"Among the towering buildings with neon lights and bustling crowds, idyllic shrines could be found hiding."
On 14 April, 11 Year-12 and Year-13 students as well as two language teachers travelled to Japan, a country very foreign to their own.
The adventure began in Japan’s most populous city, Tokyo. During the first few days in Tokyo, the city's characteristics shone as we experienced its dual identity. Among the towering buildings with neon lights and bustling crowds, idyllic shrines could be found hiding.
Before arriving in Hiroshima on the bullet train, we glimpsed of Japan’s iconic peak, Mt Fuji.
At the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park we were able to see first-hand the effects of the detonation of an atomic bomb, as well as learn about the aftermath the city and country experienced.
Continuing our trip, we journeyed to Kyoto. Traditional buildings lined the street and lead to the incomparable Himeji Castle, which has remained basically untouched since it was built in 1609.
Seeing the devastation the atomic bomb had on Hiroshima was a sobering moment
The best part of the trip was left for the end where we were hosted by our sister school, Takefu Higashi High School.
Living in a Japanese home was a special and challenging experience for all of us.
Going to school in Japan and experiencing the long school days was a real eye opener and enabled us to learn and practice our Japanese.
The students were hosted by Riccarton High Schools sister school, Takefu Higashi High School.
The kindness of the school staff who accepted us into their classes and host families who cared for us left everyone not wanting to leave.
The students were hosted by Riccarton High Schools sister school, Takefu Higashi High School
Tears were shed as we boarded our bullet train, leaving our host families behind, but the strong friendships and memories we made will be remembered.
The trip was a real roller coaster packed full of smiles, laughter, panic (from almost missing a train) and sadness.
This trip would not have been possible without the two teachers who guided us and we are all very grateful to have been able to share so many memories with them.