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Japan Cultural Tour

The first educational student tour of Japan was held in 2007. Thirty-five students and staff members landed in Tokyo and traversed the island of Honshu to Kamakura, Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and Osaka. Visits were made to Himeji samurai castle, Tokyo National Museum, Gion Corner, Byodo-in, Ryoanji garden temple and Kiyomizu dera Temple. A special pilgrimage was made to the final resting place of the 47 samurai (ronin), Sengakuji. The Dojo returned to Japan in 2017 where students and staff members attended the holiday festival of Gion Matsuri. They registered 1,000 origami cranes at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in memory of the victims of the atomic bomb, attended kendo class (sword), Kyoshukin Karate class and even ninjutsu training in Iga ninja village. Other highlights included the "Eight Hells of Beppu", volcanic springs, Kiyomizu dera temple, Mt. Takasaki Wild Monkey Park, Miyajima Island and Kumamoto samurai castle to witness the reconstruction efforts from the April 2016 earthquake. The tour ended at the black belt graduation ceremony held at the grave of Miyamoto Musashi, the most famous samurai in Japanese history.

Purification fountains are found at the entrance of temples and shrines.

Children march in the Gion Matsuri parade.

Leading the pull effort of the enormous shrine.

Spotting from atop the massive mobile shrine during the Gion Matsuri parade.

Marching through the window of time.

The young boy serves as divine messenger for the event.

Kendo training at Kyoto Budo Center

Crossing swords during the exchange

Giving respect before giving a beat down

After class group picture at the Kyoto Budo Center, Japan

Complex view inside Kiyomizu dera.

Osaka Castle from across the bridge.

Bamboo forest towering above.

At Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

Participating in karate in Beppu, Japan.

Senior students from both schools join in kata demonstrations.

One of the 48 waterfalls in Akame, birthplace of the fabled ninja.

Famous alleyways in Kyoto.

Quiet night stroll in Kyoto.

Torii gate at Miyajima Island.

A monkey surveys the gathering crowd at Mt. Takasaki Wild Monkey Park.

Mischievious monkey captures the tail of a submerged playmate.

A view of structural damage to Kumamoto Castle from the 2016 earthquake in Kyushu.


View made famous by the movie, "Memoirs of a Geisha".


Just one of the "Eight Hells of Beppu" volcanic pools.

Black Belt graduates at the grave of Miyamoto Musashi.

Decorative garden fountain.

Intricate roof carvings at Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gu Shrine.

Youths participating in the sport of sumo, Tokyo.

Summit of Mt. Fuji at sunrise.

Mt. Fuji's crater.

Famous tourist destination, the Golden Pavilion.

Detail of a Bugaku mask.

Bugaku court dance.

An apprentice geisha scurries to her appointment.

Geisha sightings in downtown Kyoto.

Blooming lotus.

Scenic gardens behind Himeji Castle.

Group picture at the entrance of Kiyomizu dera.

Group picture at Byodo-in Temple.

Himeji-jo samurai castle.

Byodo-in Buddhist temple.

View from the upper deck of Kiyomizu dera's water spouts


"Here's to longevity."

Drink from one of the three spouts; success in academics, longevity or wealth.


Image of the fountain "I am content".

Jizu, the guardian of lost children.

The Great Daibutsu, Kamakura, Japan.

Lanterns in Kyoto

Performance at Gion Corner, Kyoto

Stillness and simplicity of Ryoan-ji. The inspiration of The Dojo's Dunwoody design.

Group picture at Nijo Castle.

Arrival in Tokyo.

Horu-ji Temple. Home to some of the oldest wooden structures in the world.

Shinto priest in Osaka.

William Gaffney makes a pilgrimage to the grave of Lord Asano Naganori.

The final resting place of the 47 Ronin, Sengakuji Temple.

Smoky pachinko parlors were common in the cities.

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