Excursions: Tokyo & Beyond

 

Upcoming Excursions for Spring and Summer 2020

*Led in conjunction with Sandra Isaka of Excursions Japan and Mandy Bartok of Uncover Japan


Sandra Isaka

Sandra Isaka has lived in Japan for over 20 years and is an Intercultural Consultant and Japan Travel Specialist.  She plans to retire in Kyoto, her husband’s hometown, where they have renovated a 200-year-old machiya.  Sandra explores constantly – with an ultimate goal of becoming the world’s foremost expert on travel within Japan.  She is also focused on assisting lesser-known towns and sightseeing spots around Japan to attract, and take better care of, non-Japanese tourists.  She loves to share her favorite places through lectures, classes, articles and excursions.  excursionsjapan.com

 

Mandy Bartok

Mandy Bartok arrived in Japan with the intent of staying only one year. Ten years later, she’s lived in Tokyo, Okinawa and Kumamoto and – after a brief stint back in the US – has returned to Tokyo once more. Her goal is to explore all of Japan’s 47 prefectures (only two to go!) and share her finds with others. Mandy’s a huge fan of onsen (hot springs), seasonal flowers and quiet mountain trails, and has a weak spot for anything flavored with the citrus fruit yuzu. She’s written articles on Japan for the travel section of the Japan Times, as well as online sites and publications, and posts favorite discoveries on social media under the name Uncover Japan


UPCOMING EXCURSIONS 

MARCH 2020

All previously scheduled March excursions are unfortunately cancelled due to restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19. 

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APRIL 2020

All previously scheduled April excursions are unfortunately cancelled due to restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19. 

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MAY 2020

Family Fun: Asakusa Ninja Mystery                            Tuesday, May 5th                                   10:00-12:00

*Registration is open

A ninja is on the loose in Asakusa! Can you use the clues to round up this troublemaker? Test your puzzling skills on this family-friendly exploration of the Asakusa neighborhood. Revisit old haunts and learn new fun facts on this adventure geared for those aged 6-12. Celebrate your success by participating in a traditional festival game.

Excursion Details:

  • Cost: ¥7000 (1 adult, 1 child) or ¥10,000 (1 adult, 2 children)     (includes one copy of ninja adventure per child, prize, festival game, snack, 10% sales tax and services of cultural specialist)
  • Two children maximum per adult; younger children may accompany parent(s) but will not be included in mystery, festival game or individual snack
  • 4-12 participants
  • Rain or shine
  • Excursion begins and ends near Asakusa Station on the Ginza line
  • Led by Mandy (and Keira) Bartok

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Ryogoku: Tokyo’s Sumo Town                                Friday, May 8th                                            9:30-12:30

*Registration is open

Ryogoku is Tokyo’s sumo neighborhood, but this traditional shitamachi (downtown) on the eastern bank of the Sumida River boasts many additional fascinating sites. Visit a sumo temple, the birthplace of Edomae sushi, a famous spot associated with the 47 samurai, a traditional garden, and a park that’s seen more than its fair share of disasters. At the end of the excursion, enjoy a tasty (optional) lunch.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥5000 (includes 10% sales tax, snack and services of a cultural specialist).
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Excursion begins and ends at JR Ryogoku Station
  • Excursion will be held rain or shine.

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Trails of Tanzawa                                                   Tuesday, May 12th                                       8:30-17:00

*Registration is open

This hiking excursion visits a mountain tucked in between the Tanzawa range and seaside Odawara. On this moderate to occasionally strenuous hike, trek past tea fields and rice paddies, through thick forests and over grassland to reach the 723m peak, where a clear day offers stellar views of the surrounding countryside and Japan’s most iconic mountain, Mt Fuji. 

Excursion Details:

  • ¥8500 (includes 10% sales tax, snack and services of a hiking guide/cultural specialist); does not include lunch or train fare to and from the hike (approx ¥2200 roundtrip)
  • Hike will be cancelled in the event of rain.
  • 4-9 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • As this is a hiking excursion, participants should be prepared to cover 10-12km of varied terrain (paved road, forest path) over the course of 3.5-4 hours
  • Excursion leaves from and returns to Yoyogi-Uehara Station 

 

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Hatsushima: Island Explorations                           Tuesday, May 19th                                       TBD

*Registration is open

After meeting in Atami, travel by sightseeing boat to the tiny island of Hatsushima. Upon arrival, walk paved trails through the local village and along the rocky coast. Visit a tiny shrine, learn some local history, take in the view from the top of a lighthouse, and relax with lunch in a grassy Asian garden. Follow it all with an optional soak in an ocean-side hot springs bath. Return by boat to Atami’s port and walk along the lovely waterfront. Before heading home, souvenir shop in an old-fashioned covered arcade.

Excursion Details:

  • TBA (includes 10% sales tax, snack, and services of a cultural specialist). Not included: transportation, lunch (1000-2000 yen), optional coffee/tea break.
  • Excursion begins and ends at Atami Station. Participants can meet in advance and travel from Shinagawa together (easy to follow instructions will be provided)
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older
  • This excursion runs rain or shine.
  • A lot of walking is involved, but it is not strenuous.
  • Led by Sandra Isaka

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The Secret Side of Ikebukuro                                                     Thursday, June 4th                                                 9:30-12:30

*Registration begins on May 2 at 8:30am

Known as a popular commuter station, go beyond the train tracks to find Ikebukuro’s hidden gems – a secret garden, a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece, and your best chance of surviving the next big earthquake. End with an optional lunch near a rooftop version of Monet’s waterlily garden.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥6000 (includes 10% sales tax, museum admission, snack, and services of a cultural specialist). Not included: optional lunch
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine
  • Tour begins at Mejiro Station and ends at Ikebukuro Station
  • Led by Mandy Bartok

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Hidden Temple & Hydrangea Festival                                    Between June 6th and 14th – Specific Date TBD                                     TBD

*Registration begins on May 2 at 8:30am  

Escape into the countryside to visit an incredible temple, hidden within an ancient cedar forest, that very few Japanese people even know exists!  Next, travel to a tiny town famous for its hydrangea festival. Thousands of colorful bushes line narrow streets that crisscross fields filled with newly planted rice.  Adding to the beauty, Kaisei is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and Mt. Fuji often shows itself.

Excursion Details:

  • TBA (includes 10% sales tax, entrance fees, snack, and services of a cultural specialist). Not included: transportation, lunch (1000-2000 yen), optional coffee/tea break, souvenir shopping.
  • Excursion begins and ends at Odawara Station. Participants can meet in advance and travel from Shinagawa together (easy-to-follow instructions will be provided)
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older
  • This excursion runs rain or shine.
  • A lot of walking is involved, but it is not strenuous.
  • Led by Sandra Isaka

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Narita: More than an Airport                                        Tuesday, June 16th                                                     9:00-16:00  

*Registration begins on May 2 at 8:30am        

While practically synonymous with the nearby international airport, the town of Narita is a worthy destination in its own right. Explore a temple with a 1000-year history, a sprawling garden dotted with seasonal flowers, and a lively Edo-era shopping street.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥7800 (includes 10% sales tax, snack, and services of a cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, train fare to and from Narita (approx. ¥1750)
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine
  • Excursion begins and ends at Keisei Ueno station.
  • Led by Mandy Bartok


FOR ALL OUR EXCURSIONS:

Cancellation Terms and Conditions:  Cancellation within 7 calendar days before the services begin: You will be charged a 100% cancellation fee (no refund).

Excursions are first-come, first-serve. Participants will be notified in a timely matter that their e-mail has been received. Once the maximum is reached, a wait list will be created. Wait listed participants will be notified of cancellations as they occur. Wait listed members will not be penalized for cancellations when they are on the wait list.

 Information regarding the exact meeting place, the excursion leader’s phone number, payment information etc. will be included in the confirmation.


To register for any of the excursions above, please send the following information to: excursions@heartlandjapan.com

Name of the excursion that you would like to join AND

Full Name / Address / Cell phone number / Date of birth / Gender
E-mail address / Nationality / Emergency contact name and number / Medical Conditions / Food Allergies / Special Food Requirements


For more information on any of these excursions, or to book one privately for your own group, send an e-mail to: excursions@heartlandjapan.com


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