A one-day excursion to Shiga prefecture for international students was held on Sunday, May 13, to offer an opportunity for students to deepen their knowledge of Japanese history and culture and to develop their relationships with each other.
The group of 37 students first tried pottery making. Shigaraki is a town famous for its pottery and stoneware ceramic products with a long history since the 13th century. We learned a story about Tanuki (raccoons), a symbol of shigaraki-yaki that people put it in front of stores as a lucky item to make the store attract more guests. The students listened to the instructor's directions and worked hard on making their own shigaraki bowl.
Then they visited the national treasure Hikone Castle. While many castles disappeared due to war or fire, Hikone Castle is one of only 12 Japanese castles that are original. The students climbed the main palace tower and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. They walked around and found Japanese old culture such as Teppo-Hazama, a small window in a castle to shoot a gun.
The last activity was a Genkyu-en Garden walking tour. The garden had sounds of nature and beautiful views of the castle with the art of shakkei, or "borrowed scenery". After that, the students enjoyed their free time walking around and shopping along castle road.
Although it was raining all day, the students had a lot of fun on the trip. They commended, "We've learned much about Japanese history and culture". "It was amazing to see the original castle tower". "I made new friends". The excursion ended successfully as students were able to expand their knowledge of Japanese history and culture through hands-on experience together.