Mickelson Spends Two Weeks in Japan, Encourages Others to Travel


Michael De Leers, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

On June 13, as most students were waking up for another summer day, Notre Dame senior Jack Mickelson was leaving for Japan.

Mickelson set off on his two-week trip to Japan with his grandparents.

“It is a tradition for my grandparents to take their grandkids on a trip anywhere in the world as a graduation present,” said Mickelson.


Mickelson chose Japan in order to “learn more about the culture and architecture of Japan,” which he has always found to be interesting. Mickelson’s trip began in Tokyo, Japan, with his grandparents and the travel group which accompanied them.

“We sadly spent only one day in Tokyo, but we went to a traditional tea ceremony and got to try on kimonos, and then we visited an awesome shrine,” said Mickelson.

Traveling internationally typically goes hand and hand with communication issues, and as one would expect, the people of Japan speak primarily Japanese, which makes simple tasks such as getting directions and ordering food difficult for many travelers.


Luckily for Mickelson, “Most people (in Japan) understand some English,” which made traversing Japan much easier.

It should be noted that, according to Japan Today, students in Japan are required to take English classes in school. This leaves many people in Japan with at least a simple understanding of the language.

After leaving Tokyo, Mickelson traveled by bus to the seaside village of Kamakura, then the Mount Fuji area, Matsumoto, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and finally Osaka.

After traveling across most of the country, Mickelson noted his favorite place to visit was “the giant Buddha in Kamakura.”


The bronze statue of Amida Buddha stands 43 feet tall and is known as “The Great Buddha.” It was built in 1252 and is one of the most renowned landmarks in Japan.

To Mickelson, the trip was a great success and he “hopes to return to Asia” some time in the near future. Mickelson’s final piece of advice for any young travelers is “to try and travel internationally at least once.”

Traveling to new countries is important, he emphasized, because it allows travelers to experience new cultures and ways of thinking different from their own culture.