ENGR 365 Global Engineering and Technology

co-offered with SM 350 Global Sport and Culture

Also in collaboration with JPN 493 Special Topics in Japanese

Japan, 2019

ENGR 365 Japan 2019 was led by Dr. Yanjun Yan. Note that there was another ENGR 365 session in 2019 led by Dr. Nelson Granda-Marulanda to Costa Rica. SM 350 was led by Dr. David Tyler. Both ENGR 365 Japan and SM 350 courses were offered as a combo class. Read the WCU news article about this trip here.

The JPN 493 class was led by professor Soichiro Motohashi, which was separate from the ENGR 365 / SM 350 class but along similar travel routes. The instructors had met together many times to plan the trips. Both classes enjoyed several cultural activities together.

Next year in summer 2020, if you want to visit Japan in a WCU cohort, please contact professor Motohashi at smotohashi@wcu.edu or visit him in McKee 131B, to join the JPN 493 course and earn 3 WCU credits. Many of the JPN 493 students will have taken some Japanese language course (and they can come to your aid when needed), but it is not required for you to have any prior knowledge in Japanese language to join JPN 493. What is required in JPN 493 is your curiosity to experience the Japanese culture with an open mind and heart. Update on Mar 3, 2020: Due to COVID-19, the Japan trip 2020 is cancelled. Student safety is always our number one priority. The world is interconnected, that’s why we cross bridges to understand each other. We will continue our exploration and learning when it is safe to do so in the future. Update on Apr 25, 2020: Our Japan traveler, Alex Sapp, and his roommates/friends, are 3D-printing face shields in their apartment during the lock-down (as reported by the Fox Carolina News) to support our medical staff on the front line. Here is the WCU news about it.

The 2019 ENGR365/SM350 class left US from everyone’s chosen airport on May 15th and met together in Tokyo on May 16th. The trip ended on June 4, 2019 in Osaka. The class traveled in four areas: Tokyo → Nagoya / Toyota → Hiroshima → Osaka / Kyoto / Himeji / Kobe / Nara. The overall map in Japan is provided below.









The companies, factories, universities, museums, and attractions that we visited are marked on four area maps, together with the galleries of some highlights.

APA Sugamo


APA Hotel Sugamo Ekimae

170-0002 Tokyo Prefecture, Toshima-ku, Sugamo 2-9-7, Japan

Gallery image of this property

One of our top picks in Tokyo.Set in Tokyo, just a minute walk from JR Sugamo Station's A4 Exit, APA Hotel Sugamo Ekimae features a public bath and compact yet functional rooms with free WiFi access. Private parking is available at an additional charge. Nearby attractions include Rikugien Garden, a 20-minute walk away.

Air-conditioned rooms at APA Hotel Sugamo Ekimae comes with an original mattress optimizing weight distribution, a flat-screen TV with BBC World News channel and an electric kettle. The private bathroom comes with free toiletries, slippers and a hairdryer.

Free luggage storage and newspaper services are available at the 24-hour front desk. Guests can soak in the open-air bath. Massage treatments and cleaning services are also available at an additional charge.

Ikebukuro Train Station is a 9-minute ride away on the JR Yamanote Line, while Tokyo Dome City is a 13-minute train ride from the property. Guests can also visit the Ueno Zoo or shop for electronic gadgets at Akihabara, both located a 20-minute drive away. Haneda International Airport can be reached with a 46-minute train ride from the nearby train station.

Toshima is a great choice for travelers interested in shopping, local food and convenient public transportation.

We speak your language!

Advanced Technology Exhibition Hall @TEPIA


Advanced Technology Exhibition Hall @TEPIA

TEPIA disseminates information about innovative technologies developed by Japan's machinery and information industries and offers people of the chance to directly experience these technologies.



Advanced Technology Exhibition Hall @TEPIA (Association for Technological Excellence Promoting Innovative Advances)
1st floor of TEPIA, 2-8-44 Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0061

Tokyo Metro Ginza Line: 4-minute walk from Exit No. 3 of Gaienmae Station


Admission fee Free
Working days and hours Weekdays: 10:00 am ‒ 6:00 pm Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 10:00 am ‒ 5:00 pm
Closings Mondays (Open when Monday falls on a holiday, but closed on the following Tuesday.)
Visitor capacity 20 (per guided tour in English)
Time required for a tour About 1 hour
Language English and Japanese
Reservation Required
https://www.tepia.jp/inspection/form.phpExternal site: a new window will open.
Other conditions * English Guide Book
* English leaflet


Tel: 03-5474-6123

Odaiba: Miraikan, MegaWeb, teamLab, etc.

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Miraikan


Discover your Earth This space offers experience, understanding, and sharing the links between life and the Earth environment, through cutting edge technology.

MegaWeb (a Toyota City Showcase)


teamLab Borderness




Subaru Sti Musuem


If you like cars and or Subarus, It is definitely worth checking out. I was in awe the whole visit. The STI Dealership and Museum is located at 3-9-6 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo.


THE 22B STI 🔥🔥🔥

The Subaru 22B STI is a widebody WRX STI Impreza coupe that was produced in 1998. Only 400 22Bs were built, and according to Wikipedia all 400 Japanese units sold out in 48 hours. There were also 24 22B STIs made for export markets (16 for the UK, 5 for Australia, & 3 prototypes).

The 22B is basically a real rally car for the road. It is an awesome and beautiful vehicle. It might just be my #1 dream car. ( Its definitely in my top 3 😄)


Senso Ji - Sanja Matsuri


Sanja Matsuri

The next Sanja Matsuri is expected to be held from May 17 to 19, 2019

The Sanja Festival (三社祭, Sanja Matsuri) is an annual festival in the Asakusa district that usually takes place over the third full weekend in May. It is held in celebration of the three founders of Sensoji Temple, who are enshrined in Asakusa Shrine next door to the temple. Nearly two million people visit Asakusa over the three days of the festival, making it one of Tokyo's most popular festivals.



Akihabara (秋葉原), also called Akiba after a former local shrine, is a district in central Tokyo that is famous for its many electronics shops. In more recent years, Akihabara has gained recognition as the center of Japan's otaku (diehard fan) culture, and many shops and establishments devoted to anime and manga are now dispersed among the electronic stores in the district. On Sundays, Chuo Dori, the main street through the district, is closed to car traffic from 13:00 to 18:00 (until 17:00 from October through March).

Sumo viewing @ Kokugikan


The May Tournament Kokugikan April 6, 2019 April 30, 2019 May 12, 2019
May 26, 2019


Toshiba Science Musuem, with an exhibit of Karakuri Puppet


Kurume was the birthplace of the king of nineteenth-century Japanese inventors.

Yumi-iri Doji; arrow-shooting boy [collection of the Kurume City Board of Education]

Hisashige Tanaka was born on September 18, 1799, in what is now the city of Kurume in Fukuoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu. His father, Yaemon, was a skilled maker of tortoiseshell ornaments, and the constant sight of him working implanted seeds of creativity in the young Hisashige.

At the tender age of eight, Hisashige devised what he called an "ink-stone case with a secret lock," featuring a cord that needed to be twisted in just the right way to pull out the drawer. When he took it to school and challenged several classmates to open the drawer, they eagerly tried but all failed. Then, to their wide-eyed astonishment, Hisashige swiftly opened it with ease. At the age of fourteen, he was commissioned to build a machine that could weave pictorial patterns on Kurume-gasuri, a type of kimono fabric for which the area was renowned. He perfected the device using his own innovative technology, and succeeded in weaving beautiful designs into the fabric, which had previously featured only simple spangled patterns. The young Hisashige's talents were already starting to bloom.

The genius of mechanical wonders was entertaining as well.

The Gokoku Shrine in Hisashige's hometown of Kurume celebrated a major festival twice a year, in the spring and fall. The biggest draw was the mechanical doll show, which is where the young Hisashige first encountered clockwork gadgetry. Fascinated by what he saw, Hisashige began creating gadgets himself and exhibited them at Gokoku Shrine. This is when people started calling him "the genius of mechanical wonders."

Although the eldest son, he asked his father to let his younger brother take over the family business, for he was determined to pursue success as an inventor. And so he continued to devote himself to the construction of mechanical dolls. For almost two years, they say, he never went outdoors, and he would go for seven or eight days on end without sleep. Then, eager for some new gems of knowledge to incorporate into his inventions, he traveled all the way to distant Edo; Tokyo, where he built a replica of an airgun from Holland. Through this endeavor he mastered the technology of the air-pressure pump. In 1824, having become a true master of the art of constructing automated dolls, he began traveling Japan as an entertainer, until the whole country had heard of "the genius of mechanical wonders." Those were the colorful days when ukiyo-e prints with their scenes of daily life were all the rage and suave fashions dominated the streets. Hisashige's mechanical doll shows were major entertainment spectacles that perfectly complemented the spirit of the age.

A map from Hisashige's  day showing the precincts of  the Gokoku Shrine
Advertisement for a mechanical doll show

(left)A map from Hisashige's day showing the precincts of the Gokoku Shrine [collection of the Kurume City Board of Education; photo courtesy of the Board]
(right)Advertisement for a mechanical doll show[National Science Museum]

Yumi-iri Doji;arrow-shooting boy, the ultimate mechanized doll.

Yumi-iri Doji ;arrow-shooting boy [collection of the Kurume City Board of Education]

Of all the numerous mechanical figures that Hisashige produced, the supreme masterpiece is undoubtedly Yumi-iri Doji - a doll that takes four arrows from a stand and shoots them in succession at a target. This tour de force is achieved by means of a metal clockwork mechanism, seven cams, thirteen threads with levers, and twelve moving parts.

Among the notable features of the piece is the use of brass for the clockwork mechanism, which guarantees sufficient strength and durability so that each motion glides smoothly into the next. A second feature is the way that one of the four arrows is "programmed" to miss the target. This brilliant piece of showmanship caters to the audience's expectations by having the figure shoot his arrow on cue — only to miss in an unanticipated twist that adds to the fun. What's more, the doll greets a successful shot with a self-satisfied smirk, but looks crestfallen when the arrow strays. Hisashige, not content with merely getting the thing to operate properly, gave it a truly human quality by making it susceptible to occasional failure and endowing it with emotions. There could be no greater testament to his knack for entertaining people.

Hisashige Tanaka's mechanical creations

Toro Ningyo ; puppet, from Yame Fukushima

The Toro Ningyo puppet shows in the Fukushima area of Yame City have a 250-year history. Performed every September at the Fukushima Hachiman Shrine, they have been designated an important intangible cultural asset by the Japanese government. The puppets are manipulated from backstage by means of rods — a technique devised by Hisashige, who presented his own mechanical doll shows on the same type of stage.

 Toro Ningyo ; puppet, from Yame Fukushima

Toro Ningyo; puppet, from Yame Fukushima
[collection of the Yame City Board of Education; photo courtesy of the Board]

Other mechanical dolls by Hisashige

Kame no Hai-dai; sake-cup stand in the shape of a tortoise
Place a full cup on the tortoise's back and it advances straight ahead. Place an empty cup on its back and the tortoise does a U-turn to where it came from.
Mechanical Hototogisu; cuckoo
The bird, powered by a clockwork mechanism built into the base of the cage, chirps away while moving its head, beak, and wings.
Doji Hai-dai; sake-cup stand in the shape of a little boy
Fill the cup and the little boy obligingly takes it to your guest. Once the guest drains the cup and places it back on the stand, the little boy turns around and returns to his original starting point. The figure, which measures about 20 cm tall, seems to hover in the air but in fact moves on tiny wheels attached to the base.
Kobodaishi Himitsu-no Fude; Kobodaishi's secret ink brush
A doll representing Kobodaishi; a great handwriting master, picks up an ink brush and draws a character in the air. Stroke by stroke, the same character appears simultaneously on a fusuma;Japanese sliding door.



Opening hours
Tuesday - Friday 10:00-17:30
Saturday/Sunday/National Holidays 10:00-18:00
Closed on Mondays (unless a National Holiday) and other dates specified by the Museum
Entry charge

※Please request English/Chinese information and group bookings in advance.

Opening ours and closed day will be changed as follows from April, 2019.

Opening hours
Tuesday - Friday 9:30-17:00
Saturday/Sunday/National Holidays 10:00-17:00
Closed on Mondays (unless a National Holiday) ,fourth Sundays, and other dates specified by the Museum

Related Links

Visit(How to use the Museum) Top Page


Yokohama B-Corsairs Basketball Team Meeting


Nike Japan

Shinagawa Station

locker to store luggage

Ippudo Roppongi, the best Ramen in Tokyo

Toshiba Science Museum

MagLev (magnetic levitation) train mechanism demonstration, Karakuri Ningyo (mechanical robot since the 17th century), Toshiba innovations, etc.

Yokohama B-Corsairs basketball team

An impressive team rooted in the community

Meiji Jingu with Motohashi Sensei’s class and Yoyogi Park to meet with a professional

Sanja Matsuri Festival at Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine

The biggest annual festival

Miraikan: National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation

ASIMO and other humanoid robots, space lab, 3D production for art and advertisement, etc.

MegaWeb Toyota showcase

“Supra is back to Japan!” debut event, regular and paralympic Olympic experience, all the past and current glories

teamLab Borderless

An interactive and dynamic art exhibit enclosed in a two-story building, enabled by tons of sensors and optical parts

Subaru STI museum/dealership

Invited to sit in the first 22B STI and World Rally winner cars, and to hold the championship cup brought out by the staff that was not even on display!!!

Sumo watching in Ryōgoku Kokugikan

A ceremony to please the God more than a sport. All the staff members must be past Sumo players themselves


No photos were allowed inside. Two photos from the web (credit goes to here and here) are used as illustration.

More at Odaiba, Tokyo Skytree, and other places in Tokyo

Chukyo University Toyota Campus Dorm

青雲館 Seiunkan for students

豊友館 Hoyukan for teachers

  • Check in is at 3pm / Check out is at 10am
  • There will be eight beds in one room, but may have fewer than eight people. When you stay in this room while at Chukyo you can only use one bed per person. You shouldn't switch beds nor touch the beds you do not use, or they will charge you double.
  • Laundry can be done on the 5th floor, but you must buy your own detergent.
  • 3th floor is for female
  • 4th floor is for male
  • There is one large bathroom per floor

Toyota Motomachi Plant (LFA, etc.)

Toyota Tsutsumi Plant

APA Hotel Gifu Hashima Ekimae

The SCMaglev and Railway Park (リニア・鉄道館 ~夢と想い出のミュージアム~)

Mizuno Technics, to manufacture golf clubs, baseball bats, etc.

Yakiniku Kachan (Japanese barbecue)

Image result for 焼肉勝ちゃん

Shoan Sushi Restaurant




ウェスタンカロライナ大学の学生・教員らが中京大学を訪問 工学部学生や硬式野球部員らと交流

Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway Kawashima Rest Area (You won't believe that it is just a rest area!)

There was a BBC documentary about Toyota Motomachi plant’s LFA (Toyota’s first super car) project several years ago. The LFA Chief Engineer, Tanahashi Haruhiku, was featured in this video, as shown below.

Before the trip, the class watched this video, did research on the car models manufactured at the Motomachi and Tsutsumi plants, and attended a talk specially given by Dr. Sudhir Kaul on general car manufacturing. During our trip, we talked to Mr. Haruhiku and many other engineers at both Toyota plants. No photos were allowed inside the factories, but we had thoroughly enjoyed watching the entire manufacturing cycle from stamping, welding, assembly, to testing. We even rode a car on a test track of various terrians at the Tsutsumi plant.

We, as well as Motohashi Sensei’s class, also interacted with Chukyo University quite a bit (although not together). Read the Chukyo university’s news article here.

Words can’t express how grateful we are of the special tours, made possible by all of our hosts.

Toyota Motomachi Plant

To produce Lexus LFA, Crown, etc., a testbed for innovations. The bus is powered by hydrogen fuel cell and will be used in Olympics 2020 in Tokyo.

Toyota Women Softball Team

Monica was a Team USA player in Olympics 2008 in Beijing, Ali is a Team USA player in Olympics 2020 in Tokyo. They play on the Toyota team in Japan when they are not training in the U.S.

Chukyo University Softball Team

The students and team members played ball throwing and catching, and had dinner together later.

Our dear Miku

Miku used to study at WCU. She drove us around and arranged ALL of our behind-the-scenes visits in the Nagoya region. Her athlete restaurant, iLima, was our favorite. A student got a a very cool customized jacket in her husband’s sporting goods store.

Toyota Tsutsumi Plant

To mass-produce Prius, etc. for both domestic and international markets. Use more green power and focus more on energy efficiency 

SCMaglev and Railway Park

High speed trains’ past, presence, and future, activities and simulation theater related to MagLev train, etc.

Sushi dinner at Shou’An

The chef served the sushi one type after the other, and adjusted individual offering based on customer reaction

Dr. Mekada’s lab

A tour and three talks in the Department of Information Engineering, School of Engineering, at Chukyo University

Mizuno Technics

There are only a handful of professional baseball bat makers, each with 20+ years of experience

Yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) dinner

Students tried new food they had never had before. Black sesame ice cream is very tasty but rarely seen elsewhere in Japan

Other places in Nagoya

APA Hotel Hiroshima-Ekimae Ohashi

APA Hotel Hiroshima-Ekimae Ohashi

732-0828 Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Minami-ku Kyobashicho 2-26, Japan

Gallery image of this property

One of our best sellers in Hiroshima! Boasting spacious public baths, APA Hotel Hiroshima-Ekimae Ohashi is located a 4-minute walk from JR Hiroshima Station. Free WiFi is provided in all rooms.

Rooms at Hiroshima-Ekimae Ohashi APA Hotel comes with a flat-screen TV with BBC world news, a fridge and an electric kettle. Each room has an original mattress optimizing weight distribution and a private bathroom with a high-tech toilet and a hairdryer.

There is a 24-hour front desk with luggage storage at the property. Laundry and photocopying services are available at a surcharge.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a 15-minute tram ride away, while Shukkeien is a 10-minute walk from APA Hotel Hiroshima-Ekimae Ohashi. The popular Itsukushima Shirine can be reached in 60 minutes by train and ferry from the hotel.

This is our guests' favorite part of Hiroshima, according to independent reviews.

We speak your language!

Peace Museum


March-July 8:30-18:00

Last entry is 30 min. before closing time

The Museum does not have a reservation system. We do not take reservations.

Exhibition rooms

● Please do not touch the exhibits or display cases (except the Hands-on Exhibits).

● Please keep quiet so as not to disturb other visitors.

● Large bags are not allowed into the Museum. (Coin lockers are available on the 1st floor of the East Building. To view the floor map, click here.)

● When using writing utensils, please be careful not to deface the artifacts.


Video and Photography

● Video and photography without flash is allowed for personal purposes (no application is required.) . However, tripods and selfie sticks are not allowed in the museum.

● Please be especially careful not to disturb other visitors with the shutter sounds of your camera including cell-phones.

● Photography with flash and/or for the purpose of publication requires an application in advance. For more information, click here.



● Please refrain from talking on a cell phone in any part of the exhibition rooms.


Eating, drinking, and smoking

● Eating and drinking are allowed only in the designated areas.

Visitors may consume food and drink in the Visitor’s Lounge on the 1st floor of the East Building. To view the floor map, click here.

● Smoking is not permitted in any part of the Museum.

The designated smoking area is located outside on the south side of the East Building (facing Heiwa Ōdōri Street).



● Please refrain from disturbing other visitors in the exhibition rooms.

● No dangerous objects may be brought into the Museum.

● Pets are not allowed in the Museum (except for guide, service, and hearing dogs).

● Please comply with any instructions given by the Museum staff.


Itsukushima, also known as Miyajima, is a small island in Hiroshima Bay, western Japan. It is known for its forests and ancient temples. Just offshore, the giant, orange Great Torii Gate is partially submerged at high tide. It marks the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine, which was first built in the 12th century. Nearby, the Museum of History and Folklore has cultural artifacts in a 19th-century merchant's home.

Image result for miyajima

Mazda Museum


Individuals (up to 19)

English tour: 10 a.m.

Length of Tour: 90 min.

・Reservations for tours for which a travel agent or other person receives compensation will not be accepted.

・Stay with your guide. (No self-guided tours are allowed.)

・Visitors under the influence of alcohol will not be admitted.

・Eating and drinking is prohibited in the exhibition areas. (Drinking is allowed in the entrance hall.)

・No waiting list for tours is maintained.

・Visitors with questions or concerns following the tour are requested to contact Mazda through the following:

  • email: mazdamuseum@mail.mazda.co.jp
  •   FAX: 082-252-5654

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Unfortunately, after we left, the clock since the last nuclear test was reset multple times.

Miyajima (Itsukushima)

The gate of the shrine could be walked up to at low tide. The mountain view after a hike

Mazda Museum and Factory

The famous rotary engine that was proved to work by winning a race but discountinued as it tends to break easier than other design

Hello Kitty Shinkansen (bullet train)

National JR pass covers the fare

Daiwa Royal Hotel D-CITY Osaka Shin Umeda


Gallery image of this property

Daiwa Royal Hotel D-CITY Osaka Shin Umeda is offering accommodations in Osaka. Built in 2018, the property is within an 8-minute walk of Umeda Sky Building. The property provides a 24-hour front desk as well as free WiFi.

Guest rooms features air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a electric tea pot, a bath and a desk. All rooms come with a private bathroom with a bidet. All guest rooms feature a closet.

Kuchu Teien Observatory is 0.4 miles from the japanese-style business hotel, while Nakanoshima Park is 1.7 miles from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 9 miles from the property.

We speak your language!

Kochi Information Technology Co. Ltd.


◯ デジタルサインシステム (DSS)
◯ CowsMobile®
◯ Bulls Mobile
☒ デジタルサインシステム (DSS)

☒ CowsMobile®(登録商標第5840205号)


※1 CowsとはWEBコミュニケーションシステム(Conversation on wave system)の略語です
※2 ホワイトボード上で文字/線/記号を用いて図示した内容をシステム利用者と共有する機能です

☒ Bulls Mobile

Bulls Mobileとは、GIS(※)のソフトウェア開発用キットです。

※ GIS…地理情報(Geografic Information System)という位置に関連づけられた様々な情報を作成、加工、管理、分析、可視化、共有するための情報技術(InformationTechnoligy)を利用したシステム
Bulls Mobileについて詳しく知りたい方はここをクリックしてください


Fushimi Inari Shrine - Kiyomizu temple




A beautiful shrine home to the god of thriving business

A popular destination for tourists because of its thousands of red torii gates, Fushimi Inari Taisha is the head of the approximately 30,000 Inari shrines located throughout Japan. This temple is said to be a good place to pray for success in business and industry.

In addition to torii, you may notice that there are a number of white fox statues throughout the shrine. Called byakko-san, these special foxes are thought to be the messengers of Inari Dai Kami-sama, the god enshrined at Fushimi Inari Taisha.

HOURS The shrine itself does not close; stores selling good luck charms and etc. are open 7:00am~6:00pm
ADDRESS 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
ACCESS Just outside of Inari Station on the JR Nara Line
TEL 075-641-7331
WEBSITE http://inari.jp/ (Japanese only)

Izumiriki Seisakusho Knife Forging



本社営業所 大阪府堺市堺区九間町東1-1-5
臨海工場 大阪府堺市西区築港浜寺西町2
資料館<要予約> 大阪府堺市堺区九間町東1-1-3

Izumiriki Seisakusho

Established in 1805, Izumiriki's kitchen tools have been in the hands of home cooks and professional chefs. Based upon the traditional technique, we keep trying new technology to manufacture the best kitchen knives that fulfill the high requirements of the pros.
At Izumiriki Seisakusho, visitors can see the process of "sharpening and straightening a blade," "fixing a handle to a knife," and "engraving a name on knife." Also, if visitors request, they can see the forging process.



Izumiriki Seisakusho Co.,Ltd.
1丁-1-5 Nishikinochōhigashi, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0932, Japan

*Nankai Line Sakai station 15 minutes walk
*Nankai Line Sakai higashi station 15 minutes walk
*Hankai Line Shinmeicho station 1 minute walk


Admission fee Free
Working days and hours Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 14:00
Closings Saturday, Sunday, public holidays, Bon and New Year holidays
Visitor capacity 20
Time required for a tour 1-2 hour
Language Japanese only
Reservation Required
via E-mail or FAX *Japanese only
*3days prior to your visit.
Other conditions *Visitors must arrange an interpreter
*Guided tour is available
*Photos allowed in certain areas
*Showroom will open this winter (2013)
*Visitors can purchase the products of Izumiriki Seisakusho


Tel: 072-238-0888 /072-229-9221 *Japanese only
E-mail: info@sakai-tohji.co.jp *Japanese only

This website from another workshop explains the forging process: http://www.mizunotanrenjo.jp/aboutjpknives_e.html We have checked that this other place does NOT offer a tour, but their info can be helpful.

The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

Read this link to know the inventor's story.


The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

The world's first instant noodle product, "Chicken Ramen," was invented by Momofuku Ando in August, 1958.
"Space Ram" was made as the instant noodles that traveled on the space shuttle Discovery with the Japanese astronaut in July 2005.
Visitors can make a "cup noodle" in the world's first cup noodle. They can also choose a soup, a cup design, and a favorite ingredient to make it. They can make their original cup noodle and take it away.



The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum
8-25, Masumi-cho, Ikeda-shi, Osaka, Japan

Accessing Ikeda Station on the Hankyu Takarazuka line.
*Walk from Masumicho Homen Exit for approximately a 5 min.
*Go straight along ‘Men Road’
※It takes about 20 min from Umeda station to Ikeda station by train.


Admission fee Admission is free (The experience of making a cup noodle is charged. The fee of making a my cup noodle is 300JPY per cup.)
Working days and hours 9:30-16:00 (Final acceptace of visiting the factory of 'My Cup Noodle' is at 15:30.)
Visitors can enjoy the tour without reservations. It may be closed earlier in the case of a crowded situation.
Closings Closed: Tuesday (Next day is closed in the case of a holiday), year-end and new year
Language Japanese, English and Chinese(Only brochure)
Reservation Required
By telephone 81(072)751-0825
Other conditions No reservations are required for entering "The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum" and "my cup noodle factory."
Note: Please make a reservation for "Chicken Ramen Factory Tour" and group tour, when the size of group is over 21 persons, in advance.


Tel: 81(072)-752-3484

Panasonic Stadium, J1-League Soccer Match: Gamba Osaka hosts Kashim

Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club

Master blacksmith Yasuhiro Hirakawa of scissors at Sasuke



3丁-4-20 Kitashimizuchō, Sakai-ku, Sakai-shi, Ōsaka-fu 590-0004, Japan

〒590-0004  大阪府堺市堺区北清水町3丁目 4-20 佐助

TEL : 072-233-6812 

FAX : 072-233-6802
URL : www.sasuke-smith.com

営業 : 10:00~18:00


The Last Master Scissor Craftsman in Japan
Master blacksmith Yasuhiro Hirakawa is the last traditional scissor maker left in Japan. His cutting edge creations can cost up to $35,000.
「Yasuhiro Hirakawa sasuke」の画像検索結果





Dinner at a Japanese friend's home

Our host says that "I’m planning to cook temaki-sushi together for dinner. After dinner, we will experience tea ceremony with Japanese sweets. You will also enjoy shamisen, koto, and shakuhachi performance, which is a traditional Japanese music. My friends will come and play for you."

Hanshin Koshien Stadium

Nippon League baseball game: Hanshin Tigers host Yomiuri Giants on May 28 (Tue), 2019

Osaka Kyoiku University

Kiyomizu-dera Temple


Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally "Pure Water Temple") is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, and derives its name from the fall's pure waters. The temple was originally associated with the Hosso sect, one of the oldest schools within Japanese Buddhism, but formed its own Kita Hosso sect in 1965. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

Kiyomizudera can be reached from Kyoto Station by bus number 100 or 206 (15 minutes, 230 yen). Get off at Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, from where it is a ten minute uphill walk to the temple. Alternatively, Kiyomizudera is about a 20 minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station along the Keihan Railway Line.

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove


Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

English address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku

Japanese address: 右京区嵐山

Click a Kyoto District for detailed info on attractions, places to eat and accommodation



Gion (祇園) is Kyoto's most famous geisha district, located around Shijo Avenue between Yasaka Shrine in the east and the Kamo River in the west. It is filled with shops, restaurants and ochaya (teahouses), where geiko (Kyoto dialect for geisha) and maiko (geiko apprentices) entertain.

Gion attracts tourists with its high concentration of traditional wooden machiya merchant houses. Due to the fact that property taxes were formerly based upon street frontage, the houses were built with narrow facades only five to six meters wide, but extend up to twenty meters in from the street.

Many tourists visit Gion hoping to catch a glimpse of a geiko or maiko on their way to or from an engagement at an ochaya in the evenings or while running errands during the day. However, if you spot a geiko or maiko, act respectfully. Complaints about tourists behaving like ruthless paparazzi are on the increase in recent years.

A visit to Gion is best combined with a stroll through the nearby Higashiyama Districtbetween Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizudera. This area has more preserved streets and traditional shops selling all kinds of local foods, crafts and souvenirs.

Gion can be reached from Kyoto Station by bus number 100 or 206 (20 minutes, 230 yen). Get off at Gion bus stop. Alternatively, the closest train stations are Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line.

Kyoto Sanga Training Center at Sanga Town

Get there from Joyo station (城陽駅

Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama



Osaka Kyoiku University

Kendo and Judo, etc.


Iwatayama monkey park, bamboo grove, and Fushimi Inari Taisha

Dinner at a Japanese friend’s house

Our friends hosted us at home with temaki-sushi, traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and traditional Japanese music (Shakuhachi, Koto, and Shamisen)

Himeji Castle and Kokoen Garden

A national treasure and the first world heritage site in Japan, VR and AR tour guide on phone app

Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club

A sports club founded on September 23, 1870, on the secured land on the eastern side of the foreign settlement

Hanshin baseball game

Hanshin (阪神) team (short for Osaka (大阪)-Kobe (神戸)), is the easiest conversation starter in the Kansei area, given the generations of fans here.

Dr. Wang’s home

Each of us was gifted a pottery cup hand-made by Dr. Wang’s husband.

Kochi Information Technology Co. Ltd

Their real-time operating system is what makes Suica Cards, etc. possible in rail systems. Their system is also used in patient management in hospitals, first responder system, etc.

Sumiyoshi Taisha

One of Japan’s oldest shrines. The roof is made of the grass that makes tatami, very durable and waterproof. Yet, the habitat of such grass is shrinking, making it hard to obtain now.

Knife Forging at Izumiriki Seisakusho

A thorough tour on knife forging and handle fixing. The students tried knife sharpening a bit.

Yamaguchi residence

A traditional Edo Period (1603-1868 C.E.) dwelling

A full-course dinner at Ume-no-hana

Japanese hospitality

Cup Noodles Museum Osaka Ikeda

Intersection of marketing, engineering and cross-cultural innovation. You could download an app to take a virtual tour.

Gamba football (soccer) game

Besides the exciting game, the very organized fan cheering was amazing

Kyoto Sanga F.C. training facility

Eye-opening to learn different philosophies and alternative treatments, besides common practice

Kyoto Station, Umeda tower, Osaka Castle, Uji, Nara, and other places

I wish I knew about this opportunity earlier so that I could have taken this travel course every summer! This travel course was one of the best experiences of my life, I made so many memories, made great new friends and learned so much!
Robert Spivey

Going to Japan was Life Changing, it allowed me to be a part of another culture, which has made me a person who understands the world just a little more and where I fit in it.
Jonathan Mashburn

This travel course is an amazing opportunity with equally amazing experiences where you will make new friendships and memories while furthering your education and enhancing your college experience.
Shannon Wladyka

The Japan summer travel course allowed me to explore different career fields and interests through meetings with individuals within the workforce and visits to companies I never would have seen stateside.
Blair Watts

Japan was a trip of a lifetime and the experiences and friendships that were made are irreplaceable.
Rafee Rivera

This is the most amazing trip I’ve ever been on. It’s a must-do while in college.
Troy Hudson

My trip from start to finish was Sugoi (すごい)!
Alex Sapp

An amazing interdisciplinary trip!

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Meet professionals and students in Japan

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Experience Japanese culture

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Advance in your career

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Open to opportunities yet to be revealed

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Earn 6 credits of two courses in P6 category

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Broaden your horizons

Enjoy the world as your classroom!

Be one of the few students who study abroad!

Enjoy the world as your classroom!


The 2019 trip was an interdisciplinary collaboration among three faculty-led travel courses (ENGR 365, SM 350, and JPN 493) that took a few years to finally materizalize. It wouldn’t happen without many people’s help.

Colleagues and Leadership

In no particular order, we thank

  • Professor Soichiro Motohashi for establishing many site-visit opportunities, which simply would not happen if without his help, helping Dr. Yan to refresh her Japanese, and finding interpretors when needed;
  • Dr. David Tyler for collaborating in this two-course combo on a single trip and sharing his expertise down to every detail;
  • Dr. Scott Rader for sharing his course proposal that sparked Dr. Yan’s desire to lead a trip to Japan in the first place and his many suggestions later on to help shape this interdisciplinary collaboration between engineering, sport management and Japanese programs. Dr. Rader also offered a talk on Japanese culture to the class before the trip;
  • Dr. Sudhir Kaul for giving a comprehensive talk on car manufacturing to the class before the trip;
  • Dr. Ling LeBeau, the director of International Programs and Services, for her continuous encouragement and guidance;
  • Mr. Neil Torda (torda@wcu.edu) for supporting this website’s development (https://yan.wcu.edu/) with the best solution for every feature that is asked; and
  • Dr. Hugh Jack, School Director of Engineering and Technology and Cass Ballenger Distinguished Professor, for his unwavering support at every step of the course development and the financial support, when needed, without hesitation.


The names of our hosts who are not public figures are omitted for privacy. Our appreciation extends to all who have welcomed us.

In no particular order, we thank

  • The staff at Yokohama B-Corsairs. Go!! B-COR!!
  • Mr. Okumura Kouki who is an experienced craftsman to work with gold and talked to us about it
  • Senior Director at United Entertainment Group
  • Staff at Nike
  • Miku in Nagoya, a WCU alum, who arranged our Nagoya itineries and accompanied us and drove us during our entire stay there, led us to great restaurants including her iLima athlete restaurant, sushi course dinner and yakiniku (Japanese barbecue).
  • General Manager and many other engineers and staff members at Toyota Motomachi Plant and Tsutsumi Plant
  • Monica Abbott and Ali Aguilar
  • Senior Manager and his staff at Mizuno Technics Corporation
  • A professor in the Department of Information Engineering, School of Engineering, and his students at Chukyo University
  • Baseball Team Head Coach and his team at Chukyo University
  • President of the Kobe Regatta & Athletic Club
  • Atheletic Trainer and his colleagues at Kyoto Sanga F.C.
  • Staff at the Center for Global Education and Research and professors in Physical Education at Osaka Kyoiku University
  • Dr. Wang in Osaka, who kindly offered each one of us a pottery cup hand-made by her husband, and arranged and accompanied us in multiple activities in Osaka, and helped us in interpretation. She also reserved and led us to a traditional Japanese course dinner.
  • Takamichi Sensei who helped arrange our activities and guided us in Sakai
  • Our Japanese friends who hosted us a dinner at home with temachi-sushi and many other delights, the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and the traditional Japanese musical instruments (Shakuhachi, Koto, and Shamisen).
  • President, Manager, and Chief Designer at Kochi Information Technology Co. Ltd
  • Mr. Nobuta at Izumiriki Seisakusho
  • Mr. Yasuhiro Hirakawa at Sasuke
  • Staff at the following museums or organizations who offered us excellent info and extra help, whenever needed, and extra demonstrations without us even asking:
  • Staff at the hotels, train stations, restaurants, shops, and many other places, who took the efforts to help us as best as they could,
  • and many others who have met with us and interacted with us.