Japan Tour 2015
Towards the end of September in 2015 a team of 20 swimmers, coaches and team mangers did a swimming tour in Japan. The tour traveled to Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Sanda over nine days. Highlights included visiting beautiful temples, a samurai experience, universal studios and staying in some amazing hotels. For many though, the best experience was getting to train with the different Japanese squads and meeting new people. Experiencing the culture and seeing the discipline of the Japanese squads was truly amazing and made the trip a success.
Day 1 - Monday
After an early morning pickup. Our team caught a shuttle bus to the airport. Collecting the rest of the team at the airport we began our adventure. The flights were good with a changeover in Cairns. Arriving in Osaka we were greeted by the sights and sounds of Japan. We had arrived!
Day 2 - Tuesday
After staying in the remarkable Osaka hotel we traveled to Kyoto in the morning. We checked in at the awesome Kyoto hotel and then it was all monkey business as we visited Arashiyama monkey park. Next stop was our first training session at the Kyoto high school pool. The whole pool was used by the squads and every lane had their own coach! The swimmers ranged in level from Silver squad to Olympians! Needless to say the session was a workout and sleeping that night was no problem.
Day 3 - Wednesday
The morning began with another session at Kyoto. We learned that the squads there do 3 sessions a day during their holiday period. Each session could be up to 7 km! After the session we visited the famous Kinkakuji temple (or Golden Pavilion). Then later in the evening we visited the Gion district known for its artistic performances and Geisha dancers. Here we watching a performance on traditional Japanese art forms. We topped off the evening by visiting an awesome ninja restaurant where we were treated to some traditional Japanese style cooking.
Day 4 - Thursday
The next morning we did our last session with the Kyoto team. The squads had organised a breakfast for us which was awesome. Saying our goodbyes we headed to our next destination, Kobe. We did a short stop to drop off the luggage at a lavish Portopia hotel and then headed to Sanda, the Blue Mountains sister city. Here we were greeted by the J.S.S. team and the swimmers all got the rock star treatment at the pool. After the energetic session in a pool packed with swimmers our exhausted team headed back to the hotel. Another rest well earned!
Day 5 - Friday
In the morning we checked out Harbourland in Kobe and the swimmers got a ride on a Ferris wheel overlooking the whole beautiful bay area. Then we headed up to Sanda again. This time the sister city committee had organised a tour for us. This tour was amazing. We dropped in to class at a high school, were treated to an amazing view at one of the most magnificent temples on top of a mountain, tried the famous Kobe beef at a museum, and became temporary politicians at the council chambers. The Sister city people were welcoming and friendly and were simply amazing! After the tour we hit the JSS pool again where the swimmers knocked off a sprint session and signed some autographs. Dinner back at the hotel that night was most welcome.
Day 6 - Saturday
The next morning we packed our gear and headed into Osaka city, our final stop for the trip for the next few days. After arriving we headed out to watch a major league baseball game! Then we caught up with a different JSS team that was the perfect training level for our own and did a session.
Day 7 - Sunday
The morning began with a session at the JSS pool. After this we went into the city and became samurais as we dressed up and performed a sequence at the samurai school! That evening we went for a team walk to Osaka castle and relaxed.
Day 8 - Monday
This day was spent at the exciting Universal studios Osaka. Roller coasters, boat rides and Harry Potter land awaited us and every ride was a blast. In the evening the zombies came out. Roaming around in hilarious fashion and scaring unsuspecting park goers.
Day 9 - Tuesday
Our final day in Japan began by swimming our last session with the JSS team. after which we had breakfast and many of our swimmers were able to catch up with their new Japanese friends one last time. That afternoon we headed out for a bit of shopping before catching our last train (thank goodness) down to the airport. The swimmers were tired and ready to go home. The trip had been a huge success!
More photos to come!