Technology That Shapes Us

Technology That Shapes Us



Trip Themes

STEM, Technology, Design, Culture, World History, Business, Economics

Cities Visited

Osaka, Kyoto, Tokyo

How do advances in technology shape modern society?

Japan has been defining modern technology for decades, and as a result, the country is quite unique compared with the rest of the world. From robotic toilets and vending machines on every corner, to precision manufacturing and video games, examples of cutting-edge innovation have shaped the country since the end of WWII.

We will begin our trip in Osaka, one of Japan’s largest cities for our first taste of modern Japan. We will quickly head to Kyoto, the old capital of the country as we begin exploring Imperial Japanese culture. In Kyoto we will visit temples and shrines, have an introduction to Japanese cultural traditions, and think about how these have been integrated with new technology.

We will then head to Tokyo, one of the largest cities in the world and a global center of technology. In Tokyo we will dig into our research question hands-on. We will visit the Akihabara district, the video game and technology area of the city, to see how all sorts of different people connect to technology. We will head to the top of one of Tokyo’s highest skyscrapers for sunset to see the city’s expansive infrastructure and visit the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

Along the way we will meet different Japanese people to understand how technology has shaped their society. At the end of the trip we will collaborate on our own projects to build new technologies, and outline design objectives for how these technologies should shape our shared futures.

Itinerary Highlights

  • Experience ancient Japan by visiting temples, shrines, and palaces in Kyoto and Tokyo

  • Explore the Harijuku video game district to see the cutting edge in Japanese taste

  • Taste fresh sushi in Tokyo’s morning fish market

  • Navigate Tokyo’s spectacular public transit system, and meet the different mascots along the way

  • Try using all sorts of technology advances that haven’t caught on in other countries

  • Have dinner at the Robot Restaurant to see an epic live battle of the future

  • Reflect on how we as Americans use technology, and where this might take us



Atlas Workshops has a passion for working with schools to build trips that meet their goals and align with their curriculum. With some high school groups in Japan, we might introduce a mix of STEM and design exercises while we think about the future of technology globally through specific case studies and site visits. With students more interested in the humanities, exploring Japanese history and geopolitical relations can open up some deeper threads on current issues and opportunities.

For a trip with a deep focus on technology and innovation, we have a variety of other programs around the world, such as “Harnessing the Wind” in Uruguay, “Cities That Cycle” in Scandinavia, and STEM Immersions in California’s Bay Area.