Welcome to our three-part report of the one-week Awaji Learning Holiday (ALH) Program that was enjoyed on Awaji Island between August 28 and September 3, 2023. The program is designed to give students the chance to expand their Japanese communication skills as well as discover more about Japanese culture and customs in an immersive environment.

Day 1 (August 28, 2023)


The first event was the “Opening Ceremony” with the Vice President of Pasona Group Inc. and 10 other staff members welcoming the Hong Kong ALH participants. The Hong Kong participants introduced themselves in Japanese sharing details about their life through photos and videos. All of Pasona Group’s staff enjoyed listening to and watching their unique presentations.

A relaxing sunset dinner

After the opening ceremony, they enjoyed a welcome dinner at “Ocean Terrace”, a grill restaurant operated by Pasona Group, where they saw a spectacular sunset. The steak and salad were sourced from local vegetables and Awaji beef. They were extremely delicious.

Day 2 (August 29, 2023)

Action Learning

Their ‘Action Learning’ activities began on this day. They had a Japanese lesson in the morning, practicing communicating with strangers in different situations. Then they went to the seaside market and restaurant “Craft Circus” to do their assigned activities.

First, they enjoyed a 30-minute free chat / ice-breaking session with their activity supporters in Japanese. They learned about each other and how the support staff liked living on Awaji Island.

Learning about Pasona Group’s Awaji’s revitalization work

They were then separated into four groups. Each group had different activity missions to work on. One group interviewed the manager of the Sales Promotion Department of Pasona Furusato Incubation Inc., which operates most of Pasona Group’s restaurants on the island. Their mission was to find out how Awaji Island has developed or changed since Pasona Group started thier projects in 2008. They learned how they overcame initial problems and how they are competing with other restaurants that have recently opened in the west coast of Awaji Island. They also listened to Pasona Group’s future Awaji projects goals.

Working on Awaji Island

Another group interviewed people working at the restaurants and Global Market in Craft Circus. They asked questions about products at Global Market as well as restaurant recommendations and popular dishes, ingredients and where they are purchased from.

Interviewing Tourists

The other two groups interviewed tourists eating or shopping at Craft Circus. Their mission was to find out the reason why Awaji Island became “the No.1 Island that Japanese people want to visit” in 2022. Some of the questions they asked were:
1. What made them come to Awaji Island?
2. What makes the island different from other tourist spots?
3. Where they would recommend the participants to visit on the Island?

After this activity, they went to “Hello Kitty Show Box”, which is across the road from Craft Circus, to enjoy the café time show and taste vegan desserts, as well as to interview staff that belong to “Ongaku-jima (Music Island)” project.

Music Island

Started in July 2020, Pasona Group gathered musicians from all over Japan to revitalize the region through music. They provided an environment where musicians, who were facing a difficult time during the pandemic, could work and pursue their music activities with peace of mind. Currently, about 60 musicians, including pianists, violinists and composers, are active on the island, and in addition to performing music activities at various facilities operated by the Pasona Group, they also plan various concerts and music events through collaboration among members. They are practicing a double-career work style on Awaji Island, which is “Music x Work”.

“Music x Work”

One group interviewed a drum player and a saxaphone player, and the other group interviewed a singer and a dancer. They learned how the “Music x Work” lifestyle works on Awaji Island and how happy they are to be able to continue to pursue their musical interest and live a stable life by earning a living there.

After an intense day of speaking Japanese, the Hong Kong ALH participants had a delicious Japanese style dinner at “Seikaiha – Aonoya”, a Japanese restaurant which features an open kitchen and has an unobstructed view of the ocean from every seat.

To be continued….