The Shizenkan Tour

On this tour, GreenContributor will introduce students to shizenkan – the Japanese “perspective on nature”. Our educational tour takes you on an immersive experience, showcasing not only the natural beauty that defines Japan, but also its eco-conscious efforts. During your stay, we will guide students through various ecological landmarks, museums, companies, and institutions to enlighten them about Japan’s environmental challenges and the strategies employed to manage them. Embark on a journey with us to delve into Japan’s eco-friendly initiatives, witness sustainable practices firsthand, and draw inspiration from innovative approaches aimed at minimizing environmental impact and addressing the challenges posed by natural threats. Students will discover the harmony between nature and innovation as we introduce them to cutting-edge solutions and their implications for the nation’s sustainable future. They will get to understand how understand how a country can rise from the past and become the beacon of technological advancement and economic wealth. There will also be room for entertainment and a personal interaction with local students and teachers. Join us and experience a fascinating history, a wonderful culture, amazing food and one of the most polite and friendly people. Don’t hesitate and register below!

πŸ•’ Duration of Trip:

  • Osaka & Kobe – 7 days / 6 Nights
  • Osaka, Kobe & Tokyo – 8 days / 7 nights
  • Osaka, (Kobe or Kyoto), Tokyo & Hiroshima – 9 days / 8 nights
  • πŸ“…Date of next trip: May 1st, 2024
  • βŒ›Registrations deadline: March 1st, 2024
  • βŒ›Payment deadline: April 1st, 2024

If you are interested in joining this tour, please click on the button below and fill out the contact form. After submission, GreenContributor will get in touch with you to discuss a specific itinerary for your school and provide you with a quotation. You will receive the invoice and payment instructions after the final itinerary and its specific activities have been put together in consultation with your school.

For other tours, please check our continental page.

For those who appreciate the beauty of nature, Japan is the place to be! This country is blessed with impressive and magnificent landscapes and seasonally changing climates, creating majestic and picturesque sights. Japan’s abundant woodlands are a prime example. As an industrialized country, Japan is one of the most forested on earth. Its forests account for nearly 70% of the country. Moreover, Japan has a rich biodiversity, which can be found nearby rural villages, in the border between mountain foothills or secondary woodlands and arable flat land, called satoyama.

However, Japan is also known for its natural disasters, which have plagued the Japanese for thousands of years. Living in one of the most seismically volatile countries in the world, the Japanese people have developed a fear and reverence for nature. Their animistic belief that all elements of nature have a divine essence evolved into worship, which led to Japan’s indigenous faith: Shinto. Mountains, water falls, trees and many other creations of nature are objects of worship in this ancient religion. It has had a massive influence on Japanese culture, literature and art, which can be seen in the references to nature in many Japanese novels and in Japanese poetry (haiku, waka) about plum and cherry blossoms. Moreover, it has become embedded in farming and foraging practices, such as miniature trees (bonsai), miniature gardens (hakoniwa) and flower arrangements (ikebana). The impact of Shinto can even be seen in Japanese cuisine and the tea ceremony, called chanoyu.

GreenContributor will take students on an adventure and introduce them to this Japenese coexistence with nature and value thereof. They will learn about the concept of satoyama, a sustainability initiative that is based on traditional community farming methods and woodland management practices. This term also refers to the conservation of Japan’s wildlands. It currently has 34 national parks, one of which students will have the opportunity of visiting in Kobe. Furthermore, throughout our journey, students get to experience the tranquility of meticulously manicured traditional Japanese gardens and discover the cultural significance of these green sanctuaries.

The group will also see and gain an understanding of Japan’s high-end recycling process (risaikuru) and its waste management. By providing them with an industry example and insight into Japan’s technological advances, the group will acquire a knowledge of the transition to a circular plastics economy in Japan. Moreover, our tour will teach students about the correlation between technological innovation, environmental preservation and economic growth. By promoting recycling, streamlining manufacturing processes and improving product technology, Japan achieved economic security and wealth. After transforming from an agricultural society, when biological resources were grown locally, to an urbanized society that is dependent on food products, the country still required natural resources like minerals and fossil fuels for its industrial sector. However, since these resources are scarce in Japan, it has been importing about 90% of its energy and mineral resources. This is not the only issue affecting Japan’s fuel and food security; its population is quickly diminishing and aging. Yet despite these persistent problems, through processing trade, Japan has managed to become one of the world’s richest countries. Students will discover Japan’s leading role through hands-on interactive exhibits dealing with everything from weather to earthquakes, as well as renewable energy and robotics.

In between the educational and environmental activities, the group will get to do sightseeing and visit touristic sites and attractions. Through this, students will get a taste of Japan’s culture, history, and cuisine. More about what each of the cities has to offer in this respect can be found below.

Tokyo – capital of Japan and one the greatest and most modern cities in the world. It mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. Experience Imperial Palace, Shensoji Temple and outrageous fashion district of Harajuku. Explore Tokyo’s eco-friendly neighborhoods, witnessing sustainable architecture, energy-efficient buildings, and community-driven green spaces.

Image description
Imperial Palace
The Imperial Palace in Japan, situated in the heart of Tokyo, is a symbolic representation of the nation’s rich history and imperial tradition. Surrounded by lush gardens and traditional stone walls, the palace is a serene oasis in the bustling city. The main residence, the Edo-era inspired Kyuden, stands as a testament to Japanese architectural splendor. The majestic Nijubashi Bridge and the serene East Gardens are iconic features, offering visitors a glimpse into the imperial legacy. While access to the inner palace grounds is limited, the exterior and surrounding areas provide a captivating glimpse into Japan’s imperial heritage.
Image descriptionShensoji Temple

Shensoji Temple, situated in Asakusa, Tokyo, is Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple, dating back to the 7th century. A revered cultural and religious landmark, it attracts millions of visitors annually. The vibrant Thunder Gate (Kaminarimon) marks the entrance, leading to Nakamise-dori, a bustling shopping street. At the heart of the temple complex lies the impressive Hondo main hall, adorned with intricate details and housing a sacred image of Kannon. Shensoji Temple stands as a testament to Tokyo’s spiritual heritage and remains a significant destination for both locals and tourists.

Image descriptionHarajuku District

Harajuku, located in Tokyo, is a vibrant and eclectic district renowned for its unique fashion, youth culture, and trendy boutiques. Takeshita Street, at the heart of Harajuku, is a bustling pedestrian haven adorned with colorful shops and quirky fashion outlets. This area serves as a hub for avant-garde styles, attracting fashion-forward youth and international visitors alike. Harajuku is not only a shopping haven but also a cultural hotspot with diverse street art, trendy cafes, and a lively atmosphere. Exploring Harajuku offers a fascinating glimpse into Tokyo’s ever-evolving and dynamic urban scene.

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree, soaring at 634 meters, stands as Japan’s tallest structure and a prominent landmark in the capital’s skyline. Completed in 2012, it offers panoramic views of Tokyo and Mount Fuji from its observation decks. The tower serves as both a broadcasting hub and a bustling commercial complex, featuring a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions. Illuminated beautifully at night, Tokyo Skytree is a symbol of modernity and technological prowess, attracting millions of visitors annually. Its distinctive design and unparalleled vistas make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique perspective on Tokyo.

Osaka – a large port city and commercial center. It’s known for its modern architecture, lively nightlife and hearty street food. Go shopping in the Dotombori district and imagine yourself in 16th-century visiting the famous Osaka Castle!

Image descriptionOsaka Castle

Osaka Castle, a striking symbol of Japanese heritage, stands majestically in the heart of Osaka. Constructed in the 16th century, its impressive white facade and gold embellishments reflect the architectural grandeur of feudal Japan. Surrounded by expansive stone walls and a picturesque moat, the castle offers a fascinating historical journey. The interior showcases a museum highlighting the castle’s rich past, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. As an iconic landmark, Osaka Castle effortlessly combines architectural magnificence with a deep cultural significance.

Image descriptionTempozan Ferris Wheel

The Tempozan Ferris Wheel, located in Osaka, Japan, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and Osaka Bay. Standing at 112 meters tall, it is one of the world’s largest ferris wheels. Visitors can enjoy spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape, including the iconic Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and the harbor. Lit up beautifully at night, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel provides a captivating experience that combines both thrill and scenic beauty. A must-visit attraction for those seeking a unique perspective on Osaka’s skyline.

Image descriptionKaiyukan Aquarium

Kaiyukan Aquarium in Osaka is one of the world’s largest and most impressive aquariums, showcasing diverse marine life from the Pacific Rim. Its central feature is the massive central tank, representing the Pacific Ocean, home to a variety of awe-inspiring species, including whale sharks and manta rays. The aquarium’s innovative design takes visitors on a journey through different aquatic habitats, such as the Japan Forest and Antarctica. Interactive exhibits and touch pools add an educational dimension to the immersive experience, making Kaiyukan a captivating destination for marine enthusiasts of all ages. With its iconic architecture and extensive marine collection, Kaiyukan remains a must-visit attraction in Osaka.

Image descriptionDotonbori District

Dotonbori, in the heart of Osaka, is a vibrant district known for its electrifying atmosphere and iconic neon-lit signs. This lively entertainment area is dotted with an array of restaurants, street food stalls, and entertainment options, creating a sensory feast for visitors. The famous Glico Running Man sign, along the Dotonbori Canal, is a symbol of the district’s energetic vibe. Food enthusiasts can savor Osaka’s culinary delights, while shoppers can explore the bustling streets for unique finds. Dotonbori is a dynamic blend of culture, entertainment, and gastronomy, making it a must-visit destination for a memorable Osaka experience.

Legoland Osaka, located in the vibrant city of Osaka, Japan, is a captivating theme park that brings the iconic LEGO bricks to life. Immerse yourself in a world of creativity and imagination as you explore intricately crafted Lego-themed attractions, rides, and interactive exhibits. From impressive LEGO replicas of famous landmarks to thrilling roller coasters and hands-on building zones, Legoland Osaka offers a delightful experience for visitors of all ages. With its colorful and playful atmosphere, the park promises a memorable day of family-friendly fun in the heart of Osaka.

Kyoto – once the capital of Japan, famous for the traditional gardens, shrines and wooden houses. It is the birthplace of Kabuki and Geisha. Spend time seeing the traditional Japanese ways at Gion Geisha Street and walk down the streets of the historic Higashiyama Ward.

Image descriptionGion Geisha Street District

Gion in Kyoto is a captivating district known for its historic charm and Geisha culture. The area boasts traditional machiya houses, cobblestone streets, and a bygone-era ambiance. Geisha, symbolizing grace and refinement, can be spotted in their elegant kimonos. Lantern-lit streets create a magical atmosphere, complemented by teahouses and exclusive restaurants offering an authentic cultural experience. Gion stands as a testament to Kyoto’s enduring heritage, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its unique and timeless charm.

Image descriptionHigashiyama Ward

Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto is a picturesque district renowned for its historic charm and preserved traditional architecture. Steeped in cultural richness, it is home to iconic landmarks such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Yasaka Shrine. The narrow cobblestone streets of the Higashiyama district offer a nostalgic journey through Kyoto’s past, with traditional tea houses and shops lining the way. During cherry blossom season, the area becomes particularly enchanting, drawing crowds to experience the breathtaking bloom. Higashiyama Ward stands as a living testament to Kyoto’s cultural heritage, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the city’s timeless beauty.

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Kokedera Garden
Kokedera, formally known as Saiho-ji, is a serene and enchanting moss garden nestled in Kyoto, Japan. Renowned for its lush green carpets of over 120 varieties of moss, the garden features winding paths, stone lanterns, and a reflective pond. Visitors participate in a unique ritual, transcribing sutras as they absorb the tranquil atmosphere. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kokedera’s timeless beauty offers a meditative escape into nature’s harmonious embrace.

Kobe – located next to a scenic harbor. It also has its own mountain, Mount Rokko, which offers sweeping views across the region and impressive waterfalls. Home to Japan’s most famous hot spring resort Arima Onsen and known for the famous Kobe beef.

Image descriptionMount Rokko

Mount Rokko, situated near Kobe, Japan, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and Osaka Bay. Standing at 931 meters, it is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and hikers. The Rokko Cable Car and Rokko Arima Ropeway provide convenient access to the summit, where visitors can enjoy panoramic vistas and explore the Rokko Garden Terrace. The mountain’s diverse attractions include the Rokkosan Pasture and the iconic Rokko International Musical Box Museum. Mount Rokko combines natural beauty with recreational activities, making it a versatile and scenic destination.

Image descriptionArima Onsen

Arima Onsen, nestled in the Rokko mountain range near Kobe, is one of Japan’s oldest and most renowned hot spring resorts. Boasting a history dating back over a millennium, it offers visitors the chance to relax in its therapeutic mineral-rich waters. The town’s charming streets feature traditional ryokans, inviting guests to experience authentic Japanese hospitality. Arima Onsen is famed for its two types of thermal springs, “gold” and “silver,” each believed to have unique health benefits. Surrounded by nature, the town provides a serene escape, making it a cherished destination for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.

Hiroshima – a modern city which was largely destroyed by the first atomic bomb dropped during World War II. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park which commemorates this 1945 event and see the ruins of Atomic Bomb Dome, one of the few buildings that was left standing near ground zero.

Image descriptionThe Atomic Bomb Dome

The Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima stands as a haunting reminder of the devastating events of August 6, 1945. The skeletal remains of the former Industrial Promotion Hall, preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, symbolize the destructive power of the atomic bomb. Located near the Peace Memorial Park, it serves as a solemn tribute to the lives lost and a call for global peace. The Dome stands as a poignant testament to Hiroshima’s resilience and commitment to promoting a world without nuclear weapons. Visiting this site offers a powerful and reflective experience on the impact of war and the importance of pursuing peace.

Image descriptionPeace Memorial Park

Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima stands as a poignant tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing in 1945. Home to the iconic Peace Memorial Dome, the park encourages reflection and remembrance of the catastrophic event. The Flame of Peace, lit in 1964, will continue to burn until nuclear weapons are eradicated worldwide. The Children’s Peace Monument, dedicated to Sadako Sasaki and the victims of radiation, symbolizes hope and a desire for lasting peace. Surrounded by lush greenery, the park serves as a solemn and educational space, advocating for a world free from the horrors of nuclear warfare.

The group will stay in different hotels and hostels throughout the journey. Students will share a room, either sleeping in a single bed or sharing a double bed. Adults will also share rooms if necessary, but will all be assigned single beds. Everyone will be assigned rooms according to their gender.

We will travel through and within Japan mainly by public transport. It will be a mix of bullet train (high speed train), subway, metro and tramway. On occasion we may also travel by charter bus or a 12 or 15 seater van, depending on availability, feasibility, accessibility and the final number of students who participate.

Prices for this trip are starting from 750 USD per student. Please be aware that this is no fixed price. The exact costs for your itinerary depend on your group’s specific needs and wishes.

Included in the price for this tour are: accomodation bookings, airport transfers, public transport and charter bus tickets, environmental and educational activities, excursions and workshops. Also included are sightseeing sites that are free of charge. By exception, entry tickets to one touristic attraction involving entertainment have been included in the costing for this tour as well. Schools may choose between either Legoland, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel or the Kaiyukan Aquarium (one option for the entire group).

Not included in the price are: airfare tickets and baggage fees, food (delivery), visa, insurance, personal expenses such as phone charges and entry tickets to touristic highlights. Also not included are entry tickets to rides, games and other forms of entertainment or anything else not mentioned in the paragraph above or that is outside of the schedule and itinerary.

After your school has received and agreed to our quotation, GreenContributor requires an advance payment of at least 300 USD per student to confirm your school’s participation. This payment is non-refundable but if your school chooses to participate in any other future Greencontributor tours, 150 USD can be deducted from the next advance payment (for the same amount of students that would participate initially). The payment deadline for our next trip is April 1st, 2024.