Japan Travel Course

Spring 2014
Dr. Kailai Huang

Kyoto temple

Kyoto's Golden Pavilion Temple

You may have heard about and contemplated to participate in MCLA's distinct travel courses that combine classroom learning with travel to foreign countries during the March spring break. How about an experience of lifetime in the quaint land of Japan? Either you are an enthusiast of Japanese anime/manga, or simply want to challenge yourself to a sensory overload in a dramatically different culture, a travel to Japan will take you through times, terrains, and tastes like no other.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will offer a Japan travel course from March 6-17, 2014. In 12 days, travelers will discover Japan's intricate blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity. This credit-bearing course is to give students an intimate experience of Japan's history, religion, culture and society through visiting historical sites, temples and shrines, museums, and national parks. The trip will travel to Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Matsuyama on the Shikoku Island. Some of the highlights of the travel include:

•Visiting palaces, temples, shrines, gardens, and castles to immerse yourself in Japanese  history, religion, and aesthetics. Many of these sites are on UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list. Mountain

•Riding the thrilling Shinkansen "bullet" train, the first high-speed train in Asia.

•Visiting the Manga Museum in Kyoto to have a close encounter with cosplay.  

•Staying in a traditional Japanese Ryokan inn to enjoy a full-fledged Japanese-style banquet.

•Soaking in the 3,000-year old Dogo Onsen, the oldest hot-spring spa in Japan in the festive Matsuyama, also known as Japan's center for haiku poetry.

•Strolling through Kyoto's narrow alleys during the annual Hagashiyama Lantern  Festivel to experience the exquisite traditional culture and customs.

•Contemplating at Hiroshima's thought-provoking Peace Memorial Park.

● Visiting the reclaimed land Otaiba in Tokyo to learn about Japan's achievements in modern architecture and technology.

•(Window) shopping in Tokyo's enormous and glittering department stores to experience their unsurpassable courteous service.  

•Walking around in the mind-boggling Akihabara Electric Town in Tokyo to find  all kinds of electronic devices and gadgets. 

•Dining on Japanese food to take in its variety and visual and culinary finesse

Prior to and after the trip, students will participate in the weekly meetings with Professor Kailai Huang, the faculty leader of the trip, to discuss topics related to Japanese history, culture and society. Students will finish assigned readings and write a book review. Students will establish a course e-portfolio and keep a journal during the trip. After the trip, students will submit a final project on their Japan experience into the e-portfolio.

Course Cost: the estimated cost per person is $2,870 US dollars (subject to change). It includes:

• round trip international airfares to Japan and airport transportation.

• a seven-day Japan Rail Pass that will cover most of the train travels.

• ground transportation (bus, subway, and train) on the days with scheduled activities.

• 10 overnight stays, mainly in western-style budget hotels or traditional Japanese inns (ryokan, sleeping on floor futon). Depending on lodging facilities, it can be two, three, or four people a room.

• breakfast on some days and a full-fledged Japanese-style dinner banquet

• all admissions based on our itinerary.

• three credits for enrolled MCLA students.

Not included: lunches and dinners (except where noted).

Fuji tv building

Dr. Kailai Huang
Phone, 413-662-5426

Office location: 72 Porter Street, Hours: MW 11-12pm, Thursday 1:00-2:00pm or by appointment