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Virtual school trips

Japanese school children are doing virtual school trips to landmarks across the world.

With the coronavirus pandemic ensuring a halt to travel at present, one school in Japan is turning to the internet to get out of the classroom. In one "trip", students travelled to World Heritage site, Yakushiji Temple in Nara, Japan, where they were given a Zoom talk by local monks. The third grade children then went onto learn how to make traditional "nerikiri" confectionery in an online lesson from a sweet maker in Kyoto.

Manabu Watanabe, the vice principal of the school, said: "The students are in their final grade of junior high school, so we wanted to give them a chance to create memories with each other. They said they really enjoyed it. It is, obviously, different from traveling physically, but the goal was to have the students get a feel of the trip even if it's only a little."

The trip was organised by Kinki Nippon Tourist Metropolitan Co., who have been providing virtual school trips since last year, but they have really come into their own owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

A company spokesperson said of the services they offer: "People hesitate to travel in large groups now. Our program is intended to offer something fun to students who missed out on their trips."

And Education minister Koichi Hagiuda is keen for virtual school trips to take place in the meantime, before traditional ones resume as soon as it is safe to do so.

Hagiuda said: "For children, the trips are an invaluable memory and also very effective in terms of education. We would like to request schools make as much effort as possible, including traveling to less distant destinations."

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