School trips

Once each during elementary, junior and senior high school, all the students in the same grade travel together for between two days and one week. Trips within Japan often include sightseeing in the capital (Tokyo), visiting historical sites in Kyoto and/or Nara, or studying the history of the Second World War in Hiroshima, Nagasaki or Okinawa. A number of senior high schools offer school trips to overseas destinations in Korea, China or the United States. Students engage in exchanges with schools in sister cities and learn about international understanding, or visit a country where they can use a foreign language they have been studying, increasing their understanding of language and culture. In 1998, over 160,000 students from 737 schools (324 public, 413 private) participated in school trips to overseas locations. The majority (247 schools) went to Korea, followed by China (153), the United States (118), Australia (102), and Singapore (92).

School trips usually take place in the third year of junior and senior high school (sixth year for elementary school), but some schools plan them at the end of the second year because third-year students are busy studying for entrance exams. An important purpose of these trips is to teach students how to behave in the city or country they are visiting, thereby assuring that they get more out of the trip than just sightseeing.

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