JOE 2018 Day 18 – Wed 10 Oct

Today’s travel was an exercise in extremes – the team woke in up in a boutique ryokan (traditional inn) in the mountains adjacent to the Japanese Alps and went to sleep in an ultra-modern high-rise hotel in Shinagawa, Tokyo. A shock to the system? Perhaps. An exciting change of pace? Definitely. Is DisneySea so close the students can smell it? Absolutely!

But…back to the countryside – the breathtakingly beautiful countryside adorned with waterfalls and painted with the colours of autumn. It has truly been a spectacular opportunity for students to learn to look around them and appreciate the sights and sounds of nature and the value of observing careful traditions without needing to fill every void with noise and chatter. This has been an easy lesson to learn for some students, while others may need a little more practice!

The first stop was at Owakudani, whose name literally translates to ‘Hell’s Valley.’ Awash with natural, sulphuric hot springs, this area is the result of a crater appearing after the last eruption of Mount Hakone thousands of years ago. It is part of an active volcanic zone and kurotamago (black eggs) are a cuisine of choice, boiled in the sulphuric water and turned a jet black colour. Some students bravely sampled these eggs (freshly warm from their hot spring ‘saucepan’) only to discover that the inside is much like your usual garden-variety boiled egg! The valley’s pungent smell took some getting used to and one of the students described it as taking a stroll in ‘Mother Nature’s armpit.’ Poetic, no?

Onwards to Ashi-no-ko (Lake Ashi) and a trip on the pirate-ship inspired ferry across its width to explore Hakone Sekisho (the Hakone Checkpoint).

The team loaded onto the bus again after lunch to take to the highway. Pretty soon, the countryside gave way to higher density zones and the first glimpses of Tokyo were had (to great excitement and a few cheers) in the form of the iconic orange Tokyo Tower. The students explored the famous Nakamise Dori shopping street and shrine in Asakusa before eating a tempura dinner and travelling in (and then a long way up) to Tokyo Skytree’s observation deck. From this vantage point, the full expanse of Japan’s capital city could be appreciated and admired. It was a clear night and so visibility was excellent. Most team members attempted walking on the glass floor as well!

Once the team settled into their hotel for the night, the students’ attention turned to preparations for their long-anticipated Disney adventure tomorrow!

As JOE 2018 moves into its final days, we would like to take a moment to say how thankful the staff and students are to Mrs Shimizu for her tireless efforts both before we departed and whilst we have been in Japan. Her wealth of experience, wisdom and care have been a blessing beyond measure and so we say, hontou ni otsukaresama deshita (‘truly, thank-you for all the heartfelt care and trouble you have gone to’).

And with that, from Tokyo, we say… oyasuminasai (goodnight)!

Sent from my iPhone


  1. What an experience this has been for you all. Can’t wait to hear more about it when you return. Thanks for sharing the journey with us.

  2. Hi Georgia,
    Hope DisneySea was everything you thought it would be. Only 2 sleeps to go, even if one of them is on the flight home. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday morning.
    Love Dad

  3. How beautiful is Japan! You guys are so lucky. So good to see that camera out Bohdi. Hope your getting heaps of photos to show us upon your return. Remember to cash out your card before leaving Japan. That only leaves tomorrow buddy boy. That’s if you have not emptied it already. Only one more post before we see you in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday morning. Remember Brisbane? That little country town compared to Tokyo.
    Love you mate. See ya soon. Mum and Dad.

    hontou ni otsukaresama deshita Mrs Shimizu { Yes, I did cut and paste that } and to all the team that has put this memorable trip together. Two years in the making, Twenty one days away, 32 students, Logistics, Accommodation, Home stays, Sister school, Excursions. The list is endless. To all, that has made this possible. In Australia and Japan. We will never be able to find the words to thank you enough. We are blessed to have you there with our children. Thank you all ever so much. Grahame and Amanda.

  4. Hi Caitlin
    You’ve experienced so much! I’m sure you had a great time at Disneysea. We can’t wait to see you :).
    Love Mum

  5. WOW!! Amazing! I bet Sam was one of the ones braving the glass floor of the skytower! Have a great day at Disney today! Mum xo

  6. Hi Blake and Team Genesis
    Wow, what an amazing tip you have all had. Its been wonderful to wake up every morning and enjoy the beautiful videos of where you have been and what you’ve been doing. I’ve been to Japan a few time but have not had the fortune or opportunity to do half the things that you guys have done.
    Anyway, only one more sleep till you’re all safely home with your loved ones, I’m so excited to see you Blake. Enjoy your last day and will see you tomorrow.
    Love Mum xxxx

  7. Looks like a wonderful way to celebrate your 14th birthday Baydo! Love you!

    Nearly home time, I’m sure it’s all very bittersweet for you all!
    Enjoy Disneysea today! We will see you all very soon!

  8. Hi Aimee
    Wow, some really amazing sights. Enjoy your last couple of days and can’t wait to hear all about it when you come home!
    Love Mum

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