Excursions: Tokyo & Beyond

 

Upcoming Excursions for Autumn 2019

*Led in conjunction with Sandra Isaka of Excursions Japan & 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 are currently renovating 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

JANUARY 2020

Secrets of Ebisu and Shibuya                          Thursday, January 23                                          9:45-12:45

*Registration open

Go beyond the well-known sites to discover the secrets of these two popular neighborhoods. Stroll by a bath house with unique sea-inspired decorations and stop in a top-class museum filled with impressive Japanese art. Learn about Helen Keller’s connection to the area and visit a hidden botanical garden. End with a tasty optional lunch at the new Shibuya Stream complex.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥6800 (includes 10% sales tax, entrance to museum & botanical garden, services of a cultural specialist)
  • 3-9 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Moderate walking with several gradual hills and a few staircases.
  • Tour begins at Ebisu station and ends at Shibuya station 
  • Led by Mandy Bartok 

FEBRUARY 2020

Bite-Sized Ginza                                                   Tuesday, February 4                                        10:30 – 13:30

*Registration begins on January 4 at 8:30am

Ginza is one of Tokyo’s original Western-style neighborhoods. It’s also home to numerous antenna shops – specialty stores that highlight products from each of the nation’s various prefectures. On this tasty tour, we’ll enjoy a variety of delicacies from at least six prefectures while listening to tales regarding the area’s deep history.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥7500 (includes 10% sales tax, multiple food tastings (5-6), services of a cultural specialist).
  • 3-6 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Light amount of walking over flat ground.
  • Tour begins at Ginza station and ends at Yurakucho Station
  • This tour will take place over lunch and includes multiple opportunities for regional food tastings. However, a sit-down lunch is not offered.
  • Led by Mandy Bartok

Atami Seaside with Blossoms                              Friday, February 7                                          8:30-17:40

*Registration begins on January 4 at 8:30am

Upon arrival in the resort of Atami, gateway city to the Izu Peninsula, explore a lovely hillside garden filled with white and pink plum blossoms. Visit a shrine with a magnificent 2,000-year-old camphor tree and an impressive hotel-turned-museum. Take in beautiful views of the sea, enjoy a tasty lunch, and end the tour with an onsen bath and/or shopping along traditional covered shopping arcades.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥8000 (includes 10% sales tax, drink, all entrance fees, services of a cultural specialist). Not included: transportation to/from Atami, lunch, optional visit to onsen
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Moderate walking with several hills and some staircases.
  • Led by Sandra Isaka

Early Spring in Ikegami                                       Thursday, February 27                                     10:00-12:30 (NEW TIME)

*Registration begins on January 4 at 8:30am

Just south of Shinagawa is Ota-ku, Tokyo’s largest, yet often overlooked, ward. Visit an impressive 800+ year old temple built atop a hill overlooking the city, warm up with a coffee or tea and wander under the blossoms in a garden of 370 plum trees. Optional lunch in a local café. 

Excursion Details:

  • ¥5000 (includes 10% sales tax, drink, entrance to plum garden, services of a cultural specialist).
  • 3-9 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Good weather only.
  • Moderate amount of walking with some hills and a long staircase.
  • Tour begins at Gotanda Station and ends at Nishi-Magome Station 
  • Led by Mandy Bartok

MARCH 2020

Hike to Jimmu Temple & Mt Takatori                                 Friday, March 6                                 9:00-15:00

*Registration begins on February 4 at 8:30am

Stretch your legs on this ‘easy to moderate’ hike on Kanagawa’s Miura Peninsula. Explore the grounds of Jimmu Temple, which allegedly dates back to the 8th century. View local landmarks from the heights of Mt Takatori and ‘discover’ a unique Buddha statue hidden along the trail.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥8500 (includes 10% sales tax, snack, services of a cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, train fare to and from the Zushi area (approx. ¥1400)
  • 4-9 participants, ages 18 and older
  • Excursion held in good weather only
  • The route will include 2.5-3 hours of easy-moderate hiking with some rock scrambling involved
  • Led by Mandy Bartok

Best of Odawara                                                                 Monday, March 9                                      8:30-16:40 (to/from Shinagawa)

*Registration begins on February 4

On this leisurely BICYCLE tour of central Odawara’s best sites, visit a famous castle and a shrine whose grounds have been beautifully ‘updated’ for modern society.  Travel through quiet residential neighborhoods to visit lovely temples and beautiful homes that are now explorable museums.  Cycle to a famous fishing port and along a former section of a historic highway.  And more!  

Excursion Details:

  • ¥11,000 (includes 10% sales tax, entrance fees, bicycle rental, snack, services of a cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, coffee/tea break, train fare to/from Odawara.
  • 3-7 participants, ages 18 and older
  • Rain or shine.  *If it rains, this will become a walking tour.
  • Slow, leisurely ‘easy-level’ bicycle tour on mostly level ground.
  • Tour begins and ends at Odawara Station.  Travel with other participants from Shinagawa Station or on your own from other locations.  *Easy to follow instructions provided.
  • Led by Sandra Isaka

Hakone Yumoto Explorations                                       Friday, March 13                                        9:00-17:30 (to/from Shinagawa)

*Registration begins on February 4 at 8:30am

Explore the history of Hakone Yumoto, the resort area’s gateway. Walk along a stone-paved trail, visit historic temples & shrines, and view beautiful waterfalls. Enjoy a tasty lunch & traditional snacks, an (optional) open-air onsen bath, and free time for souvenir shopping.

OPTION: Stay overnight in an onsen ryokan/hotel and see more of Hakone the following day – sightseeing ideas provided.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥8500 (includes 10% sales tax, entrance fee, snack, services of a cultural specialist).  Not included:  lunch, coffee/tea break, train fare to/from Hakone Yumoto, and optional hot springs bath.
  • 4-11 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • A lot of walking, some steep slopes and a short, rocky hiking trail
  • Tour begins and ends at Hakone Yumoto Station.  Travel with other participants from Shinagawa Station or on your own from other locations.  *Easy to follow instructions provided.
  • Note:  It is possible to leave earlier and return to Shinagawa by 16:40 (if you skip the souvenir shopping/optional onsen bath).
  • Led by Sandra Isaka

Ningyocho & Nihombashi: Cradle of Tokyo                  Wednesday, March 18                           9:30-12:30

*Registration begins on February 4 at 8:30am

Visit two neighborhoods that are considered the ‘heart’ of old Edo – a former ‘doll’ town and a beautifully revitalized shopping district. Learn the history of currency in Japan and explore hidden shrines, picturesque alleys, and famous bridges. End the tour with a delicious optional lunch along the canal.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥5500 (includes 10% sales tax, snack, services of a cultural specialist).
  • 4-9 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Light-moderate amount of walking over flat ground
  • Tour begins at Suitengumae Station
  • Led by Mandy Bartok

APRIL 2020

Yanesen: Triangle of Old Tokyo                                         Friday, April 3                                         9:15-12:30

*Registration begins on March 1 at 8:30am

Yanesen – the neighborhoods of Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi – is an area known for friendly neighborhood cats and beautiful cherry trees. Visit a sculpture museum with a lovely hidden garden, a traditional shopping street emanating new vibes, a temple with an intriguing history and more.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥6000 (includes 10% sales tax, museum admission, snack, and services of a cultural specialist).
  • 4-9 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • Rain or shine.
  • Light-moderate amount of walking over relatively flat ground, with one staircase
  • Tour begins at Nippori Station
  • Led by Mandy Bartok

Spring Hike to Mt Kobo                                                         Tuesday, April 14                                   9:00-15:00

*Registration begins on March 1 at 8:30am

About an hour outside of Tokyo, hike along a beautiful, forested ridge line in Kanagawa Prefecture. Along the route, enjoy a picnic with (potential) impressive views of Mt Fuji. End this active adventure with an optional dip in a local open-air hot spring.

Excursion Details:

  • ¥8500 (includes 10% sales tax, snack, and services of a hiking guide/cultural specialist). Not included: lunch, train fare to and from the hike (approx. ¥1600 round trip), optional onsen visit
  • 4-9 participants, ages 18 and older.
  • 2.5-3 hours of walking over rolling hills, with some significant inclines
  • Hike will be held in good weather only.
  • Tour leaves from Yoyogi Uehara Station  
  • Led by Mandy Bartok


FOR ALL OUR EXCURSIONS:

Cancellation Terms & 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 & 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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