2018 Japan Trip

Kyla Suan, Eli Suan, and Kyler Ching traveled to Tenri, Japan for the Tenrikyo Children’s Pilgrimage and youth tournament. Kyler Ching traveled on the same trip two years ago (see our Adventures in Japan post) and also traveled alone with his mom, Sophie Ching, last year to compete in the same tournament.

This year, we all stayed in the Tenrikyo Kochi Dormitory, arranged by Reverend Kakitani. All the families stayed on the third floor of the dormitory. The shared spaces included a kitchen, common room, washing machines and dryers, showers, and bathrooms. Most of the rooms were Western Style and had their own water closets.

The exterior of Kochi Dormitory

The gang traveled to Kyoto with the assistance of Mr. Deguchi, a friend of Reverend Kakitani.


Kyler in the tatami room at Starbucks in Kyoto
The float in the parade at the Kyoto festival

We watched practice at Tenri University.


The kids practiced at Junseikan, the Tenri children’s dojo (up to 6th grade students). Due to the heat, they took lots of breaks and the sensei provided sports drinks and ice packs for every kid.

Kyler with his ice pack


Kyla, Eli, and Kyler with the Junseikan kids and Sensei


During our free time, we wandered around Tenri by foot.

Eli, Kyla, and Kyler
The Tenri Curry Five!
Kyla with her “Cotton Candy Snow” from Mr. Donut

The Chow family hosted Anna through the Tenrikyo Church as an exchange high school student for a week in Spring 2018. As a part of her service for Tenri High School, she was working the Children’s Pilgrimage events in Tenri so we got to see her and hang out for a little.

Evan, Anna, Chrissy, Kyla, and Daniel

As a part of the Children’s Pilgrimage, Tenrikyo churches from all around the world participate in 3 evenings of parade marches. We walked with the Tenrikyo Hawaii group and danced to the song from the movie Moana, Logo Te Pate.

Additionally, the kids participated in many of the Children’s Pilgrimage activities and games.

Kyla, Kyler, and Eli in their aloha attire for the parade

The tournament that Kyla, Kyler, and Eli participated in was only for elementary-aged students. For the 1st through 4th grade divisions, there is no gender separation. All boys and girls compete together. Also, there are no weight divisions. The brackets are large and single-elimination (our tournaments are usually double-elimination), meaning that if you lose one match, you are out of the tournament.

Kyla competed in the first grade division, she won one match and then lost her second. Eli competed in the fifth grade division and also won one match and lost his second. Kyler competed in the fifth grade division and lost his first match. The fifth grade boy’s division consisted of 66 competitors and the first grade division had 35 competitors.


Kyler, Kyla, and Eli with Anai Sensei
Everyone with Shinohara Sensei
One half of the 5th Grade Boy’s Bracket (Eli Suan)
Second Half of the 5th Grade Boy’s Bracket (Kyler Ching)
1st Grade Bracket, boys and girls (Kyla Suan)


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