travel. Although this video is branded as Walking Tree Travel, it encapsulates the mission and spirit that is present in all SSA programming.

Important Program Details

Click on the sections above to learn more

Program Itinerary

DayLocationDescriptionLodging
1USA - TokyoToday the group will depart from the US to Tokyo, Japan.Airplane
2TokyoSay konnichiwa to your Smithsonian Student Adventures Leader, your expert on all things Japan and your travel partner for the duration of the program. At your hotel, throw on a yukata robe, pour a cup of green tea, and put your feet up to relax after a long day of travel. But don't relax too much! Before long we are off to witness the famous scramble crossing at Shibuya and pay homage to Hachiko , a loyal canine that students will learn about before we travel.Super Hotel Tokyo (Kamata)
3TokyoGo from anime fan to anime producer during an exclusive studio workshop . Learn the ins and outs of Japan's biggest cultural export and try your hand at story writing and animation, as you watch your sketches become a short film ! Visit Edo Air museum to see old Japanese style houses . Get a hands-on intro to Japanese food culture at a local cooking class . You'll learn to grill up perfect okonomiyaki, a tasty pancake made from eggs and cabbage, piled with your choice of toppings and sauce. Return to your hotel full and happy!Super Hotel Tokyo (Kamata)
4TokyoRise early and greet the day at the Tsukiji Market , the last stop on a fish's journey from sea to sushi mat. Tsukiji is an open window into Japan's fishing, cooking, and dining heritage. With around 900 vendors, it's the planet's largest seafood market . Put your newfound seafood knowledge to use at a sushi tasting . You'll sample a huge range of Japan's signature dish, and learn how to tell the difference between different types of sushi, tempura, and sashimi. This afternoon we'll check out Asakusa, home to the Sensō-ji, a famous Buddhist Temple . We'll also make time for a visit to the impressive Tokyo Edo museum . This evening we'll hit up a karaoke lounge which is a quintessentially Japanese experience and one that you'll remember for a lifetime!Super Hotel Tokyo (Kamata)
5TokyoVisit the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Offices. See the gears that make a city of 13 million people tick, then shoot up to the 45th floor for a sweeping view of Tokyo. Pass through the Meiji Shrine's sacred torii , a gateway to Japan's traditional architecture. We'll also check out the beautiful Yoyogi Park before heading to the colorful Oriental Bazaar in the Harajuku District, the heart of Japan's dynamic fashion scene. Mingle with chic teens, snap photos of Tokyo's wildest trends, and pick up a few pieces for yourself. You'll get a firsthand perspective on Japanese pop culture from a your leader as he or she guides you through Harajuku's hidden backstreets. Super Hotel Tokyo (Kamata)
6Tokyo - HiroshimaSay "Sayōnara" to Tokyo and depart for Hiroshima. We will be traveling on a Japanese bullet train , which will cut down our travel time from nine hours of driving to five hours through the countryside. Once in Hiroshima, we will go out for an evening of Japanese hot pot for dinner while preparing for our visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park with an orientation and overview of the history of the city. Urbain Hiroshima Central
7HiroshimaToday, we will visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park , which contains a museum, the remnants of buildings destroyed by the 1945 atomic bomb and monuments to the people killed by this nuclear attack. We'll also make our way to Miyajima , known for Itsukushima Shrine’s giant Tori Gate which appears to float on top of the water. Urbain Hiroshima Central
8HiroshimaAfter a morning of solo time and reflection on the previous days activities, the group will visit the famous Hiroshima Castle, visit the downtown district and pass through Shukenin, one of Japan's most famous gardens. Make your own dinner combination of meat, veggies and sauce.Urbain Hiroshima Central
9Hiroshima - Kyoto We will travel to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan for over 1000 years , to learn about the temples, castles, and districts that make this one of the most beautiful cities in the world. We will stretch our legs by taking an early evening tour of Gion, one of the oldest areas in Kyoto made famous by its old wooden teahouses where practicing Geisha and other artists can still be seen in the neighborhood. Budget Inn Kyoto (Ryokan)
10KyotoStart the day by exploring the Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion as well as several other iconic temples in Kyoto. In the afternoon, we will visit a cultural center and learn about the art of traditional japanese fan-dancing and origami from local masters. Budget Inn Kyoto (Ryokan)
11Kyoto - TokyoIn the morning, take the bullet train back to Tokyo. Once there, you'll be blown away by the neon lights of Akihabara Electric Town , a district devoted entirely to electronics, video games, manga, and anime. Join local students to complete a scavenger hunt through Akihabara's jam-packed shops , where you can supposedly buy any electronic device ever made. Stop for dessert at a local cafe, where the staff members are decked out in costumes straight from anime and manga. Dressing up in costumes or cosplay is a major part of Japan's contemporary creative scene. On your last evening in Japan, we're off to the ballpark to cheer for the home team at a baseball stadium . We'll also enjoy our final dinner together before our international flight the following morning.Super Hotel Tokyo (Kamata)
12Tokyo - USAFly homeYour own bed!

Philosophy Of Travel

Our mission is to inspire the next generation to become global leaders by taking an active interest in the world around them. With a dedication to learning, along with an enduring passion for exploring the world, Smithsonian Student Adventures designs transformative and meaningful travel programs that uncover the authentic culture of each destination and inspire students to take action in their local and global community.

Smithsonian Student Adventures stands for a more open, curious, and compassionate approach to travel. We partner with select schools around the world to provide memorable small-group experiences, and invest in cultivating and maintaining longterm relationships with our partner communities. If you are interested in our organization and philosophy of travel, click here to learn more about us.

Accommodations

SSA partners with locally-operated, three star or equivalent hotels that are clean, safe, centrally located, and provide modern amenities. Below are a few examples of our partner hotels. Although these are our preferred providers, they are subject to change based on availability. Your final itinerary will provide complete information on your accommodations in the cities you will be visiting.

Hiroshima: www.urbainhiroshimacentral.com/

Tokyo: www.superhoteljapan.com/en/s-hotels/kamata/

Kamakura: www.kakiya.co.jp/eng.html

Kyoto: www.budgetinnjp.com/

Standards of Behavior

SSA provides fun, safe, and meaningful programs for our travelers. In order to achieve this goal, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct. Any of the following are grounds for early dismissal or in-country consequences at our discretion.

ABSOLUTE DISMISSAL

  1. Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  2. Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs
  3. Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.

GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE

  1. Getting a piercing or tattoo
  2. Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials
  3. Threatening with or using weapons such as firearms, knives, explosives, etc.
  4. Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle
  5. Being out of designated area or accommodations after curfew
  6. Breaking group rules

These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of a travel program. Please take the time to review these rules as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them before choosing to travel with SSA.

Tuition & Fundraising

When you travel with Smithsonian Student Adventures, your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s nineteen museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions. Tuition details are below:

Tuition Includes:
Smithsonian Custom Group Travel Tuition includes icons

Tuition Excludes:
Baggage fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed on the itinerary.

Tuition is an estimate until dates and itinerary are finalized. 

We believe that cost should not prevent enthusiastic students from having the opportunity to join an SSA program. We are pleased to offer opportunities for fundraising and payment plans to help make this goal a reality. Please visit our Tuition and Funding page to find out more about tuition, fundraising, payment options, referral discounts, and more.

Visit Tuition & Funding

Passport & Visa Check

US CITIZENS
Passport must be valid for six months after the final day of your travel program, including one open visa page.
No Visa Requirements for US Citizens traveling to Japan.

NON US CITIZENS OR THOSE TRAVELING FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE USA
Non US citizens should check with their country’s embassy abroad to verify vaccination and visa requirements.
US citizens traveling from a country other than the United States should check the State Department website (www.travel.state.gov) for more information regarding additional visa or vaccine requirements.

Please contact us for further information regarding vaccination and visa requirements.

Health and Safety

Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. SSA will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.

Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.

We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.

VACCINATIONS
Vaccination information and requirements can change frequently. Because of this, and for more information, we suggest that you consult your local travel clinic and/or family physician for specific details.

Travel Insurance

Our experience has taught us that international travel can sometimes be unpredictable. As such, SSA will purchase basic secondary travel and medical insurance for all SSA travelers via Travel Insured International. This service provides the following coverage at no additional cost to our participants:

PLAN COVERAGES

$500 Return Airfare for Trip Interruption
$750 ($150 per day) Trip Delay of six hours or more
$500 (Three or more hours) Missed Connection
$1500 ($250 per article) Baggage/Personal Effects
$300 Baggage Delay – 24 hours
$25,000 Accident & Sickness Medical Expense
$100,000 Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
Emergency Assistance Non-insurance Worldwide Emergency Assistance Services Included

Once you have been accepted onto your program, SSA will be in touch regarding this insurance and other additional options (see below).

ADDITIONAL OPTIONAL COVERAGES

The following additional optional coverage upgrades are available upon request for an additional premium charge to the traveler. For further information on the premiums associated with these optional coverage enhancements, please email your inquiry to our travel insurance program administrator, Hayashi Insurance Solutions: travelinsurance@jshinsurance.com

– Trip Cancellation Coverage – Reimburses the traveler up to the trip cost insured up to a maximum of $10,000 per person if the trip must be cancelled for unforeseeable life events including but not limited to; medical/health reasons, bereavement, etc.

– Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) – Reimburses the traveler for 75% of the non-refundable trip cost. Cancellation must be made 48 hours or more prior to scheduled departure. Must be purchased at the same time as initial plan purchase and prior to final trip payment. *This benefit is not available to residents of New York State.

The Plan is administered by Hayashi Insurance Solutions (CA DOI 0F61680) a licensed Insurance Agency authorized to transact this insurance under the express authority of Travel Insured International, Inc. and its representatives, and on behalf of Walking Tree Travel, Inc. The Plan contains insurance benefits underwritten by the United States Fire Insurance Company. Fairmont Specialty and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company. The Crum & Forster group of companies is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best Company 2015. The Plan also contains non insurance Travel Assistance Services that are provided by an independent organization, OnCall International, and not by United States Fire Insurance Company or Travel Insured International. Review the Plan Document for complete terms, including benefits, conditions, limitations and exclusions that apply. Coverages may vary and not all coverage is available in all jurisdictions.

Global Leadership Curriculum

Walking Tree Travel has developed a curriculum that helps SSA travelers mature as global leaders before, during, and after their travel program. These simple, engaging tools are meant to spark discussion, frame their experience, and prepare them to travel ethically and effectively both on our programs and in the future. For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the Walking Tree Travel Global Leadership Curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.

Learn More

Language Resources

DUOLINGO

Want to learn a new language and be better prepared for your travel program? Duolingo is the easiest, most entertaining way to start learning and using a new language right away! The more you practice, the more you’ll be able to communicate with locals in your host country and help your fellow travelers navigate a foreign environment.

Tap the Duolingo owl to get started, or download the app to your mobile phone.

duolingo owl logo

Group Flight Information

In an effort to make the flight booking process as smooth as possible, we have partnered with STA Travel. This partnership provides our participants with discounted fares through STA’s contracts with the top airlines to help our travelers get the best possible rates. To learn more about STA as an organization, please check out their website at www.statravel.com.

STA Travel will help our families and travelers book their round trip travel between their home city and our host countries. We are excited to offer this premium service to our participants so that we can focus on what we do best – providing meaningful adventures around the world.

Open Enrollment participants are responsible for booking and paying for their own international flights. You have two options for making your flight arrangements:

1. (Preferred) Book a seat on the chaperoned international group flight.

Each Open Enrollment program has a suggested, chaperoned, group flight that will depart from a designated departure city in the United States and arrive to the destination country. Participants on these flights will have the support of our on-scene Airport Liaison as well as an accompanying Program Leader, on-flight. The Airport Liaison will help gather, coordinate and direct the arrival and departure of our participants in the airport and the Program Leader will accompany the group to and from the host country while on the flight. The vast majority of our travelers choose this option. 

2. Book your own flight to the host country.

For this option we require travelers to arrive at the same time, or earlier (no more than 3 hours), than the suggested group flight’s planned arrival. We ask participants not to arrive later than the suggested group flight’s time of arrival. If travelers arrive on their own prior to the rest of the group we will arrange to have the second Program Leader or the Country Director meet them as they land in the host country. 

With either option, we strongly encourage you to book your flights through STA, but it is not required.

Please wait to make any flight arrangements until we have sent you our chaperoned group flight information by email, which we will post by April 1, 2018 with instructions on how to proceed. 

A NOTE ON FLIGHTS
Air travel is unpredictable. Although we can ensure that our groups arrive to the airport with ample time and follow all airline instructions, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to weather, mechanical problems, labor strikes, etc. Please note that in such an event SSA is not financially responsible for unexpected costs incurred by travelers. Our programs officially begin and end in our host countries.  Notwithstanding, our travelers’ well-being and safety is always our number one priority in all facets of our operations and programming, so please know that in case flight delays or cancellations occur we will do everything we can to get travelers home in a timely manner and will keep family members updated on developments as we are able.

Important note: Please make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the final day in country.

BAGGAGE POLICY
SSA is not responsible for fees associated with checked baggage 
or for lost or stolen luggage. We strongly encourage all travelers to pack a carry-on bag if possible, or to at least put all valuables and a change of clothes or two in a carry-on along with all important medications and basic toiletries such as a toothbrush, deodorant, glasses, contacts etc.

UN-ACCOMPANIED MINORS
Please confirm with your air travel provider as some airlines may require that travelers under a certain age have completed an unaccompanied minor parental consent form. Please consult the airline website to confirm whether this is required on your flight.

Leader Profile

SSA will send a minimum of one experienced Program Leader on every program. In addition to this Program Leader, we also have a support staff in our host countries and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado that are available to the group for additional help when necessary. Below you’ll find a list of the Smithsonian Student Adventures staff involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.

  • Kender Reece
    Kender Reece Japan Operations

    Earlham College – B.A. in Neuroscience

    Kender is a native of Brooklyn, NY. Raised by immigrant parents she has always been fascinated by different cultures and how they shape one’s personality. From the age of ten she participated in an academic summer camp program that took her throughout the US, South America, Europe and Asia. She graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, in 2013, where she majored in Neuroscience. At Earlham Kender was able to form close relationships with several international students fuelling her passion for learning about and experiencing different cultures. She was also reminded of her time in Asia and longed to return. In 2014 she returned to Japan as a member of the JET program. Presently she is teaching English at a high school in west Tokyo. Starting as an attempt to learn Japanese, Kender has become an active member of her community. She enjoys walking around her charming old town getting to know all of its inhabitants. When she isn’t struggling to climb mountains with her local pals, she is playing local festivals with her city’s Japanese drum team, doing Jujutsu or enjoying a lazy Sunday at an onsen.

    Group Roster

    Please have all travelers check below to ensure their name is spelled exactly how it appears on your passport. For edits, email lacey@SmithsonianSA.com.

     

    Community & Project Details

    This is where your host community information will appear, along with your community project, if applicable to your program.

    Communication & Blog

    The easiest way for students to keep in touch with family and friends at home while traveling will be using Wifi (available at most hotels and some restaurants) via Viber, Whatsapp, Skype, and Wechat for free.

    SSA tries to keep families and friends updated as frequently as possible with text and photo blogs. If parents would like updates regarding the group beyond these blog posts and email updates, they should direct all general inquiries to info@SmithsonianSA.com. We are always checking this email inbox and will respond promptly to inquiries. You can also reach us by dialing 303-242-8541 from the U.S.

    Here is the link to your blog: -Coming Soon-

    Packing List

    What follows is a sample packing list, which will be updated for each program. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on hikes, weekend excursions and shorter activities.

    Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT and STUDENT ID.

    Japan Packing List

    CLOTHES:

    6 pairs of underwear
    6 pairs of socks (a mixture of good hiking socks and casual socks)
    4 t-shirts (some quick dry)
    2 long sleeve shirts
    1 sweater
    1 warmer jacket
    1 rain jacket
    2-3 pairs of travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
    2 pairs of comfortable/hiking/everyday pants (NOT all jeans)
    1 nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
    1 pair of durable athletic/hiking shoes
    1 pair of sandals (optional)
    1 pair of work gloves
    1 hat

    TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:

    Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
    Mosquito repellent
    Band Aids and Neosporin
    Hand Sanitizer
    Medication in properly marked original container

    MISCELLANEOUS:

    Sunglasses
    Journal and pen
    Book
    Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
    Power Converter
    Alarm Clock and watch
    Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
    Durable water bottle
    1 quick-dry towel
    Flashlight/headlamp
    Batteries
    Deck of cards or other portable games
    Host family gift
    STUDENT ID
    Spanish/English Dictionary

    HOMESTAY GIFTS

    Travelers often contact us regarding what an appropriate gift might be for their student’s host family. Host families are often curious about where our students come from and their families in the U.S. As such, we recommend a simple gift that describes, represents or depicts your home. Well-received gifts in the past have included calendars or picture/coffee table books from your city or state, a framed picture of your family, paraphernalia from a local sports team, toys, soccer balls, school supplies, or something produced or grown in your hometown, like chocolate, local candy, t-shirts, etc. The most important thing to keep in mind is not to worry about this…  Anything, no matter its value, will be well received!

    Tuition Details

    Tuition Includes:
    all accommodations, basic travel insurance, 3 meals per day, drinking water, ground transportation, group activity and entry fees, full time leadership team and taxes and tips.

    Tuition Excludes:
     International airfare, baggage fees, airline minor fees, personal shopping, passport or visa fees, and activities not listed on the itinerary.

    We believe that cost should not prevent enthusiastic students from having the opportunity to join an SSA program. We are pleased to offer opportunities for fundraising and payment plans to help make this goal a reality. Please visit our Tuition and Funding page to find out more about tuition, fundraising, payment options, referral discounts, and more.

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